In The Classroom

The antecedents of this project trace back to Joe Rivers’ history classroom at Brattleboro Area Middle School. Joe and his students started a podcast called This Week in Brattleboro History. We heard it, we loved it, and everything it stood for.  So did the National Endowment for Humanities. With NEH backing and a world-class team of scholars, writers and artists, the Brattleboro Words Project is building upon this idea of place-based learning and storytelling, and returning to the classroom of area schools.

Place-Based Learning

‘Peoples, Places and History of Words in Brattleboro, Vermont’ works with schools, artists and community leaders to produce the ‘Brattleboro Words Trail’ web-based walking, biking and driving audio tours featuring both renowned and unsung people and places in our rich literary history.

Brattleboro History

The Project will provide an engaging and informative understanding as to why Brattleboro has been recognized as a national and regional creative hub in the literary world.

Tons of Sites

View the massive list of current and potential research sites.



Teacher Support

What kind of support will teachers receive?

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There will be several workshops (during the school year) where teachers will learn and practice how to make and edit short audio, how to do research on local sites using local resources, how to prepare materials for the website and how to make beautiful handmade books. (Attending these workshops will count for continuing education credits.) There will also be ongoing support for teachers as they do the work. Teachers will also receive a stipend and materials budget totaling a maximum of $500 per school, including brand new recording equipment schools will be able to keep that will facilitate a high standard of audio collection. Project leadership will provide guidance and access to scholars who will help illuminate the work. You and your students or team members will be part of a large community effort, and can meet and exchange ideas at the Project’s monthly Roundtable Discussions every second Thursday of the month at 118 Elliot or other locations announced in advance.

Choosing a Site

The Brattleboro Words Project has a list of possible sites from which to choose. 

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The Brattleboro Words Project has a list of possible sites from which to choose. Or, if there is a site in your community, or a site which you believe will be particularly beneficial pedagogically, or something you are especially interested in, it may be a suitable focus of your research. If you are interested in researching a site that is not on the list, we will give you a form with a few questions to help determine if it fits well with the Brattleboro Words Project.

Size & Scope

How much time should be spent on the site projects?

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This depends on the individual teacher. The research should be available in the appropriate form by the end of May for the school year beginning in September. However, if a teacher focuses with more intensity on a particular site, it could be finished earlier). Our hope is that teachers find a way to make this project work for them in the context of their other goals for the academic year, and there can be many different ways in which could happen. Teachers and research team leaders are encouraged to complete ‘finished’ podcasts that can vary in length, but segments of collected audio are also valuable to the overall effort, as are any finished products you feel are representative of the exploration in which you’ve engaged.

Academics IRL


This is a tremendous opportunity for students to work with local scholars and industry professionals on a real world project. The bar is high for these kids. They know it and excel in this format

- Reggie Martell, Tech. Coordinator

Expert Instructors

Project scholars guide community and classroom-based teams to research the stories and people associated with sites for the Brattleboro Words Trail, a web-based platform & mobile app featuring downloadable maps for audio-enhanced walking, biking & driving tours that catalogue our literary treasures while stimulating wider interest in the Brattleboro area.

William Edelglass, Ph.D

William Edelglass, Ph.D

Lead Scholar, Marlboro College

Joe Rivers

Joe Rivers

Brattleboro Area Middle School

Rich Holschuh

Rich Holschuh

Vermont Commission on Native American Affairs

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