Teaching American History

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Indiana 2010 Grant Abstracts

Grantee Name:

Fort Wayne Community Schools

Project Name:

Fort Wayne Freedom Studies

Project Director:

Nancy Stansberry

Funding for Years 1-3:

$999,998

Number of Teachers Served Overall:

175

Number of School Districts Served:

1

Grade Levels:

K-12

Partners:

Smithsonian Institution, National Council for History Education, Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne

Topics:

Year 1: Foundation of Freedom
Year 2: The Limits of Freedom
Year 3: Expanding Freedom
Year 4: Protecting Freedom
Year 5: Modern Expressions of Freedom

Methods:

Summer institutes, colloquia, workshops, Professional Learning Communities, field studies

Fort Wayne Community Schools — Indiana's second largest district — serves more than 31,000 students in high-need, low-performing, mostly urban schools; in 2008-2009, 45 of the 49 schools failed to achieved adequate yearly progress, and all 49 are listed in improvement status. Each year, an average of 35 teachers will attend two 3-day workshops taught by a team of academic/pedagogy specialists and museum educators from the Smithsonian Institution; a credit-bearing, weeklong summer institute taught by professors from interdisciplinary American history programs at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne; and local field study excursions to historic sites, such as General Anthony Wayne's Old Fort, that exemplify national content themes and that ground broad concepts in local resources. Teachers from each participating school will attend peer-education Freedom Forums every two months to engage in content/pedagogy discourse and share best practices. The themes will emphasize individual freedom and civil liberties as the foundations on which American democracy, government and culture have been built. The principal strategy is that in-depth content knowledge will help the project teachers nurture respectful, tolerant and informed young citizens, who will become the future leaders of our nation. The project will produce a Web portal for archiving project resources and primary source materials.

Grantee Name:

Goshen Community School Corporation

Project Name:

American Liberty: Making Historical Connections

Project Director:

Rashella S. Wilfong

Funding for Years 1-3:

$499,608

Number of Teachers Served Overall:

35

Number of School Districts Served:

4

Grade Levels:

4, 5, 8, and 11

Partners:

Goshen College, Indiana University-South Bend, Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, Elkhart County Historical Museum

Topics:

Year 1: Beginnings to 1607; Colonization, Settlement and Communities
Year 2: Revolution and the New Nation; Expansion and Reform
Year 3: Civil War and Reconstruction; Development of Modern America
Year 4: Modern American and the World Wars; Contemporary America
Year 5: Friends or Enemies, Assimilation or Accommodation, Isolationism or Internationalism,

Methods:

Workshops, summer institutes, field studies, book studies, coaching

Located in northern Indiana, these districts have limited access to professional development. Many teachers have little American history background and lack confidence in their ability to teach the subject. Each year's activities will begin with a half-day kickoff that previews content and includes a keynote address. Teachers will attend three content workshops delivered by historians from partnering organizations and three grade-level methods workshops designed to bridge the gap between content and the classroom, plus a 5-day summer institute that combines content and methods. Each year, 10 teachers will travel on a 5-day field experience to sites that are related to the year's content. Book studies will include three content-focused books and one methods-focused book each year; these will be discussed during workshops and online. Teachers who complete all five years will receive 740 hours of professional development. The 35 teachers will come from all four participating districts and will stay for the full term. Should any teachers drop out, others will be recruited to take their places. American Liberty: Making Historical Connections will blend a chronological approach with a theme-based one, thus enabling historians to help teachers delve deeply into events in American history. Methods workshops will focus on specific skills, such as historical research, historical writing and investigations, and historical schools of thought. During summer field experiences, teachers will keep journals, gather resources and develop lesson plans. Coaches will provide classroom-based support through two visits every year to observe, model and give feedback. Teachers will learn to use Web-based technologies to share lesson plans and resources with other teachers.

