IN THEIR FOOTSTEPS connects middle- and high school classrooms in the U.S. with European counterparts for collaborative learning projects.
Each pairing is built on the “common thread” (“fil rouge”) of the World War 1 or World War 2 experiences of an individual whose story touches both communities.
We work with participating educators to develop a customized approach that facilitates an IN THEIR FOOTSTEPS connection while meeting each classroom’s curriculum requirements and goals.
Participants use our IN THEIR FOOTSTEPS Virtual Exchange model and internet communication technologies (email, shared drives, video conferencing) to complete the following project phases:
- Team building and social exchange
Students connect with overseas peers and exchange information about school, daily life, and society.
- In Their Footsteps / Remembrance
Using primary sources and by exploring local historical sites, students follow the life journey of an individual who grew up in the U.S. and then served and died in Europe during WW1 or WW2.
- Joint lesson and discussion
Students analyze a shared discussion topic and then present their work to their overseas peers via videoconference. This topic can be connected to the story of the individual or related to historical context, or it can be any subject that offers an opportunity to share and compare international and inter-cultural perspectives.
- Additional lessons/activities
Depending on each class/group’s goals and requirements, educators can assign additional classwork or projects based on the above topics
Students present their work at their school or in the community, including at commemorative events.
To facilitate interactions, connections can be established between different types of classrooms (e.g. a History class in the U.S. + an English language class in France/Belgium) and can be supplemented by various inter- and multi-disciplinary approaches.
Less language-dependent interactions can also be designed for younger (middle school) classes, around visual art projects or written works in translation.
Preparation for each Virtual Exchange connection begins during the previous summer and runs through the first part of the academic year. The actual exchanges take place between January and April.
All participants automatically meet the requirements to receive our IN THEIR FOOTSTEPS pin and certificate, also awarded through our Community Connections program.
We are in the process of preparing for the following IN THEIR FOOTSTEPS Virtual Exchanges:
New York, NY + Waregem, Belgium
(Flanders Fields – WW1)
New York, NY + Herve, Belgium
(Battle of the Bulge – 75th Anniversary – WW2)
North Andover, MA + Château-Thierry, France
(Chatêau-Thierry – WW1)
In addition, several other pairings are in development, involving other U.S. communities in the Midwest, South and Northwest as well as overseas partners in France and Belgium. Stay tuned for updates!
How to Participate
We have already aligned most of our 2019/2020 Virtual Exchange pairings. If you are interested in starting to lay the foundation for a future pairing, or if you have an existing relationship with an overseas school that might benefit from applying the IN THEIR FOOTSTEPS model, please contact us.