Teaching American History

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Indiana 2006 Grant Abstracts
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Grantee Name:Anderson Community School Corporation, IN
Project Name:People's History
Project Director:JoDean Washington
Number of Teachers Served:90
Number of School Districts Served:4
Number of Students Served:21,427
Grade Levels:K-12
Partners:Anderson University, the National Association of Scholars, and the Madison County Historical Society
Topics:Classical vs. Modern Republicanism, the Causes and Consequences of the American Revolution, from the Crisis of Confederation to the Ratification Debates, and from the Ratification Debates to Party Conflict
Methods:summer, fall, and winter institutes, workshops, colloquia, mentoring, field trips, online activities, and website development

The People's History project will develop on multiple levels. It will train teachers during one-week summer sessions and follow-up colloquia throughout the year, create mentoring relationships, and develop sustainable methods to carry on student learning after the completion of this grant. In addition to other learning experiences offered by the project, each participating teacher will focus on one historic figure per year. At the end of the year, each teacher will offer a first-person presentation to students and other teachers, allowing students to experience history in a unique and meaningful way and to interact with a historic figure. Teachers will sign up their classes to participate in a history festival at the end of the school year, where students will be able to interact with historical figures in a 3-D website called "History World."

Grantee Name:Indiana Academy for Science, Mathematics, and Humanities, IN
Project Name:Building a Nation
Project Director:David C. Williams
Number of Teachers Served:30
Number of School Districts Served:30
Number of Students Served:No Information Available
Grade Levels:8
Partner:Ball State University
Topics:relationships among the Dutch, English, French, and Spanish during colonization; the American Revolution; the creation of the nation and the development of political parties, 1787-1800; Jefferson's presidency; national expansion; the Marshall Court; foreign policy, 1800-1825; northern and southern states, 1800-1830; Jacksonian Democracy, Manifest Destiny, and William Henry Harrison; reform movements, 1815-1850; the conflict over slavery; the Civil War and Reconstruction; and ex parte Milligan
Methods:distance learning, summer workshops, and a website

The 40 schools from which the 30 schools for the project will be chosen rank below the state averages in every data category recorded by the Indiana Department of Education that measures factors important to this project. An average of 34.9% of students in these schools is enrolled in the free/reduced lunch program. The average score for 8th grade students on the Indiana Testing for Educational Progress is 72.8%; the students in the project schools average 57.9%. The grant will focus its activities on American history teachers in 30 rural and small town middle/junior high schools with large numbers of low-income students. The goals will be attained through three components: (1) teacher cohort groups that will meet regionally during the school year to (a) interact via distance learning with content experts from Ball State University and the project's instructional design specialist and (b) develop unit plans based on the content presented using the "Understanding by Design" (UbD) planning process; (2) summer workshops that will facilitate the refinement of unit plans based on the UbD process and focus on research-based instructional strategies; and (3) a website that will contain a digital library of primary and secondary resources, exemplary unit and lesson plans, and a chat feature for teacher communication.

Grantee Name:Indianapolis Public Schools, IN
Project Name:Indianapolis Public Schools Liberty Fellowship
Project Director:Wanda Riesz
Number of Teachers Served:35
Number of School Districts Served:1
Number of Students Served:38,121
Grade Levels:4-12
Partners:Martin University, the Indiana State Multicultural Museum, the Crispus Attucks Museum, the Indiana Historical Landmarks Foundation, the Indiana Historical Society, the Mexican Consulate, Crown Point Cemetery, Freetown Village, the American Institute for History Education, the Madame C.J. Walker Theatre, and McNeal Productions
Topics:Roots of the American Nation, the American Revolution, the Constitution and the Federalist Period, the Old South and the Changing North, the Civil War, the Great War and Wilsonian Liberal Internationalism, World War II, and the Cold War
Methods:colloquia, historic site visits, online lessons, summer institutes, and CD lessons

In 2002, Education Week identified the Indianapolis system as "the dropout factory of the nation." The rate of poverty among students is 83%, 19% receive special education, and 8% are English language learners. It has been said that many district students do not see the connection between historical events, nor do they see the connection between school and life. The majority of American history teachers in the system are poorly prepared to teach the subject. To improve this situation, 35 teachers will be selected to train as Fellows who, in turn, will assist their colleagues by mentoring, coaching, modeling, and reviewing lesson plans. Projected outcomes for the project will be increases of 10%, 20%, and 50% respectively in knowledge for district American history students during Years 1, 2, and 3 of the program.

Grantee Name:Metropolitan School District of Martinsville, IN
Project Name:Bringing History to Life
Project Director:Jerry R. Sanders
Number of Teachers Served:120
Number of School Districts Served:2
Number of Students Served:7,200
Grade Levels:K-12
Partners:Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis and the Indiana Historical Society
Topics:colonial life, the American Revolution, the Underground Railroad, artifacts and literacy, industrialization and expansion, and 20th century wars and the atomic age
Methods:seminars, workshops, field trips, the development of curriculum DVDs, distance learning, and web activities

Both participating school districts are rural and isolated, which creates a number of problems for both teachers and students. Consortium teachers are aware that their students need to be introduced to people and places beyond state boundaries. This geographic isolation also hinders teachers' ability to earn graduate credit, one of the primary ways a teacher in Indiana maintains a teaching license and stays current. The project will "shrink" the distance between the resources of Indianapolis and the consortium teachers by bringing history scholars to local teachers. It also will enable teachers to visit historic sites and bring resources and experiences back to their students and colleagues.

Last Modified: 08/18/2006