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August 27, 2008

CW brings Teaching American History Conference to Chicago

Colonial Williamsburg brings its popular Teaching American History conference to 75 Chicago area elementary and middle school teachers Sept. 13. Social studies teachers from Illinois and Wisconsin have the opportunity to attend a one-day workshop on Teaching American History, “Bringing History to Life in Your Classroom” Saturday, Sept. 13, at St. Ignatius College Prep School, 1076 West Roosevelt Rd., Chicago.

The conference is being sponsored by Colonial Williamsburg donors Peter and Patricia Frechette of Minneapolis, who support Colonial Williamsburg’s educational programs throughout the Midwest, and a Chicago area foundation, which supports education outreach in the Chicago area.

During the conference, educators will step back in time and meet people from the past such as George Washington, the first president of the United States, and Ona Judge, one of his slaves. As they learn historical content and engaging classroom instructional strategies, teachers will discuss liberty, freedom, citizenship and slavery.

Each conference focuses on the use of primary sources and active learning strategies including literacy strategies that make history relevant and exciting for students. Teachers partake in sessions that examine the birth and evolution of our rights. They learn how to use role playing, simulations and analysis of primary sources to make history come to life. All participants receive a CD-ROM with lesson plans, facsimile artifacts and documents.

The Sept. 13 conference is Colonial Williamsburg Teacher Institute’s second time working with teachers in the Chicago area. In 2006, Teacher Institute hosted a one-day workshop for elementary and middle school teachers focusing on events that led to the American Revolution.

Colonial Williamsburg’s professional development programs have expanded from the week-long summer Teacher Institute in Williamsburg to include day-long seminars to bring Colonial Williamsburg’s program to teachers across the country. During the 2008-2009 school year, Colonial Williamsburg will present one or two-day conferences in eight states – Alabama, Arizona, Connecticut, Florida, Louisiana, Kentucky, New Mexico, New York, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Texas.

As a result of this conference, Colonial Williamsburg staff hopes teachers will return to their schools with increased historical knowledge and some new active methods of engaging students in learning – and most importantly, a new understanding of how we became Americans and our role as citizens.

For information or to register for the free conference, contact Tab Broyles at or 757-220-7975.

Established in 1926, the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation is the not-for-profit educational institution that preserves and operates the restored 18th-century Revolutionary capital of Virginia as a town-sized living history museum, telling the inspirational stories of our nation’s founding men and women. Within the restored and reconstructed buildings, historic interpreters, attired as colonial men and women from slaves to shopkeepers to soldiers, relate stories of colonial Virginia society and culture – stories of our journey to become Americans – while historic trades people research, demonstrate and preserve the 18th-century world of work and industry. As Colonial Williamsburg interprets life in the time of the American Revolution for its guests, it also invites them to interact with history. “Revolutionary City®” – a dramatic live street theater presentation – is a 2008 Rand McNally Best-of-the-Road™ Editor’s Pick. Williamsburg is located in Virginia’s Tidewater region, 20 minutes from Newport News, within an hour’s drive of Richmond and Norfolk, and 150 miles south of Washington, D.C., off Interstate 64. For more information about Colonial Williamsburg, call 1-800-HISTORY or visit Colonial Williamsburg’s Web site at

Media Contact:
Penna Rogers
(757) 220-7121