Friday, Aug 10, 2012
The 2012 Teacher Institute, co-hosted by Valley Forge National Historical Park and Independence National Historical Park, was designed to support the theme, “Develop Your E.S.P. In History.” In this case “E.S.P.” stood for “economic, social and political connections to history.”
This professional development workshop offered educators of history and language arts presentations by content experts, demonstration lessons, behind the scenes tours of park sites, investigations of museum collections and hands-on experience with a variety of research strategies and classroom techniques that utilize multiple park resources.
Teachers spent two days at Valley Forge and two days at Independence with classroom sessions and field studies. They learned how to analyze primary source documents and interpret historic paintings. Teachers were able to step back in time and visit with a George Washington re-enactor at the David Potts house at Valley Forge and witness a lively debate between Thomas Jefferson and John Adams re-enactors at the Second Bank portrait gallery at Independence.
Rangers and staff presented workshops including sessions entitled “The Social Fabric of Philadelphia,” “The Complicated Causes of the Revolution,” and “Strategies for Using Primary Sources in the Classroom.” A master teacher leader taught about “Developing Historic Characters through Journaling,” and guest speakers taught the about “Economic Pennsylvania” and how to utilize “The Stock Market Game” with today’s students.
Comments from teachers included the following:
- "I always walk away from the NPS experience with so much content that I feel like more of an authority on the topics we covered. I received more than enough to implement some creative and interesting changes into my curriculum."
- "I have a new respect for the national park ranger program."
- "I will definitely encourage teachers to book trips to these parks."