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Creating Holyoke Teacher’s Institute presents LIVING & BREATHING HISTORY: Creating Student Historians through the Study of Primary Source Documents and the Arts

Wistariahurst Museum/The City of Holyoke as lead organization, with partners Enchanted Circle Theater, the Holyoke Public Library History Room, and Western Massachusetts Writing Project, conducted a two week-long Creating Holyoke Institute, a professional development program for educators in expeditionary learning styles for incorporating historically sound research methods and creative interpretation techniques for classroom use. The Institute was designed to give teachers both theoretical and practical applications for using primary source documents and arts integration pedagogy as dynamic teaching tools in the classroom. The week–long program included guided tours of the City of Holyoke, including local history resource sites, training in hands on arts integration activities that can be adapted to serve multi disciplined content themes, and the development of creative curriculum projects based on historical research.

The institute was facilitated by an Enchanted Circle teaching artist, a Western Massachusetts Writing Project teacher consultant, archivist of the Holyoke History Room and a Historical Consultant. All teachers received a stipend for five days and 40 pdps, including a follow-up day in January 2010. The Western Massachusetts Writers Project administered pdps and graduate credits for participants.

The Creating Holyoke institute included introducing teachers to the availability of online resources like Picturing America, this Creating Holyoke website, local access to archives, research methodology, and considerations for teaching with primary source documents through engaging the teachers in their own research, interactive arts integrated activities, professional literature, and the sharing of teacher knowledge and expertise.

The institute included a narrated guided bus tour, introductions to primary source documents, creative arts integration sessions, the development of creative curriculum projects and constructive assessment and reflections.

At the end of the Creating Holyoke institute, participants walked out with an array of tools they can use and alter to fit their classroom and curriculum needs. They also had a draft lesson plan or curriculum unit that they were expected to implement in the first semester of the school year.

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