Teaching American History

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Nebraska 2010 Grant Abstracts

Grantee Name:

Educational Service Unit 2

Project Name:

Mastering History

Project Director:

Diane Wolfe

Funding for Years 1-3:

$985,101

Number of Teachers Served Overall:

200

Number of School Districts Served:

80

Grade Levels:

7-12

Partners:

Wayne State College, Nebraska State Historical Society, Nebraska Game and Parks

Topics:

Year 1: American Revolution and Constitution
Year 2: Civil War and Reconstruction
Year 3: Progressivism and World War I
Year 4: New Deal and World War II
Year 5: Cold War and Great Society

Methods:

Colloquia, field studies, workshops

Through the Mastering History project, the Educational Service Unit (ESU) 2and other ESUs will work with the 80 predominately rural Nebraska school districts that have not yet been served by a Teaching American History grant. Each year, teachers will participate in (1) an introductory 2-day colloquium, delivered by a history content expert; (2) 30 hours of online coursework, consisting of (a) reading and responding to online discussion questions and (b) participating in e-Learning Systems' WebLessons Online Historical Instruction modules; (3) a 2-day winter colloquium based on the National Center for History in the Schools' "Standards in Historical Thinking"; (4) a 3-day spring colloquium focused on developing classroom resources and active instructional strategies; (5) a year-end 5-day summer institute; and (6) field experiences to significant historic sites that relate to the year's content topic. Each year, the project will serve up to 40 secondary teachers, selected through an application process based on teaching experience, grade level taught, ability to attend all activities for the year, administration recommendation and lack of previous professional development in history. The project content will be based largely on the National Assessment of Educational Progress U.S. History Framework. In addition to the other activities, the project will connect teachers to master teachers through the state's videoconferencing network. Once a year, each teacher will participate in a cyber observation of the master teacher's classroom; likewise, the master teacher will observe each project teacher's classroom.

Grantee Name:

Omaha Public Schools

Project Name:

The Master of Arts in Historical Studies

Project Director:

Harris Payne

Funding for Years 1-3:

$999,602

Number of Teachers Served Overall:

100

Number of School Districts Served:

1

Grade Levels:

K-12

Partners:

Nebraska Wesleyan University, Nebraska State Historical Society, eLearning Systems, Durham Museum

Topics:

American History From Pre-European Contact to the Present

Methods:

Graduate courses, online curriculum, workshops, field experiences

Project leaders designed this project to address the limited content knowledge of many Omaha history teachers. In addition to graduate-level courses, project activities will include field experiences at historic sites and museums where teachers will interact with museum specialists and scholars, and have access to primary sources and artifacts. Teachers will attend and present at state and national conferences. Four cohorts of teachers will participate — 40 will start in Year 1 and 20 will start each year in Years 2, 3 and 4; participants will be recruited first from schools with the greatest needs and from grades where American history is taught as a separate subject (5, 9 and high school). The goal is to strengthen the intellectual core of American history in the district. Nebraska Wesleyan University's Master of Arts in Historical Studies is specifically designed for teachers of American history. Each cohort will begin its studies with two survey courses in American history, and subsequent years will choose from specialized courses, such as Comparing Colonial American Frontiers and The U.S. in the Era of the World Wars. One course, History 521, will include training by the Teachers' Curriculum Institute in using teaching strategies. In addition to completing 33 hours of coursework and meeting the university's usual accountability requirements, teachers will cooperate with district leaders to document improvements in content knowledge and student performance. The project will disseminate lesson plans, primary sources, scholarly reading lists and teaching strategies through a public Web site and through a newsletter, workshops and conferences sponsored by the Nebraska State Council for Social Studies.


 
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Last Modified: 11/23/2010