Teaching American History

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South Carolina 2009 Grant Abstracts

Grantee Name:Aiken County Public Schools
Project Name:Hearing Every Voice: Teaching American History in South Carolina
Project Director:Laurence King
Funding:$1,621,340 over 5 years
Number of Teachers Served Overall:40
Number of School Districts Served:3
Grade Levels:4, 5, 8, 11
Partners:University of South Carolina - Aiken, National Council for History Education, South Carolina Department of Archives and History, South Carolina Geographic Alliance, Aiken County Historical Museum, American Institute for History Education
Topics:Year 1: Beginning of a Nation, Colonization, the Revolution, and the New Nation
Year 2: Expansion and Reform, Civil War, and Reconstruction
Year 3: The Development of Modern America
Year 4: Modern America and the World Wars
Year 5: Contemporary America
Methods:Colloquia, academic lectures, site visits, workshops

Aiken, Edgefield, and Saluda County Schools in South Carolina included 22 schools in need of improvement, corrective action, or restructuring at the time of the grant application. To address history teachers' limited access to professional development, Hearing Every Voice will involve teachers in content-rich professional development in American history. Annual activities will include a 3-day fall colloquium, a 2-day summer colloquium, regional historical site visits, a series of 1-day Hometown Heroes workshops that fit local stories into the larger tapestry of American history, and access to quality Web-based content and pedagogical resources via Cicero and Sojourner History. These activities will include intensive content lectures, primary source analysis, innovative pedagogical techniques, training in the use of Historical Habits of the Mind, and hands-on experiences in historical settings. Forty teachers will participate throughout the five years of the project and will be trained as master teachers and mentors for others in their districts. The project’s unifying theme is its focus on helping educators and students understand the interrelated nature and significance of group and individual voices, events, and deeds within the flow of history. Instructional strategies based on Historical Habits of Mind will help teachers and their students develop historical thinking skills and will integrate primary sources and technology. Teachers will create lesson kits that combine scholarly readings, classroom resources, and high-quality lesson plans. These will be made available online.

Grantee Name:Berkeley County School District
Project Name:Foundations of American History
Project Director:Ed Moore
Funding:$999,909 over 5 years
Number of Teachers Served Overall:180
Number of School Districts Served:1
Grade Levels:K-5, 11
Partners:The Citadel, Charleston Southern University, Berkeley County Museum, Old Santee Canal Park, Gibbes Museum of Art, Charleston Museum, South Carolina Historical Society, Avery Research Center, Drayton Hall, National Park Service, Old Exchange Building, Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum
Topics:Year 1: Teaching American History through the Arts, Biographies, Objects, Time, and Place (Grades K-2); A Growing Nation (Grades 3-5)
Years 2-5: Topics to be selected according to teacher and student needs
Methods:Graduate courses, workshops, book studies, retreats, field studies

Located in South Carolina's Lowcountry, Berkeley, the state's largest school district, includes rural areas, military bases, and the bedroom communities of Charleston. Although the region has a well-developed appreciation for its rich history, the district has never met Adequate Yearly Progress and is in corrective action. Foundations of American History will help history teachers improve their performance through graduate courses, workshops, book studies, and online professional development that emphasize deep content knowledge, strong pedagogical skills, and the use of primary sources and educational technologies. Teachers who participate in required hours during the year can attend the summer institutes, which will include field studies at historical sites. Annual cohorts of 50 elementary teachers will be selected beginning in Year 1. In Year 2, annual cohorts of 10 secondary teachers (participants in a previous Teaching American History project) will join to complete master’s degree requirements and to become mentors and content specialists for the elementary cohorts. The project is designed to establish a strong foundation in elementary school to prepare students for a true understanding of our country's past and its potential for the future. With scholars and specialists, teachers will explore primary sources, the professional learning community, and the creation of a seamless K-5 program of study. Instructional approaches will include balanced literacy for integrating social studies with reading, 6+1 Writing Traits for integrating social studies with writing, and integrating the arts (dance, music, and visual arts) into the social studies. Foundations teachers will contribute to common assessments and benchmarks for elementary-level American history and will become teacher leaders within their schools and the district.

Grantee Name:Florence School District One
Project Name:Reading, Writing, and Speaking About American History
Project Director:Randy R. Koon
Funding:$1,653,486 over 5 years
Number of Teachers Served Overall:50
Number of School Districts Served:5
Grade Levels:3-5, 8, 11
Partners:University of South Carolina, Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture, South Carolina Historical Society, South Caroliniana Library
Topics:Year 1: The Course of American Democracy
Year 2: The Growth and Expansion of America
Year 3: Topics in History—United States Economic History
Year 4: Topics in History—African American History
Year 5: Topics in History—United States Diplomatic History
Methods:Summer institutes, online graduate courses, workshops, mentoring, mini-institutes

