Teaching American History

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Wisconsin 2007 Grant Abstracts
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Grantee Name:Cooperative Educational Service Agency 6, WI
Project Name:Exploring American Freedom: Defining, Expanding, and Defending a National Principle
Project Director:Michael Derr
Number of Teachers Served:50
Number of School Districts Served:94
Number of Students Served:217,000
Grade Levels:4-12
Partners:The University of Wisconsin (UW)-Oshkosh, UW-Green Bay, UW-Marathon County, the Wisconsin Historical Society, Neville Public Museum, the Marathon County Historical Society, Outagamie Museum, and National History Day in Wisconsin
Topics:Freedom Defined, Freedom Expanded, and Freedom Defended
Methods:Summer institutes, field trips, workshops, seminars

This professional development initiative addresses the need to strengthen teachers' content knowledge of U.S. history, increase skills for understanding historical narratives, and increase teacher capacity to use documents and incorporate historical thinking and student-centered learning principles into American history classrooms. It also seeks to raise student academic achievement and disseminate lesson plans, other work products, and best practices to other educators. Throughout the three-year project, 50 "Teaching Scholars" will immerse themselves in history content with "freedom" as the unifying concept. Year 1 includes European concepts of freedom, religious and economic liberty during colonization, slavery, political freedom during the American Revolution, the westward movement, and immigration. Year 2 examines sectionalism and early industrialism, Civil War, emancipation, workers' rights, the Civil Rights movement, and Cold War issues. Year 3 explores the American Revolution and Civil War, civil liberties during wartime, defending religious liberty, American Indians and the defense of liberty, and freedom as an organizing principle of American history.

Grantee Name:Madison Metropolitan School District, WI
Project Name:Building Informed Citizens
Project Director:Susan Hamblin
Number of Teachers Served:70
Number of School Districts Served:1
Number of Students Served:9,600
Grade Levels:K-12
Partners:University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, the Wisconsin Historical Society, and the Wisconsin Veterans Museum
Topics:Roots and Ideas of American Democracy; Becoming an American: Immigration and Migration; America in the World
Methods:Summer institutes, workshops, visits to historic sites

"Building Informed Citizens" will provide professional development in American history teaching to 70 social studies teachers who will each participate in the program for three years. The project fills a major gap in teacher content knowledge in a district in which only four percent of elementary teachers and 15 percent of middle school teachers majored in history. Through school-year workshops, summer institutes, online resources, and other materials, including individual mini-libraries, the project will create a cadre of teacher leaders who can carry on professional development in their schools. The first year's content theme examines challenges to democracy in each generation. Topics include "Old and New World Origins" and "Changing Definitions of Citizenship." Year 2's theme, "Becoming an American," explores immigrant expectations and American core values. Subtopics such as "The Changing Face of America" underscore immigration as a central theme in U.S. history. Year 3 focuses on the rise of the U.S. as a global, economic and military power as well as the effects of globalization on American society. Teachers examine trade, industry, and technology advances, along with such topics as, "Making War and Making Peace" and "Human Rights and Democratic Traditions." Each theme is illustrated with resource threads including people (famous Americans), primary documents, and places (historic sites).

Last Modified: 10/24/2007