Summer Series of Workshops for K-12 Educators

We’re starting to gear up for our summer series of K-12 professional development workshops! If you’re an educator and haven’t yet had the chance to attend one of our workshops, now is the time to do it. We have some great topics and interesting scholars joining us, not to mention the library materials.

For those who have not attended our workshops before, each program will feature a lecture and discussion with a prominent scholar followed by hands-on workshops where participants get to work directly with AAS library collection materials. We round out the day by sharing materials, resources, and methodologies on how to apply the content and materials with students in the classroom. Intended to be interdisciplinary, these workshops will appeal to educators from many different subject backgrounds, so be sure to take closer look at each program description!

The first workshop, “Mining for Minerals: The Pull of the West,” will take place on Saturday, June 22. The day will be led by Kathryn Morse, associate professor of History at Middlebury College, and will explore the economic, environmental, racial, political, cultural, and social transformations put into motion by mining ventures and the subsequent settling of the West. Mining drove rapid economic growth in California and Nevada, along with environmental transformation, native dispossession, and, in some cases, violent social conflict.  Gold and silver miners struggled through their labors with the meanings of hard work and wealth—and the tenuous connections between them—in an industrializing economy.  These themes will be examined using a wide range of interdisciplinary sources, including cartoons and other visual materials, miners’ letters and newspaper accounts, and the literary works of Bret Harte and Mark Twain.

“Picture Perfect: Nineteenth-Century Women in Words and Images” will follow on Thursday, June 27. This interdisciplinary workshop will examine historic visual representations of women in conjunction with selected texts by nineteenth-century women authors, many of whom are cited in curriculum frameworks.  Through this juxtaposition of words and images we will explore notions of gender, reform, and women’s roles. Teachers of history, English language arts, and visual arts alike will find the texts and images useful tools in the classroom as they address topics such as anti-slavery reform, women’s roles and the domestic environment, Indian removal, and westward migration. The lead scholar for the day will be Laura Smith, a lecturer in English at the University of New Hampshire, where she teaches courses in American literature and English teaching methods.

The series will round out with “Writing History” on Monday, August 19. Led by John Demos, Bancroft Prize winner and author of The Unredeemed Captive and other popular and influential historical works, this workshop will examine the process of creating and writing historical narratives, as well as some ways in which this process can be used to enrich both History and English classrooms. Throughout the day we will explore the nature of historical writing, discussing topics such as choosing a subject, forming a cohesive structure, putting a story in a larger historical context, developing a voice, finding the significance of a narrative, and the role of emotion in writing and reading history. The hands-on workshops will discuss writing techniques, tactics for culling evidence from primary sources, and strategies for teaching writing in the classroom, including connections to the English Language Arts and History Common Core standards.

So whether you’re a History, English Language Arts, Visual or Media Arts teacher, or just interested in any of the topics above, be sure to join us for one or all of the programs! All workshops will take place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and the fee for each workshop is $60. (Worcester Public School teachers can attend for at no charge due to grant funding.) This fee includes pre-readings, materials, refreshments, and lunch.  You can register by calling 508-755-5221 or online at

Published by

Kayla Haveles

Outreach Coordinator, American Antiquarian Society

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