Having eighth graders create historical books is a unique project that was inspired by North Hills Middle School teacher Joe Welch’s 95 year old grandmother.

Soft Skills“She was part of the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps during World War II and I thought — my grandma, (Sara Whalen of South Fayette) — she lived with me when I was growing up,” said Welch. “I never sat down and heard from her, recorded her, never documented her.”

Welch collaborated on the month long assignment with eighth grade English teacher Vicki Truchan.  Students used iPads recording audio interviews about important events in the lives of people they speak with.  They then researched and wrote about the historical context of the events.

The result of the project is five volumes of iBooks that will be available for download on iTunes.

Welch completed the assignment as well, with his grandmother as a subject.  His project was used as a model.

“He actually wrote a research paper using all of the required sources that the students were required to use and they read his research paper and kind of used that as a model,” said Truchan.

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