Teaching American History

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New Jersey 2009 Grant Abstracts

Grantee Name:Bergen County Technical Schools
Project Name:The 21st Century Teaching American History Project
Project Director:Christine Wallace
Funding:$1,666,717 over 5 years
Number of Teachers Served Overall:170
Number of School Districts Served:8
Grade Levels:3-12
Partners:William Paterson University, New Jersey Historical Society, American Labor Museum/Botto House, Lenape Lifeways, Philipsburg Manor/Historic Hudson Valley Museum, Paterson Museum, Save Ellis Island
Topics:Years 1 and 2 (high school): American History Connections (Market Revolution, Industrial Revolution, Great Depression, American Revolution, Civil War, civil rights)
Years 2 and 3 (middle school): Beginnings (Native Americans, exploration and conquest, the Revolutionary War, slavery in the North and South)
Years 4 and 5 (elementary): The New Jersey Story (Lenape in the eastern woodlands, colonial New Jersey, immigration, government in New Jersey)
Methods:Kick-off conference, workshops, site visits, archival research

This northern New Jersey consortium has more than 157 schools in need of improvement. More than 28 percent of students are classified as disabled and many teachers are not highly qualified to teach American history. Coaching staff—historians and educators—will deliver 111 hours of training, plus eight hours aimed at helping nonparticipants implement curriculum created by participants. The project will offer three distinct 2-year programs, each designed to serve specific grade levels.  Each year, each district will have five 2-hour afterschool workshops, one full-day training, a 35-hour summer institute, a regional event/conference to promote replication, on-site and online mentoring, and access to a Web site containing resources and other project products. Years 1 and 2 will involve 60 high school teachers; Years 2 and 3 will train 60 middle school teachers; and Years 4 and 5 will train 50 elementary teachers. The project theme is meeting the 21st Century challenge of helping the increasing numbers of immigrant, English as a Second Language, and disabled students reach proficiency in American history. The goal is systemic reform in a region where many districts have not updated their American history curricula for a decade. Teachers will practice such instructional strategies as historical inquiry skills, differentiated instruction, Understanding by Design, and literacy strategies that address the needs of struggling students. With an eye to replicating the project, leaders have a quasi-experimental design for pilot testing, evaluating and implementing 21st Century Teaching American History. They expect to end with a curriculum that organizes historical facts into big ideas, essential questions, and enduring understandings.

Grantee Name:Moorestown Township Public Schools
Project Name:The Ulysses S. Grant Reading American History Fellowship
Project Director:Michele Hassall
Funding:$1,665,228 over 5 years
Number of Teachers Served Overall:230
Number of School Districts Served:14
Grade Levels:K-12
Partners:Rutgers University, Franklin’s Opus, American Institute for History Education, National Council for the Social Studies, New Jersey Department of Education
Topics:Year 1: The Building of an English America—Beginnings to 1607, Colonization (1607-1763)
Year 2: The Empire vs. the Colonies—The Revolution and the New Nation (1763-1815)
Year 3: The Agrarian South and the Industrial North—Expansion and Reform (1801-1861), Civil War and Reconstruction (1850-1877), Development of the Modern United States (1865-1920)
Years 4-5: Liberal Democracy vs. Totalitarianism—Modern America and the World Wars (1914-1945)
Methods:Summer institutes, colloquia, study trips, research sessions, Talking History Webinars, real-time lesson observations and reviews, turnkey training

Led by Moorestown Township Public Schools, a consortium of 14 school districts in southern New Jersey will deliver the Ulysses S. Grant Reading American History Fellowship. Students’ low scores on reading assessments prompted the consortium to incorporate a literacy component into the fellowship program. Each year, fellows from elementary and middle schools (and selected teachers from secondary schools in need of improvement) will attend 14 days of professional development: a 2-day fall colloquium, a 3-day winter colloquium, a 2-day field-study trip, 4 half-days of research and review, and a 5-day summer institute. Fellows will also attend Taking History Webinars, have access to texts and interactive Web-based lessons, participate in videoconferences and online chats, and get classroom observations and real-time feedback from coaches and peers via thereNow's IRIS. A cohort of 45 teachers will receive the core program each year and participate in other activities throughout the project. Ffive teacher-leaders will also receive an Advanced Placement training course in U.S. history and a week-long turnkey training at Rowan University. The focus will be on key issues, documents, events, and personalities in traditional American history. Instructional strategies will include the American Institute for History Education's Signature Strategies, including the Binary Paideia paradigm for teaching children to compare and contrast information as they research and analyze history, the Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe Understanding by Design approach to lesson design, and proven strategies for incorporating history content into reading and language arts. An interactive fellowship Web site will showcase fellows’ historical narratives, lessons, and virtual field tours.

