Teaching American History

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

Grantee Name:

Duval County Public Schools

Project Name:

We the PUPILS (Professionals United to Promote Instructional Leadership in Schools)

Project Director:

Michele Green

Funding for Years 1-3:

$999,998

Number of Teachers Served Overall:

115

Number of School Districts Served:

1

Grade Levels:

5, 8, 11

Partners:

University of North Florida, Jacksonville Public Library, Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum, Museum of Science and History, National Society of the Colonial Dames

Topics:

Year 1: Power of the Pen
Year 2: Currents of Time
Year 3: American Pioneers

Methods:

Online and classroom-based coursework and institutes, field experiences, mentoring, collaborative projects, graduate courses, technology training

In 2008-09, this district had an average of only 14.2 percent of students in Grades 8 and 11 proficient in American history. Teachers will be able to participate in a variety of weekend institutes that deliver content and methods training, local field experiences and end-of-year expeditions to national sites, and 5-day summer workshops. In addition, 40 teachers each summer can take credit-bearing graduate courses that will be delivered in a combination of in-person and online media. Teachers will come from the schools where students have the greatest need. To ensure that resources and activities complement grade-level standards, teachers will participate in an elementary/middle or high school cohort. Each summer’s field experiences will align with the year's topic, and the two cohorts will study historical eras that align to content they teach in the classroom. Sessions on pedagogy and opportunities to collect resources for classroom use will be incorporated into all activities. The project Web site will house teacher blogs, reading lists, lesson plans, videos, journal entries and more; an annual product will highlight project activities to other teachers and the community at large (e.g., in Year 3, teachers will research and create archives on four local leaders for whom schools are named). At the end of the three years, teachers will host an Academy of American History Forum for all Duval County history teachers, where they will present workshops and lectures highlighting the experiences and materials developed under the grant.

Grantee Name:

Marion County Public Schools

Project Name:

Engaging Encounters in the American Experience

Project Director:

Christine Sandy

Funding for Years 1-3:

$949,248

Number of Teachers Served Overall:

125

Number of School Districts Served:

1

Grade Levels:

4, 5, and 7

Partners:

University of Florida, Teachers' Curriculum Institute, Silver River Museum, eLearning Systems

Topics:

Colonial Encounters, the American Revolution and the Constitution; Slavery, Civil War and Reconstruction; Modern America: Populism and Progressives, U.S. Imperialism, and the Cold War

Methods:

Summer field trips, seminars, online courses, mentoring

As it neared the end of a Teaching American History grant for teachers in Grades 8, 11 and 12, and as the state completed a new social studies curriculum, this north-central Florida district recognized the importance of addressing vertical alignment and acted to add professional development for teachers in earlier grades. Each cohort will participate in six days of concentrated, content-focused seminars; field studies at historic sites, including historical reenactment, document study and instructional materials; workshops and mentoring on the use of primary documents, historical simulations and other strategies; quarterly meetings of the professional learning community; online discussion forums that include history scholars; training in lesson planning; and classroom modeling and mentoring to support implementation of content and strategies. Each year, a new cohort of 22 fourth and fifth grade teachers and three seventh grade teachers will participate. Over the five years, teachers from all elementary and middle schools will be represented, and they will be mentored by project staff and teachers involved in the previous grant. To move away from passive learning activities, the project will strive to actively involve teachers and students in American history education. Teachers will be included in the district's curriculum mapping activities, which will prepare them for the instructional design assistance, resource materials and collegial support they will receive to design and implement hands-on instruction that integrates American history with reading and writing activities. Strategies will include problem-based learning and other inquiry-based approaches. As teachers complete their year of professional development, they will provide support to colleagues in their schools, expanding the project’s reach.

Grantee Name:

Monroe County School District

Project Name:

Keys to History: Building a Community of Learners and Leaders

Project Director:

Jeanne Sanford

Funding for Years 1-3:

$500,000

Number of Teachers Served Overall:

100

Number of School Districts Served:

1

Grade Levels:

4-8

Partners:

Florida Humanities Council, Monroe County May Hill Russell Library, Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park, Friends of Fort Taylor, Harry S. Truman Little White House Museum

Topics:

Year 1: Colonial Period Through Revolution
Year 2: New Nation and Expansion
Year 3: Crisis and Union
Year 4: Development of Modern America
Year 5: Modern America

Methods:

