Teaching American History

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Mississippi 2010 Grant Abstracts

Grantee Name:

Corinth School District

Project Name:

Tri-State Liberty Fellowship

Project Director:

Kimberly Jobe

Funding for Years 1-3:

$999,990

Number of Teachers Served Overall:

90

Number of School Districts Served:

15

Grade Levels:

K-12

Partners:

American Institute for History Education, University of Southern Mississippi, Franklin’s Opus, Northeast Mississippi Museum, National Park Service

Topics:

Year 1: Colonial America
Year 2: The Constitution, Antebellum Period
Year 3: Reconstruction, Industrialization
Year 4: American Liberal Democracy, Totalitarian Regimes, Foreign and Domestic Policies
Year 5: The Cold War, Contemporary America

Methods:

Summer institutes, workshops, field studies, book studies

In these Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee districts, only seven percent of professional development opportunities specifically address U.S. history. The project will implement a four-tiered approach: (1) an American history professional development fellowship, (2) a teacher training program for online professional development, (3) a monthly online program for historical content and strategies, and (4) a bimonthly book reading and discussion group. Each year, a cohort of 30 teachers will participate in the equivalent of 16 days of professional development, including a 2-week summer institute that features seven days of content and pedagogy instruction, three days of curriculum development, two Saturday institutes during the school year, a 2-day field study trip to visit local partners, and four half-days of research and review. The project will serve three cohorts of 30 teachers: elementary level in Years 1 and 2, middle school in Years 2 and 3, and high school in Years 4 and 5. The teachers will research and study the political, economic, legal, social and ideological contrasts found throughout American history; they will then create historical narratives, lessons and innovative activities that will be implemented in their classrooms, evaluated and submitted for peer review. The teachers will investigate specific events, primary sources, personalities, turning points, contemporary interpretations and historiographies pertaining to each topic. In particular, they will research and study the significance of U.S. presidents. A wiki will include relevant information not typically found in textbooks or online. Project materials will be made available via a Web portal.

Grantee Name:

McComb School District

Project Name:

Making Connections: Mississippi History as American History

Project Director:

Lia Landrum

Funding for Years 1-3:

$1,000,000

Number of Teachers Served Overall:

55

Number of School Districts Served:

7

Grade Levels:

4, 5, 8, 9, 11, and 12

Partners:

George Mason University, University of Mississippi, University of Southern Mississippi, Mississippi State University

Topics:

Founding Documents, Westward Expansion, Civil War, Reconstruction, Jim Crow Era, Labor Movement, Civil Rights Movement

Methods:

Summer institutes, workshops, Professional Learning Communities

In Mississippi schools, students do not learn about post-1877 U.S. history prior to the eleventh grade, and few teachers know about or teach the important role Mississippi played in major events like the Civil War, Reconstruction and the civil rights movement. In this project, nationally known and local historians will lead teachers in 2-week summer institutes. Teachers also will attend four workshops each semester and meet once per week (online or in person) to engage in critical dialogue around content and pedagogical understandings and challenges. The project will involve two cohorts of 25 teachers (Years 1-2 and Years 3-4). In Year 5, five new teachers will join 20 teachers from the first two cohorts. Teachers from area districts also can attend open workshops. The content will increase teachers' knowledge of significant turning points in U.S. history and how these events have reflected, influenced or contradicted principles of freedom and democracy. The teachers will explore how the project themes connect with Mississippi history. In addition to broadening their content knowledge, teachers will engage in hands-on classroom activities to improve historical inquiry, critical thinking, cross-curricular connections and reflective practice. The strategies will be built around school-based inquiry, continuous improvement and critical dialogue. Teachers will work in professional learning communities to examine content critically and to evaluate their lesson plans, pedagogy and student work in the light of authentic assessments. A Web site will host teacher-developed products, including field-tested primary source activities and lesson plans.


 
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Last Modified: 11/23/2010