I wish my family could experience the things that I got to do at the Colonial Williamsburg Teacher Institute in July of this year. They cannot imagine the rich experiences of traveling to places you only dreamed about, read about, and watched limited videos of for years. The feeling that you are touching and experiencing history when you are on location is unlike anything that can be reproduced in a classroom.
All can do is bring home souvenirs. It doesn't come close to the experience, but that's just how it goes. Kind donors actually provide the funds for teachers from across the country to travel to Virginia to have this opportunity, but they also provide a gift card to help with purchases while on the property.
I got myself a t-shirt, as well as a couple for the kids. A cooling towel helped on the hottest day, and I had to get a hat for my daughter; she performs for the University of Oklahoma in the Pride marching band, so the hat, which says "Walk to the beat of your own drum" seemed to make sense. My son has a loose collection of keychains, so I picked up a heavy one that has the flags of the American Revolution on it. Both kids appreciate lapel pins from places we visit, so they received some of those, as well.
At the time, I found a Patrick Henry coaster that says "Give me liberty or give me death," figuring I needed to remember my part in giving the famous figure's speech in the Capitol earlier in the week.
I learned about the little doll man forming the letters of the alphabet from my roommate SAM, so I picked up a small one while I was at the Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg. Finally, I picked up an actual clay pipe to remind me of the archaeological digs in Jamestowne and Williamsburg.
Going to the American Revolution Museum, I found a wooden nickel to add to my own little collection, and another t-shirt, sporting my favorite line from the Patrick Henry speech: "If this be treason, make the most of it!"
With all of this, the photos that I took and the memories of the people with whom I connected are the richest treasures I came home with. Of all the trips I have taken during my teaching career, several of the people I met at Colonial Williamsburg have truly become my history family.
Finally, I thank our hosts and our master teacher for the gifts of SWAG from earlier in the week, but also for the items below: a children's book about historic trades, a copy of Henry's speech (Did I mention that I gave a portion of the speech in the Capitol building?), a Teacher Institute lapel pin, and of course, the brick fragment uprooted from Martha Washington's first husband's property.
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