I am getting nostalgic listening to all those friends I haven't seen
since last summer. I echo their advice, and of course, must add some of my
Consider the impact of your work. I have longed loved American Memory
myself, but it wasn't until this year, when I really used the lessons
prepared by my fellow fellows, that I got teachers to understand the
power of this material in context. There were models for them to follow
or adapt in planning activities with our students. I could show them
collections till I was blue in the face, but without the context of
lessons, many just shrugged their shoulders. (Note: many kids, however,
began to realize the power of the raw data and began to make connections
while doing research!)
Watch those facilitators. They are not only providing guidance and
content. They are not only talking the talk. They are WALKING THE WALK.
Never have I attended an institute in which methods and strategies were
so carefully modeled.
Network your head off. You are surrounded by talent--by people upon
whose talent you will be able to draw for years to come.
Slow down and think. Get your kids to do the same. The most effective
"tricks" I came away with were those which forced me and my students to
look carefully and critically. Though our access to information may now
be turbocharged, our ability to process it has not changed.
Some of the most effective lessons are the shorter ones. You do not need
to create a "super unit." I sometimes wish we had kept our work more
contained. The materials I have the easiest time sharing with teachers
are the least complicated ones, those that take a period, or shorter, to
Leave some time to play. There is talent beyond the daytime stuff.
Singers and dancers are among you. And there is wonderful food! Don't
miss it all. Spend an evening or two working, but remember there is more
Have a glorious time!
Joyce Kasman Valenza, Librarian Springfield Township High School
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American Memory Fellow: Milken National Educator 97/98
Phone: (215) 233-6058 Fax: (215) 836-5237
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