Teaching American History

Current Section
 Office of Innovation and Improvement Home
Tennessee 2006 Grant Abstracts
Archived Information

Grantee Name:Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools, TN
Project Name:Teaching American History Grant, Discover Bringing American History Alive
Project Director:Todd D. Wigginton
Number of Teachers Served:210
Number of School Districts Served:1
Number of Students Served:36,000
Grade Levels:4-5, 8-12
Partners:Vanderbilt University, the First Amendment Center, Tennessee Civil War Heritage Area, the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, Edusoft, the History Channel, Annenberg Media, Nashville Public Television, Travellers Rest Plantation Museum, the Organization of American Historians, Volunteer Voices, Tennessee State Library and Archives, Nashville Public Library, Tennessee Council for History Education, Tennessee State Museum, and the Tennessee Historical Society
Topics:Native Americans through Removal; the Constitution and the emerging Republic; Nationalism, sectionalism and reform; the Civil War and Reconstruction; New Frontiers: the New South, the West, and the Rise of Big Business; the emergence of modern America; and America's transition to world power
Methods:summer institutes and mini-institutes, workshops , history seminars, national and state conferences, and website

This project will increase teacher knowledge, boost the number of highly qualified American history teachers, and improve the quality of instruction. This, in turn, would lead to a greater number of students who would demonstrate proficiency in American history. Also desired is an increase in the number of Advanced Placement students in American history. The project will increase teachers' use of primary materials, local history resources, and technology in history instruction will be addressed through the creation and provision of resources for design teams to develop comprehensive model history curriculum units which include the use of primary sources, literature, aligned test banks, and technology. A tour of selected historic sites in Tennessee will also be conducted at locations where there are recognizable links between events and people of importance in local history and the broad patterns of national history.

Grantee Name:Wilson County School System, TN
Project Name:Tennessee Educator's Active Colloquia for History (TEACH): The Story of Freedom
Project Director:Carole S. Bucy
Number of Teachers Served:100
Number of School Districts Served:13
Number of Students Served:67,913
Grade Levels:7-12
Partners:Volunteer State Community College, Middle Tennessee State University, the Tennessee Historical Society, the Hermitage, the Constitution Center, the National Civil War Heritage Center, the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, the Tenement House Museum, the Ellis Island Foundation, and the Roosevelt Library
Topics:the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Gettysburg Address and other primary documents to look at the American Revolution, expansion and reform, the Civil War and Reconstruction, the emergence of modern America, the Great Depression and World War II, and the postwar U.S. and civil rights
Methods:summer institutes, mini- institutes, Constitution Day seminar, History Day workshops, and follow-up activities

The state consistently is ranked near the bottom of the nation's schools in performance at every pre-collegiate educational level. The rural schools participating in the project lack access to history scholars and historical research resources. Teachers overwhelmingly are first-generation college graduates with little experience in traveling beyond the state of Tennessee. Through the efforts of the master and mentor teachers and the educational specialist, training will be provided that is closely attuned to the actual classroom needs of teachers. This consortium will offer high quality professional development in traditional American history to teachers in predominantly rural counties. The Story of Freedom will use the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and Lincoln's Gettysburg Address as the central documents to trace the story of freedom from the beginnings of this country to the present. The project is designed to create dialogues among teachers and professional historians and to model teaching strategies that work.

Grantee Name:Loudon County Schools, TN
Project Name:America's Republic: the Ongoing Story of Our Founding Documents
Project Director:Lisa Oakley
Number of Teachers Served:110
Number of School Districts Served:8
Number of Students Served:No Information Available
Grade Levels:4-5, 8, 11
Partners:the East Tennessee Historical Society, the University of Tennessee, and the Calvin M. McClung Historical Collection
Topics:provide for the common defense: American society in time of war; global power and responsibility: America and the world; the evolution of American citizenship; the changing role of the Commander-in-Chief; defending the rights of citizens; American diplomacy 1789-1828; and women of the Republic
Methods:mini-institutes, methods workshops, classroom follow-up with a traveling teacher, National History Day training workshops, summer institutes, museum visits, the development of a master teacher corps, a consortium website, and history curriculum kits

The agreement of the participating districts to commit their teachers to this project, as opposed to making participation voluntary as in an earlier Teaching American History grant, is evidence of the capacity building nature of the project. Many teachers in the consortium are not highly qualified to teach the subject, and most of the districts received a composite score of "C" in the 2005 state social studies assessment. The organizing principal for the traditional American history content presented by the project is how the significant issues, episodes, and turning points in history all thread back to an understanding and interpretation of the founding documents, particularly the Constitution and Bill of Rights. 12 master and 18 mentor teachers trained during the first grant will be given further training during this project so that they may assist their 80 apprentice colleagues.

Last Modified: 12/28/2006