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Keystones of the Federal Union

Keystones of the Federal Union (Keystones)is a joint project of the Central Susquehanna and Capital Area Intermediate Units in Pennsylvania, which serve 33 low-performing schools. Teachers in these schools will be given priority status during recruitment. The project's professional development activities will include a day-long forum to introduce historical research and interpretation skills, a week-long summer institute that includes field trips to historical sites, development of a lesson and three extended learning station activities, a series of six to eight Wiki conversations on scholarly works, historical children’s books, electronic resources, and cultural artifacts, and a daylong final forum to share lessons. Teacher librarians will be asked to develop a collection of American history resources and to collaborate with a participating teacher on the development of lessons and activities. The program is aimed at 30 teachers and teacher librarians each year. These participants will explore the keystone principles embodied in some of Pennsylvania's and the nation's most iconic documents and see how those principles applied to their forbears' day-to-day lives. Teachers and librarians will learn about instructional strategies that incorporate primary sources and artifacts, higher order thinking, and extended learning activities. Specific strategies will include use of extended thinking skills, summarization, vocabulary in context, advance organizers, and nonverbal representations. All lessons and learning activities created through the program will be posted on a Wiki to be shared with current and future Keystones participants.