Grantee Name:

Indiana Academy for Science, Mathematics, and Humanities

Project Name:

The Foundation of America

Project Director:

Dr. David C. Williams

Funding for Years 1-3:

$999,990

Number of Teachers Served Overall:

36

Number of School Districts Served:

13

Grade Levels:

5

Partners:

Ball State University, Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art, Indiana Historical Society, George Rogers Clark National Historical Park, Cahokia Mounds State Historic Park, Mackinac Island State Park

Topics:

Year 1: Colonial Experience on the Eve of Revolution, The Revolutionary War in the West
Year 2: Confederation to 1800; Early New World Cultures and Settlements; Native Americans in the Old Northwest Territory
Year 3: Development of English Colonies; the Northwest Territory
Year 4: Road to Independence; Spirit of Revolution; Revolutionary and Constitutional Eras
Year 5: The Confederation Era and the Constitutional Convention; the U.S. Constitution

Methods:

Webcasts, study groups, workshops, field studies

Fewer than half of this project's 36 teachers — all located in rural or small-town districts in east central Indiana — possess credit hours in American history. Following a training session at the beginning of the year, small cohorts (five to seven teachers) will meet once per semester to learn content and develop instructional units. At these study groups, historians and specialists will use interactive, multimedia webcasts to present American history content enhanced by images, maps, graphics, video clips, short pieces of text, Web links and the like. The teachers will attend 5-day summer workshops each year to learn additional content and visit historic sites. Ten preservice teachers from Ball State University also will participate each year, raising the total project participation to 86. The content will address pre-Columbian times to 1800, with an emphasis on the American Revolution and the nation's founding. During the first three years, the topics will cover the entire time period; in Years 4-5, the project will deepen the teachers' knowledge and understanding of the Revolution and the writing of the Constitution. Through the Understanding by Design approach, the teachers will learn (1) the big ideas and core processes fundamental to the study of American history, (2) the linchpin ideas transferable within American history, and (3) the big ideas necessary to understand the facts and processes within topics. Based on these understandings, they will identify important knowledge, create essential questions and improve their historical thinking skills. Upon successful peer review by the project staff, the teacher-generated lesson plans and other materials will be posted on a Web site.

Grantee Name:

Richmond Community Schools

Project Name:

Crossroads of American History: Learning Our History, Loving Our Stories

Project Director:

Susan Hively

Funding for Years 1-3:

$489,884

Number of Teachers Served Overall:

30

Number of School Districts Served:

1

Grade Levels:

3-12

Partners:

Indiana University-East, Wayne County Historical Museum, Indiana State Museum

Topics:

Year 1: 19th-Century U.S. History — Rise of Democracy; Antebellum Religion and Reform; Slavery as an Institution; Civil War and Reconstruction; Westward Expansion; Immigration, Urbanization and Industrialization; Progressive Era
Year 2: U.S. History Since 1945 — Rise of a Consumer Era; Cold War Era; Civil Rights Movement; Vietnam Era; Rise of Conservatism; Globalization

Methods:

Graduate courses, summer institutes, colloquia, field studies, Professional Learning Communities, mentoring

This eastern Indiana district, like many districts, has lacked resources for history professional development for many years. Teachers say they want to know about recent American history, and this project will help them gain content knowledge and professional credentials. Graduate courses, intensive summer institutes and field studies will provide content knowledge that will support teachers' involvement in the district's curriculum writing and mapping initiative. Classroom observations will help teachers improve practice, and the annual history resource project will engage teachers in deep learning about a topic as they create digital resources for all teachers to use. Two separate cohorts of teachers will participate: 15 in Years 1-3 and 15 in Years 3-5. Year 1 themes will include economics, entrepreneurship, transportation and communication; Year 2 themes will include leadership, social justice and social movements. These themes will guide explorations of the topics that the teachers selected for study (see topics, above). Teachers will learn to use technology and inquiry-based instructional strategies as they work to improve student engagement, increase the rigor of student performance and help students develop critical thinking skills. Professors from the university school of education will conduct observation sessions, help teachers reflect on their teaching by examining student work, and provide coaching support. Each year will culminate with a colloquium, during which teachers will make formal and informal presentations about their annual projects. Teachers' projects will contribute to resource banks of wikis, podcasts, virtual field trips, lessons and more, all of which will be available as open educational resources.


 
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Last Modified: 11/23/2010