Teaching American History

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New York 2008 Grant Abstracts

Grantee Name:Buffalo City School District
Project Name:Bringing History to Life
Project Director:June Barrow
Funding:$1,000,000
Number of Teachers Served:90
Number of School Districts Served:1
Number of Students Served:36,000
Grade Levels:Grades 4, 5, 7, 8
Partners:University of Buffalo, Erie County Historical Society, Michigan Street Preservation Corporation
Topics:Year 1: Colonial America; Year 2: Revolution; Year 3: Civil War and Reconstruction
Methods:Summer institutes, workshops

"Bringing History to Life" seeks to raise student achievement by improving teachers' effectiveness - addressing both history content and student learning process. The project will improve the effectiveness of 90 fourth, fifth, seventh, and eighth grade school teachers by imparting knowledge of traditional American history in a manner that excites and encourages students to learn. The project will emphasize ways that teachers can invigorate their presentation of American history with activities they have helped to develop by expanding their own improved historical resource awareness. Bringing History to Life will revitalize high expectations among teachers and student, which will transcend across the core curriculum and raise student achievement, as attention will be given to opportunities where connections can be made between the study of American history and that of literacy. The historical content will cover the full scope of American history from early Native American culture to the end of the 19th Century.

Grantee Name:New York City Department of Education (Citywide)
Project Name:Setting the Stage/Experiences in American History: Laying the Groundwork for Grades K-2
Project Director:Frances Macko
Funding:$1,936,671
Number of Teachers Served:225
Number of School Districts Served:1
Number of Students Served:4,500
Grade Levels:Grades K-2
Partners:Gilder-Lehrman Institute for American History, New York Historical Society, Bank Street College
Topics:Colonial settlements, Revolutionary War, Constitution, antebellum society, Westward Expansion, Reconstruction, immigration, Cold War
Methods:Summer institutes, workshops, mentoring

"Setting the Stage" will provide elementary school teachers in kindergarten, first, and second grades with intensive training in American history subject matter. New York City's Department of Education recently mandated that U.S. history be taught as a discrete subject in kindergarten through second grade starting in the 2008-2009 academic year. Data on New York City elementary school history teachers reveal that most have had little or no formal training in American history. In order to address this new mandate, the project targets 75 teachers per year from 25 elementary schools In Need of Improvement. These schools are characterized by poor passing rates on the statewide fifth grade social studies test. The objectives are that teachers will increase their history content knowledge, enhance their history pedagogical skills, and reach 1,500 students per year. Among the content subjects to be taught are the role of children in U.S. history, the Founding Era and the Constitution, and slavery. History content will also be the focus of sessions on using resources. Lesson plans will be available in electronic and printed formats and will occur along with in-class modeling of the use of resource materials.

Grantee Name:New York City Department of Education, Community School District #2
Project Name:History in the Classroom: Teaching American History for High Schools
Project Director:Terri Ruyter
Funding:$981,906
Number of Teachers Served:120
Number of School Districts Served:4
Number of Students Served:14,861
Grade Levels:Grades 11-12
Partners:New York University, New York State Historical Society, National Park Service
Topics:Contact and colonization, American Revolution, Early Republic, territorial expansion, Civil War, Reconstruction, Great Depression, Cold War
Methods:Summer institutes, workshops, mentoring

"History in the Classroom" will provide high school teachers with enhanced content knowledge in history subject matter and will improve instructional practices in U.S. history. Most of the high school teachers have had only a few college-level American history courses. Concentrated primarily in a low-income area of Manhattan, the project will focus on preparations for taking the New York State American History Regents Exams, developing lesson plans, analyzing documents, and reading history books. The goals include increasing teacher content knowledge, enhancing teachers' abilities to teach history effectively, developing teachers' ability to use local resources that connect to national history, and building teachers' leadership abilities. Among the historical topics to be studied are Colonial America; the Founders and the idea of individual rights; the idea of property; the Founders and the idea of freedom; slavery and abolition; women's suffrage; industrialization and the Progressive Era; the New Deal; and World War II. The grant will also emphasize the importance of using primary documents, of finding and adapting classroom resources, and of using graphs and charts to enhance classroom applications.

Grantee Name:New York City Department of Education, Community School Districts 8, 11, 12
Project Name:Telling America's Story: Traditional History Through Arts and Artifacts
Project Director:Philip Panaritis
Funding:$999,906
Number of Teachers Served:75
Number of School Districts Served:3
Number of Students Served:31,632
Grade Levels:Grades 4-5, 7-8
Partners:New York Historical Society, Bronx County Historical Society, Brooklyn Museum, Museum of the City of New York, Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum
Topics:Pre-European and Colonial America, Constitution, Westward Expansion, Civil War, Reconstruction, industrialization and labor, Cold War, urban industrial landscape, Great Depression and democratization of opportunity
Methods:Institutes, workshops, lectures

"Telling America's Story" will focus on teachers' abilities to teach history to low-performing students through professional development in history content, concepts, and historiography. Teacher turnover and the percentage of new and inexperienced teachers in these community school districts are high. A survey of elementary and middle school history teachers revealed that few had majored in history or social studies. Most of these teachers completed only one American history course in college. The project will draw on the resources of the grant partners in American art and artifacts to illuminate key events, concepts, and people in American history. The project will provide elementary and middle school teachers with intensive training in American history subject matter, will increase teacher content knowledge, and will improve instructional practices in U.S. history. Teachers will analyze documents and read history-based books and view historical documentary films that can be used in the classroom. Among the historical topics to be taught by university professors are the Revolution, the Civil War, the commercial city and commercial nation, 20th Century society, the Cold War and American culture, the Civil Rights Movement, and Colonial America, among others. History content will also be the focus of sessions on using primary documents, finding and adapting classroom resources, and using graphs, charts, computers, television, and motion pictures to display the unfolding of history.

