Teaching American History

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

Grantee Name:

Covington Independent School District

Project Name:

We the People

Project Director:

Rick Ross

Funding for Years 1-3:

$499,974

Number of Teachers Served Overall:

60

Number of School Districts Served:

1

Grade Levels:

K-8

Partners:

University of Louisville, Kentucky Historical Society

Topics:

Year 1: We the People
Year 2: In Order to Form a More Perfect Union to Establish Justice
Year 3: Promote the General Welfare
Year 4: Provide for the Common Defense
Year 5: Secure the Blessings of Liberty to Ourselves and Our Posterity

Methods:

Summer institutes, content seminars, readings, primary sources, online discussions, site visits

This northern Kentucky district has some of the state's lowest student achievement scores; educators have spent two years rewriting the K-5 social studies curriculum to embed American history at every grade level. We the People will support implementation of this new curriculum by providing four content seminars each year, 3-day summer institutes, online and face-to-face discussions, visits to historic sites and explorations of primary source materials. Scholars, historians, curriculum specialists and instructional leaders will convey content and support lesson creation and planning. The project will involve 20 elementary and middle school teachers each year, many of whom will participate for multiple years. The project will explore annual themes (see topics above) drawn from the preamble to the U.S. Constitution to help teachers consider how important documents, events and people have influenced the preservation of a democratic republic. Teachers will examine texts and primary sources as they explore Kentucky and American history from colonization to the present. Strategies for improving teaching will include lesson study, and this process will be used as teachers collaborate to develop and refine lessons for classroom use. A public Web site will house products and resources, which include presentation notes, podcasts and video recordings; teacher-produced lesson plans and samples of student work; and a collection of primary source materials and related digital toolboxes, stories and historical scene investigations.

Grantee Name:

Kentucky Educational Development Cooperative

Project Name:

Freedom to Learn of American Government (FLAG)

Project Director:

Belinda Bowling

Funding for Years 1-3:

$999,978

Number of Teachers Served Overall:

100

Number of School Districts Served:

16

Grade Levels:

9-12

Partners:

Wilderness Trail Educational Cooperative, Campbellsville College, National Council for History Education, Teachers' Curriculum Institute, Kentucky History Museum

Topics:

Post-Civil War America; Emergence of Modern America and World Wars; Post-War/Contemporary United States

Methods:

Lectures, seminars, field studies, colloquia

This projecttargets underserved populations in urban and rural areas of south-central Kentucky, where student test data for social studies have shown little or no improvement, especially in high schools. Each year, the project will provide 15 days of professional development for two cohorts of 50 teachers (overlapping in Year 3 of the project), including (1) historical encounter sessions, consisting of intensive visits to museums and historic sites, seminars, historical research and grade-level collaborative work to integrate content in the curriculum; (2) a 2-day summer colloquium hosted by the National Council for History Education; (3) historical field institutes, in which participants experience past times and deeds that relate to the yearly topic; (4) a peer-mentoring and observation program; (5) Web lessons; and (6) a teachers curriculum institute. Teachers also will attend lectures by professional historians and local historians. Participants will be recruited by district superintendents, the project director and the curriculum specialist, with preference given to teachers in schools in high-need districts. The project strategies comprise a combination of curricular resources, including an electronic resource notebook containing reproductions from the Kentucky Historical Society collections, access to intranet-based discussion boards and online lesson plans, membership in professional history organizations, and ongoing instructional support from the project director and Campbellsville College history professors. In terms of products, the project teachers will create interactive, hands-on, standards-based lessons and traveling trunks.

Grantee Name:

Knott County Board of Education

Project Name:

Knott County History Project

Project Director:

Dustin Combs

Funding for Years 1-3:

$475,366

Number of Teachers Served Overall:

75

Number of School Districts Served:

1

Grade Levels:

K-12

Partners:

Morehead State University, Kentucky Historical Society

Topics:

The Individual in History; Westward Expansion and Frontiers; Constitution and Governance; Migration and Immigration; 20th-Century Conflicts and American Foreign Relations

Methods:

