History & Social Studies Workshops
(Grades 7-12)

 
Most of our workshops can be presented in a multi-day, full-day and half-day format. We also offer follow up sessions where your teachers can refresh and fine tune what they've learned. Browse our on-site workshop offerings and let us know which ones interest you.


Workshop Leaders

Our workshops are led by dynamic, award winning teachers and writers.
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Workshop Descriptions

Writing in the Social Studies Classroom
A workshop for social studies teachers on classroom writing strategies designed to: improve the cogency of the subject, increase the interest level of students and lower student anxiety over major writing projects. We will also discuss surprisingly easy techniques for designing plagiarism-proof assignments and streamlining teacher workload–a major concern whenever writing is promoted.

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How to Teach About 9/11 and the Events Since
We will explore how to help students begin to understand the historical and moral context of what occurred on September 11, 2001, including relevant events in our own history and that of the Middle East, Central Asia; the essentials of Islam and the particulars of Islamic fundamentalism; the history of Al Queda; the nature and history of terrorism. We will seek to understand the choices made in response to 9/11, including the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and, most recently in Gaza and Lebanon.

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Never Again: Teaching About Genocide in the 21st Century
While the Holocaust remains the best known and most horrific 20th century crime against humanity, there are numerous examples of the systematic extermination of ethnic, racial and religious groups from practically every continent. This workshop will provide middle and high school social studies and English teachers with a survey of genocidal campaigns beginning with the Great Calamity of the Armenians in 1915 and concluding with a discussion of the ongoing crisis in the Sudan. The presenter will incorporate literary, cultural and historical perspectives, and provide resources for a number of extension activities.

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The Poetry of War
Cross-listed workshop: English & History
The American poet Wallace Stevens wrote, "In the presence of the violent reality of war, consciousness takes the place of the imagination." This workshop will examine war poetry from Homer's Iliad to the present day, with a special eye on changes in the way war affects "consciousness"–personally and nationally. The session is suitable for teachers of social studies, literature and creative writing. In a full-day version we will consider Stevens's idea about the poetry of war as it applies to contemporary American poetry, much of which seems to involve personal trauma. Nearly all writers have a war–an overwhelming subject that is as hard to enter as it is to escape.

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Writing Your Way into History
Cross-listed workshop: English & History
The past becomes real through first-person stories. This workshop will show how to make history come alive through first-person journalism that makes writers and their readers feel as if they were in another time and place.

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Thinking Critically about History
This workshop offers methods teachers can use to increase active learning by all students in the classroom. It will include a discussion of what it means to be an historian and ways teachers can assist students in developing those skills while studying classroom content. Participants will investigate ways to integrate writing assignments for all levels, incorporate primary sources, increase variety within lessons and attract different learning styles and personalities. The seminar will draw on some ideas from multiple intelligences and authentic assessment. A discussion of helpful internet sources and databases will also be included.

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Primary Sources in African-American History
This workshop will expose participants to African-American History through the use of documents drawn from various junctures in the nation's history beginning with the colonial period. Participants will gain exposure to primary sources, tracing the African-American experience in both slavery and freedom. Although well-known black leaders such as Fredrick Douglass will be represented, many of the documents that we examine will be the work of everyday people. The workshop has as its overarching aim the dissemination of materials, content and methods that Social Studies teachers can use in their classrooms before year's end, and for years to come.

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Bringing Lincoln to Life: Strategies to Capitalize on the Bicentennial
This workshop will present a wide array of strategies and primary source documents to make Abraham Lincoln come alive in the classroom. Teachers will examine Lincoln's role as Commander-in-Chief, his views on racial equality that led to the emancipation of slavery and his letters and speeches—some well-known, some not. They will then analyze political cartoons from Lincoln's years in the White House and case studies drawn from the difficult choices facing our sixteenth president.

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Teaching Research Through Memoir Writing
Cross-listed workshop: English & History
Research papers sound dreary, but not when the subject is self and family. Here's a way to teach skills such as interviewing, use of media and Internet sources and ways to integrate direct and indirect quotes with grace and accuracy–all while providing assignments that make students care deeply about what they write and how readers respond.

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Interpreting Visual History Through Journalistic Photographs
Half-day workshop
Most photos exhibit clues about how, when and why it was made. Studying the photograph tells us about the moment it was created. Studying the moment tells us more about the photograph. Using the tools of the historian, the photo interpreter and the journalist, we will examine some photographs and learn what was really happening at the instant of exposure. We'll look closely at some famous pictures, including the Wright brothers' first flight, the flag raising on Iwo Jima and Earthrise over the moon. Ultimately, this will compel students to consider their own photographs and their own moments. This half-day workshop can be done in conjunction with "Interpreting Visual History Through Editorial Cartooning" to create a full-day program.

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Interpreting Visual History Through Editorial Cartooning
Half-day workshop
As an alternative to a written assignment, editorial cartooning requires the same student research of an historical episode, current event or social condition but with the resulting analysis expressed visually. Encouraging their sense of humor during the process will help your students understand the range of interpretations a set of facts can offer. You, the teacher, will be shown a variety of specific, easily grasped cartooning skills as well as step-by-step techniques for passing those skills on to your students. Allow yourself a rewarding variation in your curriculum content delivery by welcoming some right brain intelligence into your classroom. This half-day workshop can be done in conjunction with "Interpreting Visual History Through Journalistic Photographs" to create a full-day program.

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Browse our other workshops


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