Teaching American History

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Michigan 2007 Grant Abstracts
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Grantee Name:Battle Creek Public Schools, MI
Project Name:Turning Points in American Freedom: Competing Visions of the Good Society
Project Director:Bonnie Garbrecht
Number of Teachers Served:48
Number of School Districts Served:15
Number of Students Served:28,383
Grade Levels:5-12
Partners:Michigan State University's History Department
Topics:French and Indian War, the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, women's rights, abolitionism and the Seneca Falls Convention, responses to industrialism, and 1968
Methods:Institutes and seminars

"Turning Points" addresses the need to increase American history content knowledge of elementary, middle, and high school teachers; increase teachers' historical thinking skills, use of primary sources, and use of systematic assessment; and increase students' knowledge of American history. While 48 teachers will formally participate, some 240 can benefit from the project. Cohorts of teachers will divide into professional learning groups by grade level. For each topic, teachers will select a historical person for individual study. The History Department at Michigan State University benefits from close and creative relationships with Matrix: The Center for the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences Online. Focusing on "turning points," historians will pose sets of critical questions on alternatives to historical events for participants to explore.

Grantee Name:Flint Community Schools, MI
Project Name:The Pursuit of Happiness: Sustaining a Democracy
Project Director:Naomi Bohannon
Number of Teachers Served:80
Number of School Districts Served:3
Number of Students Served:21,525
Grade Levels:8, 9, 10, and 11
Partners:The University of Michigan-Flint's History and African American Studies Departments, Hofstra University, The Smithsonian Associates, the Wayne State University Reuther Library, the Alfred P. Sloan Museum, the Flint Public Library, and the Genesee County Historical Society
Topics:Reconstruction, Jim Crow, Native Americans from 1865 to 1900, Populism, Abolitionist Movement, Westward Movement, World War I, NAACP, Women Suffrage, Harlem Renaissance, the Great Depression, the New Deal, Cold War
Methods:Practicum sessions, evening colloquia, summer institutes

This project will be undertaken by a consortium of three Michigan school districts in Genesee County, Michigan. Thirty-nine percent of this consortium's students drop out of school in the 9th grade-the grade in which students are tested in American history-which is dramatically higher than the state and national average. This project will address Genesee County's deficits in American history instruction by providing in-depth instruction to 80 teachers over a three-year period, focusing on the years 1800-1990 and the theme of "sustaining freedom." The first year's sessions will introduce topics unified by the theme of "Reconstructing a Democracy," and conclude with a four-day summer institute on Reconstruction. Years 2 and 3 ("Fighting for a Democracy" and "Expanding a Democracy") will address mid-19th to 20th-century topics while repeating some content introduced the first year.

Grantee Name:Inkster Public Schools, MI
Project Name:MI Liberty
Project Director:To Be Hired
Number of Teachers Served:150
Number of School Districts Served:29
Number of Students Served:200,000
Grade Levels:K-12
Partners:Smithsonian Institution, National Council for History Education, University of Michigan-Dearborn, Colonial Williamsburg
Topics:Foundation of Freedom, Reconstructing a Nation, Modern Expressions of Freedom
Methods:Summer seminars and institutes, on-site study at historic sites

Located in an impoverished Detroit community, the project will provide innovative and comprehensive professional development in American History for 50 teachers per year from 27 schools-in-need-of-improvement and 11 schools in corrective action. Goals include expanding teacher knowledge, understanding, and appreciation of American history, improving instruction of traditional American history, and increasing student interest and achievement. Year One topics include the Declaration of Independence, Constitution, Bill of Rights, Emancipation Proclamation, Civil War, and Gettysburg Address. Year Two focuses on ratification of the 14th Amendment, Native American experience during Homestead Era, labor rights during industrialization, and suffrage movement. Year Three examines social revolutions that changed post-WWII America: civil rights, feminist movement, challenges to First Amendment rights during Vietnam War, and Supreme Court decisions. Discussion will also address issues facing the large Arab-American population in Dearborn in response to the 9/11 attack and Iraq war.

Grantee Name:Kalamazoo RESA, MI
Project Name:Southwest Michigan Consortium on Teaching American History
Project Director:Lynne Cowart
Number of Teachers Served:75
Number of School Districts Served:52
Number of Students Served:113,290
Grade Levels:5
Partners:Kalamazoo Valley Museum, Mackinac State Historic Parks, Western Michigan University, Grand Valley State University, and Eastern Michigan University
Topics:Colonization and Settlement (1585-1763), Revolution and the New Nation (1754-1815)
Methods:Summer institutes, graduate courses

The project focuses on traditional American history training for three groups of 25 fifth grade teachers, who will participate in nine-day summer institutes to improve their content knowledge and pedagogical skills in American history. Teachers will study the meeting of three cultures: British, French, and Native Americans, the colonial origins of American political institutions, the American Revolution, and writing and ratification of the U.S. Constitution. Events will be linked with discussions about values and institutions, civilization, innovation, cultural diffusion, and human-environmental interactions. Content covering the years 1754-1815 focuses on events leading to the outbreak of armed conflict between the colonies and England; varying perspectives of men, women, white settlers, free and enslaved African Americans, and Native Americans; Continental Congress accomplishments and failures; Federalist and anti-Federalist ratification debates; and the growth of the Supreme Court's powers during the early 19th Century.

Last Modified: 10/23/2007