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Teacher Workshops Introduce Passamaquoddy Teaching Kit

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Date: February 8, 2007
Contact: Meg Scheid, 207-454-3871

On Friday, March 9, the National Park Service will present the first of three workshops to introduce their award-winning teaching kit to Maine middle school teachers. The kit, titled Passamaquoddy History and Culture: A Traveling Teaching Kit for Grades 5-8, won third place in the curriculum category of the National Association for Interpretation’s annual media award competition in 2006.

In the workshops, Meg Scheid, workshop facilitator and lead park ranger at Saint Croix Island International Historic Site in Calais, Maine, will introduce teachers to the kit’s hands-on teaching tools and engage them in related activities for the classroom. Participants will be encouraged to “build” a Passamaquoddy kit for their own classroom. Educators will meet a member of the Passamaquoddy tribe who speaks the language, teaches it, and works toward preserving it. They will discover the history of the Passamaquoddy language and its importance in preserving the tribe’s culture, while testing their skill at learning and speaking Passamaquoddy words. Teachers will also hear from a teacher who successfully uses the Passamaquoddy Kit in her classroom to help meet the requirements of LD 291. And finally, participants will garner a greater understanding of Saint Croix Island International Historic Site—Maine’s second National Park Service Unit—and the significance of the relationship that developed between the French and Passamaquoddy in 1604.

The first workshop will be held in Bar Harbor at the Abbe Museum on Friday, March 9. Registration for this workshop begins immediately and is being coordinated through the Abbe Museum at 207-288-3519 or via e-mail. Notification will be made by e-mail. Workshop details, including registration deadlines, are posted on Saint Croix Island International Historic Site’s website at http://www.nps.gov/sacr/forteachers/professionaldevelopment.htm. Information about applications for scaled stipends/scholarships is also available on-line.

The second workshop will be held in Washington County in Calais, and a third workshop held in a region of the state where teacher demand is high. Teachers interested in attending either of these two workshops should contact Meg Scheid at 207-454-3871 or via e-mail to have their name placed on an “Interested Teachers” list, which will be used to set workshop dates and locations to reach the greatest number of teachers. Workshops this year will be completed by September 30, 2007, with all dates and locations finalized in February and posted on Saint Croix Island International Historic Site’s website at http://www.nps.gov/sacr/forteachers/professionaldevelopment.htm.

“The idea of a Passamaquoddy teaching kit was conceived of by Passamaquoddy Elder Joseph Nicholas in 2000,” said Scheid. “In a conversation with Deborah Wade, the site’s Chief of Interpretation, Mr. Nicholas suggested that the National Park Service include additional Passamaquoddy content in the interpretation of Saint Croix Island. The timing couldn’t have been better,” Scheid said. “While the Passamaquoddy kit was being developed, the State of Maine passed LD 291, a law requiring K-12 schools to incorporate Maine Native American History and Culture into their curriculum.”

Maliseet, Micmac, Passamaquoddy, and Penobscot­—all Wabanaki Tribes within Maine—provide an important link to vital history, language, and culture unique to this state.

Staff at Acadia National Park and the Abbe Museum in Bar Harbor, Maine, created the teaching kit in consultation with Passamaquoddy elders and community members, to ensure the kit would accurately reflect Passamaquoddy culture today. Designed for fifth through eighth grade students, the kit uses student-centered activities and tactile elements to explore Passamaquoddy culture and history from 12,000 years ago to the present.

“We’re equally excited about the workshops as we are with the kit,” Scheid added, “for two reasons. First, by providing workshop participants with an opportunity to meet and learn from Passamaquoddy elders, educators, and community members who either helped create and pilot the kit, or whose lives are featured among the many biographies included in the kit’s Teacher’s Guide, we continue the spirit of partnership and authenticity on which the trunk was conceived.”

“Second, Passamaquoddy History and Culture: A Traveling Teaching Kit for Grades 5-8 helps teachers meet the requirements of LD 291, and instills in the minds and hearts of their students, the rich history, language, and culture of the Passamaquoddy people who live and work in our communities today.”

Did You Know?

A man boards the Island Explorer bus.

Since 1999, propane-powered Island Explorer buses have carried more than two million passengers in Acadia National Park, eliminating more than 685,000 automobile trips and preventing 6,444 tons of greenhouse gases. The fare-free buses are supported by your entrance fees. More...