The annual TPS-Colorado Teacher Librarian Day was held this year on February 12th. The conference, titled “Unpack the Standards – Discover Your Story” was a professional development event for Colorado educators that was hosted by Metropolitan State College of Denver in collaboration with Rocky Mountain PBS, the Denver Public Library, the Colorado History Museum, and the Colorado Department of Education.
The purpose of this year’s event was to show educators how to integrate primary sources and the new Colorado State Social Studies Standards into their curricula. To accomplish this goal, as well as create an engaging learning environment, we structured the day around the metaphor of taking a trip from the present time back to the mid-1800’s by telling the story of an immigrant family.
We focused on three specific time periods: Global Connections (1945-Present), New Deal & WWII (1929-1945), and Immigration & Industrialization (1850-1929).
The historical context for each time period was viewed through four lenses of expertise: economic, geographic, historic, and genealogic by a panel of experts. The panel consisted of Wendal Cox, PhD, from the Genealogy Department at the Denver Public Library, Rey Hernendez, PhD, Assistant Professor of Economics at the Metropolitan State College of Denver, Thomas Andrews, PhD, Assistant Professor in the History Department at the University of Colorado Denver, and Rebecca Theobald, PhD, Assistant Professor Adjoint in the Geography & Environmental Studies Department at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. Brenda Barr, PhD, Social Studies Content Specialist for the Colorado Department of Education, then discussed how each of the four historical topics can be integrated with the new standards.
Each historical period was highlighted with examples of clothing and accessories, as well as food specific to each era. This served to enhance the overall learning experience and to show examples of how to use real, as well as digitized primary sources from the Library of Congress, for effective teaching and learning. Additionally, the conference participants attended breakout sessions designed specifically for their grade level. Master teachers led them through creating curriculum based on the four topics and the new standards.
Meg, a middle school teacher, said at the end of the conference, “I really enjoyed it. I appreciated having the different panel members look at different historical contexts. It’s especially important to bring to students to evaluate the historical perspectives.” Kevin, an elementary school librarian, added, “I’m enjoying the subject of genealogy and following someone all the way through. Making the connections of geography and economics has helped me in creating a real lesson plan for my students.”