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Professional Development Workshops at Arkansas State Parks
Many of the state parks and museums offer professional development workshops for educators throughout the year, particularly in summer. Workshops may be subject-specific, park-specific, or can be requested by topic. Through these workshops, park interpreters strive to make personal connections with local teachers, since they are the gateway to area students’ experiences.
Most workshops are Arkansas Department of Education approved for continuing education credit hours. Check with the park or ADE to verify.
Some examples of popular programs demonstrated at educator workshops include:
- At Toltec Mounds Archeological State Park, teachers throw the atlatl, use the blow dart, and map the locations of prehistoric Arkansas Native American communities.
- At Plantation Agriculture Museum, making butter, exploring the physics of early toys, and quilting activities are “take the class back to the turn of the century” activities presented.
- At Parkin Archeological State Park, teachers compare and contrast cultures as they explore the prehistoric mound site and the historic one-room schoolhouse, try out Spanish conquistador weapons, and make pottery.
- At the annual Red River Symposium at Historic Washington State Park, educators explore life of 19th century Washington through town tours and living history demonstrations.
Some teachers have only one chance all year to give their students a field trip to remember. Our park interpreters, like the teachers, want students to experience more than just a talking tour of a museum or a historic site. Park staff want students to gain an awareness and understanding of the state’s rich natural and cultural heritage, forged through emotional and intellectual connections. We call it a “light bulb moment” when the connection happens.
How to find out more:
Park interpreters publicize these workshops in a variety of ways, including our online Calendar of Events, through the local educational cooperatives, and through direct correspondence with school district administrators.