Mary Z. Rose, Library Research Manager

MCHS Recognizes Teaching Excellence

Cara Lane

   The Madison County Historical Society (MCHS) is pleased to announce the creation of a new award recognizing teaching excellence. The first four Teaching Fellow recipients are Cara Lane, Edwardsville High School, Logan Ridenour, Roxana High School, Rachel Harris, Edwardsville Liberty Middle School, and Suze Gibson, Roxana High School.

   MCHS Teaching Fellows are exceptional educators who have created history or social studies curriculums using the resources of the MCHS Museum and Library. The materials created can be shared with other teachers and are designed to address Illinois Instructional Mandates.

   Last fall, these teachers worked with MCHS Education Coordinator Bob Daiber, Library Research Manager Mary Rose, and Curator Jenn VanBibber to develop lesson plans that incorporated documents and artifacts from the museum and library to explore Civics, Black History, the Holocaust, and Women’s History.

Logan Ridenour

  Rachel Harris said, “I was excited to be able to focus my lesson from the Madison County Historical Society on the importance of using oral tradition when studying Black history.” Harris, who teaches at Edwardsville’s Liberty Middle School, used family histories from Charlotte E. Johnson’s research. Johnson’s work includes the Network to Freedom National Park Service application, maps, church records, newspaper articles, and background readings that Harris used to teach her students about the Underground Railroad.

   Suze Gibson at Roxana High School developed a three-day Holocaust lesson plan. “I built my lesson plan around an excerpt from Leonard Stocker’s “Singers Are Made, Not Born: A Memoir” from the archives of the Madison County Historical Society,” Gibson said. The memoir helped the students understand the choices faced by groups targeted for persecution during the Holocaust. “It made the history of the Holocaust more personal and relevant for them,” she explained.

Rachel Harris

   Cara Lane, an Edwardsville High School English teacher, focused her lesson plan on the World War I diaries, letters, and documents of Bertha Love. A native of Hamel, Illinois, Love served as a nurse at Rouen, France, during the war. Lane said, “My research homed in on some specific diary entries and my lessons recommended ways to also incorporate other history lessons, literature, and art to round out the student experience. These kinds of lessons are crucial for demonstrating how to use primary sources as well as to study local history and potentially get students interested in accessing local archives for themselves.”

Suze Gibson