Teaching American History

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Georgia 2010 Grant Abstract

Grantee Name:

Cobb County School District

Project Name:

Liberty, Equality and Justice for All in American History

Project Director:

Martha Battle

Funding for Years 1-3:

$999,425

Number of Teachers Served Overall:

30-90

Number of School Districts Served:

1

Grade Levels:

9-12

Partners:

Georgia State University, Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History

Topics:

Year 1: The Costs of Liberty
Year 2: Expanding Roles of Liberty, Equality and Justice
Year 3: American Commitment to Equality and Liberty

Methods:

Symposia, book studies, field studies, summer workshops

Cobb County is northwest of Atlanta, near the borders of Tennessee and Alabama. Student performance on the history portion of state graduation tests has fallen in recent years, and district history teachers have had access to little or no professional development. Each semester, this project will deliver three symposia and two field trips, a book study, and workshops for developing curriculum materials. Each year, leading historians will present a 5-day summer seminar that will include lectures and materials, historian guidance during a field study, and opportunities for teachers to confer with experts in the field. The project will serve an annual cadre of 30 high school teachers; Year 1 participants will be encouraged to stay on, and any who leave will be replaced by new teachers. Applicants will be screened to select those who have the greatest need. By providing a cutting-edge professional development experience, the district aims to develop a cadre of lead teachers and mentors who can work across the district and the state. Symposia will be led by guest historians, and primary source materials will be reviewed for historical interpretation, point of view and analysis. Field studies will be designed to include history content and exploration of primary sources. Strategies will include use of History Habits of Mind, document-based questioning and the Understanding by Design process. Every teacher will design at least one lesson per year, and these resources will be available on the district and project Web sites. Participants will present at local and state conferences and will be encouraged to apply to national conferences.

Grantee Name:

Gwinnett County Public Schools

Project Name:

American History: Examining Years of Economic Strides

Project Director:

Deborah E. Daniell

Funding for Years 1-3:

$927,763

Number of Teachers Served Overall:

150

Number of School Districts Served:

1

Grade Levels:

9-12

Partners:

Smithsonian Institution, Georgia Council on Economic Education, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, University of Georgia, SIFMA Foundation for Investor Education, New York Stock Exchange, National Archives at Atlanta

Topics:

Unit A: (1) Creating a Nation, (2) Expansion and Reform
Unit B: (1) Becoming a World Power, (2) Creating a National Identity

Methods:

Book studies, summer academies, field studies, classroom observations

This Atlanta district, like many U.S. districts, has seen scores on end-of-course history tests fall dramatically — from about 639 points in 2005 to 429 points in 2009. Examining Years of Economic Strides, or EYES, will immerse high school teachers in a 1-day kick-off event, eight 1-day education matters events, a 5-day summer academy, three days at the American History Conference, two book study circles, five resource library activities and five days of field research each year. With additional activities, teachers will be involved in more than 400 hours of professional development during the grant period. Four cohorts of 37 or 38 teachers each will participate in two years of professional development; this will enable every high school history teacher in the district to be part of the project. EYES aims to use the lens of economics to make American history fresh, engaging and relevant, and to encourage critical thinking and historical investigation into central themes and concepts. For example, the content of Unit A (1) will include examination of the colonial economy in a global context, property rights among American Indians, and the costs and benefits of American independence. EYES will use a blueprint, or rubric, to help teachers and project leaders track instructional strategies, such as using primary documents and applying historical thinking skills. Participating teachers will post materials about their studies and the lessons they create to the district’s social studies Web site, and they will present at conferences, including state and national conferences, plus a local one that they will host in conjunction with historians who lead project activities.

