TPS Metro State returned to the state of Washington in early March; this time to the small city of Longview. The workshop, facilitated by TPS Metro State Director Peggy O’Neill-Jones and TPS Metro State consultant Cindy Stout, focused on the subjects of Native Americans and the expedition of Lewis & Clark. The audience for the first day of the workshop consisted of fifteen 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade teachers, along with 3 middle school teachers.
At the end of the first day, the attendees were so impressed with what they’d learned they decided to share their excitement with their school administrators. The following day, several superintendents, principals, curriculum and technology specialists attended the workshop. Amy Johnson, 5th grade teacher and grant liaison, said, “There hasn’t been this much excitement in many, many years.”
One of the most exciting aspects of the workshop occurred when Peggy presented our Waldseemuller map activity to Amy’s class of fifth graders. The students loved the activity, as they learned an entirely new way of engaging with primary sources. Amy said, “Peggy was highly successful in using technology to bring the kids through the investigation phase of the inquiry model.” The administrators too were impressed with students’ knack for using technology in the classroom. It illustrated that the skills we instill in teachers that attend our workshops can easily be brought into their classrooms successfully.
By the close of the workshop, the attendees were so engaged with building their primary source materials that they wanted more time to work with Peggy and Cindy. Many said they would have stayed into the night if they were able to do so.
Due to the success of the workshop, Amy has, and will be, coaching other educators from around Longview School District about inquiry and Library of Congress materials, including the use of iPads with primary sources. She will also soon be giving a presentation to middle school social studies teachers on the very same Waldseemuller map activity we debuted to her class.
When asked what she got out of the two-day workshop, one attendee said, “Empowerment.” We at TPS Metro State are happy to know that through the use of technology, primary sources, and the Library of Congress, educators are returning to their schools and classrooms with fresh ideas and are empowering their students and colleagues.