Seminars, workshops, field studies, summer institutes

This eastern Kentucky district has no history teachers with an undergraduate major or graduate degree in history. On the 2008-09 state social studies test, 55 percent of elementary students scored proficient or above, while only 45 percent of middle school and 30 percent of high school students reached that level. Four full-day content seminars, a full-day research workshop, a regional field study and a week-long summer institute will give teachers opportunities to interact with university history scholars, curators and archivists from local and regional historic sites and museums, and with one another to build a learning community. Each year, a new cohort of 15 elementary, middle and high school teachers will prepare to extend the training to their nonparticipating colleagues. Teachers will learn to use local and regional resources to help students connect with traditional American history. The program will combine field studies and relevant presentations from history scholars with classroom-based primary source activities from expert partners. During seminars, teachers will work in small groups as an archivist leads an inquiry-based analysis of primary sources; a historian-led lecture/discussion will examine and compare the assigned reading to the documents. After lead teachers facilitate grade-based sessions on best practices for teaching the content, the whole group will discuss vertical articulation of the content and skills. The summer institute will be a graduate-level seminar with assigned readings and projects. Project results will be disseminated by (1) creating a professional development curriculum that can be used after the grant ends, (2) posting materials on the project Web site and (3) presenting at professional conferences.

Grantee Name:

Ohio Valley Educational Cooperative

Project Name:

Project ATLAS: Analyzing Themes to Learn America's Story

Project Director:

Karla Gibbs

Funding for Years 1-3:

$998,739

Number of Teachers Served Overall:

41

Number of School Districts Served:

12

Grade Levels:

11

Partners:

Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, University of Louisville, Bill of Rights Institute, Teachers' Curriculum Institute

Topics:

Year 1: American Leadership
Year 2: American Evolution
Year 3: American Diplomacy
Year 4: American Liberties
Year 5: American Events and Documents

Methods:

Summer institutes, workshops, coaching, Lesson Study, field studies

In this area of south central Kentucky, many high school students have been performing below state average in history on both the state accountability test and Advanced Placement exams, and many high school history teachers have said they want to improve their history content knowledge and instructional skills. Each year, Project ATLAS: Analyzing Themes to Learn America's Story historians, scholars and educators will offer teachers 75 hours of professional development, including a 3-day theme-focused summer institute, a 1-day midyear workshop and eight 2-hour after-school network meetings. In addition, specialists will provide 18 hours of observation and instructional coaching for each teacher. The project's 41 participants, all  eleventh grade teachers of history as a stand-alone course, will form a cadre that will stay together for the duration of the grant. Project ATLAS aims to give teachers a roadmap for a rigorous, content-based U.S. history course. As teachers explore historical eras through themes (see topics, above), they will also learn and practice four specific pedagogical skills: (1) creating effective assessment items, (2) implementing document-based questions, (3) utilizing Socratic seminars, and (4) integrating technology. In addition, teachers will use the lesson-study process (plan-teach-observe-revise-report) to collaborate on building a set of lessons that can be shared with other teachers; it will have the additional benefit of helping project teachers build a professional learning community to sustain their improvement beyond the grant period.

Grantee Name:

West Kentucky Educational Cooperative

Project Name:

Teaching American History Opportunities for Educators: In-Depth

Project Director:

Dr. John Settle

Funding for Years 1-3:

$997,072

Number of Teachers Served Overall:

55

Number of School Districts Served:

15

Grade Levels:

K-12

Partners:

Murray State University, Kentucky Humanities Council, Thomas Jefferson Foundation

Topics:

 Discovery, Exploration, Revolution and a New Nation; Expansion and Conflict; Industrialization, Immigration, the 20th Century and Beyond

Methods:

Summer institutes, field studies, lectures, book studies, Professional Learning Communities

Recent data indicate that as many as 86 percent of fifth, eighth, and eleventh grade students in the participating districts failed to reach mastery on the state U.S. history assessment. Every year teachers will engage in six lectures/team seminars, where two hours of content will be delivered by professors and historians, and a 1-hour pedagogy presentation will follow. Three annual, grade-specific literary circles will focus on primary and secondary sources. Weekend site visits will target regional history, and week-long summer institutes will take participants to sites around the country. Project leaders hope to recruit and retain a cadre of 35 teachers for the grant period; however, teachers who leave will be replaced, so as many as 55 teachers may participate. The competitive selection process will look at assessment scores, level of training in history teaching and no certification to teach U.S. history. The project will immerse teachers in an in-depth tour of American history as influenced by cultures and societies, historical perspectives, government and civics, economics, and geography. Content instruction will focus on historic themes and chronological periods, while instructional strategies will focus on ways of thinking about history that support student cognition (e.g., critical thinking, differentiated instructional strategies). Use of technology will be integrated into all learning. The Web site will present successful K-12 lesson plans that address state and national standards, multiple instructional strategies to address different learning styles, primary and secondary source materials, interactive questions and answers, classroom-ready still and video images from site visits, and still and video images of effective history teaching.


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