Date of Award
Adam Schmitt PhD
education, lesson plan, community, history, Malaga Island
Malaga Island off the Maine coast was a home to a small interracial fishing community from 1860 to 1912, at which point the State of Maine evicted the residents. Several islanders were subsequently at Pineland School; the rest were left to rebuild their lives elsewhere. Local and national perspectives of the state’s action and those of the islanders themselves have changed substantially from the time of settlement to today. I researched these perspectives in order to create a week-long unit for a 7th grade Social Studies class here in Portland. My investigation included various primary sources: photographs of the original settlement, newspaper articles from around the country about the community and its dissolution (1900s and today), documentary video and audio, non-fiction texts about Malaga and Pineland, contemporary art and song on the subject, archeological objects from Malaga, and fictional texts about the story of the island. My lesson plans were then built in workshop style, so students would have a chance to interact directly with the primary sources and their differing viewpoints. The unit culminated in an authentic project wherein students created their own memorials to the people of Malaga Island. The unit served a multitude of educational purposes. Students learned about their local history, how to analyze primary sources, how important it is to consider multiple perspectives before forming an opinion, and how to contribute to a community conversation about history.
Drew, Darcie, "Perspectives on Malaga Island: From Scorn to Shame to Sympathy" (2019). Thinking Matters Symposium. 215.