Creating Cannon Historians


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While Mrs. Laura Huffman, chair of the Upper School History Department, is known around Cannon for AP Euro, you might not know that she has also taught classes in playwriting and screenwriting, world history, film, and theatre over the course of her career. Her journeys as a scholar have taken her around the world as both a Fulbright Memorial Fund Scholar to Japan and a Transatlantic Outreach Program Fellow of the Goethe Insitut to Germany.

Most recently, Mrs. Huffman completed the 2013 Teacher Fellowship Program at the National World War I Museum in Kansas City, Missouri, which culminated with her presentation of “Women and the War: The Experience of European Women in the First World War.” But when you ask Mrs. Huffman about this experience, she’s more excited to tell you about her students in AP European History who piloted the learning plan that she shared with seven teaching fellows and the audience in Kansas City.

Mrs. Huffman challenged her students to analyze the experience of European women during the First World War by examining thirty-five primary sources dating from 1914-1935 such as letters, recordings, political writings, and artworks created by women, about women, or demonstrating a representation of women.

Mrs. Huffman explains, “My major emphasis was that I wanted them to behave as historians. That’s the interesting part of history—not reading what some other historian has sanitized for you in a textbook—but actually holding an artifact in your hand and asking yourself, ‘What are the implications of this?’”

And, behaving as historians crafting their own assertions, Mrs. Huffman’s students learned that there is not one representative source for the experience of European women during the war; they were soldiers, nurses, mothers, and survivors.