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Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum announces summer teaching workshops          Send a link to a friend

Bringing historical fiction to life

[MAY 28, 2005]  SPRINGFIELD -- The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum announced May 23 that it is offering four complimentary one-day workshops in June and August, focused on incorporating digital resources into the classroom and using history to teach across the curriculum.

Each workshop will include two sessions: the first, a Library of Congress project to instruct teachers how to incorporate digitized information into their curriculum; and the second led by Peoria's renowned storyteller Brian "Fox" Ellis, who will demonstrate how to teach historical fiction and relate it to state standards in English, history, science, geography and even math skills.

"Opening the doors for teachers to learn creative ways to teach history will help to combat historical illiteracy among American schoolchildren," said Richard Norton Smith, executive director of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. "As educators come together in the workshops, they can create and generate more ideas on how to make history come alive in their own classroom."

The first session of the workshop is provided through Eastern Illinois University. "An Adventure of the American Mind," the basis for the session, is a national project designed to assist classroom teachers in accessing, using and producing curriculum incorporating the Internet and digitized primary source materials from the collections of the Library of Congress. Workshop attendees will be introduced to the components of the Library of Congress website, with a focus on resources that pertain to Abraham Lincoln.

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The second session, led by storyteller Brian "Fox" Ellis, is an interdisciplinary workshop where educators will learn the nuts and bolts of effective historical research, with an emphasis on the life of Lincoln. Participants will learn to conduct oral history interviews and how to turn rough notes into tellable stories. The session will also provide the opportunity to learn how to turn Internet research, library research, old newspaper articles, obituaries and diaries into dynamic performance material with creative writing concepts to link Lincoln with English, history, science, geography and math skills. Educators will also learn the storytelling skills needed to be a bridge to help students connect with history in a more meaningful way.

The workshops will run on June 28, June 29, Aug. 9 and Aug. 10 from 9 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. and will be open to 50 teachers a day.

Teachers who complete the workshop are eligible for six continuing professional development units. Teachers interested in attending should contact Dee Dee Hall at or Carol Manning at The registration deadline is June 10.

[Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum news release]


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