A More Perfect Union: Teaching the U.S. Constitution through Inquiry, Primary Sources, & the Common Core

Summer Academy
Graduate Credits: 

Expert, savvy scholars, Tony Corrado and Sara Dubow will explore the context and arguments over the U.S. Constitution, delving into its philosophical and political foundations, state constitutions, and the Articles of Confederation. Participating teachers will study the framing of the Constitution, the campaign for ratification, and the crafting of the Bill of Rights.

Investigation will press on to the revolutionary 14th Amendment and its impact across the 20th Century. Participants and scholars will examine a trove of vital secondary articles and primary sources featuring the collections of the Library of Congress.

Outstanding teacher educators, Kelley Brown and Laurie Risler will lead teacher teams in applying scholarship and exciting primary sources to develop inquiry-based lessons that directly address historical thinking skills required by the Common Core. In Fall, participants will teach their richly sourced lessons. Then in culminating sessions, teachers will bring detailed field observations and student work for analysis, discussion, and a final round of lesson revisions and polish.

Each teacher will end up with an exciting, successful new lesson and assessments (fully aligned to standards) on this central topic in the study of American History.

Lunch is provided for daylong sessions. Dinner or snacks are provided for end of day sessions.

Audience and Grade Level

History teachers of grades 4-12. Teachers of other subjects who will teach a lesson on the Constitution.

Preference is given to practicing teachers in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and staff from CES member districts.

Participants who successfully complete courses and workshops for which they have registered, including submitting all assignments, will receive preference for future programs.


Teachers will receive 67.5 PDPs.

3 graduate credits are also available in partnership with Fitchburg State University for $325. Registration for Graduate Credits takes place on the first day of the course.

 Date and Location

July 7-11, 2014. Mon-Thurs 8:30am - 4:00pm, Fri 8:30am - 12:00pm. Two additional dates will be scheduled in October or November at a time convenient to participants.

Workshops are held at Easthampton High School. Participants must attend all sessions.

Cost and Registration

This workshop is free. To register, please complete the following steps:

  1. Register online by completing the form on the right side of this page.
  2. Download and complete the Library of Congress TPS application form, including your supervisor, principal, or dean's signature. Click here to download the application form.
  3. Mail a deposit check for $90, payable to the Collaborative for Educational Services.

The printed registration form and check should be mailed to Emerging America Registration, 97 Hawley Street, Northampton, MA 01060. The deadline for registration is June 13, 2014.

CES will destroy your deposit check once you complete workshop and assignments. If you need to withdraw, you must do so by the registration deadline or forfeit the deposit.

This program is a partnership between:

  • Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources Program of the Collaborative for Educational Services
  • UMass Amherst Department of History
  • Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
  • Boston Public Schools.


  • thumbnail image of Kelley Brown

    Kelley Brown is a Social Studies educator at Easthampton High School where she has taught for the last 20 years. She is also the Professional Development Coordinator. She focuses on bringing primary sources and disciplinary literacy skills into the Social Studies classroom for all students.

  • Laurie Risler

    Laurie Risler is a former elementary school teacher. She now teaches education courses at Westfield State University. She has co-led professional development programs in history for the Collaborative for Educational Services since 2011, including as a coach for the Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources Program at CES. She served as Teacher in Residence at Westfield State University 2012-2013.


A maximum class size is set for each course and registrations are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. If the number of registrations for a course exceeds the maximum seats available or is too low to be able to conduct a quality learning experience, CES will inform you of available options.

Course Cancellation

If you wish to cancel your registration, please submit a request in writing (via mail, email or fax) no later than 7 business days before the workshop’s start date. After that, there are no refunds or billing adjustments.

In the event that a course is cancelled by the Collaborative for Educational Services, we will notify you as soon as possible. Please be sure to provide your best email address and phone number so we can contact you. Although every effort is made to avoid last minute cancellations, if an emergency arises, we will do our best to reach you at the phone number and email address you provide. 

Inclement Weather

Any delays or cancellations are posted online at collaborative.org. You may also call 413.588.5979 after 6:30am for information about classes that day. Or for Early Childhood Professional Development information, please call 413.588.5570.