Studying C-SPANA vacationing teacher became the student last week during a unique conference in Washington, D.C.
By: Amber Kispert-Smith, Woodbury Bulletin
Editor’s note: This is part of an occasional series on teachers’ unique summer plans.
A vacationing teacher became the student last week during a unique conference in Washington, D.C.
Lake Middle School social studies teacher Karl Jensen was one of 35 educators from across the nation selected to attend C-SPAN Classroom’s 2011 Educators’ Conference, held July 14 and July 15.
“I’ve been a news junkie for as long as I can remember,” Jensen said.
C-SPAN provides video coverage of various government-related events, including Congress.
The annual summer conference helps educators make social studies content come alive in the classroom. The conference brings together middle and high school educators who specialize in social studies and use C-SPAN in their classrooms.
“This seemed like a great opportunity to really immerse myself in civics education and citizenship education,” Jensen said.
Participants learned more about C-SPAN’s video library, Congressional Chronicle, and a host of other digital and social media resources that can be implemented in the classroom.
Members of C-SPAN Classroom can access videos and video clips for use in their classrooms, as well as lesson plans, handouts and ways to connect with other C-SPAN Classroom members.
Conference participants also heard from various C-SPAN personalities.
“I wanted to learn about the curriculum C-SPAN has and be immersed in it,” Jensen said. “I wanted to bring back great hands-on learning activities that make government real for my students because it will make it easier to relate what’s going on in Washington, D.C.”
During the two-day conference, Jensen and his fellow teachers stayed in the historic Madison hotel, which heads of state once stayed.
The conference took place in C-SPAN offices — right next to the C-SPAN studios.
“We were seeing the TV personalities walk back and forth all day,” Jensen said. “That was really exciting for me since I’ve always been a C-SPAN junkie.”
The first day of the conference consisted of an overview and background of C-SPAN and its mission.
“Their mission is to be non-partisan,” Jensen said. “For me as a civics teacher, that’s really important — I take pride in the fact that my students don’t know what political affiliation I am.”
C-SPAN in the classroom
During the conference, Jensen said he learned of many resources that can be brought back into the classroom.
For example, Jensen learned how to find and access video clips that can be brought into the classroom.
“The video archives they have are just amazing,” he said.
Other resources Jensen said he would utilize in the classroom include various online resources, including a United States Supreme Court interactive timeline.
The timeline allows Jensen to walk students through court cases while showing how they affect people.
“It’s sometimes kind of a stretch for sharing with eighth grade students about court cases,” he said.
With students in this day in age they are so comfortable with technology, so this will be very beneficial.”