John Smith, Sassafras, & Tockwogh
This two-day workshop was filled with hands-on activities, discussion, investigation, & resources. Using the premise of Captian John Smith's map of the Chesapeake Bay, and his two trips of discovery in and around this estuary, the workshop provided background information first. Participants were provided with powerpoints, videos, and primary source documents by John Smith (ie. his map and various journal entries). Chris Cerino guided us through activities that enabled us to interact with the materials. I especially liked the comparison/contrast of White's paintings, and the engravings developed from them. The White paintings by themselves provide vital informtaion on the Native people in the Chesapeake area. Another beneficial activity was actually handling furs and other items that Native Americans would have used-no wonder beaver fur was in such high demand! If you have never "petted" a beaver pelt, it is the most luscious fur I have ever touched. An additonal activity that I enjoyed, is when Chris brought out some of his artifacts-what looked like a basket of rock, were actually Native American pottery shards. With close examination of the chip angles on the stone points, there is a possibility that with patience and an eagle eye, I may discover an artifact of my own. Dr. Seidel's lecture and powerpoint of what makes a good settlement program and the sites of actual artifact discoveries, was enlightening-and also useful in the quest for local artifacts. The canoe trip on day two from Turner's Creek on the Sassafras River was fantastic! With the academic background knowledge gained, the trip was more than a simple canoe trip. We applied what we learned to what we were seeing. An added bonus was riding the outgoing tide's current through a narrow opening of a tidal fresh water marsh into the river! A water slide can't even compare with nature's shute! These are only a few of the activities the group enjoyed.
I could not begin to share what I learned because it goes beyond the information about John Smith. As well as the academic aspect of the history, the hands-on activities provide teachers with ideas to create lessons that are engaging. It is through exploration and discussion that students learn best. By bringing that into the classroom, lessons will pop with excitement and learning.
Use? What will I use? EVERYTHING!!! Actually, in the real world, a semester would be needed to do justice to the information and resources garnered from this workshop. I will definitely be using the geography materials at the beginning of the school year to provide a foundation for later units. The White prints, John Smith map, and his journal entries are a definite "must do." The video will also be a part of providing a diverse selection of ways students learn information. I will be harassing my hunter husband to provide me with antlers, skulls, and hopefully animal pelts for hands on exploration by students. I will also invide Chris into my classroom to share his knowledge, passion, and artifacts with students. I could go on for more than anyone would want to read here, so I will stop.
My recommendation is that everyone take advantage of this workshop.