Teaching American History

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Arizona 2006 Grant Abstracts
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Grantee Name:Deer Valley Unified School District, AZ
Project Name:Learning History by Doing History
Project Director:Kimberly Crooks
Number of Teachers Served:30
Number of School Districts Served:1
Number of Students Served:35,000
Grade Levels:6-12
Partners:Arizona State University and the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History
Topics:early American colonization, the American Revolution and the Declaration of Independence, the Civil War and Reconstruction, Westward Expansion, the Spanish-American War to World War I, the Progressive Era, and immigration
Methods:workshops, web activities, online courses, seminars

Significant growth rates of student populations anticipated over the next five years means that the district projects more than 300 new hires, with over a third coming in as first-year teachers and a sixth of the group as second-year teachers. Good training of these new teachers is a district priority. Current American history teachers demonstrate low levels of professional training and minimal knowledge of subject matter content. The project will sharpen teacher skills in interpreting historic material to understand the deeper meaning of events. Teachers will work with historians and curriculum experts to link the content learned to classroom instruction, newly revised Arizona state standards, and common assessments.

Grantee Name:Tucson Unified School District, AZ
Project Name:TUSD American History Grant
Project Director:Mary Stuewe
Number of Teachers Served:214
Number of School Districts Served:1
Number of Students Served:5,000
Grade Levels:7-8
Partners:the University of Arizona and the Arizona Historical Society
Topics:the American Revolution and the Declaration of Independence, elections and voting, civil rights issues, Western Expansion, the Great Depression and its economic impact, and the Constitution and the Bill of Rights
Methods:summer institutes, university coursework, study groups, mentoring, coaching, curriculum alignment to state history standards, online activities, and peer/resource network building activities

Tucson Unified students come from diverse backgrounds. There are more than 500 refugees—primarily from Somalia and Liberia—and many immigrants from Mexico. With more than 50 languages spoken at home, 13% of the middle school students are English language learners. The overall purpose of this grant is to provide ongoing and intensive professional development to enable teachers to deepen their content knowledge and pedagogy skills in American history and apply that knowledge in their classroom when teaching the Arizona State American History standards. Immersion experiences for both teachers and students and the integration of technology into the teaching of American history will support the project's ultimate goal, which is to raise student achievement in American History. All teachers will have access to content and strategy instruction. Schools will receive additional coaching and mentoring support provided by doctoral students in history and a master history teacher.

Last Modified: 12/28/2006