The Portsmouth Peace Process: A Guide for Teachers
The Portsmouth Peace Process Curriculum Guide is an intensively researched 200+ page, illustrated binder with accompanying CD of images and map of the Portsmouth Peace Treaty Trail.
It is the product of a collaborative effort between the Northeast Cultural Coop (NCC) and members of the Portsmouth Peace Treaty Anniversary Committee. Blanche Milligan, NCC project director wrote and produced the curriculum, securing grants from the Center for Global Partnership of the Japan Foundatin and the Anne Slade Frey Charitable Trust. Scholars with expertise in the Russo-Japanese War and the peace process contributed sections of the guide and members of the Portsmouth Public School System under the direction of Supt. Robert Lister, as well as other teachers and members of the community contributed classroom ideas and reviewed drafts. Design and layout of the guide and CD-ROM of images was done by Melanie Phelps, CFO of Northeast Cultural Coop. The Guide presents the history of the Portsmouth Peace Treaty to schoolchildren, incorporating lessons and activities appropriate for a range of ages, grades 4-12 and applicable to a range of subjects in the classroom.
Teaching units also make the information accessible to 4th graders -- the traditional entry point in the state for public school students to learn New Hampshire history.
The Guide was completed in late spring of 2005 with additional help from the CGP, Japan-America Society of New Hampshire and the Portsmouth School System. The Guide is being distributed in the fall and winter of 2005-06 through presentations and workshops. These workshops began with a week-long institute for teachers on Modern Japan, and continued with five regional conferences.
One copy of the curriculum was provided to each school district in the state. Additional copies are available to interested teachers for $25. Humanities teachers interested in scheduling a workshop in any specific school district may contact Blanche Milligan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
At the Kick-off Celebration for the Guide, held at the New Hampshire Historical Society's Tuck Library in Concord on September 28th, State Commissioner of Education Lyonel Tracy extended his support for the Curriculum Guide, noting that it is a resource matching the State's "Follow the Child" model furthering the physical, emotional, social and academic development of New Hampshire schoolchildren. He said, "The Curriculum Guide is more than a history lesson. It can address all of the four issues by demonstrating the lesson that Teddy Roosevelt nurtured the peace negotiations in the hearts, minds and souls of the people who negotiated the Treaty and carry it on. This kick-off is a great day for us, bringing back the importance of New Hampshire in history 100 years ago. Who wouldn't want to be Commissioner of Education with all the great things [like this] going on?"
Acting Japanese Consul-General Masayuki Takashima said, "Every Japanese student knows about the War and the Portsmouth Peace Treaty. But I'm not sure they know where Portsmouth is in the United States. However, many if not all know, and thank, Teddy Roosevelt for his critical contributions to end the War and spare many lives. The contribution from the people of Portsmouth was great. I commend the excellent work in the Guide and look forward to seeing more students and citizens in New Hampshire know more about their contribution to the history of Japan, Russia and the world."
"Our story connects to all the other stories," said Blanche Milligan, NCC Project Director. "If all you do is look at the opening sections and prompt a conversation in the classroom about peace, you've used the Guide. But it's not just about the peace treaty, the Guide includes the history of the war, the treaty, the negotiations and the impact it still has on contemporary America and the world. I encourage teachers in the workshops to do some of the activities as a way to dig into the rest of the book. Our story connects to all the other stories. When you teach it that way it brings history alive."
For more information about the Curriculum, visit the Northeast Cultural Coop website: www.NortheastCulturalCoop.org.
Portsmouth Christian Academy applies Curriculum Guide to 8th Grade Studies
Will Present Workshop at NH Council for the Social Studies 2006 Conference
The Russo-Japanese Peace Treaty Tour
The Portsmouth Peace Treaty provides compelling local and New Hampshire history for engaging the middle school student through an official website, exhibit and Curriculum Guide produced to explain how the local community was able to make a difference in world events. The accessibility of these materials and the modern relevance of the civics/social capital example of the Portsmouth peace process made the topic even more suitable for the socialization exercise applied at the Portsmouth Christian Academy during the 2005-06 school year: Mary Reardon's 8th grade studied the history of the Treaty and then prepared a lesson on the topic for the 5th grade.
The following is a recap of the 8th and 5th grade classes' visit to the Portsmouth Peace Treaty exhibit, reported by 8th grader Gracie Derby:
"On May 24, 2006 the class of 8A at Portsmouth Christian Academy (P.C.A.), gave a tour of downtown Portsmouth, highlighting the Peace Treaty which ended the Russo-Japanese War between Russia and Japan.
The students dressed up in costumes of the day. Girls wore dresses with hats that they had made, while boys carried straw hats that a volunteer purchased for them. The students were separated into four groups and gave tours to the fifth graders of P.C.A. that came.
The tour started at the Portsmouth Historical Museum (the John Paul Jones House) then either went up towards Jumping Jays or the Rockingham Hotel. It took about 45 minutes to go around the town, and then they were allowed 15 minutes at the museum to look around.
To prepare for this tour, the class picked topics that would add to their knowledge of the Russo-Japanese War. Then they wrote down what they believed to be most vital to the tour and added that to a script. Everyone in each of the four groups memorized the information in the script.
On the day of the tour, when the fifth graders arrived, the leader of each group went over safety procedures, while some went into the museum to wait for the first two groups to leave. As they walked they talked to the fifth graders about life in 1905, about the Russo-Japanese War, and the role Portsmouth played during the Peace Treaty.
The eighth graders were excited to give this tour and were very well prepared for the fifth graders. This was a great experience for all who were involved."