MAILED: Oct. 9, 1997|
EAU CLAIRE -- Area elementary school students will have a better understanding of the fires that plagued the Chippewa Valley in its earliest years thanks to the efforts of a University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire faculty member and his graduate students.
A grant awarded by the Wisconsin Humanities Council in cooperation with the Wisconsin Sesquicentennial Commission enabled Roger Tlusty and several graduate students to put together the "Virtual Museum of the Chippewa Valley." The virtual museum is designed to teach third-grade students at Halmstad Elementary School in Chippewa Falls about fires in the Chippewa Valley in the late 1800s.
The project, called "Fire on the Frontier," was initiated by Tlusty, an associate professor of curriculum and instruction at UW-Eau Claire, after he was approached by Halmstad teachers.
"After we got the grant, we got together with Roger," said Suzanne Rooney, third-grade teacher at Halmstad. "He showed us what he had about the fires and we knew this could work."
"We just hope that this proves to be a great learning tool for the third-graders," Tlusty said. "We worked very hard on it for them."
Tlusty and his graduate students put all of the information about fires on a CD-ROM for the third-graders to use.
"There is a huge push for technology in the classrooms," said Jana Lind, music teacher at Halmstad. "By using a CD-ROM, the children will learn about technology and the fires at the same time."
This fall, Rooney and Halmstad third-grade teachers Dawn Genrich and Carol LeDuc will introduce their students to the CD-ROM and the history of fires in the Chippewa Valley. From there, students will write short stories and poems about the fires, which will be turned into the final presentation of the project -- a musical at the end of the school year.
"This whole thing is going to be a wonderful vehicle for the students," said LeDuc. "It integrates social studies (learning about the fires), language arts (writing the poems and stories) and music skills."
After the musical, the teachers will put the project together in the form of a teaching kit, Rooney said. The kit will include a book with the lesson plans the teachers used and a video of the musical.
"By having all that together, other teachers can see how to do a similar project," Rooney said. "This is a model program for others, and we all are glad that we had a hand in it."
Janice B. Wisner
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
Updated: Oct. 9, 1997