Jackson teacher traveling Oregon Trail to teach students - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Jackson teacher traveling Oregon Trail to teach students

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(Source: Christy Millweard, Heartland News) (Source: Christy Millweard, Heartland News)
A Jackson Summer School History Class is taking the lessons out of a book and off the pages, and putting them into real life. A Jackson Summer School History Class is taking the lessons out of a book and off the pages, and putting them into real life.
Haertling video chats with the students via Facetime. He sends videos of his explorations for lesson plans. Haertling video chats with the students via Facetime. He sends videos of his explorations for lesson plans.
Haertling said he loves history and exercise. He’s wanted to take this teaching trip for 20 years. Haertling said he loves history and exercise. He’s wanted to take this teaching trip for 20 years.
JACKSON, MO (KFVS) -

It’s not your traditional history class.

A Jackson Summer School History Class is taking the lessons out of a book and off the pages, and putting them into real life.

"I just really like this class," said 12-year-old Devon Salzmann.

Bradley Haertling and Chelsea Tornetto teach the class. While Tornetto teaches in the classroom, Haertling is traveling the Oregon Trail on his bicycle.

Haertling video chats with the students via Facetime. He sends videos of his explorations for lesson plans.

"It's new, I've never really talked to someone on video chat like that," said 12-year-old Collin Simmons.

"Yeah I didn't expect that," said Salzmann.

"I learned in fourth grade about the Oregon trail and little bit, but not like this, this is pretty cool," said Simmons.

"I played the game a couple years back and I liked it so I came here thinking I may get to play a game and learn a bit more, and so far I've really liked it," said Salzmann.

"We love to teach kids, and we teach them in a different way so that they really learn something and it sticks with them," said Haertling.

"A lot of these kids live online, they live on Facebook, they live on Instagram, and all of that stuff so we thought if we can go there and show them, that the Oregon trail is not just a section in a textbook, it's like this really happened, there's a place you can go, you can stand there, you can see it, then maybe that will spark their interest," said Tornetto.

Haertling said he loves history and exercise. He’s wanted to take this teaching trip for 20 years.

"I hope that helps them understand it better," said Haertling.

"I don't like reading that much but I'll watch videos any day," said Salzmann.

"I'm more of a visual person, I like to see stuff, know it and feel it kind of, besides reading it," said 11-year-old Allie Fuller.

"It's not always just school and just boring, it can be fun, and it can be something that they can go and do, they don't have to just do it in a classroom, they can do it on their own," said Tornetto.

Haertling shows the kids what it’s like to travel without modern luxuries, what the original pioneers encountered; it’s like virtual traveling for the students.

"We never know what he's going to come across, we don't know because we haven't been out there before," said Tornetto.

"I have learned all the hardships they face like wagon breaking down, a lack of food, canyon trouble rivers,” said Fuller. "They had to deal with more stuff than we do because we have more medicine and supplies."

"I also hope I bring the human side to the history to the kids," said Haertling.

"You get to be kind of active, and you get to see the videos of how it was really like," said Simmons.

"There's only one thing I wish...I wish I could be on the trail with him," said Salzmann.

Back in the classroom, each student is assigned a pioneer to follow on the trail.

"We assigned them each a real pioneer, and so they are going to travel, follow that person's story and see whether they made it to Oregon or not, and so those people make history, so they can make history, is kind of what I hope they get out of it," said Tornetto.

Haertling has raised money, but is still funding a lot of the trip on his own.

The teachers wanted to make sure other schools, teachers, and classes can use their experience. So you can download lesson plans, and watch videos on their website here at PedalingPioneer.com.

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