Florence School Districts One to Five are located in northeastern South Carolina. All five districts are in restructuring, and 31 percent or more of students in each district scored below basic on the state social studies test in 2007. To help history teachers gain the content knowledge they want, RWS will offer online graduate-level courses on a traditional semester schedule and through intensive study in 2-week summer institutes. Participants will conduct online discussions about history teaching, attend mini-institutes on examining student work and assessment and, in Year 3, become mentors to nonparticipating teachers to help them improve their knowledge and instructional practices. One cohort of 50 teachers drawn from all school levels will complete the 5-year program. Each year, half will take the online course and the other half will participate in the intensive summer institute. RWS aims to develop teacher-historians through increasing participants' knowledge of significant events, principles, historical thinking, and special topics, and by encouraging the practices of collaboration, curriculum design, and reflection. The graduate-level courses will focus on the eras and topics of American history outlined in the National Assessment of Educational Progress and the state's social studies curriculum framework. Other activities will focus on curriculum and instruction designed to build literacy skills and to engage both teachers and students in American history content. The project will result in a collection of teacher-created, technology-driven instructional units to be shared locally and nationally through the RWS Web site, which will also offer teaching resources and links to a variety of primary documents.

Grantee Name:Sumter County School District Two
Project Name:Shaping Tomorrow Through Exploration of the Past
Project Director:Judy Newman
Funding:$1,672,954 over 5 years
Number of Teachers Served Overall:30 or more
Number of School Districts Served:3
Grade Levels:4, 5, 8, 11
Partners:Colonial Williamsburg, Boston History and Innovation Collaborative, Civil War Institute of Gettysburg College, Sumter County Museum, South Carolina Department of Archives and History, Southeast Region Archives, South Carolina Council of Economic Education
Topics:Year 1: Revolution and the New Nation (1763-1815), Development of Modern America (1865-1920), Modern America and the World Wars (1914-1945), Contemporary America (1945-present)
Year 2: Revolution and the New Nation (1763-1815), Expansion and Reform (1801-1861)
Year 3: Modern America and the World Wars (1914-1945), Contemporary America (1945-present)
Year 4: Colonization, Settlement and Communities (1607-1733); Revolution and the New Nation (1763-1815); Development of Modern America (1865-1920); Modern America and the World Wars (1914-1945); Contemporary America (1945-present)
Year 5: Expansion and Reform (1801-1861); Crisis of the Union: Civil War and Reconstruction (1850-1877); Contemporary America (1945-present)
Methods:

Located in central South Carolina, Sumter County School District Two, Sumter School District 17, and Clarendon County School District Two have not achieved Adequate Yearly Progress for the past two years. U.S. history end-of-course test results show that student performance in history lags far behind performance in math and English language arts in the districts. To develop more knowledgeable history teachers in the districts' elementary, middle, and high schools and to improve student performance, yearly STEP activities for participating teachers will include a 5-day summer institute, a 6-day field study trip, a history educators' forum, and three workshop days featuring local historians. STEP also includes a mentoring component and a technology component. Thirty teachers will be invited to participate in STEP for at least two years and preferably throughout all five years of the project. STEP will provide firsthand encounters with historical places, archives, and ideas to enable teachers to “see, touch, and talk history” and connect local and national history for their students as they explore the role of economics and technological changes and their relationship to society, ideas, and the environment. Instructional strategies will integrate technology and best practices in teaching the content of traditional American history. Teachers will create quality lessons plans and materials that engage students in activities that require higher-level thinking. These lessons will be posted on the districts' Web sites.

Grantee Name:Williamsburg County School District
Project Name:A Story to Tell: Teaching America’s Past for America’s Future
Project Director:LaShanda George
Funding:$1,636,288 over 5 years
Number of Teachers Served Overall:50
Number of School Districts Served:6
Grade Levels:3-5, 8, 11
Partners:University of South Carolina, Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture, South Carolina Historical Society, South Caroliniana Library
Topics:Year 1: The Course of American Democracy
Year 2: The Growth and Expansion of America
Year 3: Topics in History—United States Economic History
Year 4: Topics in History—African American History
Year 5: Topics in History—United States Diplomatic History
Methods:Summer institutes, online graduate courses, workshops, mentoring, mini-institutes

The districts participating in this grant are located in east-central South Carolina. All five districts are in restructuring, with many schools that have not achieved Adequate Yearly Progress for five years. Also, 34 to 73 percent of the district’s students scored below basic on the state social studies test in 2007. To help history teachers gain content knowledge, A Story to Tell: Teaching America’s Past for America's Future (Story) will offer online graduate-level courses on a traditional semester schedule and through intensive study in 2-week summer institutes. Participants will conduct online discussions about teaching history, attend mini-institutes on examining student work and assessment and, in Year 3, mentor nonparticipating teachers. One cohort of 50 teachers drawn from all school levels will complete the 5-year program. Each year half will take the online course and the other half will participate in the intensive summer institute. Story aims to develop teacher-historians through increasing participants’ knowledge of significant events, principles, historical thinking, and special topics, and by encouraging the practices of collaboration, curriculum design, and reflection. The graduate-level courses will focus on the eras and topics of American history outlined in National Assessment of Educational Progress and the state's social studies curriculum framework. Other activities will focus on curriculum and instruction designed to build literacy skills and to engage both teachers and students in American history content. The project will result in a collection of teacher-created, technology-driven instructional units to be shared locally and nationally through the Story Web site, which will also offer teaching resources and links to a variety of primary documents.


 
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Last Modified: 09/10/2009