Saturday, March 02, 2002

Boone history curriculum wins award

By Terry Flynn
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        BURLINGTON — A fourth-grade heritage education curriculum that could be a model for similar programs around the state has earned the 2002 Kentucky Community History Award for Boone County.

        The Kentucky Historical Society and the Historical Confederation of Kentucky will present the award at tonight's dinner at the History Center in Frankfort for “Boone County: River Born, Kentucky Bred.”

        The program is sponsored by the Boone County Historic Preservation Review Board and funded jointly by the Boone County Fiscal Court and a grant from the Kentucky Heritage Council. It explores the county's development from prehistory up to the Civil War.

        “Boone County can be a model for other counties in Kentucky and around the country,” said Jordan O'Rylee, the education coordinator at the Dinsmore Homestead in Burlington. “The program is so in-depth and the hands-on material so good. The kits developed for the program give the teacher as many things as they can possibly use to present this bit of history.”

        The curriculum's 12 lessons range from the geology of the area and an overview of the Ohio River to farming, river travel and slavery. Each lesson includes introductory text and supplementary reading materials, and students are engaged through reading, writing, hands-on activities and field trips.

        The learning kits include teaching resources, supplementary texts, videos and period objects. Teachers borrow the kits from the county and return them when the lessons are completed.

        Designed to be used by fourth-graders as part of their American history studies, “River Born, Kentucky Bred” explores the development of the county from 500 million years ago when it lay beneath the ocean to just before the Civil War when slavery was still legal in Kentucky.

        “It was developed pretty quickly,” said Matt Becher, rural/open space planner for the Boone County Planning Commission and one of the people who worked on the program with Ms. O'Rylee and teacher/education consultant Jan Garbett. “A lot of people played a part in getting this put together to present to the schools.”

        Ms. O'Rylee said the group began meeting in January 2001 and had the program ready for presentation by August. In addition to helping develop the curriculum, Ms. Garbett did typing and assembling work.

        “A few teachers have used portions of the curriculum so far,” she said. “It always takes a while to get something like this going. Word of mouth among teachers will make it spread.”


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