Teaching American History

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Arizona 2008 Grant Abstract
Archived Information

Grantee Name:Mesa Unified School District #4
Project Name:East Meets Southwest: Traditional American History for Mesa Public School Teachers
Project Director:Steve Green
Number of Teachers Served:35
Number of School Districts Served:1
Number of Students Served:72,000
Grade Levels:Grades 4-8
Partners:Arizona State University, Colonial Williamsburg, National Council for History Education, Center for Civic Education, Arizona Historical Society, Heard Museum
Topics:Year 1: Shaping a Nation; Year 2: Conflict and Resolution; Year 3: Continuity and Change
Methods:Seminars, workshops, summer colloquia, electronic field trips, travel study

This project, East Meets Southwest: Traditional American History for Mesa Public School Teachers, is a three-year professional development program for elementary and secondary teachers in Mesa Public Schools. It will immerse two district social studies specialists and 35 fourth and eighth grade teachers from eight of the districts' most disadvantaged and underachieving schools in a program focusing on traditional American history content and content-based teaching strategies. Teachers will receive training in historical thinking grounded in the following elements: 1) using primary and secondary resources; 2) formulating questions through inquiry and determining their importance; 3) analyzing how historians use evidence and artifacts; 4) understanding how historians develop differing interpretations; 5) examining bias and points of view; 6) understanding historical debate and controversy; 7) examining how causation relates to continuity/change; 8) discovering interrelationships among themes, regions, time periods; and 9) learning that any understanding of the past requires an understanding of the assumptions and the values of the past. The overall project goal is to improve teacher knowledge of traditional American history content so that they can offer effective instruction in their classrooms. In addition, teachers will learn effective and creative instructional strategies and ways to share what they have learned with their colleagues. Course content topics will include the American Revolution, the Constitution, the Civil War and Reconstruction, the Urban/Industrial Revolution, America's rise to world power, the New Deal, World War II, and the Cold War, among others.

Last Modified: 08/06/2008