Claremore Daily Progress

August 9, 2013

Claremore pair study at Williamsburg Teacher Institute

Rebecca Hattaway
Staff Reporter

CLAREMORE —

Claremont Elementary fifth-grade teacher Jennifer Hodges and Roosa Elementary fifth-grade teacher Mary Kropp were among 29 educators selected to participate in the Colonial Williamsburg Teacher Institute, held in June in Williamsburg, Va. 
Since 1993, the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence has partnered with Colonial Williamsburg, selecting teachers to attend the week-long event. Oklahoma is second in the United States, following California, in the number of teacher institute graduates with 842. 
Teachers are chosen through an essay question process online.
Brenda Wheelock, director of communication for the foundation, said chosen teachers received all-expense paid scholarships, as well as a $300 stipend for classroom materials.
“This is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience for (teachers),” she said. “The interactive techniques and skills taught throughout the week can be used to transform teaching strategies in the classroom not only in history, but all subjects.”
Teachers also received a one-year subscription to the Colonial Williamsburg Electronic Field Trips series for the entire school to use. The series combines Internet activities and live television broadcasts, bringing the Colonial Williamsburg experience to their classrooms.
Colonial Williamsburg is considered the world’s largest living history museum. While immersed in early American history, teachers met character interpreters of 18th-century people. The week’s lessons were built around the the theme “What it means to be an American.” Participants visited Jamestown, the site of the first permanent English colony in America.
“I especially enjoyed meeting ‘persons of the past.’ We were able to visit their homes and see them at work and leisure,” said Hodges. “These characters thoroughly brought the 1700s to life.”
Hodges said her students will benefit from her experience in Williamsburg.
“Incorporating primary documents into all subject areas will allow (my students) to see that learned skills from the 18th century are still applicable today in the 21st century.”
Kropp said one of her highlights from the trip was being able to tour Colonial Jamestown, Williamsburg and Yorktown meeting “people from the past.” 
The interaction added a “fabulous” personal side to the experience, she said.
“My students will benefit from a deeper knowledge and greater understanding of these events. I have experienced the pain, joy, successes and failures of 18th-century (people),” said Kropp. “It was an incredible educational experience.”
The Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence is a statewide non-profit organization dedicated to academic excellence in Oklahoma’s public schools. In addition to its Colonial Williamsburg programs, the foundation sponsors an annual Academic Awards Program, provides training and resources for new and established public school foundations, administers grants to teachers for professional development and coordinates a statewide youth mentoring initiative for organizations.
For more information on the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence, call (405) 236-0006.