Teaching American History

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Michigan 2003 Grant Abstracts
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Grantee: Battle Creek Public Schools, Battle Creek, MI
Project Name: Meaningful Learning in American History
Project Director: Elizabeth Ashburn (269) 660-5879
Funding: $927,999
Number of Teachers Served: 160
Number of School Districts Served: 4
Number of Students Served: No information available

This partnership with Michigan State University College of Arts and Letters and College of Education provides teachers of grades 4-12 with professional development that focuses on using technology to support research-based organizing ideas and classroom instruction. Strategies are: formation of American history Professional Learning Groups, American history Professional Learning Anchor events of 1-5 days, American history historian consultants, and communication about American history teaching and learning, Content includes governance and politics, ideals of American democracy, American democracy in action, government and world affairs, and the Civil War as "a defining event upon which we have often imposed unity and continuity."

Grantee: Delta-Schoolcraft Intermediate School District, Escanaba, MI
Project Name: Foundations of Democracy: Teaching American History
Project Director: Kristine Paulsen (906) 786-9300
Funding: $969,746
Number of Teachers Served: 165
Number of School Districts Served: 1
Number of Students Served: No information available

Serving 34 public schools, 2 private schools, 1 public school academy, and 2 alternative high schools, the district is partnering with National Council for History Education, Center for Civic Education, faculty from Michigan State University and Western Michigan University, U.S. Forest Service Heritage Resources, Delta County Historical Society, Detroit History Museum, and Fayette Historic State Park to create 66 master history teachers and provide mentoring for 99 additional teachers in grades 5, 8, 11 and 12. The master teacher cadre receive approximately 275 hours of professional development emphasizing traditional American History, biography, key individuals and events, foundational documents including the Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and Bill of Rights, development of the judicial system, and regional history focusing on environment, values, political institutions, exploration migration, expansion, and economic development. Activities include use of Internet resources, research, summer institutes focusing on narrative history and storytelling, colloquia, piloting and videotaping of instructional units, and in-service on student playwriting, addressing historical events.

Grantee: Kalamazoo RESA, Kalamazoo, MI
Project Name: Southwest Michigan Consortium on Teaching American History
Project Director: Lynne Cowart (269) 385-1579
Funding: $986,135
Number of Teachers Served: 90
Number of School Districts Served: 52
Number of Students Served: No information available

In an effort to expose high school American History teachers, particularly those uncertified or untenured, to intensive professional development on practicing history as a discipline, a consortium was created of Kalamazoo Regional Educational Service Agency, Western Michigan University History Department, Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum and Kalamazoo Valley Museum. Project components include analysis of student American History performance by historians and teachers, teacher participation in a seven-day intensive summer institute to improve content knowledge, use of artifacts, and instructional skills, follow up professional development sessions with historians, and evaluation of project impact. Content covers: meeting of three worlds, colonization and settlement, revolution and the new nation, expansion and reform, the Civil War and Reconstruction, industrial U.S., emergence of modern America, the Great Depression, World War II, Post-War U.S., and contemporary U.S.

Grantee: Plymouth Canton Community Schools, Plymouth, MI
Project Name: Laying Foundations for Historical Inquiry in American History
Project Director: Beth Onusko Savalox (734) 582-5816 or Deborah Parizek (734) 582-5588
Funding: $807,186
Number of Teachers Served: 150
Number of School Districts Served: 1
Number of Students Served: 7,200

In partnership with the University of Michigan-Dearborn, The Henry Ford, Schoolcraft College, and the Plymouth Historical Museum, this project establishes three one-week summer institutes. In addition, secondary U.S. history teachers have year-round support through a series of one-day workshops to collaborate, implement new units, and evaluate results. An historian in residence lectures and assigns a reading list on the period from 1763 to1895 and 1890 to the present. Tenured history professors use small breakout sessions to guide teachers in use of primary resources and critical discussion. Resident experts, particularly museum curators, help teachers integrate community resources, and finally, teachers work with curriculum specialists to implement research-based best instructional practices to increase student achievement in American history. Topics include colonial America, the American Revolution, imperialism and World War I, foreign policy and World War II, the Cold War, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and conflicts in the Middle East. Establishment of a presence on the intra-district website also promotes collaboration.

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Last Modified: 02/15/2008