As the Teacher Ambassador at Idaho Public Television my job is to support teachers throughout the state. From my own experience as an elementary teacher, and from traveling around the state working with teachers, I discovered a need for Idaho history content and curriculum. One teacher told me he walked into his new classroom to discover the Idaho history textbooks were from 1975! It’s no wonder that fourth-grade teachers throughout the state often piece together their own resources for teaching Idaho history.
We have a new local production at Idaho Public Television called Idaho Experience. Idaho Experience “brings to life the stories of the extraordinary people and defining events that have shaped Idaho’s past and present.” Our producers have worked hard to launch this series, and countless hours have been spent discovering, and then telling, the stories of Idaho’s history.
The station has been buzzing with excitement for this new production for over a year now. Amidst that excitement, and armed with the knowledge of the need for Idaho history content in the classroom, a plan was born. What if we could get teachers to create lesson plans to go with this already incredible production? And so it began.
In June, we brought six fourth-grade teachers, one from each region in Idaho, to the station where they met producers and spent a day learning about IdahoPTV’s educational resources. They were then tasked with returning to their hometowns, watching an episode of Idaho Experience, choosing segments to use in the classroom, and creating lesson plans to go with those segments. The end result: nothing short of amazing.
Each of the first three episodes of Idaho Experience now has complete lesson plans to accompany it — lesson plans written by Idaho teachers, for Idaho teachers. The Idaho Experience collection, which combines these standards-aligned lesson plans with video clips from Idaho Experience, is available to teachers throughout the state, at no cost, on PBS LearningMedia. Our plan is to continue this project each summer so that each new episode of Idaho Experience will have lesson plans to accompany it.
I am so proud to have been associated with this project! When teachers are given a task, they never disappoint. I hope teachers will love this collection as much as I do and that, most of all, they will find it to be of use in their classroom.
Written by Kari Wardle, teacher ambassador, Idaho Public Television.