The renowned educator and philosopher Paulo Freire writes, “To teach is not to transfer knowledge but to create the possibilities for the production or construction of knowledge.” This was especially true in the collaboration between Brown University students Maya Sikand, Lily Benedict, and Stoni Tomson in Oral History and Community Memory and students in Ms. Rachel Sohl’s 6th Grade Language Arts Class at Sophia Academy. Together, we completed an oral history unit that explored the meaning and uses of oral history in the context of the Mashapaug’s Neighbors project, and then challenged Sophia students to take part in creating the audio tour. Students conducted interviews with Ed Hooks and Holly Ewald, two members of the Mashapaug Pond extended community, and then selected excerpts from these interviews that are featured in the final audio tour. The remarkable insight and boundless energy of the students at Sophia Academy certainly opened new possibilities in honoring the collective memory of the Reservoir Triangle communities and making Mashapaug’s Neighbors: Stories From Beyond the Pond what it is today.
We invite you to peruse the course materials that we created with Ms. Sohl’s class in mind. We encourage you to tailor them to your classroom needs, whether you choose to center your project on Mashapaug Pond or another feature of your own community.