Cherokee students take a look at Johnson City’s past on Sesquicentennial Digital Learning Day


Schools across the Johnson City Schools district held Digital Learning Day events Thursday to learn more about Johnson City’s rich history since its founding and incorporation in 1869.

The events revolved around the city’s 150th anniversary and how far the community has come.

In Casey Waters’ fourth grade classroom, students like Kaleb Johnson, left, and Trenton Winerroth learned more about the history of the local press.

At Cherokee Elementary School, students explored the city’s progression by taking a look at industry, press, education, culture, transportation and entertainment using different technologies including Google Slides, NearPod virtual reality technology and more.

In Casey Waters’ fourth grade classroom, students learned more about the history of the local press and how newspapers used to be made over the years, taking a look all the way back to when the Johnson City Press was the Johnson City Press-Chronicle. Students also took a look at old archives from the Chronicle and The Comet, a local weekly newspaper that published editions from 1884 to about 1918.

“It’s been cool to learn about the different names (of the papers) and how it used to be made,” Trenton Winerroth, a student in Waters’ class, said. “She showed us when the paper had Neil Armstrong in it and how (the paper) was yellow because it was really old.”

Students also learned how to format their own newspapers by looking at the current news in the Johnson City Press.

“They are looking at the Johnson City Press website and they’re finding local information — sports, what’s going on — and then they’re editing their own newspaper based on the Johnson City Press website,” Waters said.

In Mandy Peterson’s fourth grade classroom, the language arts instructor taught students about the history of hotels such as the Carnegie Hotel and the John Sevier Center before students used NearPod to take a peek into the past.

“So far today, they’ve been really excited about it. They liked seeing the pictures from then and now,” she said. “They’ve been really excited about relating to where this stuff is in Johnson City now versus where it was to begin with.”

Cherokee students have been using NearPod as part of other lessons, as well. Peterson said it makes for an immersive learning experience.

“It’s really nice because they can have this all at their fingertips, and it’s also nice because part of NearPod is we can do lessons where they lead themselves,” Peterson said. “They’re not just left sitting and waiting, doing paper and pencil stuff.”

At Lake Ridge Elementary, students “used their five senses” to explore Johnson City’s history and felt the furs of native animals to “create their own animal.”

At Fairmont Elementary, students researched major events during the city’s history through different videos that were embedded into a digital timeline placed on a bulletin board.

Mountain View Elementary began its day with a school assembly entitled “The Tech is Right,” modeled after the “Price is Right” gameshow, before they broke into smaller groups for their sesquicentennial tech activities.

For more information on other Johnson City Schools Digital Learning Day activities, visit

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