Building a movement with BLISS

February 26, 2015

(Photo: Matt Fiteny/Center for Inspired Teaching)

This piece was written by Adam Evans. Adam is a 2014 BLISS Teacher Leader and a social studies teacher at Ballou Senior High School, a DC Public School. On February 20-21, Adam joined Inspired Teaching staff and 2014 BLISS Teacher Leader Stephanie Bunton to present at the annual conference for the Middle States Council for the Social Studies.

An essential part of building a movement is telling others about your work. As a Teacher Leader with DC Public Schools’ (DCPS) and Center for Inspired Teaching’s BLISS: Building Literacy in the Social Studies program, I have been telling everyone who will listen about my experiences and the positive gains that have resulted for my students. BLISS has been essential for me to provide quality instruction for my students in this content area and also in building students’ critical thinking skills through the Wonder-Experiment-Learn cycle. The program has been as effective as it has due in large part to the role provided for us as Teacher Leaders to develop inquiry-based writing modules for DCPS Social Studies classrooms.

This February, BLISS Teacher Leaders and members of the staff of Center for Inspired Teaching attended the Middle States Council for the Social Studies annual conference in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Throughout this snowy weekend, we spent time building relationships with education professionals from all over our region. They all wanted to know how we made the partnership between DCPS and Center for Inspired Teaching so successful – and what we as Teacher Leaders thought about implementing the College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Framework along with other initiatives.

Members of our team led two sessions at the conference, one focused on teacher voice in curriculum writing, the other on building effective partnerships between organizations. In both sessions, participants were engaged in the types of interactive lessons and activities that made Inspired Teaching sessions truly standout. It was such a joy to see people building partnerships and collaborating as they played and learned together. Many seemed open to our ideas about including teachers in writing curriculum and building partnerships around common goals.

Our team also attended a host of sessions ranging from learning how to use games as texts in a history class to ways for students to take informed action to meeting potential partners for further development of teacher resources. The trip also included visits to several historic sites throughout town, including the Eisenhower House, Seminary Ridge Museum, and the newly redesigned Gettysburg Heritage Center.

For two days, we, as representatives of Inspired Teaching and DCPS, had the chance to meet fascinating professionals from around our region, discuss our ideas, and build relationships. There were more than a few people interested in joining our movement, and as a BLISS Teacher Leader, I feel honored to be a part of it.

The application to become a 2015 BLISS Teacher Leader is now open. Learn more and apply before the March 27 general deadline.

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