Teaching American History

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Missouri 2010 Grant Abstracts

Grantee Name:

Aurora R-VIII School District

Project Name:

Traveling America's Cs: Decisive Moments in American History

Project Director:

Anne Shadwick

Funding for Years 1-3:

$998,901

Number of Teachers Served Overall:

120

Number of School Districts Served:

17

Grade Levels:

3-12

Partners:

Southwest Center for Educational Excellence, College of the Ozarks, National Constitution Center, National Civil War Museum, National World War I Museum, Cold War Museum, Rosa Parks Museum, eLearning Systems

Topics:

Year 1: Colonies to Country 
Year 2: Civil War 
Year 3: Conflict of Two World Wars
Year 4: Cold War 
Year 5: Civil Rights

Methods:

Seminars, online courses, summer research institutes, workshops

Located in southwestern Missouri, the participating districts — mainly small, rural and disadvantaged — have all been targeted for improvement. Each fall and spring, the semester will begin with a 6-week online course that includes reading, analysis and dialogue. This will be followed by a weekend seminar that combines lectures with discussions of readings and teaching strategies; lectures will be open to the public and to all teachers as in-service professional development. The year will conclude with a 5-day summer institute, during which teachers will visit historic sites and use primary sources to conduct research and prepare instructional materials. Each year, 30 elementary and secondary teachers will participate; they will work in cadres of three to five to prepare lesson materials, observe one another presenting the materials, and analyze lesson delivery and content along with associated student work. Through looking at decisive moments in American history, teachers and students will explore "who we are" as a nation and "why we are the way we are." Traveling America's Cs is designed to address identified gaps in teachers' knowledge. The project will introduce historical thinking skills; the revised Bloom's taxonomy; 21st century skills and research-based strategies, such as inquiry-based teaching, that help students take charge of their learning. Lessons will be reviewed by students to help teachers refine them for interest and effectiveness. Products will include electronic teacher portfolios, lessons, assessments, resources and ideas, and traveling trunks that will be available to all teachers in a 48-district consortium.

Grantee Name:

Parkway C-2 School District

Project Name:

Charters of Freedom

Project Director:

Elizabeth Morrison

Funding for Years 1-3:

$735,017

Number of Teachers Served Overall:

110

Number of School Districts Served:

4

Grade Levels:

5, 8-12

Partners:

Center for the Constitution, Bill of Rights Institute, Franklin D. Roosevelt Library and Museum, Organization of American Historians, Webster University

Topics:

The Charters of Freedom (Declaration of Independence, Constitution of the United States and the Bill of Rights) as they pertain to fifth-grade (the Revolution and the New Nation), eighth-grade (Expansion and Reform) and high school (Modern America and the World Wars) history studies

Methods:

Coaching, workshops, summer institutes, Lesson Study

Missouri certification requirements include minimal study of American history, so many teachers in these St. Louis-area districts lack deep content knowledge in the subject area. Teachers will engage in a variety of lectures, workshops and site visits to historic places. These will range in length from a few hours to five days, and many will include both content and pedagogical instruction; follow-up activities, often online, will range from research to video conferences to using Moodle. With support from the lead historian and the instructional coach, teachers will work in vertical articulation teams to determine how each Charters of Freedom document will fit into the curriculum and to determine the depth of knowledge to which each will be taught and assessed. After establishing an understanding of the documents, teachers will work in grade-level teams to apply learning about the documents to pivotal periods in American history. Participants will explore the events that sparked and surrounded the creation of our country's charters of freedom. Through intensive content knowledge training, teachers will understand how the documents both influenced, and were influenced by, American presidents during pivotal periods in American history. The project will introduce and implement the research-based instructional strategies identified by Advanced Placement and the Foundation for Critical Thinking, and participants will use the lesson study process to perfect the application of those strategies to American history teaching. The project will develop a Web site of resources that can be used by teachers and students, and it will establish vertical teams and school-based content experts who can sustain the project.


 
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Last Modified: 11/23/2010