Teaching American History

Current Section
 Office of Innovation and Improvement Home
Colorado 2010 Grant Abstracts

Grantee Name:

Colorado Springs School District 11

Project Name:

Stories and Histories

Project Director:

Jessica Sharp

Funding for Years 1-3:

$999,154

Number of Teachers Served Overall:

200

Number of School Districts Served:

4

Grade Levels:

4-12

Partners:

Colorado Institute for Historical Study, Pike's Peak Library, Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum, National Archives and Records Administration—Rocky Mountain Region

Topics:

Year 1: Colonization, Settlement and Communities
Year 2: Revolution and the New Nation
Year 3: Expansion and Reform
Year 4: Civil War and Reconstruction
Year 5: Contemporary United States

Methods:

Evening study sessions, readings, mentoring, online network, professional learning teams

These districts serve the Colorado Springs metro area, which has seen recent influxes of new teachers and students; many are new to the United States and lack awareness of the country's history and what it means to be an American. The project will take a four-step approach: (1) grade-based learning teams with mentoring support, (2) summer and school-year professional development tracks, (3) a virtual network, and (4) resources (e.g., books, professional memberships in history organizations). Whichever track participants choose, they can earn academic and/or state continuing education credit. Every cohort will propose a presentation for the National Council for History Education annual conference, and four teachers will attend (one from each district). Five 1-year cohorts, each consisting of 40 history, civics and government teachers, will work in professional learning teams. Each cohort will commit to the school-year program, the summer program, or both; teachers may continue after 1 year, based on availability and need. Stories and Histories will pursue the theme of integrating thinking skills into history teaching. Inquiry questions will guide study of pivotal events, people, documents, legislation and judicial cases, as well as their local, state and national significance. Training will focus on helping teachers use digital storytelling, look at history as a historian does and apply such strategies as Understanding by Design and collaborative coaching. Every teacher will develop and use either a digital storytelling project or a primary source activity for the classroom; along with students' digital products, these materials will be posted on the Web for other teachers to find and use.

Grantee Name:

El Paso County School District 8

Project Name:

A Nation Among Nations

Project Director:

Debbie Pierre

Funding for Years 1-3:

$995,116

Number of Teachers Served Overall:

75-90

Number of School Districts Served:

3

Grade Levels:

K-12

Partners:

Colorado State University at Pueblo, EdGO Historians, National Constitution Center, Massachusetts Historical Society, DBQ Project, Virginia Historical Society, Center for History and New Media at George Mason University, New York Historical Society, museums, archives

Topics:

Year 1: Colonial America and Early Encounters Between Native and European Americans
Year 2: The Making of a Nation
Year 3: The Opening of the American West
Year 4: Civil War, Slavery and Reconstruction
Year 5: The Making of Modern America in New York City

Methods:

Graduate-level seminars, document-based question workshops, colloquia, instructional modules, summer field studies

The districts participating in A Nation Among Nations cover an area of 450 square miles; 70 percent of students come from military families, nearly half of the students come from families living in poverty, and diversity is on the rise. Each year teachers will participate in two 8-week instructional modules taught by university professors and three inquiry-based instructional workshops delivered by DBQ. The 10-day summer field studies will involve excursions to historic sites, and, during a 1-week summer curriculum workshop, teachers will learn about incorporating multimedia tools and resources into the curriculum. Each year, at least 75 teachers will study the decisions and actions made by individuals whose choices changed the outcome of history; teachers who complete the activities will receive 6 hours of university credit for their work. Teachers and, consequently, their students will learn to read and think like historians — to investigate historical questions, frame historical arguments and evaluate primary source documents. The major instructional strategy will be document-based questions. Special emphasis will be given to content that reinforces significant themes of American history, that makes history relevant by supplementing historical themes with primary sources and experiential field work, and that reveals primary sources that are not widely available. Teachers will develop, implement and disseminate curricula based on project activities.


 
Print this page Printable view Bookmark  and Share
Last Modified: 11/23/2010