Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Tuesday with Colonial America

Bayonne High School
Yesterday I spent a good portion of the day teaching teachers about colonial America.  It was a long day, but it was fun.

In the morning I led a Gilder-Lehrman Institute workshop on colonial America for 5th grade and high school teachers at Bayonne High School in Bayonne, NJ.  In the three hour session we covered three main topics.  First, I tried to get the teachers to think historically about the colonial period by asking them what the narrative might look like if they were not guided by a Whig interpretation of history. Second, we discussed mercantilism, servanthood, slavery, and race in seventeenth-century Virginia. Third, we explored the meaning of John Winthrop's "city on a hill" in seventeenth-century Massachusetts Bay.

The Bayonne teachers were very engaged throughout.  I also got to meet and work with Ron Adkisson, the 2012 Teacher of the Year for the state of Kentucky.  And it was a real privilege to teach in a high school that was built as part of the Works Progress Administration.

After the session in Bayonne I followed Interstate 78 back to Mechanicsburg where I met up (again) with Lance Warren and Hannah Ayers for week 5 of my Gilder-Lehrman online graduate course: "Colonial North America."  We spent the first hour of the course discussing slave culture in colonial South Carolina and the second hour on the Enlightenment in America.  One more week to go in this course.  I must admit that I am feeling a lot more comfortable with the online format.