1st Edition

Take the Journey Teaching American History Through Place-Based Learning

By James Percoco Copyright 2017

    In Take the Journey: Teaching American History Through Place-Based Learning, author, historian, and educator James Percoco invites you and your students to the places where many events in American history happened.

    The Journey Through Hallowed Ground is a 180-mile National Heritage area encompassing such historic sites as the Gettysburg battlefield and Thomas Jefferson's home, Monticello. Though it might prove difficult to visit these particular sites with your students, Percoco argues that every community has a story that can be connected to larger themes in American history and that placed-based history education can be made a part of every classroom, from Nevada to Washington to Pennsylvania.

    Filled with students' voices and an enthusiasm for American history, Take the Journey offers the following:

    • Practical and easy-to-implement lessons
    • Classroom-tested materials
    • Specific directions for employing place-based best practices in the classroom
    • Ways to meet state standards without sacrificing teacher creativity or hands-on learning
    • Lists of resources and primary source materials

    So bring your students along and let them discover the twists and turns offered by history and the Journey Through Hallowed Ground. '

    Introduction; Chapter 1: We Are Still Here—The Research Road Trip; Chapter 2: The M and Ms of the Journey—Montpelier and Monticello, Madison and Jefferson; Chapter 3: Harpers Ferry: A Confluence of History; Chapter 4: Battle Cries of Freedom—Where Brothers Fought Brothers; Chapter 5: Quiet on the Set! It's Dwight David Eisenhower; Chapter 6: Historic Preservation and Justified Optimism; Epilogue: Playing Well in Peoria; Afterword


    James Percoco is a nationally recognized history educator with more than thirty-three years of classroom experience. He is a member of the Education Committee of the National Park Service Advisory Board and the National Park Service Centennial Advisory Board. In 2011, he was inducted into the National Teachers Hall of Fame.

    “The 180-mile stretch of America between the Gettysburg battle site in Pennsylvania and Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello in Virginia—the well-named Journey Through Hallowed Ground—teems with history. In this valuable book, James Percoco shows teachers how to bring that history alive within their classrooms, whether they’re located along the route or in some other part of the nation. A wonderful resource.” —Ken Burns, Documentary Filmmaker

    “Jim Percoco is one of those gifted teachers who is able to translate academic language into a useful vocabulary for the classroom. This book fulfills the educational mission of Journey Through Hallowed Ground with case studies that skillfully integrate various sources of historical evidence. I am especially impressed with Jim’s ability to encourage critical thinking about significant people, places, and events in U.S. history.” —Brent Glass, Director Emeritus, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution

    “History educators and general readers alike will enjoy this rich and delightful trek through the Journey Through Hallowed Ground with Jim Percoco, America’s history teacher. Prepare to be intrigued as Percoco makes the case for place-based learning alongside a poignant appeal for more support for historic preservation.” —Yohuru Williams, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, Professor of History, Fairfield University