Grantee Name:

Paulding County School District

Project Name:

Project Get WIRED With History (Write, Interact, Read, Engage, Discuss)

Project Director:

Vince Fulghum

Funding for Years 1-3:

$984,536

Number of Teachers Served Overall:

80

Number of School Districts Served:

1

Grade Levels:

4, 5, 8, and 11

Partners:

Kennesaw State University, Georgia Historical Society, Teachers' Curriculum Institute, Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, National Archives and Records Administration-Southeast Region, Georgia History Day

Topics:

Year 1: Colonization, Settlement and Communities; Revolution and the New Nation
Year 2: Expansion and Reform; Crisis and the Union — Civil War and Reconstruction
Year 3: Development of Modern America
Year 4: Modern America and World Wars
Year 5: Contemporary America

Methods:

Seminars, summer history alliances, lectures via podcasts, annual conferences

Located halfway between Atlanta and the Alabama border, this district’s population has increased by 36 percent over five years, bringing greater diversity and more poverty to the area. In addition, many of the district’s history teachers are novices who do not have degrees or endorsements in American history. Get WIRED With History will offer five full-day seminars each year, three lesson study sessions, a 10-day summer history alliance that includes field study, five podcast lectures, and the 3-day Georgia Council for the Social Studies conference. In addition, teachers will be encouraged to attend regional or state youth competitions, either to act as judges or to bring their students as competitors. The annual cohort of 38 teachers was designed to include one teacher from every elementary and middle school and two teachers from every high school, with some staying in for multiple years. The project hopes to develop a community of teacher and student historians. To this end, the project will focus on research-based instructional approaches, including essential questions, active learning (e.g., project-based activities) and problem-based learning. Teachers will employ lesson study groups to improve their practice. Running across the topic areas (see above) will be several conceptual threads, including ideas and beliefs; trade, industry and technology; social and political interactions; movement and migration; and globalization. The project Web site, WIRED-Online, will host private discussion areas, program announcements and other project supports. In addition, its public space will make a variety of materials — including podcasts of lectures, related handouts, reading lists, teacher-created lessons and virtual tours — available to teachers elsewhere.

Grantee Name:

Savannah-Chatham County Public School System

Project Name:

Monumental Words and Deeds: Figures and Forces in American History

Project Director:

Leah M. Colby

Funding for Years 1-3:

$1,000,000

Number of Teachers Served Overall:

80

Number of School Districts Served:

1

Grade Levels:

K-5

Partners:

Armstrong Atlantic State University, Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, Coastal Museums Association

Topics:

Year 1: Beginnings to 1763
Year 2: Revolution and the New Nation
Year 3: Expansion and Reform
Year 4: Crisis of the Union — Civil War and Reconstruction
Year 5: Modern America and the World Wars

Methods:

Symposia, field studies, lectures

This project is centered in Savannah, Georgia, where the past is a microcosm of American history. Despite this heritage, a recent needs assessment found that the district's teachers in grades K-5 possess low levels of content knowledge in American history, ranging from 33 percent proficiency regarding the Revolution to 55 percent proficiency for the Civil War and Reconstruction. Each year, the project will include a keynote address by a nationally recognized historian; four day-long history symposia, featuring lectures, visits to local historic sites or museums, and pedagogy sessions; summer travel institutes to historic sites (25 teachers per year); and an instructional support program. The project will serve two multiyear cohorts of 40 teachers: Years 1-2 and Years 3-5. In addition, Cohort 1 will serve as peer coaches in three schools in Years 3-5. The project will link Savannah’s historic landscape and resources to parallel events in American history. It also will help teachers understand more thoroughly the principles of freedom and democracy as asserted in the nation's founding documents and as illustrated through historical figures and pivotal events. The teachers will read scholarly historical texts about major events, periods and ideas in American history; interact with professional historians; travel to historic sites; use primary sources and historical nonfiction; and collaborate to produce a stronger district-wide instructional program. A project Web site will include podcasts of historian lectures; instructional units; primary source lessons and activities; strategies- and skills-based audio training podcasts; a resource library; program analysis, including participant and student data; and student work samples.


 
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Last Modified: 11/23/2010