Investigating the Past, Present, and Future of the Vermont Family Farm

Dec 16th, 2014 | By | Category: BLTN Teachers, Campus News, Fall 2014

Bill Rich alt head shotby Bill Rich
Vermont Bread Loaf Teacher Network Coordinator and Project Director
MA ’99

Vermont BLTN Launches Credit-Earning Course for Vermont High School Students

A group of Vermont students from area high schools gathered at Middlebury College on October 10 for the kickoff of What’s the Story: Investigating the Past, Present, and Future of the Vermont Family Farm, a course designed by a team of Vermont Bread Loafers. Rooted in the spirit of John Dewey and the tradition of Vermont’s active local politics, the course engages secondary students from across the state in an investigation of the Vermont family farm that will lead to student actions that will contribute to the health of this Vermont tradition. Thanks to a generous gift of support, these students will have access to technology to conduct their research and tell their story using cutting-edge media tools.

From the moment they first met, students wrote about and discussed their current conceptions of the Vermont family farm, identifying the questions they found most interesting. This led to each student beginning the first stages of an I-Search paper (Thank you, Ken Macrorie!), which each student will complete and bring to the course meeting in early December. Between meetings, students continue their work online with the support of an on-site mentor, a Bread Loafer who provides ongoing support at each student’s school

Students also had a chance at the October 10 meeting to hear from members of the Middlebury community interested in supporting their work. Emily Bartels and Julia Alvarez generated the same kind of excitement and awe in the students that Bread Loafers from around the globe have experienced. Congratulations to VTBLTN for an auspicious start to an amazing learning experience for a lucky group of Vermont high school students!

Student participants’ blog posts from the course may be found at this site.

For more Vermont BLTN news, read Tim O’Leary’s account of VT BLTN at Vermont Fest 2014.

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Background on Vermont BLTN

The Bread Loaf School of English received a gift of support for the Vermont Bread Loaf Teacher Network, bringing together a diverse group of outstanding Vermont teachers committed to social change and community revitalization through education and collaboration. Members met this summer with representatives from Shelburne Farms and the Addison County Supervisory Union to discuss partnerships and collaborations across schools and organizations. In October, they convened at Middlebury College as part of a VT BLTN-designed hybrid online course investigating the tradition of the Vermont family farm.



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