Grantee Name:New York City Department of Education, Community School District #22
Project Name:The Teacher as Historian
Project Director:Diane LaCapria
Funding:$963, 242
Number of Teachers Served:277
Number of School Districts Served:2
Number of Students Served:56,828
Grade Levels:Grades 1-12
Partners:Brooklyn College, Library of America, Teaching Matters, Inc.
Topics:American Revolution, Native Americans, Westward Expansion, Civil War and Reconstruction, industrialization, World Wars I and II, Civil Rights Movement, Cold War
Methods:Summer institutes, workshops, lectures

"The Teacher as Historian" will provide elementary, middle, and high school teachers with intensive training in American history subject matter, will increase teacher content knowledge, and will improve classroom instructional practices. A survey of District 18 and 22 history teachers revealed that very few had majored or minored in history or social studies. Many teachers had completed only an introductory course in American history course in college. Students, especially eighth grade students, have performed poorly on statewide history tests. Concentrated in Brooklyn, the project will include seminars led by noted historians, independent research projects to be completed by all participants, and special training in teacher leadership for those who will become Master Teachers. A Master Teacher preparation program will work on analyzing major American history documents and on preparing a guide to instructional practices using these documents. In addition, a mentoring network will be established which will match the Master Teachers with other teacher participants. Among the historical topics to be covered are George Washington, slavery, Abraham Lincoln, the New Deal, World War II, and the Cold War. History content will also be the focus of sessions on adapting classroom resources and on using graphs, charts, computers, and film to graphically illustrate major historical themes.

Grantee Name:New York City Department of Education, Community School District #28
Project Name:Critical Themes in American History for Middle School Teachers: A Teaching American History Initiative in Queens
Project Director:Gus Hatzidimitriou
Funding:$999,911
Number of Teachers Served:60
Number of School Districts Served:3
Number of Students Served:14,861
Grade Levels:Grades 7-8
Partners:St. John's University, City University of New York, City Lore
Topics:Pre-European and Colonial America, American Revolution, Constitution, Westward Expansion, Civil War and Reconstruction, industrialization and labor, Cold War
Methods:Summer institutes, workshops, lectures

"Critical Themes" will provide middle school teachers with intensive training in American history subject matter, will increase teacher content knowledge, and will improve instructional practices in U.S. history. A survey of District 28 middle school history teachers revealed that only 25% had majored in history or social studies. Most of these teachers completed only one American history course in college. Concentrated primarily in a low-income area of Queens, the project will focus on the New York State Standards for middle school students and on developing lesson plans. Teachers will analyze documents and read history-based books and view historical documentary films that can be used in the classroom. Among the historical topics to be taught are Colonial America, the Constitution, slavery and abolition, women's suffrage, and the New Deal. In addition, history content will be the focus of sessions on using primary documents, finding and adapting classroom resources, and using graphs, charts, computers, and motion pictures to display the unfolding of history. The project will also include classroom tours of local historical sites.

Grantee Name:Rochester City School District
Project Name:Teaching As Historians
Project Director:Paul Lampe
Funding:$904,745
Number of Teachers Served:525
Number of School Districts Served:1
Number of Students Served:10,904
Grade Levels:Grades 7-12
Partners:State University of New York at Brockport, University of Rochester
Topics:Year 1: Teaching as Historians; Year 2: Movement of the People; Year 3: 19th Century America
Methods:Summer institutes, lectures, book circles

Teaching As Historians participants will receive approximately 90 hours of professional development per year, anticipating 450 hours of professional development over the life of the grant. The format includes four 20-hour summer institutes, eight theme-based content lecture series per year, establishment of an American History teacher resource library, weekly collegial book circles, bi-monthly required departmental professional development, observations in three model classrooms, teacher/consultant resource groups, and bi-annual assessment of teacher knowledge. Social studies teachers at all levels will be invited to participate with priority given to teachers in schools classified as in Need of Improvement. Over the course of the project, the district will work to reach 100% of its secondary social studies teachers. The historical topics to be covered include Native American history, colonial America, the American Revolution, the Constitution, the War of 1812, the Civil War, and World Wars II and II, among others.

Grantee Name:Smithtown Central School District
Project Name:Exploring Controversies to Better Understand America's Past
Project Director:Michael Gatto
Funding:$958,919
Number of Teachers Served:120
Number of School Districts Served:2
Number of Students Served:20,610
Grade Levels:Grades 8-12
Partners:SUNY at Stony Brook, Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, Long Island Museum of American Art
Topics:Year 1: Colonization; Year 2: Constitution; Year 3: Civil War
Methods:Graduate courses, summer research experiences, workshops

Exploring Controversies to Better Understand America's Past will develop and implement an integrated program of professional development that seeks to help 40 secondary-level American history teachers per year develop the content knowledge and skills they need to improve both what they teach about American's past and how they teach it. The project's activities and partnerships are designed to build local capacity and provide sustainability beyond the life of the grant. Teachers' study experiences will be shaped by the Cooperative Learning procedures developed by research of the Cooperative Learning Center procedures developed by researchers of the Cooperative Learning Center at the University of Minnesota. Specifically the principles and processes of academic controversy will be applied in all project activities. The historical topics to be covered include Native American history, colonial America, the American Revolution, the Constitution, the War of 1812, the Civil War, and World Wars II and II, among others.


 
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Last Modified: 08/13/2008