Teaching American History

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Idaho 2010 Grant Abstracts

Grantee Name:

Lewiston Independent School District No. 1

Project Name:

Following America's Footsteps

Project Director:

Dr. Ellen Perconti

Funding for Years 1-3:

$494,457

Number of Teachers Served Overall:

34

Number of School Districts Served:

6

 Grade Levels:

4-12

Partners:

Washington State University, Lewis-Clark State College, American Institute for History Education, Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History

Topics:

Year 1: Beginnings to 1763, Communities
Year 2: 1763-1815 — Early Days of the Republic
Year 3: The Individual in History — Actions and Legacies
Year 4: Re-creation — The Trial of Ann Hathaway
Year 5: Re-creation — The Virginia Ratification Convention

Methods:

Saturday seminars, summer field studies, book studies, online sessions

Districts from both western Idaho and southeastern Washington will be involved in this project; focus groups with history teachers found that few have learned from or taught with primary documents, and many believe their history curricula need to be updated. Following a 2-day launch meeting, annual activities will include curriculum improvement team meetings, three days of summer historian seminars/field study, five Saturday seminars, monthly Talking History viewing and discussion sessions, and quarterly book studies. In addition, three master teachers each year will attend a 5-day Gilder Lehrman summer institute. The project will serve at least 33 teachers and a principal who have volunteered to participate for the full term of the grant. To support improvements in teaching and learning, activities will become more participatory each year; in Year 1, many activities will be passive — lectures, podcasts — and by Year 5, most activities will feature discussions, practice and teaching others; specific activities will include re-creations, simulations and debates. Each year, all major historical eras will be covered so as to coincide with the time line used in secondary classrooms; repetition and differing perspectives over the life of the project will help teachers build depth of knowledge. Teachers will develop habits of historical thinking as they study 100 significant documents, 100 court cases and 100 significant turning points in history. Curriculum improvement teams at the project, district and school levels will develop curriculum maps, pacing benchmarks and common assessments. All teacher-created curriculum maps, assessment tools and lesson plans will be posted on a Web site for other teachers to use.

Grantee Name:

Mountain View School District #244

Project Name:

Conversations Across Time: Teaching American History Through Interactive Analysis of Primary Sources

Project Director:

Dr. Wayne Carroll

Funding for Years 1-3:

$998,769

Number of Teachers Served Overall:

40

Number of School Districts Served:

13

Grade Levels:

4, 5, 8, 10-12

Partners:

American Institute for History Education, Idaho Council for History Education, Social Studies School Service, University of Idaho, Idaho State University, Lewis-Clark State College, Boise State University

Topics:

Year 1: A New Nation;  the U.S. Constitution;  the Young Republic (1801-1828)
Year 2: The Civil War Era; Industrialization and Westward Expansion; The Progressive Era; World War I; The Roaring Twenties and Great Depression
Year 3: World War II (1936-1945 and the Cold War; the Baby Boomers and Generation X; Contemporary America

Methods:

Summer institutes, online workshops, classroom observations

A 2010 survey indicates that only a small percentage of U.S. history teachers in these Idaho districts currently place a significant emphasis on chronology, primary sources or connecting historical events with broader themes. Due to budget limitations, few teachers have had an opportunity to participate in history-related professional development over the past three years, and most would be interested in strengthening their knowledge of primary sources and interacting with historical experts. This project offers summer and daylong institutes during the school year featuring renowned national historians and twice-monthly half-day Saturday online workshops led by history faculty from Idaho's four institutions of higher education. The teachers will be organized into four cohorts of 10 based on location. Each of the three years, they will study a different chronological phase of American history, focusing on significant issues, episodes and turning points. They will use primary sources to learn how the words and deeds of individuals have determined the course of history, and create lesson plans using backward design and one of five teaching strategies: Binary Paideia, haunted history, content scene interpretation, cause-effect generalizations and cognition strategies. The teachers will produce four lesson plans for each unit. An academic advisory board will select the best teacher lesson plans and student products for inclusion on a consortium Web site. In addition, the online workshops will be recorded and made available as QuickTime movies.


 
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Last Modified: 11/23/2010