Posted June 19, 2012
Roosevelt's home in Hyde Park, New
If you’re planning on visiting the Franklin D.
Roosevelt Estate in Hyde Park this summer, there is a good chance
you’ll recognize a few familiar voices guiding you through your
Last school year, Shaker Junior High School
students visited the home of the 32nd President of the United
States. While they enjoyed their trip, students felt that the
recorded tour guide tape that led them through the trip was a bit
boring, only talking about facts and details. The students were much
more interested in stories about Roosevelt as a person and his life
at his former residence.
“The language was very advanced for younger
children and the students had a difficult time following along,”
SJHS social studies teacher Kathryn Peterson said.
Peterson, along with SJHS librarian Judi Stott
spoke with FDR estate officials about the students’ reactions. The
officials proposed having SJHS students write and record their own
“We talked to the people at the estate about the
students’ feelings and they asked us if our students would be
interested in recording podcasts to appeal to younger audiences
taking the tour,” Peterson said.
Thus began a near year-long project in which
students researched Roosevelt, his wife Eleanor and his vast estate
in Dutchess County.
“They were able to take their research and begin
writing the scripts for their podcasts,” Stott said.
The student-centric podcasts contained such
content as family history; interesting anecdotes about the grounds
of the estate, such as that the family dogs are buried next to
Elenor and Franklin.
In total, three podcasts were recorded for the
three different trails on the estate, including Eleanor’s Walking
Trail, the Farm Lane Trail and the Top Cottage Trail.
LISTEN TO THE STUDENTS' PODCASTS
Not only did the students further their
knowledge on FDR, but they developed critical writing and
“They did a wonderful job,” Stott said. “They
worked together, really engrained themselves in the subject matter
and produced three terrific podcasts for the many young visitors who
will come to the FDR estate.”
In May, the students traveled down to the estate
to listen to their podcasts in action.
“They thought it was great,” Stott said. “You
could tell they really enjoyed it.”
Peterson and Stott have plans to do similar
projects next year and will be working with the Vanderbilt Mansion,
also in Hyde Park.
“We’re excited,” Peterson said. “I’m sure next
year’s students will do just as good of a job as this year’s did.”