Evergreen School District (WA) – October 2012

At the end of October, Evergreen School District in Vancouver, Washington, hosted a special 2-day workshop that focused on integrating primary sources with the The Common Core – Literacy Standards. In attendance were over 20 middle school teachers from around the district. The incorporation of the Common Core Standards will continue to be an important venture as more and more states implement them into their curricula.

This particular workshop was a bit different than our standard format. We usually offer a one-day or two-day workshop, but for Vancouver, we split the workshop into two days, with a few weeks in between. The truly unique aspect was the Lesson Study, which participants signed up for as additional professional development after the TPS workshop. Matt Karlsen, who we partnered with this for this workshop, has a great writeup on the Lesson Study. Make sure to give it a read.

At the beginning of the workshop, the participants gathered themselves into 4-5 groups and worked together to develop an activity based around primary sources from the Library of Congress. The Republican Party Platform of 1860 was used in conjunction with Common Core Literacy Standards: Reading Standards for Literacy in History/Social Studies 6-12 to demonstrate how connecting primary sources to literacy standards can help students read and understand difficult texts. You can view one of the Republican Party Platform of 1860 documents the participants used here.

A few weeks later, the groups of participants presented their own unique activities for the Lesson Study, which they had worked on following the workshop. The participants not presenting observed the lessons and then responded with comments, suggestions, and feedback for the presenters. This turned out to be great not only for the participants, but for all of us at TPS, because we’re always appreciative of any and all additional feedback regarding the effectiveness of our workshops. The Lesson Study was a novel approach in the-all-too important aspect of follow up after workshops have ended.

We received wonderful feedback from this workshop. The most helpful detailed the ways in which the analysis of the primary sources of the Republican Party Platform of 1860 allowed the participants to recognize keywords and phrases found in sources they had found on their own. This allowed the attendees to connect primary sources and difficult texts in a meaningful way, which they will then take back to their classrooms.

There’s nothing better than hearing directly from educators that they feel empowered, enlivened, and excited to get into the classroom and teach what they’ve learned! Thanks for reading.


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