National Theme:

This theme focuses on how American cities can produce vibrant living spaces that represent and reinforce core values of communal culture. Teachers and students identify a particular period when the identity of a city in their region was being constructed and promoted to reflect a vision of that community as distinctively American. Learners using this theme typically visit urban buildings and neighborhoods, interview long-time residents, retrace key developments in architecture and urban planning, and identify ways in which political, social and economic forces converged to affect a community's way of life.

One Local Application:  Re-imagining Atlanta as a Cultural, Corporate Center(Click here to sample the Georgia team's applications of this theme.)

The Georgia team initially explored this theme by "Re-imagining Atlanta as a Cultural, Corporate Center," with emphasis on ways that 1970s-1990s civic leaders tried to move the city from being a regional center to having a national presence. During the 2000 and 2001 summer institutes, teachers read Frederick Allen's Atlanta Rising: The Invention of an International Center, 1946-1996, took an architectural walking tour of downtown, visited urban museums, and began to gather family stories about life in the city of Atlanta. Studying Dolores Hayden's The Power of Place and Paul Fleischman's Seed Folks helped teachers consider how they and their students might contribute to the culture of the city through inquiry, writing, and new kinds of landmark-making. Involving students in this thematic study during the school year has included trips to the Martin Luther King, Jr., Memorial, research on the development of Zoo Atlanta, and studying signature commercial centers (e.g., the Varsity restaurant, the Fox Theater, Rich's downtown department store).



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