Teaching American History

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Maine 2008 Grant Abstract
Archived Information

Grantee Name:Maine School Administrative District #17
Project Name:American Lives: Teaching History through Biography
Project Director:Erik Jorgensen
Number of Teachers Served:70
Number of School Districts Served:15
Number of Students Served:27,744
Grade Levels:Grades K-12
Partners:Maine Humanities Council
Topics:Year 1: Colonial Era to the Civil War; Years 2 and 3: Reconstruction through the Vietnam Era
Methods:Summer institute, book colloquia, field trips, museum workshops

American Lives: Teaching History through Biography seeks to improve the teaching of U.S. history in Grades K-12 by increasing teachers' content knowledge through close study of American biography, thereby increasing student achievement in the subject in demonstrable ways. The project uses the power of biography to enliven and deepen the study of the American Republic from its foundation in the 17th and18th Centuries to its full development in the 19th and 20th centuries. Through training in basic archival techniques and biographical research methods, 70 participants will conduct independent research projects in archives in Maine and beyond and use their findings to create innovative teaching units that will aid their students "to think like historians." These units will be tested in the Council's annual History Camp for students. The most significant outcome will be a body of well-researched new lesson plans using biography and coordinated with the recently revised Maine Social Studies Learning Results. This body of work will be made available to the profession on the Council's newly expanded website. Historical topics to be studied included Colonial America, the American Revolution, the Constitutional Convention, the Civil War, and the World Wars, among others.

Last Modified: 08/06/2008