Originally posted: March 2013
According to The Economist, “the resource-rich Arctic is changing faster than anywhere on Earth, and its biggest transformation is just ahead. Due to climate change, the polar ice cap is shrinking and floating summer ice is projected to disappear altogether, setting alarm bells ringing for environmentalists, but opening up new perspectives for trade and development.” In order to meet future challenges, it is vital that today’s students learn more about issues already at play in the Arctic so it is timely, indeed, that the Pacific Northwest National Resource Center on Canada (a University of Washington-Western Washington University consortium) was recently awarded a $20,000 Teaching with Primary Sources (Western Region) Grant by the Library of Congress to offer a 2-1/2 day professional development workshop for K-12 educators called “Archives on the Arctic: Connecting to Global Issues with Primary Sources”.
The professional development workshop program will be held in Denver, CO in June 2013 on the campus of the Metropolitan State University of Denver (MSUD) in partnership with TPS Western Division staff, so that K-12 social studies and science teachers from throughout the western United States can be trained about cultural and environmental challenges in the circumpolar north as well as about the use of Library of Congress and the World Digital Library archival materials.
Tina Storer, Education and Curriculum Specialist at WWU’s Center for Canadian-American Studies, submitted the grant proposal because the NRC on Canada has developed a strong reputation for K-12 outreach related to the circumpolar north. She will serve as the project director. Nadine Fabbi, Associate Director of UW’s Canadian Studies Center, has extensive expertise and experience on the topic so she will offer three presentations that provide workshop participants with the foundation for teaching about complex historical, cultural, environmental and geo-political issues related to the north. Additional instruction will be offered by Teaching with Primary Sources Program staff and their teacher-associates to introduce participants to a rich reservoir of digitized primary source materials. Instructional tools for actively engaging students in historical inquiry and developing primary source-based curricula for posting on the TPS Western Region and K-12 STUDY CANADA websites will also be shared.
At least twenty leaders in education from across the western United States with experience or interest in performing outreach, including K-12 STUDY CANADA teacher-associates, will be invited to participate in the workshop. A travel stipend will be offered to all and their accommodations, 3 breakfasts, 2 lunches and 1 dinner will be covered by the grant, contingent on participants’ development of curricula and/or performance of additional outreach in their home states.
According to the grantors, the impressive potential for extended outreach was a key factor in the proposal’s success. In addition, because the interrelationships between the US and Canada are particularly pronounced in the Arctic—whether the topic is geographical boundaries, indigenous cultures, resource exploitation, transportation or political conflicts—classroom instruction inevitably leads to this important cross-border relationship and, as such, is a “natural fit” for an NRC on Canada-Library of Congress collaboration. It is hopefully the first of many to come.
“STUDY CANADA,” the Pacific Northwest National Resource Center on Canada’s annual professional development workshop, has been offered by the Center for Canadian-American Studies at Western Washington University for the last 34 years serving educators from almost every state in the nation. The Institute is funded, in part, by a Title VI grant from International and Foreign Language Education, Office of Postsecondary Education, U.S. Department of Education. Paulette is a Humanities and World Language Teacher in the Ida B. Wells School for Social Justice and a U.W. graduate student in Education, Curriculum and Instruction (Multicultural Education). View the K-12 STUDY CANADA website.