Teaching American History

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Utah 2010 Grant Abstracts

Grantee Name:

Granite School District

Project Name:

Granite Teaching American History Institute

Project Director:

Debra Cline

Funding for Years 1-3:

$978,813

Number of Teachers Served Overall:

200

Number of School Districts Served:

1

Grade Levels:

3-12

Partners:

University of Utah, Utah State Office of Education, Utah State Historical Society, Utah Coalition for Civic, Character & Service Learning, Utah Law-Related Education, U.S. District Court of Utah

Topics:

Founding of Our Nation; Expansion (People, Ideas, Markets and Land); Tragedy and Triumph (Civil War, Reconstruction, Civil Rights, Race Relations); United States and 20th Century Global Conflict; Economics and Environment

Methods:

Academies, workshops, study groups, Professional Learning Communities, mentoring, Lesson Study

Schools in this district serve students from some of Utah's most disadvantaged communities. More than 40 percent of the students are minorities, and 24 percent are considered limited English proficient. This project will build on the success and momentum of an existing Teaching American History grant. Each year, the project will include a 2-week teacher academy, which features content taught by historical experts, the modeling of best practices in instructional methodology, and hands-on research and group work; quarterly school-year workshops to ensure that participating teachers know the Utah History Core, can assess student learning and can modify their instruction to meet student needs; and quarterly collaborative study groups to help teachers identify needs, brainstorm and prioritize appropriate solutions, and implement those solutions. To address the needs of its diverse population, the project will extend professional development to 40 teachers per year; based on their needs and performances, teachers may participate for up to three years. The highest selection priority will be given to teachers who are not highly qualified, have taken few academic history courses and/or have not recently attended history-related trainings. The content will explore questions and enduring understandings of traditional American history that transcend all time periods, focusing on pivotal issues, events, turning points, documents, legislation and judicial cases. The project will integrate cross-curricular and life-skills strategies, engage teachers in lesson study and develop peer mentors/coaches. Participants will create high-quality resources, including primary source kits, integrated language arts lessons, history unit plans and in-service units, and comprehensive elementary history curriculum maps and benchmarks.

Grantee Name:

Jordan School District

Project Name:

JHAT Jr.: Discovering America's History

Project Director:

Pam S'ua

Funding for Years 1-3:

$999,550

Number of Teachers Served Overall:

90

Number of School Districts Served:

4

Grade Levels:

4-5

Partners:

Brigham Young University, Westminster College, Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, Old North Foundation

Topics:

The National Assessment of Educational Progress eras of American history, History Habits of Mind, technology integration

Methods:

Seminars, field research, classroom coaching, Web site

This project’s districts are located in north-central Utah, where a previous Teaching American History grant for middle and high school teachers was quite successful. To help elementary teachers become conversant and comfortable with teaching history, the project will engage participants in a 15-day seminar during their first year of participation. In subsequent years, shorter seminars and eight days of field study will be used to deliver content knowledge and methods training, and these will be bolstered every year by follow-up support and coaching. Three cohorts will convene in a tiered arrangement: Cohorts 1 and 3 will serve 30 teachers each from year-round schools, and Cohort 2 will serve 30 teachers from 9-month schools; Cohort 1 will begin in Year 1, Cohort 2 in Year 2, and Cohort 3 in Year 3, with all continuing through Year 5. By starting small, project leaders intend to take lessons learned about effective activities from the first cohort and apply them as remaining cohorts move into the project. All activities and instruction will focus on how the words and deeds of individuals shape history. During seminars, scholars and historians will guide learning of traditional American history, and the project director and a master teacher will lead methods sessions. Field visits will consist of explorations to local and national historic sites, and these will be guided by essential questions that prompt research and study. Throughout, teachers will collaborate to develop lesson units, podcasts, videos and other teaching resources. These materials will be shared on a project Web site and through the National History Education Clearinghouse.

Grantee Name:

Tooele County School District

Project Name:

Tooele Teaching American History Project

Project Director:

Heidi Ross

Funding for Years 1-3:

$499,989

Number of Teachers Served Overall:

50

Number of School Districts Served:

1

Grade Levels:

3-12

Partners:

Weber State University, Utah State Department of Education, Utah State Historical Society, This Is the Place Heritage Park, U.S. District Court of Utah, Utah Education Network, We the People, Utah History Fair, University of Utah

Topics:

Year 1: Founding of a Nation
Year 2: The Advent of Modern America
Year 3: America in the Time of the World Wars
Year 4: Civil Rights in Contemporary America
Year 5: Becoming a Super Power

Methods:

Symposia, Lesson Study field research, Professional Learning Communities, mentoring

Many students in this Utah district come from multigenerational, low-income families in rural communities spread across a large geographic area, including an American Indian reservation. Each year, project teachers will participate in monthly symposia, featuring lectures and reading assignments that examine key concepts, issues, questions and primary sources; monthly lesson study groups, focusing on pedagogy, research, assessment development, presentations and the historical investigation process; and studies of online collections and on-site field research at local sites. Four teachers also will attend the annual conference for the National Council for the Social Studies. In Years 3 and 5, all teachers will participate in a 5-day regional capstone field study. Annually, the project will serve 20 history teachers (half elementary and half secondary), each of whom may participate for up to three years. In addition, the history lectures and instructional resources will be open to all district teachers. The project's themes will be based on common threads across the Utah History Core and an assessment of teachers' needs. The strategies will include using expert historians and master history educators, embedding impactful pedagogical methods, and using local and national resources. The trainings will be supplemented with effective strategies that entwine continuous learning into teachers' daily routines, including professional learning communities, lesson study, one-on-one mentoring/coaching and virtual networks. Teachers also will have an opportunity to earn professional and master's degree credits. The teachers will create high-quality products, including standards-based curriculum units, mini-research projects involving primary sources and benchmarks, and common assessments for the new Utah History Standards.


 
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Last Modified: 11/29/2010