Grantee Name:Washington Township Board of Education
Project Name:The Ida B. Wells Liberty Fellowship
Project Director:Steve Gregor
Funding:$833,325 over 5 years
Number of Teachers Served Overall:200
Number of School Districts Served:1
Grade Levels:K-12
Partners:Rutgers University, Franklin’s Opus, American Institute for History Education, New Jersey Department of Education, National Council for the Social Studies, Bill of Rights Institute, National Constitution Center, American Revolution Museum. Italian and Italian-American Heritage Commission
Topics:Year 1: The Empire vs. the Colonies
Year 2: From Unity to Division: The Agrarian South and Industrial North
Year 3: From Division to Unity: War, Reconstruction, and World Power
Years 4-5: Liberal Democracy vs. Totalitarianism
Methods:Summer institutes, colloquia, study trips, research sessions, Talking History Webinars, real-time lesson observations and reviews, turnkey training

Washington Township Public Schools, a New Jersey school district 20 miles southeast of Philadelphia, serves a culturally and linguistically diverse student population. Student performance on state benchmark assessments in U.S. History has been poor. To help teachers improve student achievement in this area, the Ida B. Wells Liberty Fellowship will offer several professional development activities each year: a 2-day fall colloquium, a 2-day winter colloquium, 2 half-days of research and review, and a 3-day summer institute. Fellows will use the American Institute for History Education's Twelve Effective Steps to Optimum Teaching to research and create historical narratives and lessons, which will be refined through classroom observations and real-time feedback from coaches and peers via thereNow's IRIS. A monthly series of Talking History Webinars and online access to CICERO teaching resources will be available to teachers throughout the district. The program will accommodate 40 fellows each year; 5 experienced teachers from the initial cohort will be trained as teacher-leaders, and they will replicate portions of the fellowship training to help all district history teachers create a lesson or activity each year. The program's thematic focus will be on how geography, economics, and political thought contributed to events in traditional American history. Fellows will be trained to use the American Institute for History Education’s Signature Strategies, including the Binary Paideia paradigm for teaching children to compare and contrast information as they research and analyze history. A fellowship Web site will publish historical narratives, lessons that incorporate state standards and other useful materials for history teachers.

Grantee Name:Woodbury Public School District
Project Name:The Battle of Red Bank Liberty Fellowship
Project Director:Jason Vivadelli
Funding:$833,325 over 5 years
Number of Teachers Served Overall:40
Number of School Districts Served:1
Grade Levels:5, 8, 10, 11
Partners:Rutgers University, Franklin’s Opus, American Institute for History Education, National Council for the Social Studies, Bill of Rights Institute, National Constitution Center, Italian and Italian-American Heritage Commission, American Revolution Museum
Topics:Year 1: The Empire vs. the Colonies
Year 2: From Unity to Division: The Agrarian South and the Industrial North
Year 3: From Division to Unity: War, Reconstruction and World Power
Year 4: Liberal Democracy vs. Totalitarianism
Year 5: Liberal Democracy vs.Totalitarianism redux
Methods:Colloquia, summer institutes, research studies, videoconferences, classroom coaching

Woodbury City Public Schools is an urban district in southern New Jersey near the site of the Battle of Red Bank during the Revolutionary War. About half of the students are from minority backgrounds, and the number of Latino students is growing. The district’s history teachers have had few opportunities for professional development. History specialists will lead eight days of training a year, including two 2-day colloquia, two half days of research and review, and a 3-day summer institute. The project will also present 12 evening videoconferences that will be open to all district teachers. Each year, 40 teacher fellows will participate in activities designed in a turnkey train-the-trainer approach. The Battle of Red Bank project aims to help teachers, and thereby students, examine history through the lens of a historian. Teachers will study substantive content through researching political, economic, legal, and social events and issues in American history. They will look at contemporary and later historiographies, along with primary documents. Instructional strategies will include Binary Paideia and Understanding by Design. These strategies will be incorporated into teacher-designed lessons, which will also employ the American Institute for History Education’s Talking History network, 12-step process for student research, and frameworks and strategies. Classroom observations and coaching will help teachers refine their lessons so they can be used by other teachers. Online resources provided through CICERO, a Web-based history resource, will be available to fellows and all district teachers. The project will develop a cadre of trainers to deliver turnkey replication of project activities, and a collection of lesson units that use innovative classroom strategies.


 
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Last Modified: 09/10/2009