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TPS and Teachers Present at Conference

Three local English teachers and the Project Director of Teaching with Primary Sources EIU (TPS EIU) presented at the National Council of Teachers of English Conference in Boston on how to revamp old lesson plans in response to the Common Core State Standards. In their presentation, “Doing More with Less: Creating Literature Units with Primary Sources”, the four educators created two templates based on the PARCC Frameworks, gathered strategies for close reading, included essential questions, and showed how to incorporate the Library of Congress’s Primary Sources.

Kelly Rice, Kristin Runyon, and Kerri Taylor, English teachers at Charleston High School, spoke of their experience through the process of transforming their previous lesson plans to currently utilized units. “We looked at how we teach and what we teach closely to make the best use of instructional time for student success,” said Rice. Dr. Cindy Rich, Project Director of TPS EIU, said it was exciting to present with classroom teachers because the audience was able to see the theories in action. “It is one thing to talk about the ideas and another to talk and have done it,” said Rich.

TPS EIU is a program that supports educators in accessing original materials in the digital archives at the Library of Congress which help them engage learners. “Teachers are busy and want professional development that is both relevant and useful. Luckily, the Library of Congress offers over 39 million digitized resources so there is something related to most any topic you can think of,” said Rich.

During the presentation, Rice, Runyon, Rich, and Taylor highlighted TPS as a tool to use in the classroom that can be used with the Common Core standards. “We wanted other teachers to see that students can think critically about texts with the right tools. Students need to be taught how to find meaning in a variety of texts, and the Common Core standards allow teachers to approach this with greater depth than ever before,” said Rice.

The NCTE Conference was a valuable opportunity for this group of presenters. Rice, Rich, Runyon, and Taylor shared their perspectives, listened to what others had to say about the task of English education, and noticed a commonality. “No matter what we teach or where we’re at, we have a lot in common. We want students to engage and learn more,” said Rich.