Creative history classes

Person using mobile phone to listen to Hear, Here project.

Hear, Here offers educators a unique opportunity to engage students in local history. Curriculum is available for fourth grade, eighth grade and high school.

UWL students develop new K-12 lesson plans to teach local history using ‘Hear, Here’ project

Area teachers or anyone interested in teaching local history can find creative ideas from a popular UW-La Crosse oral history project.

Hear, Here, a project that shares audio recordings of oral histories in downtown La Crosse, is launching new K-12 programming on its website. The pre-prepared lessons, created by a UWL student and an alumna, are now available online.

UWL Associate Professor of History Ariel Beaujot’s classes started the Hear, Here oral history project in 2014, and it has since expanded to include 70 total stories, as well as poetry that can be accessed by dialing toll-free numbers and codes at orange street signs in downtown La Crosse.

Eighth-grade, high school lessons

Over the last year, UWL senior and education major Sara Krueger has been developing interactive, student-centered lesson plans for eighth grade teachers who use Hear, Here stories to teach La Crosse history. She will also be developing similar material for high school students.

Among Krueger’s lessons are two that explore the Ho-Chunk and Hmoob local history. The Hmoob history lesson plan uses Hear, Here stories to explore the history of Hmoob life in Laos, the displacement caused by the Vietnam War, the journey from Laos to Thailand and then to the U.S., and the history of the Hmoob people in La Crosse. The Ho-Chunk lesson plan uses Hear, Here stories to explore aspects of Ho-Chunk history in the area, including early Ho-Chunk history, archaeology and Ho-Chunk monuments.

One of the eighth-grade lesson plans involves a field trip to downtown La Crosse to listen to the Hear, Here stories, as well as an in-class field trip alternative. Another lesson plan has students create their own Hear, Here-type stories about something they experienced in a location of their choice.

These eighth-grade lessons cover Wisconsin DPI standards in social studies and English Language Arts.

Hear, Here presents a unique opportunity for students to learn downtown history that has not yet been used in the classroom,” explains Krueger, who is majoring in history education and broad field social studies education. “I owe many local teachers, UWL education professors and other education students a big thanks for their help and feedback!”

Fourth-grade lessons

A graduate student at UW-Milwaukee and UWL alumna Calli Niemi, ’15, has created lesson plans for fourth-grade students.

Nieme, who earned her degree in public and policy history, created an in-class personal narrative-writing lesson, an in-class lesson on the Mississippi River, and a two-day lesson that includes a trip to Riverside Park.

The Mississippi River lesson teaches students about the physical science of rivers and the ways humans interact with their natural landscape by using three Hear, Here stories about the river. The mapping lesson spans two days. First students create their own map of Riverside Park and then, at the park, they use the maps to locate and mark important landmarks, such as Hear, Here stories, monuments and places of meaning to them.

The fourth-grade lessons cover various Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction standards in English language arts, environmental literacy and sustainability, social studies and science.

The students’ curriculum development is funded by the La Crosse Public Education Foundation and a UWL Undergraduate Research Grant.


*Note: Hmoob is the spelling of Hmong in the Hmong language. The Hear, Here project has adopted this spelling as it is preferred by many Hmoob people in the community.