Teaching American History

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South Carolina 2008 Grant Abstracts
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Grantee Name:Anderson School District 1
Project Name:Excellence in Crafting Energetic Learners (EXCEL)
Project Directors:Cathy Heath
Number of Teachers Served:140
Number of School Districts Served:3
Number of Students Served:3,560
Grade Levels:Grades 4-5
Partners:Clemson University, American Institute for History Education, South Carolina Department of Archives and History, South Carolina State Museum
Topics:Year 1: Beginnings of a Nation: Exploration, Colonization, American Revolution; Year 2: Expansion, Division, and Rebuilding: Civil War, Reconstruction, Westward Expansion; Year 3: 20th Century history: Industrialization, Immigration, World Wars, Cold War to Present
Methods:Workshops, summer institutes, book study groups

Anderson 1 named its project "EXCEL" to reflect the project consortium's focus on empowering teachers to become enthusiastic about helping students "excel" in American history. EXCEL will enable an estimated 3,630 fourth and fifth grade students to have the opportunity to build foundational skills and improve academic achievement in traditional American history, thereby increasing proficiency levels on district and state standardized history assessments. The project will work with at least 140 targeted teachers to prepare them to teach traditional American history as a separate academic subject through improved content knowledge and implementation of innovative instructional strategies. Teachers in the lowest performing schools will be heavily recruited for program participation. The project staff will conduct five professional development workshops and monthly book study groups each school year and two one-week institutes during each summer. Content areas will include development of the U.S. Constitution and its significance; causes and events leading to the Civil War and the effects of the war; Reconstruction and its effects; landmark Supreme Court cases in U.S. history; World Wars I and II; the Cold War; and the Civil Rights Movement. The project will also deliver a variety of instructional support activities including one-on-one technical assistance for teachers from the American History Mentor Team, peer support opportunities, design and observation of the American History Model Classroom, use of the EXCEL website to promote the collaboration between teachers and history experts, and development of lesson plans and units of study.

Grantee Name:Horry County Schools
Project Name:The Historical Inquiry Project (HIP)
Project Directors:Jeanie Dailey or Samantha Coy
Number of Teachers Served:50
Number of School Districts Served:1
Number of Students Served:35,218
Grade Levels:Grades 3-5, 8, 11
Partners:College of Charleston, Avery Research Center, National Paideia Center
Topics:Year 1: Early American history to antebellum America; Year 2: Civil War to early 20th Century; Year 3: the World Wars to the present
Methods:Summer institutes, field studies, seminars

The goals of the Historical Inquiry Project are (1) to develop and implement strategies for sustained and on-going collaboration among teachers and outside experts to improve content knowledge and instruction in traditional American history; and (2) to develop and implement high-quality professional development that provides educators with content knowledge and related teaching skills to prepare all students to achieve higher standards in American history. Project activities will include attending summer institutes, participating in field studies throughout South Carolina, creating curriculum, training in Critical Friends protocols, participating in seminar training by the National Paideia Center, presenting at district and state workshops, and participating in National History Day activities or oral history projects. In addition, teachers will engage in "source work" guided by South Carolina scholars and engage in the authentic analytical work of historians. Content areas are built around the National Assessment of Educational Progress time periods and themes including the following: Change and Continuity in American Democracy; Ideas, Institutions, Practices, and Controversies; the Gathering and Interactions of People, Cultures, and Ideas; and Economic and Technological Changes and their Relation to Society. Field studies to sites within South Carolina will help teachers understand the role the Palmetto State played in the development of the nation as a whole.

Grantee Name:Orangeburg Consolidated School District 05
Project Name:Perspectives on American History
Project Director:Cynthia Sanders
Number of Teachers Served:30
Number of School Districts Served:1
Number of Students Served:7,327
Grade Levels:Grades 3, 5, 8, 11
Partners:South Carolina State University, South Carolina Archives, Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, South Carolina Council for African American Studies
Topics:Year 1: Worlds Meet (beginnings to 1763); Year 2: Revolution and Expansion (1754-1861); Year 3: Civil War and Reconstruction (1850-1877)
Methods:Read, Study, and View Program (RSVP), capstone sessions, summer academies, seminars

Orangeburg Consolidated School District 05 proposes a Teaching American History project, Perspectives on American History (Perspectives), that will help Orangeburg teachers and students realize the potential they have to become influential and proactive American citizens. Perspectives will invite teachers to investigate historical events in American history from the multiple perspectives of the individual lives that shaped those events and issues. Perspectives will implement and strengthen programs to teach American history as a separate academic subject by connecting teachers with 1) local and national historians; 2) historical resources; 3) best-practice teaching strategies and technological tools; 4) colleagues and their ideas and resources; and 5) a sustainable blueprint for excellent teaching. Perspectives meets the absolute priority through its partnerships with South Carolina State University, the South Carolina Archives, the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, and the South Carolina Council for African American Studies. These partnerships will provide historical content instruction, professional development, and teaching resources for participating teachers. The Perspectives management team and the external evaluator will work together to collect and analyze project data to measure improvements in teacher and student knowledge and to ensure progress toward project objectives. Course content will explore the following topics: exploration, colonization, and settlement; the Revolutionary War, a new nation, and reform movements; the Civil War and Reconstruction; the Industrial Revolution; World Wars I and II; the Great Depression; domestic and foreign policy; and the contemporary U.S.

Grantee Name:School District 5 of Lexington and Richland Counties
Project Name:Reading, Writing, and Reasoning in American History
Project Director:Kathy Hogan
Number of Teachers Served:45
Number of School Districts Served:2
Number of Students Served:22,594
Grade Levels:Grades 3-8, 11
Partners:Grades 3-8, 11
Topics:Year 1: The Course of American Democracy; Year 2: The Growth and Expansion of America; Year 3: Selected topics
Methods:Graduate courses, institutes

A needs assessment survey was given to every American history teacher in School District 5 of Lexington and Richland Counties and the School District of Newberry County. Of those who responded, 100% agreed that they need a program that will improve content knowledge of traditional American history and will show how to develop and implement literacy strategies when teaching American history. The Reading, Writing, and Reasoning in American History project will enable teachers to advance their expertise in traditional American history content, improve essential elements of teaching to higher standards, and develop and implement literacy strategies when teaching American history. The project will teach significant issues, episodes, and turning points in the history of the United States, how the principles of freedom and democracy have shaped and continue to shape America's social, political, and legal institutions and relations, how to form hypotheses and make conclusions based on historical evidence, how to provide opportunities to compare and contrast differing interpretations of history and historical events, as well as address special topics in American history.

Last Modified: 09/15/2008