NORMAN — Norman teacher Sana Hanif, who teaches fifth grade at Kennedy Elementary School, and Vanna Owens, a teacher at Little Axe Elementary School, were among 29 Oklahoma teachers who walked in the footsteps of America’s patriots and British colonists during the Colonial Williamsburg Teacher Institute in Early American History, hosted this summer in the restored capital city of 18th-century Virginia.
“The teacher institute was amazing. Experiencing life as presented in the Colonial historic area really put into perspective the events from our history. The character interpreters, the historic taverns and sites took us back, not only seeing, but reliving the past as a colonist,” Hanif said.
“I was especially intrigued to be on the site of an archaeological dig where the human skull ‘Jane’ was discovered in Jamestown. It was an amazing experience that will definitely be integrated within my classroom,” Hanif said. “This experience will bring history to life with in my classroom. My students will see artifacts, role play, experience life as a colonist and be visited by various historical characters.”
Owens was selected by the Colonial Williamsburg Teacher Institute to serve as peer facilitator for the Oklahoma delegation. Owens, who is a 2011 Teacher Institute alumna, met daily with the group to discuss teaching techniques and develop creative lesson plans based on their experiences in Williamsburg.
In addition, Owens and Teresa Potter, from Fisher Elementary School in Moore, were selected as Colonial Williamsburg’s master teachers. Potter has been a peer facilitator for more than eight years; she has helped mentor new Oklahoma teachers who attend the Teacher Institute as well as develop curriculum materials for e-newsletters and Electronic Field Trips.
Their new responsibilities as a master teacher with Colonial Williamsburg may include curriculum writing, reviewing lessons and new products, testing new educational materials in the classroom, facilitating Teacher Institute sessions, presenting at conferences and workshops across the country, conducting webinars, monitoring Colonial Williamsburg’s online Teacher Community, developing materials for English Language Learners and Common Core, and being part of the Electronic Field Trip Focus group.