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"Beautiful Lives": Teaching and Learning in Kimberly Thomas's Classroom

An image of a painted rock that has a closed sign (as on a restaurant/bar) at left and cityscape at right

The first set of student oral history projects comes from the awe-inspiring classroom of Kimberly Thomas, a History/Social Studies educator in Val Verde Unified School District. Kimberly is one the lead facilitators for this year's oral history project and, along with her sister Karyn, has been working with a group of Val Verde USD educators who have facilitated oral history projects in their classrooms.

For her students' projects, Kimberly asked them to center on the topic of community, so, for each oral history project, students had to ask their narrators (interviewees) the following question: How would you describe the community you live in? If you can change anything in your community, what would it be? Why?

Kimberly wanted to share the following about her experience with this project over this past year:

I have been an educator for over sixteen years and of all the places I have taught, the Inland Empire holds a special place in my heart. I’m in awe of the beautiful lives I have encountered throughout my journey as an educator. But, what’s most inspiring are the diverse stories that each student brings with them as they enter my classroom. The Oral History Project actively gives students a public platform to share the voices of the pluralistic communities they live in.

We hope you spend some time with the featured student projects, viewable under the "Oral History" tab at top.

Painted rock (top right/cover image) created by Nadia

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