Humann teacher honored for her creative history lessons

A fourth-grade teacher at Humann Elementary School has been honored for her “creativity and imagination” in teaching history to her students.

History Nebraska, a state agency originally called the Nebraska State Historical Society, honored Stacey Haney with its Excellence in Teaching Award. The award is presented annually to a teacher who “excels in teaching Nebraska history through creativity and imagination in the classroom by using documents, artifacts, historic sites, oral histories and other primary sources.”

This summer Haney attended classes at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where she learned how to photograph artifacts and conduct interviews. She’s now teaching that to her students as part of the “History Harvest” program. Haney is the first Lincoln Public Schools teacher to implement the program.

This semester she’ll have students interview one of their family members for an oral history. They’ll also study the Orphan Train Movement, a welfare program in the mid-1800s-early 1900s that transported orphaned and homeless children from crowded East Coast cities to Midwest communities. For that, she’s inviting guest speakers who had relatives in the program.

“Stuff like that really brings history to life for the kids,” said Haney, who has taught at Humann since 1992.

Haney has long been interested in genealogy, so she brought a photo of her relatives from the late 1800s and asked her students to study it for historical clues.

“There were about 150 people on the front porch, all dressed to the nines for this celebration, and I had the kids look at it and see what they could learn about these people from looking at this particular picture,” said Haney, whose family hails from Stromsburg, Nebraska. “Things like that - not just looking at a textbook but actually looking into the history of actual communities.”

LPS K-12 Social Studies Curriculum Specialist Jaci Kellison nominated Haney for the award.

“Stacey’s commitment to helping students ‘read and think like historians’ is an invaluable asset to Lincoln Public Schools and the larger community,” she said.

Published: March 3, 2020, Updated: March 3, 2020