July 30th-August 2nd, 2014
As part of the 2011-2015 commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War and the Education 150 initiative, a select group of 50 middle school Social Studies and Language Arts educators were invited to a conference that was made possible by generous donations from the David Bruce Smith Education Initiative of the Robert H. Smith Family Foundation, the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation, M&T Bank, the Hershey Company and the IFC Foundation. The conference helped educators connect students to the relevance of the Civil War and confront challenges facing them in engaging their classes with this important chapter in our country’s history. The conference also addressed the current curriculum needs of teachers including Common Core principles and active learning needs of students. Presenters focused on document-based and place-based learning. Presented by Gettysburg National Military Park, the Gettysburg Foundation and Gettysburg College, sessions featured experts in education and history.
The Richard Bartol, Jr. Educators’ Conference in Gettysburg is for educators who teach the Civil War era to middle school students in Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia, New York, New Jersey and Washington D.C., and face challenges in connecting students to the Civil War or lack the necessary tools and approaches to effectively engage their students in Civil War exploration.
Each day an inspiring keynote speaker will address a specific theme, such as “The Nation Moves Toward War,” “Changing War” or “Civil War to Civil Rights.” The keynote message will be followed by concurrent sessions and field trips that expand on various documents and places related to the day’s theme. Sessions will focus on document analysis and developing critical thinking skills.
For example, if the keynote theme is “Willing to Sacrifice,” a presenter may work with participants in Gettysburg’s Soldiers’ National Cemetery reading letters grave- side and dissecting the Gettysburg Address. Later, participants may select concurrent sessions to match the documents with classroom activities and projects specific for your students. All break-out sessions will provide content and resources such as lesson plan modeling. Educators will leave the conference with experience from master teachers, a customized box of documents, multiple lesson plans, field trip ideas and inspiration.
For a complete list of curriculum tenants and assessment markers,
Conference attendees will be housed at Gettysburg College, a liberal arts college located in downtown Gettysburg. Food and lodging will be provided on the college’s campus. Other conference events will take place in a variety of historic locations in town, as well as the Gettysburg National Military Park. Each setting will be relevant to the subject matter being discussed and enrich the learning experience.
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