Seminars, field studies, book studies, Professional Learning Communities

This project will serve the Florida Keys — 1,700 islands spread over 120 miles. A 2010 survey determined that only two percent of upper-elementary and middle school American history teachers in this district feel qualified to teach their subject; 77 percent have not had training in historical thinking skills. The project will build on a new series of advanced U.S. history courses being introduced into middle schools. Each year, 20 teachers will participate in (1) history content seminars, guiding them through readings and assignments; (2) content presentation workshops in the schools; (3) history teaching workshops, focusing on specific historical-thinking skills; (4) professional learning communities, and (5) immersive summer institutes, featuring travel to historic sites. The project teachers must participate in nearly 100 annual hours of professional development. The themes will intertwine primary sources and historic sites, including visits to Massachusetts; Philadelphia; the Washington, D.C., area; and selected locations in the Keys. The strategies involve teachers in planning, using sound approaches to historical content, paying attention to pedagogy and active learning, emphasizing historical thinking skills, and promoting collaboration to help teachers address appropriate assessment methods. The key principle is that content, pedagogy and historical thinking should be interwoven and related to classroom experience. Every participating teacher will create one content-based lesson plan, which will be vetted; the highest rated plans will be uploaded to the project Web site as models. Teachers will also develop additional lesson plans and materials to share with their students and colleagues.

Grantee Name:

The School Board of Broward County, Florida

Project Name:

American Tapestry

Project Director:

Shellie Gory

Funding for Years 1-3:

$983,121

Number of Teachers Served Overall:

50

Number of School Districts Served:

1

Grade Levels:

K-5

Partners:

Florida Atlantic University, Fort Lauderdale Historical Center, Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum, Bonnet House, Bill of Rights Institute, Teachers' Curriculum Institute

Topics:

Year 1: 18th Century — Three Worlds Collide
Year 2: 19th Century — The Melting Pot
Year 3: 20th Century — E Pluribus Unum
Year 4: African American Struggles for Freedom
Year 5: Women in the Freedom Fight

Methods:

Summer institutes, workshops, lectures, field studies

Elementary teachers in this diverse Florida district — the nation’s sixth largest — have a significant need for professional development in American history. Each year of the project, 50 teachers will participate in (1) an intensive summer institute; (2) Saturday workshops, which immerse teachers in content and interactive instructional strategies and which develop six master teachers; and (3) book talks led by subject experts. In addition, 25 teachers in Year 2 and 25 teachers in Year 3 will participate in field visits to local museums and intensive content studies at historic sites in Florida, Pennsylvania, Virginia and New York. Teachers in schools identified for improvement will be actively recruited for participation. Six teachers will become master teachers, serving as mentors for other participating teachers and content experts for all elementary teachers in the district. The specific events, people and topics were selected for their unique relevance to elementary students and teachers and the district's diverse population, particularly the foreign-born students who have not had a lifetime of firsthand experiences in this country. Teachers will receive training in differentiating the curriculum, creating authentic and engaging writing assignments, and infusing research-based reading strategies into their pedagogy. The project Web site will feature lesson plans, an American history discussion forum for all district teachers, primary sources, virtual field trips, educational blogs and academic games. Participants also will create educational videos that demonstrate effective teaching strategies and that model academic rigor.


Grantee Name:

School District of Lee County

Project Name:

E Pluribus Unum: One Nation, One People

Project Director:

Cindy McClung

Funding for Years 1-3:

$989,753

Number of Teachers Served Overall:

120

Number of School Districts Served:

1

Grade/School Levels:

5, 8, and 11

Partners:

Southwest Florida Museum of History, Florida Gulf Coast University, The Edison and Ford Winter Estates, Holocaust Museum of Southwest Florida

Topics:

Year 1: Exploration; Colonial America
Year 2: American Revolution; One Nation
Year 3: Civil War and Reconstruction; Industrialization and Progressivism
Year 4: Modern America and Conflicts of War
Year 5: Equality Movement and Contemporary America

Methods:

Lectures, seminars, field studies, workshops, Professional Learning Communities, internships, graduate-level courses

E Pluribus Unum: One Nation, One People will be developed in one Florida district, where assessment data indicate that American history is seldom taught in depth at the elementary level and that such knowledge is not being retained by middle and high school students. Each year, the project teachers must participate in at least three professional development sessions for a minimum of 30 hours, including at least one professional learning community or graduate course; take a nationally validated assessment; and complete follow-ups for all professional development activities. Those who meet the requirements will be eligible for an annual stipend; those who complete a graduate course will receive tuition reimbursements and stipends. The project presenters — local history experts, history professors, pedagogical experts and curriculum coordinators — will provide history content expertise, pedagogical training, historical research and/or historical thinking that applies to classrooms. The project strategies will focus on collaborations among teachers, history experts and the partners, supported through (1) Professional Learning Communities, where teachers can collectively study and inquire about topics, lessons and books; and (2) research opportunities and internships offered by the partnering museums and local university's history department. Project teachers will produce lesson plans and demonstrate lessons as follow-ups to the professional development; plans that demonstrate the necessary quality, impact and ease of implementation will be posted on a Web site and made available to all teachers. In addition, the Web site will feature other related resources, including videos of the lessons being delivered, the locations of local historic sites and museums, lists of available field trips and links to other useful sites.

