On April 10th and 12th, some 150 educators of gifted and talented throughout Colorado convened on the Zalman Center in Colorado Springs to discover the power of primary sources. For TPS-Colorado, this workshop marked a first for both attendance level, and also our first workshop offered exclusively to educators of gifted and talented; April 10th for elementary personelle with a focus on Westward Expansion, and April 12th for secondary focusing on the Industrial Revolution.
After some expected early technical hurdles, district teams of 3 to 6 were actively introduced to primary sources with a very successful “sticky note” analysis activity (adapted from the Harvard article Teaching Students to Ask Their Own Questions by Dan Rothstein and Luz Santana) facilitated by master teacher and American Memory Fellow Mary Johnson. After every group had time to analyze a primary source and post questions using sticky notes, the products were affixed around the room for other groups to review.
After some very active participation in the morning, Mary Johnson and TPS director Peggy O’Neill-Jones teamed up to give attendees an overview of what’s available in the Library of Congress digital collections at www.loc.gov. With this understanding, along with a few model activities, participants were able to begin creating their own learning activities and envisioning how to make this work in their own schools and districts.
As a result of this two-day workshop, TPS-Colorado and GT coordinators in Southern Colorado plan to work with select participants to create sustainable learning communities that will further explore the use of primary sources in the gifted and talented landscape.
For a more detailed look at how the two days unfolded and to access all of the associated workshop resources, feel free to check out the workshop wiki.
A special thanks to Gifted Education Regional Consultant, Elaine Derbenwick and all of the staff at Harrison School District for their efforts in making this workshop such a success. As a result of this two-day event, TPS was introduced to over 50 schools across Colorado in areas such as: