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Christine Boatman earns summer fellowship abroad through Center for Geography Education

PMG PHOTO: EMILY LINDSTRAND - Estacada Middle School teacher Christine Boatman points to Greece on her classroom map. Boatman will travel to Greece this summer on a fellowship from the Center for Geography Education in Oregon.

For Christine Boatman, the Greek Acropolis and Parthenon have held an allure since she learned about the historic locations as a middle school student. This summer she'll visit both, fulfilling a long-held dream.

Boatman, a social studies and zoology teacher at Estacada Middle School, was selected for a 17 day fellowship in Greece through the Center for Geography Education in Oregon.

"I'm always trying to bring back experiences to students to make class exciting and enriching," she said. "I'm really excited to experience the culture, see historical sights, take photos and bring things back to the classroom."

Beginning Sunday, July 14, Boatman and 14 other fellowship recipients will visit Athens, Meteora, Delphi, Nafplio, Chania, Agia Roumeli, Loutro, Iraklio and Santorini. The fellowship will focus on ancient Greece and its geography and history.

Boatman is the only teacher from Clackamas County to have been selected for the event.

Last summer, Boatman participated in a five-day Center for Geography Education program about the Oregon Coast in Port Orford.

Housed at Portland State University, the Center for Geography Education in Oregon strives to promote education across the state and offers summer institutes, workshops and conferences for teachers; instructional materials for educators; and a community outreach program, among other elements.

Along with the program in Greece, this summer the center also will host an institute focused on ethnic studies and first nations of Oregon through a geographic lens.

Boatman is eager to bring stories from Greece back to her students.

"When you go to certain places, tour guides share things in so much detail and it makes things come alive. That level of depth is amazing for students," she said. "When you have stories from someone who lives in the region, that's something you just can't get from a textbook."

Seventh-graders at Estacada Middle School study ancient Greece each year, focusing on the culture and geography of locations such as Athens and Sparta.

"Our big goal is for kids to get a bigger understanding of other parts of the word, how the culture is different, and how they lived and why," Boatman said, discussing the significance of studying ancient cultures. "I'm excited to see how we can make (the unit) even richer."

Students particularly enjoy learning about Greek mythology and gods.

"It is awesome for students to make connections between the history of Greece and the Greek gods that they love to read about in the 'Percy Jackson' book series," Boatman said.

Boatman said she appreciates sharing stories throughout history, which she considers her inspiration for becoming a teacher. She's taught at Estacada Middle School for three years.

"I've always loved history and wanted to share that with others," she said, noting that she particularly enjoys teaching middle school. "It's fun to help kids through their formative years. They make you laugh a lot, too."

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