I'm writing a book about local Buffalo history. It's a curriculum guide for secondary Social Studies teachers and focuses on a series of themes, topics and lesson plans for the teaching of Buffalo History. New York State provides a whole list of 12th grade Social Studies electives and usually "Participation in Government" and "Economics" are taught here locally to satisfy this requirement. This choice is made by default as 20 week long course materials are completely absent from the radar screen for the teaching of local history at the secondary level.
My first draft includes a strong field component to get students into local libraries and the neighborhoods. Other topics include - geography and natural history, first nation-peoples and certain aspects of the "Burned Over District" that I've only recently discovered and will include in a chapter about larger regional issues. Along with a narrative component, most of the topics will integrate "local issues" within broader patterns of global economic development. So, instead of viewing the Erie Canal and Pan Am Exposition as isolated and Buffalo based events they will be seen within the context of larger economic issues. For example the repeal of the English Corn Laws and the sudden rise in England of the importing of cheap American grain give rise to the burst of activity across New York State. Here the Erie Canal connects mid-west grain with East coast ports. The Pan Am will be viewed with in a larger context, too. Here the rise of an imperial presidency, American Exceptionalism and global supremecy provide the larger stage against which Pan Am topics including the anti-imperialist and anarchist response to these events are examined.
The goal, a book and interactive website, including a blog for the exchange of ideas and materials. If you know of print or web-based resources available that you have used successfully in the classroom for teaching local - Buffalo - history, let me know.
Thanks in advance...for your patience. Back in full-stride in September! And for news and views you won't read about in the Buffalo News or see on TV, check out NorthCoast On-line and Broadway Fillmore Alive.