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Thursday, January 4, 2024

The Rural Experience in America

 This is the third year that the National Council for History Education is offering The Rural Experience in America, a program that seems tailormade for Montana schools. It's been going on for a few years, but this year, we will be offering OPI Renewal Units when you submit your certificate of completion to MTHS (mkohl@mt.gov). Read on to learn more, with text taken almost verbatim from the National Council for History Education's website.

Funded by a grant from the Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources program, National Council for History Education is offering a series of free, professional development opportunities designed to support K-12 teachers focusing on this year’s theme, Change and Development in Rural America. Support will be provided throughout all three parts of this project with built-in additional collaboration opportunities with other teachers and the NCHE staff.

Part A: Asynchronous Learning

From December 2023 through March 2024, registered teachers will self-pace through two online courses: the Library of Congress 6-week module course, "Teaching with Primary Sources Basics," and the Right Question Institute 4-week module course, "Teaching Students to Ask their Own Primary Source Questions." If you do not have a lot of experience using primary sources in your classroom, want to learn about the Library of Congress’s collection of sources, and/or want to add to your toolbox of strategies using primary sources, this professional learning is highly recommended! (12 OPI Renewal Units). Register.

PART B: Synchronous Online Colloquia

Registered teachers will participate in three online synchronous Saturday professional development sessions led by historians, educational specialists, and master teachers. These sessions will be held once a month on March 23, 2024, April 20, 2024, and May 11, 2024, from 11:00 am to 4:30 pm (EST) and will focus on a variety of topics related to Change and Development in Rural America. During this time, teachers also applying for the onsite colloquium will identify a community partner to assist them with their public history project. (5 Renewal Units for each Saturday session, with a total of 15 possible.)  Register.

PART C: Onsite Colloquium

Fifteen teachers (from those who participated in Part B) will be selected to travel to an onsite location (to be determined) along with a community partner in July 2024 (specific dates to be announced). During this two-day learning experience, teachers and community partners will learn from historians and build civic connections to develop a plan for implementing a public history project in their own community.  Teachers will receive up to $850 to defray travel costs and up to $750 to support their community project. The application deadline is March 15, 2024. (10 hours of OPI Renewal Units.) Register.

Final Thoughts

  • Teachers who've already taken the Right Question Institute's "Teaching Students to Ask their Own Primary Source Questions" have raved about it.
  • Studying your own community with a partner (e.g., a local museum) can be absolutely life changing for students. 
  • If you enroll in any of these courses and want renewal units, email me!

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