“New Orleans, Louisiana montage” by Infrogmation (talk). Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons.
There’s nothing like meeting face-to-face to share ideas. Yes, there’s the Yammer Community available 24×7, but it’s not the same. Participants can’t see facial expressions, share laughs or debate with the same enthusiasm and detail.
NCSS 2015 is coming up November 13-15 and the BHP team is looking forward to some face time. Because the last time we gathered was at the cluster meetings. Ever been to a Big History Project summer cluster meeting? These are free regional training sessions for teachers in key locations throughout the U.S. New and veteran teachers are invited to get ready for the next school year. This is a chance for teachers of various experience levels to connect face to face with each other, and with some of the folks involved in creating the Big History Project and its course materials.
Last summer in San Francisco, CA, guest speakers included expert course contributor, Professor Bob Bain and historian and author, Cynthia Stokes Brown. Professor Bain talked about the core concepts of the course and the 2015 research results. Cynthia Stokes Brown shared her teaching experiences and how her dissatisfaction with typical history courses inspired her to adopt and contribute to Big History. The agenda also included “lab time” that teamed workhorse veterans, BHP team members, and enthusiastic new teachers to complete Big History Project activities in friendly competition style. This surfaced some challenging questions and new perspectives on classroom activities for new and experienced teachers alike. It’s a chance to find out what tips, tricks and modifications other teachers, in other schools are using to keep their kids inspired and engaged. Plus there was good food, and a lot of laughs and good-natured ribbing.
Big History is unique in that it connects curriculum creators and authors with the teachers who have to sling their stuff in classrooms every day. This allows teachers to dive deep into where Big History comes from and where it’s going as a course. And what results to expect from students and how to get them. Teachers get to discuss and debate and inquire with the source, why Claim Testing, and Origin Stories, and those challenging Investigations matter and how they develop the critical thinking kids use for a lifetime. It’s an opportunity to ask the questions that came to mind while in the middle of a lesson or activity.
These gatherings also greatly contribute to Big History Project’s ongoing teacher-driven evolution. The questions, complaints, challenges and small victories shared go right back in to course improvements and keeping it fresh and relevant.
So, we’re really looking forward to connecting again at NCSS 2015 in New Orleans. Throughout the conference, BHP will be in the Exhibit Hall at NCSS Booth #805. Come by and get a free poster, find out what’s new, and say hello.
BHP is also featured in the Saturday November 14, 3:45p.m. session titled, The Big History Project: Examining our Past to Explain our Present and Imagine our Future. Veteran teachers Bridgette O’Connor, Todd Nussen and Scott Henstrand, along with BHP team member, Bob Regan, will bring the cluster meeting to the Big Easy with course updates, stories from the classroom, tips on how to get results, and hands-on activities to get folks new to BHP up to speed fast. Whether a veteran teacher or new to BHP, attendees will come away with new ideas for the classroom. Room 215. An offsite happy hour will follow the working session.
Next week on the BHP Blog, find out what Professor Bob Bain will be up to at NCSS.
Not yet a Big History teacher? Register for a free account on the Big History Project website to access the entire curriculum.