“Hey! This is Milia Harrison, Eliza Price, and Molly Durling, and you’re listening to Trackin’ the Tracks.” This is how we started each one of our radio shows that we broadcasted each week to the Brattleboro area. Our social studies seminar, Film, Music, and History, allowed us to learn history through the integration of music and social studies.
We negotiated with local radio station 96.7 WTSA FM who agreed to provide us with a half-hour slot every Saturday in which we could showcase what we had learned that week. We came up with a theme for each week, researched and wrote a piece to present on the radio, and then, as the class progressed, eventually edited our own shows. These shows included interviews with music industry people and band members and an average of six to seven songs. In addition, we took several class trips to recording studios in Cleveland and Kent, Ohio, and we engaged in a virtual field study with the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville, Tennessee.
As our teacher Bill Holiday explains, “The design of this Collegiate High School course was to provide students with the opportunity to learn history and major historical issues through music, its songs, and its artists.” Each radio program required us to explore both historical and universal themes, such as racism, censorship, and corporate mentality. Producing a radio program also required us to immerse ourselves in our topic and manage pressures and deadlines. In addition, we were able to opt for university credit through the School for International Training.
Our class included field studies at Brattleboro’s WTSA 96.7 FM; Tom Bodett’s recording studio in Dummerston; the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio; and Kent State University in Kent, Ohio. We also presented at the annual Vermont Alliance for the Social Studies Conference in Burlington, VT and experienced a virtual field study with the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville, TN. Additionally, the class did programs on local bands and scheduled The Stockwell Brothers and The Trophies to visit us.
“In the beginning I was more shy about writing something and talking on the radio, but was very excited about the idea of this radio show,” says student Molly Durling. “I eventually grew very comfortable and was able to write a piece about an artist or a song very quickly. I moved into editing clips in the show very easily and was able to do whatever was needed to help the show along. I was extremely proud of what we were creating, and have taken so much more information away from doing something like this, and applying it to the real world.”
Student Milia Harrison echoes Molly’s sentiments. “Music has always been a large part of my life, and to have an outlet where I could combine learning and music really excited me! I felt like it became our job to teach the public and I really wanted it to be the best that it could be! So I think this class has taught me more than just history; it has taught me how to be a leader, how to work as a team and has given me a good work ethic.”
We invite you to listen to Tracking the Tracks! A digital archive of our work is available at the following link: Tracking the Tracks. If you have questions or feedback about our work, we would love to hear them. Please e-mail Bill Holiday at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Welcome to WSESU Insights, a blog dedicated to providing insights into the world of student learning in WSESU. If you are a teacher, student, or administrator who would like to guest blog about student learning at your school, contact Julianne Eagan at email@example.com for more information.