DAN SINGER & JULIA WALKER
Mrs. Raub: Northwestern U.S.A.
With hopes of improving her sophomore history Western Expansion unit, Jennifer Raub set to the roads of the Western United States thanks to Funds for Teachers. Visiting locations such as Denver, CO, Montana, Idaha and eventually Portland, OR, Raub had the goal of experiencing the Native American history and culture.
“We were lucky to do a wide variety of tasks on our trip like visiting National Parks, meeting with members of the Crow and Northern Cheyenne tribes, and experiencing so many neat museums,” said Raub. Specifically on this trip, Mrs. Raub credits one experience of meeting a Crow woman named Rose as providing crucial information that can be taken back to the classroom.
“We talked a lot about inter-tribe relations going back hundreds of years, as well as the importance of who is telling the history that is being learned. Perspective was a constant topic at our table,” said Mrs. Raub. Aside from learning about native history, Raub also learned about the specificities of Japanese Internment and the Oregon Trail from other points in time.
Mrs. Griffith: Northwestern U.S.A.
Also supported by Funds for Teachers, history teacher Sara Griffith took up the road with Raub, with a common goal of enriching the Western Expansion unit for sophomore history. As the two teachers traveled to each location along the Pacific Northwest, Mrs. Griffith noted the special significance of the unique geography for each landmark.
“The geography, especially, from rolling isolated plains to towering mountains that cut off regions from the coast, is important to the culture and history of the west…The land is a key aspect to studying the topic within history,” said Mrs. Griffith.
Once again, the topic of perspective came up as a big hit from Mrs. Griffith that she anticipates bringing back to the classroom. For example, when speaking to a native tribe member, she learned how the French had no ability to sell the territory from the Louisiana Purchase, as the land wasn’t even theres. But as the tribe member stated, this fact is never brought up in history textbooks.
In all, this fact is one of many examples of how perspective really matters and affects the message of how history is presented to students that shapes their thoughts on the course of history.
Mrs. Thomson: Canary Islands
Heading to the Canary Islands, located off the northwestern coast of Africa, science teacher Victoria Thomson used her Funds for Teachers grant as a means to study astronomy with some of the world’s largest ground-based telescopes.
According to Mrs. Thomson, the Canary Islands “…houses the largest solar telescope in Europe and the largest ground-based optic telescope in the world.” For Mrs. Thomson, the amount of knowledge that she’s taking back with her to the classroom is astronomical. One of the biggest aspects of content that she gained was experiencing the vast amounts of technology and astronomy software including the opportunity for her to access 12 globally-located, robotic telescopes for 30 hours.However, for Mrs. Thomson, the experience may have been more rewarding than the sheer amount of content that she gained. From seeing the Milky Way on top of Mt. Teide to simply visiting a fully spanish speaking country, she took on growth as an individual along with as an educator that will help her improve her craft in the classroom for this school year.