Teaching American History

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Idaho 2008 Grant Abstract
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Grantee Name:Madison School District 321 (ID)
Project Name:Cataclysms in American History
Project Director:Janet Goodliffe
Number of Teachers Served:30
Number of School Districts Served:1
Number of Students Served:4,500
Grade Levels:Grades 4-12
Partners:Utah State University, Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History
Topics:Year 1, Cataclysms of War; Year 2, Cataclysms of Nature; Year 3, Cataclysms of People
Methods:Seminars, web-based learning, and master teacher coaching

Participating teachers in the "Cataclysms" project will learn how to conduct methodological research by practicing and modeling professional historians' techniques. Throughout the program, they will develop an appreciation for historical context and will understand differences in time, place, and perspective. The project will develop an Innovation Configuration (IC) document that will be used to guide the school district's American history classrooms, as well as develop a database of program knowledge that will be available for review by new and existing teachers. Of the thirty participating teachers, ten will be selected and trained as Master teachers that will model American history instruction in their schools and will help developing teachers enhance their skills. The project will utilize different formats, including program seminars, afternoon pedagogical sessions, team collaboration, online collaboration, summer seminars, and E-learning tutorials. The project will explore 15 events and people throughout American history using the definition of "cataclysm" as a sudden change that causes a fundamental transformation. Specific content includes the Boston Massacre and the Revolutionary War, Gettysburg and the Civil War, Pearl Harbor and World War II, the Dust Bowl and the Depression, the Yellowstone Fire and America's ecosystem, Theodore Roosevelt and reform, and Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Civil Rights Movements.

Last Modified: 08/06/2008