Grantee Name:

The School District of Osceola County, Florida

Project Name:

Bringing History Alive

Project Director:

Scott Fritz

Funding for Years 1-3:

$999,364

Number of Teachers Served Overall:

30

Number of School Districts Served:

1

Grade Levels:

5, 8, and 11

Partners:

National Council for History Education, National Humanities Center, Florida Humanities Council, University of Central Florida, Colonial Williamsburg

Topics:

Year 1: From a New World to a New Nation
Year 2: Forging a National Identity
Year 3: Reconstructing and Developing Modern America
Year 4: Becoming a World Power
Year 5: Democracy and Struggles

Methods:

Colloquia, seminars, webinars, field studies, book studies

A recent study demonstrates that teachers in this Florida district have limited accessibility to professional development in history and, due to limited budgets, lack resources and teaching materials. In this project, teachers will participate in at least 80 percent of the professional development opportunities. In Years 2 to 5, they will attend a summer institute, which will include a 2- or 3-day colloquium from the National Council for History Education, followed by 2 days of curriculum design from the University of Central Florida. Each year, the project will feature five online history webinar discussions from the National Humanities Center, two Saturday teaching history workshops from the University of Central Florida, a Saturday seminar or field study academy from the Florida Humanities Council to examine historic topics in depth, and a 3- to 5-day summer field study academy at historic sites relevant to the time period being studied. The project will involve 30 teachers, with the goal of recruiting 10 each from elementary, middle and high schools. Teachers will interact with historians, master teachers and curriculum specialists to examine, analyze and synthesize historical knowledge by reviewing primary and secondary sources. All activities will integrate educational technology and emphasize the use of resources to help history teachers improve their classroom practice. Annually, teachers will create at least one comprehensive lesson and then field-test it with students, revise it as needed and submit it to the project coordinator for review.

Grantee Name:

The School District of Palm Beach County, Florida

Project Name:

M.A.R.C.H. Through Time (Memories of America’s Recorded Collective History)

Project Director:

Ana Dowling

Funding for Years 1-3:

$951,782

Number of Teachers Served Overall:

150

Number of School Districts Served:

1

Grade Levels:

5 and 8

Partners:

Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, Florida Atlantic University, eLearning Systems, Organization of American Historians, Historical Society of Palm Beach County, Norton Museum, Spady Cultural Heritage Museum

Topics:

Year 1: The First Americans; Exploring the Americas
Year 2: Colonial America; Settlement and Emergence of Identity
Year 3: Road to Independence; The Revolution; Creation of a New Nation
Year 4: Growth and Expansion; Age of Reform
Year 5: Crisis and Union: Civil War and Reconstruction

Methods:

Seminars, field studies, workshops, online courses, summer institutes

A 2009 needs assessment of fifth and eighth grade American history teachers in this southern Florida district — the 12th largest in the nation — suggests a lack of proper content preparation; 18 percent of the surveyed teachers never took a history course in college, 55 percent took one to two courses, 23 percent took three to four courses and 4 percent took none. The project activities will include (1) nine American history content seminars; (2) a 3-day field study/immersion institute, featuring historical research and learning tours of local museums and historic sites; (3) a week-long summer institute, in which cohorts share new methods of engaging students and travel to historic places, including St. Augustine, Williamsburg, Boston, St. Louis and Washington, D.C.; (4) a series of teacher workshops, focusing on collaboration and content-enrichment strategies; and (5) online courses to align content learning with hands-on, minds-on media tools in an interactive learning community. Each year, the project will involve a cohort of 30 fifth and eighth grade American history teachers. The historical themes will align with the newly adopted Florida state standards for social studies. The teachers will explore historic events, themes, documents, struggles, achievements, influential individuals and pivotal events that have shaped the course of American history. All tangible products developed by teachers and approved by peer review will be made available on the project Web site.


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