Later this week Fort Ticonderoga will be co-hosting a teacher education course with the Living History Education Foundation (LHEF). This marks the eleventh year we’ve collaborated with LHEF, serving nearly 400 teachers over that time.
During the course, teachers from across New York State will be learning about ways to use “living history” to help make the nation’s history come to life for students. Led by retired teacher Joe Ryan, LHEF encourages teachers to get beyond “two by four” education—not limiting the educational experience of their students to within the two covers of a text book and the four walls of the classroom. Veterans of living history classes at Fort Ticonderoga are now implementing these techniques from Long Island to the Buffalo suburbs, and from the lower Hudson Valley to Plattsburgh.
Coming up August 16 & 17, Fort Ticonderoga will be hosting a two-day workshop for teachers in collaboration with the New York Geographic Alliance. Teachers from the Northeast will share techniques for teaching students about geography and have an opportunity to explore the historic landscape here at Fort Ticonderoga. Understanding the 18th-century role of waterways is crucial to comprehending the historic importance of the Ticonderoga peninsula during the wars for empire and the war for American independence.
Fort Ticonderoga’s Education Staff also makes presentations across the region. We regularly present sessions at the New York State Conference on the Social Studies, most recently at their annual conference held in Saratoga Springs in March. Over the past year we’ve also presented at the October Teacher’s Conference in Cooperstown, sponsored by the New York State Historical Association, and the Vermont Alliance for the Social Studies Conference held in Manchester, Vermont. In addition, I travel to regional schools for teacher in-service programs throughout the school year.
Last summer, Fort Ticonderoga received a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to host two week-long Landmarks of American History and Culture Workshops for School Teachers. We were one of only 21 institutions nationwide awarded these grants focused on providing teachers in grades K-12 with an opportunity to spend a week at a historic or cultural site with a group of content experts.
In “The American Revolution on the Northern Frontier: Fort Ticonderoga and the Road to Saratoga,” teachers received in-depth opportunities to work with Fort Ticonderoga’s talented staff and rich resources of documents and artifacts to create lesson plans for use in their classrooms back home. The grant enabled us to bring a panel of noted historians from across the country to work with the teachers and share their knowledge on topics as varied as Benedict Arnold, women’s roles in the Revolution, the Loyalists’ perspective on the war, and the role of Native Americans and African Americans during the conflict. For many teachers, being able to spend quality-time with historians like James Kirby Martin and Holly Mayer proved to be the highlight of the week. You can learn more about last year’s program here.
Last year’s grant enabled 80 teachers from across the country (including one teacher from Alaska) to participate in this fantastic program. We currently have a grant application pending with the NEH to host two similar workshops in the summer of 2013. We hope to have good news to share by the end of August.
Director of Education