See Stories is a 501©3 nonprofit located in Anchorage, Alaska, which uses digital storytelling to build an inclusive community story throughout Alaska. The rationale for their new regional grant, “Anchored Histories: Teachers Utilizing Primary Sources for Documentary Film in Anchorage & Beyond,” is to provide professional development for Alaskan Social Studies teachers in how to engage their students in primary source material through the use of documentary filmmaking. See Stories will work closely with the Alaska Humanities Forum to deliver an online course to train teachers in developing their own documentaries, and to equip them with Library of Congress resources to support their students in creating digital stories for submission to the Alaska History Day competition.
Grant awarded May 23, 2017
The Bering Strait School District is comprised of 15 K-12 rural schools spread out across the Alaskan west coast in an area the size of Minnesota. The Alaska Council for the Social Studies and the Alaska Humanities Forum were collaborating partners in this TPS grant, designed to integrate primary sources into the instructional toolbox of every social studies teacher in the district. Eighteen history and social studies selected from grades 5-12 participated in the first face-to-face professional development training in Nome on September 23-24, 2017 led by Dr. Peggy O’Neill-Jones. After the initial training, Karen Beranek and district staff held periodic online meetings over the next two years to support the implementation of primary source activities in the classroom. On-going professional development activities included the creation of ARSs, quarterly Google hang-outs, classrooms visits, site workshops held at district schools, and all-staff in-services. Participants were encouraged to share strategies and information with colleagues. The likelihood of sustainability seems high as teachers continue to use at least one primary source activity per quarter and TPS activities have been integrated into new teacher induction services.
The grant reached teachers from 13 of the 15 schools in the Bering Strait School District. Karen Beranek felt the TPS strategies worked particularly well for Alaskan native and ELL students, who comprise a majority of this geographically remote district. She concluded, “… Successes were that the majority of the teacher in the original group not only created Annotated resource sets, but were able to use them in the classroom and modify them according to outcomes… Possibly greatest impact was on teacher belief systems—that students need not have deep background knowledge on topic in order to utilize primary sources. That primary sources can be used to “prime the pump” of learning—used before lesson.”
Grant awarded November 8, 2011
Alaska Network for Understanding American History (ANUAH) continued its work on developing a sustaining, state-wide, professional community of practice for all Alaskan educators interested in expanding their understanding and ability to teach American history in the 21st Century. This model for professional development used new tools and collaborative methods with teachers to help break down the isolation commonly found in their professional lives and to enable them to become leaders in the effort to bring 21st century tools and skills into student’s history education. Four new courses integrating TPS into Art, Music, Dance and Objects as primary sources were presented as part of the Anchorage School District’s 2012 Summer Academy. Teacher leaders from previous TPS grants taught the classes and served as mentors for online discussion groups.
In November 2012, seven teachers from around the state were trained by the Western Regional as TPS/LOC class facilitators. Participants came from the Anchorage School District, Lower Kuskokwim School District, Kenai Peninsula Borough School District, and Juneau School District. According to Grant Coordinator, Stephanie Campbell, teachers have reported that their students are more interested and actively engaged in learning, now that they have a larger toolbox of methods to share primary sources in their classrooms. Another important lesson learned was the importance of having teacher teams as cross-curricular support in a state as geographically large and diverse as Alaska.
Alaska Network for Understanding American History
Contact: John Trampush, TAH Network Coordinator, Anchorage School District
Email: [email protected]
Community of Practice
Grant awarded March 29, 2010
Building on the success of previous grants, this proposal allowed for two 2-day workshops to be presented at the ANUAH Summer Institute. The face-to-face Level I Foundations course was presented to 14 teachers on June 1-2, 2010 by Peggy O’Neill-Jones, Taylor Kendal, Diane Watkins, Kathleen Ferenz and Alaska historian, Thomas Rushford. The Level II Topic Inquiry course, The Great Migration, was presented to 16 teachers on June 3-4, 2010 and was also broadcast remotely. The culminating Community of Practice online course with 6 teachers was implemented from October 12 – December 14, 2010 with a follow-up webinar on January 18, 2011. The main focus of this grant was to create a community of practice among teachers to share TPS methods and projects with colleagues throughout Alaska.
Asynchronous Online Course
Grant awarded March 2, 2009
The initial facilitator’s training was followed up by grant to create an online self-paced course shell of Level I and Level II workshops for Alaska teachers. The Level II online course was completed as of November 20, 2009 with 18 teachers enrolled. Nine teachers completed the course with a high level of online collaboration. There were a total of 34 teachers who completed Level I and II online, with 18 Annotated Resource Set submissions.
The TPS Western Region’s first venture into Alaska was the Facilitator’s Workshop presented by Peggy O’Neill-Jones in Anchorage on June 3-4, 2009 for 17 teachers. One of the goals of this grant was to begin developing a cadre of teacher leaders who could disseminate TPS across the vast geographic areas and remote school districts of Alaska.