Teaching American History

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Maryland 2010 Grant Abstracts

Grantee Name:

Howard County Public School System

Project Name:

History Labs: Inquiry-Based Teaching and Assessments of American History in Howard County Public Schools

Project Director:

Dr. Mark Stout

Funding for Years 1-3:

$999,445

Number of Teachers Served Overall:

30

Number of School Districts Served:

1

GradeLevels:

K-12

Partners:

University of Maryland-Baltimore County, Maryland State Archives, DBQ Project

Topics:

Early Settlements and Communities; The Road to Revolution; The New American Nation; Building a Republic; Confederation and Constitution; The Early Republic; Jacksonian America; Westward Expansion; The Civil War and Reconstruction; The Gilded Age; The World Wars and the New Deal, Postwar America

Methods:

Graduate-level courses, Saturday workshops, summer institutes

Maryland's Howard County, southwest of Baltimore County, has recently experienced unprecedented growth. Cultural and ethnic diversity have increased, as have poverty levels. Achievement gaps have appeared, budgets have been reduced and many experienced history teachers have retired, leaving a teaching force that needs the support of strong professional development. This 3-year graduate-level program will offer a 1-day fall colloquium, three Saturday sessions during the school year and a week-long summer institute. Participating teachers will represent all school levels, and priority will be given to teachers who lack history certification or those who teach at schools in need of improvement, and schools with heavy populations of underperforming students and English language learners. Historians and history education specialists will offer instruction on content and research-based teaching strategies. History Labs: Inquiry-Based Teaching and Assessments of American History in Howard County Public Schools will have participants read primary sources for content and understanding, carry out critical analysis, write evidence-based statements and interpretations, and engage in informed discussion of key historical questions and issues. The major classroom strategy will be inquiry-based instruction, and teachers will learn to create multiday history labs in their own classrooms. They will also develop formative and summative assessments to measure student progress. Each teacher ill implement at least five history labs, giving them experience they can use as master teachers to support colleagues after the grant period ends. The best teacher-created products will be available online as resources for other history teachers. The project will also create the Assessment Resource Center for History, an online collection of formative and summative assessments categorized by time period and linked to national U.S. history standards.

Grantee Name:

Kent County Public Schools

Project Name:

Roots of a Nation — A Chesapeake Journey

Project Director:

Christopher M. Cerino

Funding for Years 1-3:

$954,822

Number of Teachers Served Overall:

35

Number of School Districts Served:

7

Grade Levels:

4-8

Partners:

Washington College, Calvert Marine Museum, Sultana Projects, Inc.

Topics:

Native American history and European settlement; the Revolution; the War of 1812; slavery and the Civil War

Methods:

Conferences, seminars, field experiences, lesson plan workshops, Web site

These rural Maryland districts front both sides of the Chesapeake Bay; all have pockets of poverty, and several have growing populations of children who speak English as a second language. Teachers want professional development that increases their knowledge of American and local history and that builds skills to help students find relevance to their lives. Annual activities will include 15 topical seminars that are one to three days long and that enroll no more than 10 participants; each teacher will attend four seminars a year. A 2-day fall conference will bring all teachers together; seminars and conferences will be instructed by various partners, depending on the topics. The project will develop five master teachers for each participating district, so 35 teachers will engage in the 3-year professional development program. The project uses the Chesapeake Bay as its unifying theme for exploring pedagogical goals and content areas related to the four topics. Because the Chesapeake was home to an early European settlement and has been an important region in the country’s history ever since, this project will examine the connections between local and national history. Teachers will learn strategies that help to improve student performance, including use of primary and secondary documents, active learning strategies (such as concept models and peer teaching), observation and interviewing, teaching with historic places and local resources, works of art and historic artifacts, and active questioning techniques. The project will produce a Web site that contains sample lesson plans and blogs from field experiences; materials intended for use with students will be available in English and Spanish.

Grantee Name:

Montgomery County Public Schools

Project Name:

Unveiling History: Exploring America’s Past

Project Director:

Maria L. Tarasuk

Funding for Years 1-3:

$999,918

Number of Teachers Served Overall:

225

Number of School Districts Served:

1

Grade Levels:

4, 5, 8, and 9

Partners:

George Mason University, Maryland Historical Society

Topics:

Colonization; Revolution and the Founding of the New Nation; Civil War and Reconstruction; Industrialization and Urbanization; Modern America; World Wars I and II; Contemporary America

Methods:

Summer institutes, seminars, workshops, classroom observations

This district — the largest in Maryland — includes more than 1,000 American history teachers, many of whom have little or no background in their subject matter or in specific strategies for teaching history and historical thinking skills. Each year, the project activities will feature a 1-week summer institute for separate cohorts of 20 elementary teachers. A 2-week summer institute, beginning in Year 2, will serve annual cohorts of 30 secondary school teachers. In addition, all teachers in the district can participate in six annual events during the school year: four content-based visits to historic sites in the Washington, D.C., area, and two skill and application workshops that integrate technology and reflective practice. Teachers who have participated in 1 year of the project will be allowed to return for a second year. Returning teachers will attend more advanced workshops on historical thinking skills and share what they have learned through presentations at their schools, meetings or state or national conferences. The project strategies will focus on historical thinking skills (such as close reading, assessing reliability and sourcing) and include practice with online resources and primary sources, biographies, autobiographies and other historical narratives. Returning teachers who demonstrate refined skills will be filmed in their classrooms, and the videos will be used in discussions regarding best practices. The Center for History and New Media will develop an open-source, open-access Web site to share project materials, including primary source activities, the classroom videos of teachers, podcasts of site visits and workshops, and workshop materials, such as bibliographies, teaching strategies and recommended Web sites.


 
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Last Modified: 11/23/2010