Betsy Arntzen, director of the Canadian-American Center’s Office of K-12 Canadian Studies outreach, has compiled a comprehensive Canada Unit for Massachusetts Grade 4 teachers, covering all the elements in the MA Frameworks. Based on high-level work created by teachers who completed previous professional development programming offered by the Canadian-American Center, she created a best-practices compilation for teachers to use in a 3-week unit expandable to 3-month unit.
Ms. Arntzen presented the unit at an afterschool workshop hosted by EDCO Collaborative in Waltham, MA, April 2, 2012. Participants, who were Grade 4 teachers from six towns, participated by engaging in abbreviated versions of the lessons. They received the complete unit on a CD in addition to other handouts which included maps of Canada.
Canadian-American Center’s Canadian Studies outreach coordinator Betsy Arntzen, collaborated with two other outreach coordinators to provide an impressive amount of Canadian content workshop and poster sessions at the 91st annual teachers conference of the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS), held in Washington, DC December 1-4, 2011.
This year’s Canadian presence at the NCSS built on the success of a three-year emphasis to showcase Canadian studies at the NCSS annual conference beginning with Canada is Coming to NCSS! initiative (2008) and the follow-up success of providing Canadian content at the 2009 and 2010 conferences. In 2011 three outreach educators Betsy Arntzen, Amy Sotherden and Tina Storer, collaborated with two exemplary Canadian educators (Mike Clare (ON), Steven Marcotte (QC), with Canadian Studies Master Teacher SUNY Geneseo adjunct faculty Dean June, and with Michigan State University’s Canadian Studies Outreach Coordinator Ruth Writer. This resulted in our presenting 9 hours of Canadian content presentations over three days. We offered more hour-long Canadian-content workshops than were offered about any other specific country: CANADA: 6; Africa:4; Japan:4; Asia:3; Brazil:2; China:2; Latin America:2; Afghanistan:1; Argentina:1; France:1; Middle East:1
The Canadian content presentations were peer reviewed and selected from over 900 proposals submitted.
For two of the four days, the outreach coordinators maintained a Canadian Studies information table in the International Alley of the exhibit area, and provided an information table about the Canada Community for a total of 21.5 hours providing Canadian Studies teaching resources and one-on-one consultation to interested teachers at information tables in the exhibit hall and lobby. Of the 4000 potential visitors to the table, we handed out over 300 packets of reference and teaching materials, and received contact information from 129 educators from 28 states plus DC and from 2 countries (Ecuador, and Canada) who indicated their interest in more information and resources.
Maintaining a Canadian content presence at this national teachers conference is a collaboration between project coordinators Betsy Arntzen (University of Maine) and Amy Sotherden (Plattsburgh State University of New York) with Tina Storer (Western Washington University as three of four Canadian Studies outreach staff of the only two National Resource Centers (NRCs) on Canada in the United States. NRCs are designated by and funded by the U.S. Department of Education (DOE).
The Northeast National Resource Center on Canada is located at UMaine.
Canadian Studies outreach educators provide K-12 outreach programs and professional development training to establish, encourage and support inclusion of Canadian Studies in American K-12 curriculum. They provide professional development and teacher training; they develop resources for teaching about Canada; and they conduct summer teachers’ institutes in Canada.
Image Description: (L) Betsy Arntzen (UMaine), (R) Tina Storer (Western Washington U)
Primary Source, a K-12 professional development center for Massachusetts teachers invited Canadian Studies specialist Betsy Arntzen to present the one day workshop “Canada and its Diversity”, October 20, 2011. Primary Source promotes history and humanities education by connecting educators with people and cultures throughout the world.
Betsy’s program was especially for educators in grades K-7, and it introduced Canada’s diversity of peoples and geography by comparing and contrasting Canadian First Nations with U.S. Native Americans and Quebecois with French Creole peoples in the United States. Throughout the day participants were introduced to children’s literature about Canada by Canadian authors and discussed how to evaluate and use various types of literature about Canada to reveal the tremendous diversity of its peoples, cultures, and land.
Twenty-five teachers from several towns attended. “The teachers obviously reacted well to your program and went away with a wealth of materials and information to use in their classrooms.”
Betsy is based at the Canadian-American Center, on the campus of UMaine in Orono – at the crossroads of Atlantic Canada and New England. Betsy’s national outreach and professional development programs for K-12 teachers address topics related to American and Canadian relations and understanding. Through workshops, presentations, publications, teaching materials, and in-Canada professional development programs, Betsy provides programming that seeks to bridge the gap between uninformed beliefs and a true understanding of Canadian people. Betsy directs the Office of Canadian Studies Outreach and co-leads the Quebec Dimensions Summer Teachers Institute. She is adjunct faculty at UMaine and Plymouth (NH) State University.
Professor of French Raymond Pelletier collaborated with the Penobscot School to offer a French in the Woods French immersion language weekend, September 16-18, 2011, titled Français au bord de la Mer. The 52 participants included members of the general public and UMaine undergraduate students.
The Penobscot School is a non-profit center for language learning and international exchange in Rockland, ME. They and Professor Pelletier have collaborated to offer an annual French immersion weekend for the past eight years.
Raymond Pelletier is a professor of French whose courses include North American French Novel, and French for Business, and he coordinates the Introduction to Canada (CAN 101) courses.