Teacher Librarian Day 2016: Creative Contrast Recap

The 12th annual Teacher Librarian Day 2016: Creative Contrast was held on February 26th, 2016 at History Colorado. Nearly 200 teachers, librarians, educators, and content specialists attended the event and unlike last year, the weather was beautiful – 60 degrees and blue skies!

YappThis year’s theme was Creative Contrast. It was chosen to spur innovative discussions, cross collaboration, and encourage contrasting viewpoints to come together for a larger purpose. All of our speakers contributed to this ideology and brought about some interesting correlations with the work they are doing, the Library of Congress and primary sources, as well as how educators can bring their ideas into the classroom. Many teachers mentioned to us that they were impressed with the creativity and variety put into TLD this year. We can only hope to continue to provide creative professional development that encourages teachers to step outside of their comfort zone and engage with their students on a whole new level!

To kick off the event, Peggy O’Neill-Jones and Rolly Schendel introduced a Caption Writer Classroom Activity that is easily introduced into classrooms of all grade levels. This quick and innovative activity served as a perfect icebreaker and introduction to LOC primary sources. Around 100 teachers posted pictures of their captions to the first ever TLD App and where two lucky uploaders won a Kindle Fire tablet and a printer that were donated by Colorado National History Day. Primary Source captions are, after all, historical memes, and are a great way for students to enjoy primary source driven learning. All of the Caption Writer pictures can be viewed here

Our first presenters were a group of National History Day students from the Denver School of Arts. Their presentation entitled, “Nixon’s 1972 Visit to China: Exploring Cold War Compromise, Encountering Normalized Relations, and Creating a Lasting Legacy of Economic and Political Exchange,” which was an accumulation of NHD’s 2016 theme of exploration, encounter, and exchange. It was truly well-thought out, informative, and gave a perfect example of how students can participate in historical discussions and compete at a local, state, and even national level. Best of luck to them at the 2016 Kenneth E. Behring National History Day performance competition in June!

During the Jigsaw Breakouts teachers were given the chance to explore the History Colorado Center and speak with 18 educational organizations that were interspersed throughout the exhibits. These organizations are truly the lifeblood of Colorado social studies and gave out digital and print resources, activities, and most importantly, ideas for teachers and librarians to utilize in their schools and make their professional lives easier. Listed in no particular order, we can’t thank our partners enough:


Our speakers this year were truly an inspiration to all of our educators as they presented contrasting viewpoints, easy to implement teaching strategies and classroom activities, and thoughtful discussions about technology, the future of education, and how to engage students. Thank you to all of the speakers for making TLD another successful professional development event and promoting the use of primary sources.

The morning talks:

  • Remi Holden, an Assistant Professor of Information and Learning Technologies at the University of Colorado Denver School of Education and Human Development, presented Toward Techquity which challenged educators to embrace everyday technologies and media practices for the purposes of educational equity.
  • Rick Griffith, the co-founder of Matter, presented Stories About Things that gave educators an innovative perspective on the importance and history of language, noting, “We are the caretakers of history…The past and the future are more fragile than we think.”
  • Kent Willmann, a 30+ year experienced high school social studies teacher now training the next generation of teachers at CU-Boulder, gave a talk entitled Democracy – It’s a Verb! that encouraged teachers to hone their students citizenship skills by creating primary sources of their own to help improve their communities.
  • Michelle Pearson and Laura Israelsen gave a talk entitled 10 ways to #FindYourPark and #Preserve50 in 2016 that highlighted many of the wonderful ways that teachers can use the National Parks resources in their classrooms.

The afternoon talks:

  • The Fractal Tribe, a Boulder Circus Arts group, gave a performance called Acr: The What and Why of Our Crazy Risky Love Affair, which was an active demonstration of partner acrobatics and kinesthetic learning.
  • David Lyons spoke about The Pedagogy in the Machine and encouraged teachers to recognize a teacher-student-computer symbiosis in the classroom. Do what teachers do best and let technology do what it does best.
  • Dr. Ramon Del Castillo, Professor and Chair of the Chicana/o Studies Department at MSU Denver, delivered original poetry and showed teachers how to use poetry as a primary source in the classroom with his talk entitled Passing the Poetry Baton to the Next Generation.
  • Cory Pavicich, Digital Learning Initiatives Director at the University of Colorado Boulder, lead a discussion about #FirstWorldProblems: College Unreadiness in the Age of the Strawberry Generation that helped teachers understand the importance of college survival.
  • Rolly Schendel, ELL/Faculty and Assistant Professor of Literacy at MSU Denver, invited teachers up on stage to stack books while he shared elementary teaching strategies and showed showed teachers how simple stacking of books can teach teachers about student’s learning styles in his talk Stacking the Books in Kid’s Favor.  


Often, the week before something like this I’m asking myself why I committed to one more thing, but not this time. I’d had such a great experience with TPS in the past that I was excited to be going. And I was not disappointed. It was a GREAT day! I did come back with new ideas and resources and I’m very grateful!

I got lots of practical ideas to start right away.

Thank you for a really fine experience at the TLD 2016 workshop.  I was impressed with how creatively it was run and with the variety and excellence of performances, speakers, and helpful ideas.

The day ended with giveaways that were donated by some of our amazing partners, including a Facing History Scholarship, History Colorado classroom passes, Kindle Fire tablets and printers donated by Colorado National History Day, Lifetime-Pro Membership passes to, American Museum of Western Art Vol 1 from the Anschutz Collection, some great primary source resources from Cheryl Franklin-Rohr, a map-pack and T-shirt from Rebecca Theobald and the Colorado Geographic Alliance, as well as many wonderful primary source books and documents.

After the main event, TPS hosted “Popping-In with TLD” at the Rendezvous Cafe hosted by the Bearded Skeptic, Taylor Kendal. It was a lively and engaging discussion about the future of education that inspired all of us to consider how we can be more innovative as educators and teacher-learners.


Stay tuned for the next Teacher-Librarian Day in 2017 – It is sure to be another unique and beneficial day of PD!