Teaching American History

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Iowa 2008 Grant Abstract
Archived Information

Grantee Name:Cedar Rapids Community School District
Project Name:Bringing History Home in Cedar Rapids
Project Director:Elise Fillpot (319) 358-1434
Number of Teachers Served:250
Number of School Districts Served:2
Number of Students Served:6,250
Grade Levels:Grades K-5
Partners:The University of Iowa, Knox College, University of Northern Iowa
Topics:Orphan Trains, 19th Century social history, immigration, environmental history, industrialization, segregation, the Progressive Era, children's labor history, the Great Depression, Native and European encounters
Methods:Summer workshops, classroom visitation and support

The project will prepare 250 teachers from the Cedar Rapids and Prairie College Community School Districts to help students in nine elementary schools attain a firm grasp of various issues, events, and turning points in U.S. history and a broad range of historical thinking skills with which they can develop, explore, question, and enrich their own understandings of history. To improve teacher knowledge, the project will conduct a two-year sequence of two-day workshops for each of nine participating schools. During the summer workshops, teachers will explore history topics aligned with the units they will teach and learn strategies for teaching history in the grade levels they instruct. Each unit centers on a different major topic in U.S. history, but they all engage students in five processes for history exploration: timelining, reading for background knowledge, interpreting sources, mapping geographic historic information, and synthesizing various sources to design a narrative. Content for this project is different for each year and at each grade level. Topics at the kindergarten through second grade levels include 19th Century social history, immigration, children in history, communities in history, and local history. Topics at the third through fifth grade levels include industrialization, the Progressive Era, children's labor history, Native and European encounters, and segregation.

Last Modified: 08/06/2008