Teaching American History

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Ohio 2009 Grant Abstracts
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Grantee Name:Brown County Educational Service Center
Project Name:Backyard History
Project Director:Russell Curtis
Funding:$833,245 over 5 years
Number of Teachers Served Overall:50
Number of School Districts Served:5
Grade Levels:K-12
Partners:Ashland University, Ohio Historical Society
Topics:Westward Expansion and Growth, Constitution and Governance, Changing Economies and Technologies, Migration and Immigration
Methods:Summer institute series, seminars

Of the five school districts served by the Brown County Educational Service Center in southern Ohio, four have not achieved Adequate Yearly Progress for one or more years, and data from the Ohio Department of Education Report Card show that student performance in American history and other subject areas is in serious need of improvement. To bolster the knowledge and credentials of those teaching American history, Backyard History will offer a series of intensive 1-week institutes each summer and provide stipends that teachers may use to obtain graduate credits. The project also will host four 1-day seminars throughout the year at historic sites in Ohio. Each seminar will include a lecture or discussion led by a historian, analysis of primary source materials, presentations on teaching strategies, and modeling of best practices. Fifty teachers will be served by Backyard History, with 25 participating in summer institutes and 25 attending seminars each year. The program will connect local, state, and national history as it explores significant actions, events, issues, and turning points that have shaped the nation. Instructional strategies will focus on engaging lessons that develop students’ critical thinking and inquiry skills through interactions with primary documents and artifacts. Program and liaison Web sites will feature teacher-developed lesson plans, unit plans aligned to Ohio Academic Content Standards, and other resources.

Grantee Name:Columbiana County Educational Service Center
Project Name:The Appalachian Ohio Teaching American History Grant Project
Project Director:Barbara Podbielski
Funding:$1,663,876 over 5 years
Number of Teachers Served Overall:54
Number of School Districts Served:29
Grade Levels:K-12
Partners:Ashland University, Ohio Historical Society
Topics:Westward Expansion and Growth, Constitution and Governance, Changing Economies and Technologies, Migration and Immigration
Methods:Summer institutes, seminars at historical sites, mentoring

Led by the Columbiana County Educational Service Center, the Appalachian Ohio Teaching American History Grant Project serves 29 eastern Ohio school districts. More than 22 percent of the schools in these districts have not achieved Adequate Yearly Progress for two or more years, and in most of these schools, scores on the state social studies exam are the lowest of any subject area. To bolster the teaching of American history in these schools, teachers will be invited each summer to attend one or two of six week-long summer institutes at Ashland University. Teachers will also attend up to four 2-day seminars each year at historical sites in Ohio. At least 50 teachers will receive professional development over the course of the project. Additionally, four master teachers who have received training through previous Teaching American History grants will mentor participants, assist with professional development and review teachers’ lessons for alignment with state standards. Throughout the project, teachers will examine significant issues, episodes and turning points in American history as they study the actions of men and women who have struggled to shape the nation. In the classroom, teachers will promote critical thinking and student inquiry skills as they incorporate primary documents and historical artifacts into their teaching. Lesson plans developed by teachers during summer institutes will be made available on the Ohio Humanities Council Web site.

Grantee Name:Educational Service Center of Central Ohio
Project Name:Hands On History 2.0: The Central Ohio Project
Project Director:James Tichgelaar
Funding:$1,666,625 over 5 years
Number of Teachers Served Overall:168
Number of School Districts Served:50
Grade Levels:K-12
Partners:Educational Service Center of Franklin County, Ohio Dominican University, Ohio Historical Society
Topics:Westward Expansion and Growth, Constitution and Governance, Changing Economies and Technologies, Migration and Immigration, 20th Century Conflicts
Methods:Summer institutes, online courses, academic seminars, field trips, research projects, mentoring

Hands on History 2.0 will involve 50 districts located within seven central Ohio counties, including the Columbus metropolitan area.  Thirty-one of these districts have not met their Adequate Yearly Progress goals, and teachers in these schools will be recruited heavily. The program seeks to improve the quality of history education by establishing strong ties between K-12 American history teachers, academic historians, and public historians in Central Ohio. Yearly professional development activities include an orientation meeting/field trip and five 1-day seminars that acquaint teachers with history resources in their region, at least one additional in-region field trip, a week-long summer institute supplemented by online graduate-level course work, ongoing mentoring, and online discussions and access to history education resources. Each year, 32 teachers will participate in the program. Also, eight teachers who have participated in previous Teaching American History programs will be trained as mentors; these mentors will assist in program planning, and each will be responsible for a cohort of four teachers each year. Hands on History 2.0 will connect significant national themes to state and local history and foster an understanding of economic and industrial development as well as population movement and growth. Teachers will learn to incorporate primary source materials into their teaching, to develop students’ critical thinking skills through inquiry-based learning, and to promote self-guided research, examination of evidence, and debate. A program Web site will house teacher-developed unit plans that make use of primary source material and are aligned to the Ohio Academic Content Standards.

