Teaching American History

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Massachusetts 2008 Grant Abstracts
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Grantee Name:Hampshire Educational Collaborative
Project Name:Teaching American Freedoms: Rights and Responsibilities from the Puritans to the Present
Project Director:Richard Cairn
Number of Teachers Served:300
Number of School Districts Served:15
Number of Students Served:25,000
Grade Levels:Grades 3, 5, 8 -12
Partners:University of Massachusetts - Amherst, Historic Northampton, National Archives - Pittsfield Office
Topics:Year 1: Colonial Period; Year 2: the U.S. Constitution; Year 3: regionalism and industrialism
Methods:Lectures, seminars, summer colloquia

Teaching American Freedoms will engage 80 Grade 3, 5, 8-12 history teachers per year (200-300 over five years) with priority on schools in need of improvement, corrective action, or restructuring, through three elements: 1) content-rich summer colloquia, taught by History Department faculty from the University of Massachusetts - Amherst and scholars from Williams College; 2) hands-on workshops at regionally located national resources and local museums and archives for teachers to learn to access, analyze, and apply primary source documents and artifacts from a variety of sources; and 3) a Web-based, scholar-guided project archive of primary source materials directly related to issues, episodes, and turning points as the focus of the colloquia, lectures, and seminars. Project goals are 1) to deepen teachers' content knowledge of traditional American history by revealing the roots of freedom and responsibility in American democracy, rising from the American Revolution and U.S. Constitution and evolving through key periods of change in American History; and 2) to improve teachers' capacity to apply this new knowledge and increase the quality of teaching American History as a separate academic subject.

Grantee Name:Newton Public Schools
Project Name:Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness: Narrative as a Lens on History
Project Director:Susan Linn
Number of Teachers Served:302
Number of School Districts Served:4
Number of Students Served:25,692
Grade Levels:Grades K-12
Partners:Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, Boston University, National Archives and Records Administration, Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Peabody Museum, Plymouth Plantation, Tsongas Industrial History Center, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum.
Topics:Year 1: Liberty Conceived (Revolutionary War); Year 2: Liberty Codified (Founding Documents); Year 3: Liberty Challenged (Industrialization, Immigration, Enslavement)
Methods:Summer institutes, school-year institutes

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness: Narrative as a Lens on History will use the knowledge acquired from project activities to improve the quality of instruction in the following ways: (a) teachers will know about more historical sites and make greater use of them in their classes; (b) teachers will make greater use of primary source documents in their classes; (c) teachers will become more confident in their abilities to teach American history and will be more likely to think of themselves as historians; (d) teachers' knowledge of and use of narrative as a teaching tool will increase, and (e) teachers will make use of exemplary lesson plans and support from Lead Teachers in their instruction. Up to 100% of district teachers will be served in the first three years of the project. The overarching goal is that students' knowledge and appreciation of American history will improve. Historical topics to be studied include Colonial America, Native American History, the American Revolution, the Constitution, the Civil War, and the Progressive Era, among others.

Grantee Name:The South Shore Education Collaborative
Project Name:A More Perfect Union: The Origins and Development of the U.S. Constitution
Project Director:Peter Gibbon
Number of Teachers Served:135
Number of School Districts Served:11
Number of Students Served:36,000
Grade Levels:Grades K-12
Partners:National Association of Scholars, the Adams National Historical Park, Plymouth Plantation, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Lowell National Historical Park
Topics:Year 1: The American Revolution and Constitution; Year 2: Secession Crisis and Civil War; Year 3: 20th and 21st Centuries
Methods:Summer institutes, field trips, lectures, readings

A More Perfect Union: The Origins and Development of the U.S. Constitution seeks to increase teachers' knowledge of three critical periods in American history through a sequence of readings, lectures, discussions, and field trips, as well as to discuss strategies for incorporating the new subject matter content into existing classes. The project will not only increase knowledge of constitutional history but also emphasize biographical information about those who took part in that history. The program will reflect on historical habits of mind (multiple causation, contingency, context), to think about how to incorporate such habits into the worldview of students, and to reflect on the role of the individual and personality on constitutional history and public policy. The project will create of a website containing historical materials, essays on basic issues and events in American history, lesson plans, and other teaching materials. Historical topics will examine the role of the Constitution from its creation in the 18th Century to its subsequent development and impact in the 19th and 20th Centuries.

