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Teacher Q&A: Christine Archer, Art Specialist for Wellesley Public Schools

12 January 2011

Christine Archer teaches K-5 art at the Schofield Elementary and Hardy Elementary schools in Wellesley. After completing Primary Source's online course The Enduring Legacy of Ancient China in Fall 2009, Christine traveled to China on a Primary Source study tour last year and participated in Changing China: History and Culture Since 1644, the organization's online course on modern China. Christine discusses these experiences and how she has integrated what she has learned into her classroom curriculum.

Primary Source: What inspired you to sign up for Primary Source's online China courses?

Christine: Although I don't teach social studies, I was interested in learning about China in order to integrate the 5th grade social studies curriculum into my art lessons. I was also intrigued with the concept of an online classroom.

PS: What were the highlights of these courses for you?

Christine: Both online courses had fabulous resources, discussion forums and live chats with the professor. All were highlights.

PS: How have you incorporated what you have learned into your curriculum?

Christine: In the art room, I've implemented my new knowledge into designing new art lessons for the kids. For example, after completing The Enduring Legacy of Ancient China, I learned about Emperor Qin's Terra Cotta Warriors and created an interdisciplinary lesson using resources from the course to teach my students about this fascinating discovery in China. After I introduced my students to the history of the Terra Cotta Warriors, they created their own replicas of Terra Cotta warriors out of clay. Most recently, I created a VoiceThread (one of the online web 2.0 tools introduced from the Changing China course) that my students can use interactively to learn about Chinese communist propaganda posters.

PS: What was the next step for you after studying about ancient China?

Christine: After completing The Enduring Legacy of Ancient China course, I was eager to travel to China to see the country first hand, so I enrolled in a China study tour last summer. The online course helped prepare me for my travels and it was an amazing experience to visit the places I had read so much about!

PS: How did these two experiences impact your understanding of ancient and modern China and your ability to share this knowledge with your students?

Christine: The courses presented the information about China from several perspectives using many primary sources, which really allowed me to gain a well-rounded understanding of ancient and modern China. Although I felt I had a firm grasp on Chinese history after taking the first course, I learned even more during my trip to China and the experience was invaluable. Following my trip to China, I was enthusiastic to learn more about modern China and that is why I enrolled in the Changing China: History and Culture since 1644. All of these experiences have helped me to convey the "big picture" to my students.

 

 

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