Grantee Name:Gallia-Vincent Educational Service Center
Project Name:Five Star Liberty Fellowship
Project Director:Dr. Denise Shockley
Funding:$833,250 over 5 years
Number of Teachers Served Overall:40
Number of School Districts Served:4
Grade Levels:K-12
Partners:Villanova University, American Institute for History Education, National Council for the Social Studies, Bill of Rights Institute, National Constitution Center, American Revolution Museum, Italian-American Heritage Commission
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:Classroom coaching, research activities, colloquia, summer institutes, videoconferences, electronic discussions, mentoring, field studies

Four districts in southeastern Ohio make up the Five Star Liberty Fellowship (Fellowship) consortium, which has 29 schools in need of improvement, 66 percent of students in Grades 3-10 below proficiency in social studies, and only 22 percent of history teachers certified to teach United States history. Activities that support history professional development will provide interactions with scholars and specialists in settings that include colloquia, research studies, summer institutes, classroom coaching, mentoring, and field studies. Other activities for fellows will also welcome non-participants: these include videoconferences, online professional development and Web-based resources, and electronic discussions. The core group of 35 participants will represent the schools and teachers most in need of support. Five veteran teachers will participate and receive intensive training to become teacher-leaders and content specialists to support participants and other consortium history teachers beginning in Year 2. The project is committed to developing strong history teaching across the consortium by employing a turnkey replication model, by which every participant works in a vertical team and becomes a content specialist for his or her home district. Fellowship participants will learn by employing a variety of history instructional strategies, including Binary Paideia, content analysis, and a 12-step process for conducting research and creating historical narratives and lessons. Face-to-face and online professional development and participation in field studies at historical sites will help teachers earn master’s degree credits. Fellowship narratives, resource materials, virtual field trips and lesson plans will be published on the project Web site, and teachers who complete the training will go on to train other American history teachers.

Grantee Name:Shelby County Educational Service Center
Project Name:Shelby County Teaching American History Grant
Project Director:Sybil Truster
Funding:$832,765 over 5 years
Number of Teachers Served Overall:125
Number of School Districts Served:8
Grade Levels:Ashland University, Ohio Historical Society
Partners:We the People: American Constitutional Development and Democratic Processes; Movement of Peoples: Frontiers, Settlement, Migration and Immigration in the Development of the American Nation; Changing the Ways We Work, Play, and Live: Industrialization, Urbanization, and Technological Development in the American Story; War and Other Conflicts and the Expansion of American Freedom
Topics:Seminars, summer institutes, field trips

Shelby County is in a predominantly rural area of western Ohio, in the vicinity of Dayton, but not within easy reach of most professional development opportunities. Shelby County Educational Service Center lacks funds to provide training, so this grant will employ a training-of-trainers approach to help districts develop expertise from within their ranks. Project staff will use historical scholarship, local historians, and primary sources to make state and local history connections. During each school year, teachers can attend four 1-day seminars, two day-long field trips, and summer institutes that provide intensive, weeklong versions of graduate courses—a choice of six each summer, from which teachers select two. Each year, the participants will include four master teachers who participated in previous TAH grants and up to 25 new teachers, who may participate for as long as three years. The project aims to engage teachers through familiar strands of the traditional American history narrative while expanding their knowledge through exploration of the latest historical scholarship. During seminars, master teachers will help participants convert content knowledge, delivered by historians, into improved classroom instruction. The summer institutes will have a companion Web site where teachers can mount lesson plans, search a repository of original documents, and share resources and lessons. In addition to creating a collection of lessons, teachers can apply summer institute credits toward requirements for a master's degree.

Grantee Name:Tri-County Educational Service Center
Project Name:Connecting to the Past
Project Director:Stuart Hobbs
Funding:$1,657,793 over 5 years
Number of Teachers Served Overall:120
Number of School Districts Served:17
Grade Levels:4-8
Partners:The Ohio State University, Ohio Historical Society
Topics:Peopling the New World: Immigration and Migration of Natives and Newcomers; Creating the New Nation: The Revolution and Constitutional Development; Transportation, Communication, and Westward Movement
Methods:Summer institutes, seminars, historic site visits, multimedia projects, mentoring

Connecting to the Past will provide services to history teachers within the Tri-County Educational Service Center area in northeastern Ohio, which includes three districts in need of improvement and four other districts with at least one school classified as being at risk. For two years, fewer than half of the districts within the multidistrict consortium have met requisite state standards in social studies. To address teachers’ needs, each year-long program of professional development will consist of five content seminars that include technology training, two historic site visits, and a 5-day residential summer institute at The Ohio State University in Columbus. Three lead teachers will mentor participants, who will have access to camcorders and software they can use to create Web pages, documentaries, or other multimedia presentations related to historical site visits. Participants will also receive a supplemental materials allowance, stipends, and support for lesson development. A new cohort of 24 teachers will join the program each year. Connecting to the Past will help teachers create learning environments in which youth can develop a perspective on the nation’s past, relate it to the present and connect it to their futures. Instructional strategies will emphasize primary sources and will include a special focus on teaching with technology to reach a new generation with stories about the past. Lasting benefits will include a program Web site and a cadre of teachers who can provide professional development and mentoring for their colleagues.

Last Modified: 09/10/2009