Erica Swenson
Social Studies, Language Arts
Bruce M. Whittier Middle School
Poland, Maine USA
Erica in the news

I grew up listening to the stories of the World War II generation; both of my grandfathers served in the war and my grandmothers often spoke of rationing, material drives, and volunteering for the cause. It is because of these stories that I developed an insatiable taste for books, film, exhibits, memorials, historical sites, and artifacts related to the war. I have studied World War II with my students almost every year since I first started teaching social studies in 2000 and, throughout these years, I have had the good fortune to have personally interviewed several World War II veterans.

I am dedicated to helping students hear individual voices of history. World War II can be overwhelming for students. In order to motivate, invoke compassion, and present information in a clear and human way, it is essential to find a way to connect students to an individual life within the context of the larger event. I also believe in the importance of creating high quality work for a real audience. My middle school students are capable of working and thinking on a high level and they need to be challenged.

My classroom is structured, student-centered, and highly productive. I integrate current event topics that relate to the historical time period we are investigating. Furthermore, as an English Language Arts teacher and a social studies teacher, I spend a lot of time working on reading and writing skills in all of my classes.