Unless you have been living under a rock in northern New England, you are probably well aware of the protest and boycott for the grocery chain Market Basket. For those that are not native to New England, let me catch you up.
Market Basket has been a family owned business since 1915 in Lowell, MA. Since 1915 this business has grown to be about 70 stores located in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. This chain promises low prices to customers. In the early 1990s the chain went through some legal trouble as the family fought over control. Fast forward to 2014. Once again the family is fighting over control.
Over the past few weeks, maybe even longer, Arthur T. Demoulas and Arthur S. Demoulas, have been the center of the local news. Arthur T. was the CEO of the company who was recently ousted out of his position by his cousin Arthur S. Arthur T. was and is beloved by his employees.
In the weeks that followed, because Market Basket employees wanted Arthur T. to be reinstated many rallies and public protests, petitions and store boycotts have been happening throughout New England. Several long time employees have been fired. These are people who have been working at Market Basket for 25, 30 even 40 years. They all received their termination papers via a courier last week.
You may be wondering what this has to do with me. Well for starters, I know many Market Basket employees including my own son. Many of my students' parents are also employees or shop there. It is for many patrons the only grocery store available to them. Many of the employees have encouraged boycotting the store. Shelves are empty as the delivery truck drivers have been refusing to deliver goods. Customers, including me, now have to shop at higher priced stores; at least until this blows over. My son has been cut from one shift and has attended the rallies and protests. When he is working, he is spending much of his shift doing nothing. There are no products to stock the shelves. Occasionally he is asked to clean or paint. To quote my son about this ," We have hit the iceberg."
As a history teacher, I have wondering is this Market Basket Mess mayhem or a learning opportunity for students to understand history as it unfolds before us? I have concluded that this will be an excellent, relevant chance for us to learn how to learn about history. As opening day draws closer, my teacher brain has been thinking, " How can I use this in class?"
One idea is to look at the pictures I took and analyze them.
There will be no lack of primary sources for us to analyze. Below are a few sources I have started to compile to use in my 8th grade history class the first few days of school. What is nice is students will have a frame of reference, because it will have impacted them in some way, shape or form. It has been lighting up the twitter sphere and other forums of social media. I think I will have groups of students looking at different sources to prepare for a class discussion. Some can look at pictures, some video clips and some newspaper articles. Look at that differentiation in the classroom! Thankfully, I have a few more weeks to work out the lesson details.
I will also be using a history event graphic organizer. The organizer can be found here on my teacherspayteachers store.
So now I wait. I wait to see how this event unfolds. I wait to see what happens to my son's job. I wait for school to start so I can talk to my students about this.
I made it home form Kansas City, Missouri a little more tired then when I left and a lot more knowledgable on the Boarder Wars and Bleeding Kansas. I had an amazing time and visited many interesting sites and battlefields. It was History Geek Heaven!
Throughout the course of the week, we visited many sites relating to the Boarder Wars and the Civil War. Some of the places we saw were the homestead of Jesse James, the Battle of Island Mound, Lecompton and Lawerence Kansas, just to name a few. We saw a movie called Ride With the Devil. This movie was about the confrontation between the jayhawkers and the Bushwhackers on the Kansas/Missouri Boarder. It stared Tobey Maguire, The really cool thing about the movies was we visited some of the historical sites used in the movie shoot!
We also heard knowledgeable and interesting speakers. It was well worth the week long adventure! I highly recommend applying for an NEH summer institute in the future. I will be!
Cool Teachertube video on why studying history is important. Kudos to to Jhayesteach for creating it.
Ok. I am in History Geek heaven. Maybe that is a slight exaggeration. I am however in Kansas City, Missouri for a week long National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) landmark workshop for teachers. There forty of us brave souls who were selected to attend this event. We are teachers of all grade levels from all over the United States.
I left early yesterday morning form Boston and flew to Kansas City. Last night, there was a brief orientation/meet and greet. We than proceeded to go on our first field trip to the Wornall House Museum. There we got a tour from an antebellum costumed docent. She led us through the small Missouri homestead.
Picture Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Wornall_House_Museum
This historical home was the home of a slaveholding family in Kansas City, Missouri. During the Battle of Westport it was used as a military hospital. I wonder if it is Haunted?!! After the tour we enjoyed some good Kansas City BBQ right on the grounds. YUMMM!
Today, Monday July 7, 2014 was the first full day of the program. It was an interesting day to say the least. We started the day with a keynote speaker to get the ball rolling. Nicole Etchison from Ball State University (in Indiana somewhere) provided us with a lecture/discussion on Bleeding Kansas.
We then meet with two gentleman who showed us their website full of primary sources and images as well as some scholarly essays on the Civil War in the west. These guys have created a great repository of information. They have vetted all of the information. Check out their website if you need info on the Civil War on the western boarders.
Next we went and had a discussion with Diane Mutti Burke about her book On Slavery's Borders.
picture source: http://www.amazon.com/Slaverys-Border-Missouris-Slaveholding-Households/dp/0820336831
I learned a lot about small slave holding families. It is still slavery, but it is a different kind of system than what was in the deep south on plantations. Farmers worked along side the slaves in the field in many cases. Farming was on a much smaller scale, therefore families had very few slaves compared to plantations.
Our day concluded at the Steamboat Arabia Museum. This was a steamboat that sunk in the Missouri River in the 1850s and was excavated in the 1980s. The ship was carrying cargo that was destined for some sort of general store. Most of the artifacts are still in pristine condition including the food! This was an incredible sight to see and an incredible story to hear.
After a long day of history and learning, it was time for some downtime. Dinner in the section of town called the Plaza, a horse drawn carriage ride through the district and out for a few drinks with some of the other teachers. Finally I am back in my dorm room. Yes I am in a dorm on a college campus. Let me tell you I am exhausted. I am excited to see what tomorrow's adventure will bring.
It is July 2, 2014. Fifteen days ago was the last day of school. Fourteen days ago was my first official day of summer vacation! I am about seven and half weeks from the first day of school. So why am I already having dreams about the first day of school?
Last night I had a dream with unknown students sitting in front of me for the first day of school. Dream really is too kind. It was more like a nightmare. What could go wrong in class went wrong.
First of all, I was teaching fifth grade. I currently teach seventh and eighth grade social studies. I have not taught fifth grade in well over twenty years, so I was flustered because I was unfamiliar with the fifth grade curriculum. Not only was I teaching fifth grade, I was in a self contained classroom. That means I would teach all subjects.
As I was writing something on the chart paper, a student answered a phone call on his cell phone in class. I tried to confiscate the cell phone to no avail. I walked over to the student to quietly ask him to turn in his phone and let him know about the school's cell phone policy. While I was trying to get the phone from the student, two boys got into a fight and three others started throwing things around the room. I had lost control of the class and we were only twenty minutes in to the first day of school. Ultimately, I had to call in reinforcements from the office to come and help.
This catastrophe of a class continued to escalate, students were screaming and jumping over desks. I felt like an utter failure. Eventually, I awoke from this nightmare wondering why I was already dreaming about school.
I think it is time for some r and r at the beach
I am a future empty-nester with two boys, a husband and a passion for writing, creating and teaching. I teach 7th and 8th grade Social Studies in Massachusetts. I am a self proclaimed history geek and proud of it! In my spare time ( Spare time, ha ha that's a joke! ) I enjoy photography, reading and hanging out with my family.