Workshop Agenda and Details - REGISTRATION IS NOW CLOSED

American Representative Government: Jamestowne to the 21st Century

Thursday, July 19 - Saturday, July 21, 2018

How can we employ the history of American representative government to help students embrace their role as 21st century citizens?

Christopher Newport’s Center for American Studies presents a three-day workshop on American government and examining how “We the People” have shaped and crafted our legislative institutions into the system we know today. Teachers will visit Historic Jamestowne for an onsite experience with archaeologists and historians, work with scholars, and shape lessons for their classroom.

Tentative Agenda
Thursday, July 19
Noon to 1:30 p.m. Check-in

1:30 p.m.

Introductions, logistics and overview of the program

2 p.m.

Keynote – America’s Tradition of Representative Government
Bill White - Christopher Newport Assistant Professor, Adjunct Faculty of History

An overview of British traditions, Jamestowne 1619, American colonial legislatures, Revolutionary government, Constitutional government, key issues in representative government today followed by time for Q&A.

3:30 p.m.

America, Americans, and Innovation
Through a guided tour at the Mariners Museum, explore America’s innovative spirit.

5:30 p.m.

Dinner on your own.

7:30 p.m.

Document Analysis Activity 
India Meissel – History Department of Lakeland High School in Suffolk, Virginia and President of the National Council for the Social Studies

Teachers break into teams. Each team takes a document to analyze. Possible documents include excerpts from 1689 English Bill of Rights, Virginia Charter of 1618, Virginia Declaration of Rights, Articles of Confederation, Condition (Article I). Teams will report back to the group. The activity should have teams represent graphically key questions about the relationship between people and their government and in the end we should be able to map out a subject to citizen journey together.

Friday, July 20

8 a.m.

Coffee and Danish
8:30 a.m. Depart for Historic Jamestowne

9:30 a.m.

Tour Jamestowne
The tour provides an overview of the archeological excavations including church site of 1619 Assembly. Tour will emphasize government—Virginia Company to martial law to legislative assembly—and include an interaction with an interpreter portraying a 17th century resident of Jamestowne.


Box lunch. Depart for CNU.

1:30 p.m.

Keynote – Abraham Lincoln and the American Revolution
Jon White Christopher Newport University

The Enlightenment ideals continue to inspire Americans. Dr. White examines how the American Revolution inspired and shaped Abraham Lincoln. 45 minute lecture/program followed by time for Q&A.

3 p.m.

India Meissel – History Department of Lakeland High School in Suffolk, Virginia and President of the National Council for the Social Studies

Activity focused on American reform / protest movements (temperance, abolitionism, women’s rights, anti-war, etc.). Using primary source materials teachers chart course of the movement from activism through legislation (and sometimes to repeal). In addition to presenting content, teachers develop lesson for implementing the approach in their classroom. Each group presents.

5:30 p.m.

Dinner on your own

7:30 p.m.

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A Conversation with James Madison
Come prepared to discuss how 18th century ideas about and experiences with legislative assemblies shaped development of our American republic with Bryan Austin, who portrays James Madison for the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.

Saturday, July 21

8 a.m.

Coffee and Danish
9 a.m. Pulling Together All the Threads
This session is an opportunity to review the major themes of the conference and examine how to bring those themes together in active and engaging ways in our classrooms. Time will be provided for the teams to complete and polish their presentations.

10:30 a.m..

Teacher Presentations
Following up from the Friday afternoon's activity, teacher groups present and critique their lesson plans.


Lunch - Summary of the workshop and debrief and feedback from teachers on the workshop.

1:30 p.m. 


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