Grantee Name:Southbridge School District
Project Name:People in Motion: Immigration and Migration in American History
Project Director:Julia Sandy-Bailey
Number of Teachers Served:210
Number of School Districts Served:9
Number of Students Served:21,000
Grade Levels:Grades K-12
Partners:University of Massachusetts, Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association
Topics:Year 1: Early immigration and settlement; Year 2: Mass immigration in the late 19th and 20th Centuries; Year 3: Migration of African Americans and immigration of peoples from Latin and Asian countries
Methods:Summer institutes, field trips, seminars

People in Motion: Immigration and Migration in American History (PIM) seeks to increase student understanding of American history by enhancing teacher knowledge while, at the same time, translating that additional understanding into curricula that meet state history standards. The project will seek to improve teachers' research skills, address the state history frameworks, and improve student knowledge by making what is important for students compelling for students. PIM will serve 45 teachers at each session and reach over 70 teachers a year by using the story of immigration and migration to explore the broader story of America and the tremendous significance of these movements in shaping American history. Teachers will examine American history through the lens of both immigration and internal migration, from colonial times through the 20th Century and, at the same time, look at parallel internal migrations, particularly as they relate to the historical development of western Massachusetts.

Grantee Name:Springfield Public Schools
Project Name:American Moments
Project Director:Rosemary Kalloch
Number of Teachers Served:415
Number of School Districts Served:1
Number of Students Served:25,177
Grade Levels:Grades K-12
Partners:Amherst, Hampshire, Mount Holyoke, and Smith Colleges, University of Massachusetts - Amherst, Springfield Library and Museums, Wistariahurst Museum, Springfield Armory National Historic Site
Topics:Year 1: American Moments: Settlement, Revolution, and Union; Year 2: American Moments: Expansion, Civil War, and Reconstruction; Year 3: American Moments: Industrialization, Immigration, Global War, and Social Movements
Methods:Summer institutes, field trips, history academies, history fora

American Moments seeks to provide more than 300 hours of intensive professional development in history content and pedagogy to a new cohort of 40 teachers from this school district. The project has six major components: 1) summer institutes and field visits; 2) special topics courses offered on Saturdays; 3) an after-school history academy; 4) an annual Teaching History Forum featuring a visiting historian, 5) a history workshop series at district in-service; and 6) an intensive pilot program in three underperforming schools. Teachers' engagement with professional development will include annual two-week summer institutes, traveling field study experiences, and academic-year history academies (book clubs, special topics, and technology and media). The project will provide an additional 180 hours of professional development in history to 375 more teachers through extended day programs in pilot underperforming schools and during annual in-service activities. Historical topics to be addressed include Native American history, colonial life, the American Revolution, the War of 1812, slavery, the Civil War, and World War I, among others.

Grantee Name:The Education Cooperative
Project Name:Change and Reform in American Life
Project Director:Gail Ross-McBride
Number of Teachers Served:175
Number of School Districts Served:15
Number of Students Served:24,000
Grade Levels:Grades K-12
Partners:University of Massachusetts, American Antiquarian Society, American Textile History Museum, Plymouth Plantation, Old Sturbridge Village, Ellis Island
Topics:Year 1: Immigration; Year 2: Industrialization; Year 3: American Government
Methods:Graduate courses, summer institutes, field trips, workshops, academies, colloquia

Change and Reform in American Life seeks to increase American history content knowledge among teachers and improve student achievement. In addition, the project aims to develop a cadre of highly skilled and motivated teachers who will work together to share the knowledge and skills they acquire through participation in the TAH program with their colleagues in their schools and districts. Graduate courses for 100 elementary and 75 secondary teachers will focus on the development of important content knowledge and historical skills (such as the ability to learn from primary source documents and master complex factual material). Trends and events of national significance, originating in New England, with special emphasis on immigration, industrialization, commerce, and government will be highlighted. The result will be exemplary history programs taught throughout the consortium districts, noticeably enhanced historical knowledge and skills in American history demonstrated among the students of the TEC communities, and increased student and teacher interest in pursuing further study in American history.

Last Modified: 08/14/2008