Earlier this month, Brooklyn Connections educators – Christine, Kaitlin and Brendan – descended on Albuquerque, New Mexico for the annual National Council for History Education (NCHE) Conference.
Excitement over this conference was twofold; well maybe three if you count the added bonus of temporarily escaping winter’s reach for a few glorious days …
Santa Clara, NM
… ok, twofold: 1) it offered the opportunity to replace our educator hats with those of students eager to soak up historical antidotes and best practices from colleagues around the country; and 2) Christine would accept the prestigious Paul A. Gagnon Prize, an award bestowed to the educator who contributes significantly to promoting history education in the U.S. You cannot imagine how proud we are of Christine and furthermore what her achievement says about the importance and relevancy of the Brooklyn Connections Program, and by extension the Brooklyn Collection as a whole – go Christine!
Christine's Paul A. Gagnon Prize
The two-day NCHE Conference presented a plethora of breakout sessions equally devoted to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), an ever present thought in the minds of today’s educators, and using history, and specifically primary sources, to help students develop critical thinking and college readiness skills. Topics overlapped many of the new social movements curricula Brooklyn Connections is establishing thanks to the generosity of the David and Paula Weiner Memorial Grant, including gender, race and environmental issues. Topics of particular interest to Brooklyn Connections educators grappled with how to teach students to identify bias in historical dialogue, become self-reliant when searching for facts and make historical connections to self. It was especially pleasing to hear how valuable, if not completely essential, library and archival collections are to educators in their quest to teach these skills.
Day one’s keynote speaker, Patty Limerick, was a particular inspiration to us all. A faculty member at the University of Colorado, Patty candidly acknowledged the all-too-common fear educators encounter as they find themselves losing touch with new generations of students that don’t abide by the old order of learning (we can relate). However, she didn’t stop there; after admitting her fear and subsequent bitterness over the fact, Patty did what many of us don’t have the insight to do – she accepted it and made amends to cease judging and change herself to meet the needs of this new generation of students rather than sticking to what she felt comfortable with from the past (insert moment of pause).
Our intellect adequately filled we set off to satisfy some of our other appetites, including the following:
Sandia Peak Tramway
Santa Clara Pueblo
I think I speak for all the educators when I say how thankful I am for the experience. We left the NCHE Conference with our tummies full of fine local cuisine and our brains full of new ideas and knowledge. We look forward to putting our brains, at least, to good use back in Brooklyn!