Teaching American History

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Pennsylvania 2010 Grant Abstracts

Grantee Name:

BLaST Intermediate Unit 17

Project Name:

BLaST Intermediate Unit 17 Fellowship

Project Director:

Cori Cotner

Funding for Years 1-3:

$993,039

Number of Teachers Served Overall:

935

Number of School Districts Served:

19

Grade Levels:

K-12

Partners:

Villanova University, Franklin’s Opus, Bill of Rights Institute

Topics:

Year 1: Native and Colonial Settlements; French and Indian War; Revolutionary War
Year 2: Formation of the Nation; Constitution; Louisiana Purchase; War of 1812; Missouri Compromise
Year 3: Civil War; Reconstruction; Andrew Johnson's Impeachment; Civil Rights Act; Urban Working Class and Labor Unions; Immigration
Year 4: American Liberal Democracy vs. Totalitarian Regimes; Progressivism; World War I; 1920s; Great Depression; World War II
Year 5: Cold War; Atomic Age; Korean War; McCarthy Era; Civil Rights; Revolutions of the 1960s and Vietnam War; 1980s and the Fall of the Soviet Union

Methods:

Colloquia, institutes, field studies

Teachers in these north-central Pennsylvania districts have had limited access to history-related professional development. The project is divided into four tiers. In Tier One, 40 teachers will research and study the political, economic, legal, social and ideological contrasts in history; each year, these teachers will attend a 2-day fall colloquium, a 3-day winter colloquium, a 2-day field study, 4 half days of research and review, and a 5-day summer institute. All 432 secondary social studies teachers and all 503 elementary-level teachers in the consortium will attend 1.5 days of CICERO training as part of Tier Two; these sessions will demonstrate how to integrate multimedia and new technology into history classrooms. All American history teachers will be invited to attend monthly online professional development sessions as part of Tier Three. Tier Four will consist of 20 teachers, who will create a bimonthly history book club and discussion group. The themes will examine traditional American history through the lenses of conflict and cooperation. Teachers will create their own Web 2.0 site using 21st century skills and features like wikis and blogs, develop peer-reviewed U.S. history teacher narratives and lessons, and read biographies and other histories. As a result, they will be able to show students how to research substantive historical content and how to collaborate with fellow students, teachers, historians and history education specialists to create historical narratives. The project Web site will be a central repository for products and information, including colloquium schedules, lesson plans, digital resources and photos of various activities. In addition, the site will include teacher-vetted student work.

Grantee Name:

The School District of Philadelphia

Project Name:

The Search for Order and the Quest for Freedom

Project Director:

Melvin Garrison

Funding for Years 1-3:

$966,706

Number of Teachers Served Overall:

120

Number of School Districts Served:

1

Grade Levels:

10 and 11

Partners:

Saint Joseph’s University, National Constitution Center, National Archives and Records Administration-Mid-Atlantic Region, Historical Society of Philadelphia, Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History

Topics:

Years 1, 3 and 5: The Constitution — Philadelphia to Plessy v. Ferguson
Years 2 and 4: The Constitution in the 20th Century

Methods:

Symposia, summer institutes

In this diverse Philadelphia district, 72 percent of the students qualify for free or reduced-price meals, and none of the targeted high schools has met its annual yearly progress goals. Teachers in this project will participate in (1) 10 day-long symposia at Saint Joseph's University, focusing on historical research through technology, student evaluations and core content-related teaching practices; (2) an annual 5-day summer institute, featuring historical content, teaching strategies, review standards, and the development of lesson plans and classroom-ready resources and materials; (3) a program of regular student pre- and post testing, in which teachers will meet in teams after school to review state standards and the district’s pacing guide, prepare monthly or unit pre- and posttests, and give the tests to their students; and (4) a teacher network, which will offer follow-up support between monthly meetings. The project will involve four overlapping cohorts of 30: Cohort A (Years 1-2), Cohort B (Years 2-3), Cohort C (Years 3-4) and Cohort D (Years 4-5). Each cohort will include two representatives from 15 schools. The most academically challenged schools will be targeted first for participation. The project will provide a standards-aligned study of American history from the crafting of the Constitution to recent times, examining the issues, themes, events and interpretations related to the question, "What did freedom mean?" Teachers will learn to use content-related teaching strategies, including primary documents, artifacts, first-hand accounts, illustrations and site visits to translate freshly mastered content into classroom lessons. Reviewed lessons and other resources generated by the teachers will be posted online.


 
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Last Modified: 11/24/2010