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Students documenting the pandemic history being made

COVID-19 has assured 2020 a prominent place in the history books. Some Woodlands Academy of the Sacred Heart students are busy recording the current events that future generations will be reading about in those history books.

As part of the remote learning routine that became the “new normal” at Woodlands beginning March16, social studies teacher Peter Cashman is having his students keep a daily journal recording their individual experiences and thoughts during this historic event. The idea for this assignment was developed by Cashman in collaboration with several fellow members of a professional Facebook group for AP World History Teachers.

“In my classes we continuously read, analyze and compare primary sources that are created at the time or with direct knowledge of an event or development,” Cashman said. “Often these sources are documents created by governments or prominent individuals. But some of the most impactful and beneficial sources for historians are those created by the ‘average’ individual that allows us to view significant events and developments from these perspectives. Combined with the ‘official’ record, it gives historians a nuanced picture.”

With that in mind, Cashman has asked his students to keep a daily journal recording their individual experiences and thoughts during this historic event. “Ideally, when they are adults, they might find this in their attic and reminisce about the experience, share it with their families, or maybe it might even find its way into the hands of a historian and become a small part of the historical record,” he said. “Students also might find this project to be a good outlet for their thoughts, concerns and frustrations during this stressful time. “Journaling is good practice for mental health, and we are all under strain at the moment, even if we are not fully aware of it.”