On Thursday, October 24, 2013, upwards of eighty teachers gathered for the 34th Annual History and Social Science Teachers conference. The theme of this year’s conference was “Read All About It! Using Primary Documents, Library Resources, and Local History to Foster Social Studies Literacy.” Attendees heard a keynote from Dr. Catherine Denial, lead historian for the Bringing History Home program in Iowa, which worked to integrate primary sources into k-12 social studies education. After the keynote, attendees chose three of six professional development sessions, including three sessions on the Midwest during the Civil War by Dr. Terry Barnhart, Dr. Bob Sampson (Millikin), and Dr. Shannon Smith (The College of St. Benedict & St. John’s University); a session by Catherine Denial on the SOCC approach to primary source analysis; a session from Ann Brownson (Booth Library) and Dr. Jeanne Okrasinski (CEPS) on the Common Core, library, and media; and the traditional Swap Shop, where participants shared teaching ideas and learned from Penny Jones, veteran teacher at Thomas Jefferson Middle School in Decatur.
The History department offered great support for the conference, with Dr. Barnhart offering a session on Copperheads and Drs. Ed Wehrle, Michael Shirley, and Charles Titus serving as facilitators for other sessions. History with Teacher Certification students Tom Griffith and Lucas Voudrie also served as facilitators. Dr. Anita Shelton welcomed conference attendees during the concluding luncheon (as did President William Perry), and many faculty members attended the conference.
Next year’s conference will take place in fall 2014. If anyone has ideas they would like to see covered—or presentations you might wish to make yourself!—please contact Bonnie Laughlin-Schultz.