WWI education webinar features Fayette natives


By Jennifer Woods - jwoods@aimmediamidwest.com



A webinar focused on the teaching of World War I in current-day society is scheduled for this Friday with a panel of educators—including three Fayette County natives.

The webinar, titled “WWI Education Webinar: Strategies and Tools for Teaching WWI in 2021,” will provide tips and discuss free resources available from the US WWI Centennial that educators can utilize.

The webinar is scheduled for Friday, Feb. 26 from 1-2 p.m. and was created by the Doughboy Foundation. The Doughboy Foundation, according to www.doughboy.org, is a non-profit organization that supports and encourages planning and execution of programs, projects and activities commemorating and educating the public on America’s role in World War I.

The three educators originally from Fayette County are Paul LaRue, Sarah (Nestor) Lane and Ben Nichols.

“It was an honor to represent our community and Ohio on the webinar,” explained LaRue via email. “Sarah and Ben were both students of mine, and I was proud to work with them on this project.”

LaRue was helping to organize participants for the webinar and “knew both Sarah and Ben would bring important perspectives from their respective states.”

Nichols is currently teaching in Kentucky. Lane has had experience teaching in Ohio and Oklahoma, but is currently teaching in Tacoma, Washington.

Lane explained via email, “I’ve been honored to continue working with Paul LaRue over the last several years on collaborating and editing teacher resources, presentations, articles and, recently, the work focused on the Centennial of WWI. LaRue recommended me to join in on the efforts of this webinar with The Doughboy Foundation so I could review their materials and provide thoughts and connections to today’s classroom. I’m an early childhood educator, but I have done Social Studies standards, publications, and research work on K-12 students and both pre-service and current educators. My aim was to bring that background work into some of the discussion surrounding teaching WWI.”

LaRue wrote, “we were also fortunate to have Mary Jones-Fitts from Alabama participate in the webinar. Mary is an African American genealogy expert who focuses on helping educate the community on the role of African Americans.”

Within the webinar, the service and sacrifice of African-American soldiers are detailed, according to LaRue.

“It is appropriate as we are finishing up Black History Month. It was neat to listen to Mary discuss the role of African American Soldiers from her perspective being from Alabama,” he wrote. “My favorite part of World War I is how much it changed our society—in ways many people aren’t even aware of.”

He further explained that one of the biggest challenges for teachers is the amount of or lack of time to teach World War I or any single topic.

“The US World War I Centennial has produced some fantastic free resources to assist teachers,” wrote LaRue. “After serving on the Ohio World War I Centennial Committee, it is very natural to transition to working to both educate and preserve the service and sacrifice of World War I service members.”

According to information from the webinar webpage, educators from different parts of the United States were assembled for the panel in order to explore issues about teaching WWI from a real-world practical perspective. Those perspectives include the following:

-How teachers are adapting in teaching, especially social studies, during the COVID-19 pandemic

-How do differing state standards affect teaching WWI

-Practical practices, clever ideas and limitations when teaching WWI

-How local WWI memorials can provide community engagement learning

“To be able to understand differences and the range of content expectations across states, my experiences across Ohio, Oklahoma, and Washington have been meaningful,” wrote Lane. “Educators have the opportunity to learn about high quality, free resources that help teachers and students approach WWI in ways we know are more engaging and meaningful—like examining letters as primary sources, podcasts, videos, and virtual reality. I feel that the panel discussion in the webinar is helpful too, to hear educator voices on how to integrate literacy, prioritize standards and more.”

The webinar has no cost and can be watched by anyone — not just educators. It will be posted as video-on-demand so those who can’t join live will still be able to watch it.

To register for the webinar, go to www.register.gotowebinar.com/register/1274955613107522318?fbclid=IwAR0e5lFByn-NuwfNTJwN7hKJPWQbhnzfVxGp7BAi-h4wVrpxj6Z_LJRZRxg.

Lane wrote, “It is important that teachers and students alike are engaged in the learning surrounding WWI, and I’m excited by the work The Doughboy Foundation is doing for education. I encourage anyone interested to register, as they will receive the free resources and a recording of the webinar. The webinar will be available post-event for viewing.”

Reach journalist Jennifer Woods at 740-313-0355.

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By Jennifer Woods

jwoods@aimmediamidwest.com