About the Workshop
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, we have postponed Kent State's 2020 "Making Meaning of May 4" workshops until Summer 2021. This workshop information page will be updated for 2021.
We know that students connect with the story of May 4 and its context in the 1960s. One teacher shared recently:
In their day spent at the May 4 Visitors Center, 7th and 8th graders were treated to an experience of primary sources unlike any other. Our Junior High engaged with skillful professionals who testified to the events, welcomed questions, and encouraged reflection. The students visited the memorial and walked the site, toured the multi-media displays in the galleries, and, under the direction of an archivist, explored the content of Special Collections in the Kent State University. It was an immersive experience unsurpassed in authenticity and relevance. Families reported subsequent conversations at home that addressed the civil rights movement and the struggle for social justice, the consequences of a generation gap, and the significance of the Vietnam War. My own teaching has been far richer and impactful as a result of students’ exposure to the lessons of May 4, 1970. The messages “Never Forget” and “Be the Change” resonated through our school year and I am deeply grateful for the wealth of history poignantly exposed and sensitively shared by the Visitors Center.
At Kent State, you’ll come to the place that is a national symbol of government confronting protesting citizens with unreasonable deadly force—like the Boston Commons, Wounded Knee, and the Edmund Pettus Bridge.
The story is told in a museum that illustrates in a hundred ways: Young people can make a difference. It is a story that makes young people realize: It could have been me. It is a story recounted in 50,000 digitized artifacts; more than a dozen documentaries and feature films; more than forty books and counting; and hundreds of works of art, literature, and music. It is a story that you will want to share with your students.
We want to share that story with you. Join us.
When you are accepted into Making Meaning of May 4, we’ll send you two free books. This We Know (Kent State University Press, 2013), co-authored by Carole Barbato and project faculty Laura Davis and Mark Seeman, is a 43-page chronicle of the most reliable, documentable facts of what happened at Kent State on May 1-4, 1970. Kent State: Death and Dissent in the Long Sixties (University of Massachusetts Press, 2016) by Thomas M. Grace is the definitive scholarly examination of the roots of activism at Kent State and history of the May 4 shootings.
These works and other recommended readings and experiences (including accessing 50,000 online May 4 resources) set the shootings in the context of the times and engage workshop participants as active and invested learners. You’ll leave Kent State filled with ideas for engaging 6th- to 12th-grade students in inquiry-based learning about the era of US history from the Cold War to Vietnam and working across the disciplines: social studies, language arts, fine and performing arts, media, and culture.