Teaching American History

Current Section
 Office of Innovation and Improvement Home
COLORADO 2009 Grant Abstracts
Archived Information

Grantee Name:Centennial BOCES
Project Name:Fabric of Freedom: People, Events, and Ideas that Comprise American Democracy
Project Director:Tresban Rivera
Funding:$1,656,628 over 5 years
Number of Teachers Served Overall:150
Number of School Districts Served:4
Grade Levels:5-12
Partners:Colorado Institute for Historical Study, National Archives and Records Administration, Carnegie Library for Local History, Longmont Museum and Archives
Topics:Year 1: Major Time Periods in U.S. History
Year 2: Foundation, Frameworks, and Functions of U.S. Democracy
Year 3: Sea to Shining Sea
Year 4: Mass Movements
Year 5: Peace and Conflict
Methods:Summer academies, workshops, technology training, readings, online discussions and presentations, coaching and mentoring

Centennial BOCES in north central Colorado includes schools that are diverse in size and demographic composition. Fabric of Freedom will serve four districts that include 16 schools in need of improvement. Professional development provided through the program will be guided by five focal points: standards-based U.S. history, historical investigation, primary source enrichment, incorporation of local stories, and framing of history as a historian. Each year, the program will deliver a 10-day summer academy, six day-long professional learning team workshops, interactive online discussions and presentations, intensive technology training, and one-on-one mentoring and coaching. Participating teachers will be eligible for graduate credits, acquire libraries of durable learning goods to support instruction, read and review historical nonfiction, and receive paid memberships in professional history organizations. A cohort of 30 teachers will enter the program each year, and cohort members can continue some activities after their year of training ends. Year 1 and Year 3 participants will continue as teacher leaders beyond the life of the program. All participants will investigate the pivotal people, ideas, events, documents, and legislation that have created and shaped American democracy since the 17th Century. They will learn about historical investigation, historical analysis and interpretation, and other instructional strategies that are effective and engaging for a wide spectrum of learners, such as the use of digital storytelling to support content delivery. A Web site will disseminate teachers’ digital storytelling products, curricula, and a “source book” that contains classroom exercises based on primary documents.

Grantee Name:Ignacio JT-11 School District
Project Name:Four Corners Community History Project
Project Director:Kathy Polorney
Funding:$1,685,998 over 5 years
Number of Teachers Served Overall:100-125
Number of School Districts Served:4
Grade Levels:K-12
Partners:University of Northern Colorado, Southern Ute Indian Tribe, Southern Ute Tribal Museum, National Archives and Records Administration—Rocky Mountain Region
Topics:Year 1: Colonization and Early Settlement (1600-1763)
Year 2: Revolution Through Reconstruction (1763-1877)
Year 3: Westward Expansion (1804-1887)
Year 4: Development of Modern America Through World War II (1865-1945)
Year 5: Contemporary America (1945-present)
Methods:Professional learning teams, coursework, mentoring, virtual networks

These isolated Four Corners districts in Colorado have many Hispanic and Native American students, and half of the schools are in need of improvement, corrective action, or restructuring. However, project field studies will be able to take advantage of the area’s rich array of artifact sites, national parks, and historic sites. Each year, teachers will participate in pre-institute readings and online coursework, a 6-day summer institute with field trips, a 3-day summer field study, three fall workshops, four learning team meetings, and a capstone meeting where teachers present their project portfolios. A total of five cohorts of 20 to 25 teachers each will complete the 1-year training. A few members of each cohort will be invited to train for a second year to become teacher leaders. The Four Corners project aims to make history relevant to students by studying the intersection of native and national story lines, and past, present, and future interconnectedness, using the Ute Tribe as a case study. Historians and instructional specialists will help teachers learn to engage students in investigating family and community histories (e.g., oral histories, photo essays, community mapping). Participants will use a constructivist approach to active learning, work on integrating reading and writing strategies into history instruction, and learn techniques for using problem-based historical inquiry. Each cohort will create an artifact-centered, standards-based exhibit to be housed at Southern Ute Museum, and each exhibit will have a traveling kit with lesson plans for use at schools. Each teacher’s project portfolio will include resources and lesson plans that can be shared with other teachers.

Last Modified: 09/02/2009