The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame + Museum

summer teacher institute :: Blog

The personal stories are always the best ones

Wednesday, July 13: 2:34 p.m.
Posted by Sarah Dougher

Guest blog courtesy of 2011 Summer Teacher Institute participant Sarah Dougher, educator at Portland State University and at the Rock ‘n’ Roll Camp for Girls in Portland.

One thing about exploring the history of women is that in order to tell these important stories, the personal is made public, and the personal often becomes political. Although this is an old saw, it sings a new tune when we are talking about the materials in the Women who Rock: Vision, Passion, Power exhibit. Upon seeing Wanda Jackson’s dress, a kind of shabby-looking red, white and blue number hanging next to her hand-decorated guitar, our tour guide mentioned that when the museum had asked Jackson for items to display, she didn’t have many dresses from the early period.  She explained that her mom made all her dresses by hand, and because they were poor, would often recycle elements, such as fringe and rhinestones, in dress after dress. 

What we saw displayed at the museum were elements that may have graced the famous dress that did not cover her shoulders when she first played at the Grand Ole Opry. She was forced by the host to wear a jacket on stage ...

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Dreams Can Come True in Cleveland

Thursday, June 30: 11:50 a.m.
Posted by Bernie Howitt

Guest blog courtesy of 2011 Summer Teacher Institute participant Bernie Howitt of Australia.

Rock and roll has a proud and rich history which celebrates a major American cultural achievement. To the rest of the world, rock and roll was often their first and most meaningful point of contact with “America.” When Chuck Berry sang, “I’m so glad I’m livin’ in the USA” in 1959, he was echoing the aspirations of everyone who wasn’t.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum is deservedly the centre point of the celebration and commemoration of rock history. Equally impressive is the commitment to education embodied in the Summer Teacher Institute. To gather teachers together and share the resources and expertise of the Museum and its staff is an incredible opportunity. As an Australian history teacher passionate about the role rock music can play in enthusing and inspiring students, the chance to attend STI represented a dream.

Amazingly dreams can occasionally come true. I was supposed to visit the Hall of Fame and Museum in September 2001, when fate tragically intervened. For years I thought I’d missed my chance, but I kept checking the website, envious of the resources ...

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Electrifying the Classroom: A Look at Summer Teacher Institute 2010

Friday, July 2: 9:34 a.m.
Rock Hall inductee Bobby Massey of the O'Jays (right) with Director of Education Jason Hanley.

Last week the Rock Hall hosted its annual Summer Teacher Institute – an intensive workshop for educators where the Museum becomes the classroom and rock and roll becomes the teacher.  This year we welcomed 50 teachers from 17 states and Canada to the house that rock built to learn how they can use popular music in their own curriculum.  It’s an exciting time and one of my favorite weeks of the year.  The energy is palpable and contagious.

I think what makes Summer Teacher Institute so exciting is the diversity of experience that each year’s participants brings.  From kindergarten teachers to college professors, music teachers to science teachers, STI brings educators from all sides together to find ways to make learning come alive for their students through the power of rock and roll.  This year, I met an English teacher from San Francisco interested in the poetry of rock lyrics (he took the red-eye flight just to get here in time!), a US History teacher from New Jersey preparing to teach his own high school rock history course this fall (he said it filled up in five minutes), and a group of teachers from Milwaukee curious to learn how ...

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