Teaching American History

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Oklahoma 2008 Grant Abstracts
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Grantee Name:Crescent Public Schools
Project Name:Project TAH Consortium
Project Director:Janice Davis
Number of Teachers Served:46
Number of School Districts Served:1
Number of Students Served:634
Grade Levels:Grades pre-K-12
Partners:Oklahoma State University, University of Central Oklahoma, Southern Nazarene University, Oklahoma State Department of Education, Oklahoma History Center Museum, Oklahoma Historical Society
Topics:Three Worlds and Their Meeting in the Americas (Beginnings to 1607); Colonization, Settlement, and Communities (1607-1763); The Revolution and the New Nation (1763-1815); Expansion and Reform (1801-1861); Crisis and the Union: Civil War and Reconstruction (1850-1877); The Development of Modern America (1865-1920); Modern America and the World Wars (1914-1945); Contemporary America (1945-present)
Methods:Summer institutes, workshop series, field trips, research

Project TAH will focus on extensive dissemination and widespread replication while being implemented in two rural sites in low-income, rural, geographically isolated schools located in Oklahoma. Professional development objectives will focus on increasing students' academic performance and teachers' instructional effectiveness and knowledge of American history subject content, state and national performance standards, technology integration, and teaching strategies through credit graduate-level courses, summer institutes, workshops, and exploration of primary and secondary source documents and artifacts. Project TAH will link the chronology, issues, founding concepts, and key individuals and events of American national history with those of Oklahoma's local and state history. The content of the project is organized around the eight National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) historical time periods. Specific topics to be studied include early exploration, the American Revolution, the Jacksonian era, the Civil War, industrialization, and imperialism. A thematic workshop series will cover topics such as the Native American experience, integrating Oklahoma's historical sites and museum resources into the classroom, and standards-based American history teaching.

Grantee Name:Osage County Interlocal Cooperative
Project Name:Project SMASH (Striving to Make All Students Historians)
Project Director:Nadana Maddox
Number of Teachers Served:36
Number of School Districts Served:15
Number of Students Served:6,590
Grade Levels:Grades K-12
Partners:University of Oklahoma, Bill of Rights Institute, Gilder Lehrman Institute of American history, Oklahoma Historical Society, Gilcrease Museum
Topics:Interpreting the Constitution and the Civil War; American rights and freedoms; the growth of Federal power, media, and democracy
Methods:Summer institutes, workshops, local and national historic site visits, research projects, lesson plan creation

The goals of Project SMASH are to improve the quality and results of teaching American history as a separate subject; to improve teachers' skills in integrating American history content knowledge with effective, engaging teaching strategies; and to progress toward the goal of making students historians. Another goal of the project is to educate elementary teachers about the importance of teaching history content separately, as well as encouraging participants to make American history the basis for reading, art, music, and writing assignments. To accomplish these goals, a three-year in-depth study over the evolving Constitution and its effects on national, state, and local histories is planned. Traditional American history content will be presented through professional development activities including university courses, fall and spring workshops and seminars, summer institutes, state and national conferences, an on-line learning community, and targeted staff development training. These activities will cover topics that are described in the American history sections of the Oklahoma state standards. Specific periods and topics within the standards to be covered include Colonial America, the American Revolutionary era, Northern and Southern economic growth, cultural growth and reform, the Jacksonian Era, and early Federal period documents.

Grantee Name:Stonewall School District
Project Name:Teaching American History: Beyond Textbooks, Beyond Lectures, Beyond Expectations
Project Director:Michelle Barton
Number of Teachers Served:49
Number of School Districts Served:19
Number of Students Served:20,814
Grade Levels:Grades 8-12
Partners:Chickasaw Nation, East Central University, National Archives and Records Administration - South West Region, Oklahoma Historical Society, Oklahoma State Department of Education
Topics:Economic growth, Jacksonian Era, the Civil War, imperialism, World War II, post-World War II foreign policy
Methods:Colloquia, summer institutes, mentoring

Community demographics of the rural districts served by this project reveal that the targeted area is economically, geographically, and educationally isolated. Students within the consortium often struggle and sometimes fail to meet Oklahoma's challenging academic standards in American history. To address these needs, this project will implement a comprehensive, research-based professional development program. Through intense, content-focused activities, teachers will develop their knowledge, understanding, and appreciation of traditional American history. On-site mentoring will be delivered to the classroom of each participant through routine visits made by a master teacher who will facilitate the implementation of knowledge and content-based teaching strategies. Teachers involved in the project will come to view American history knowledge as having two elements: first-order elements (facts, dates and individuals) and second-order elements (time, change, empathy, cause, evidence, significance, agency, reliability of source, and accounts). Teachers will learn that the second-order concepts give shape to the discipline of history and are the framework around which students construct abstract first-order knowledge. The content of the project was chosen to address the lowest scoring sections of the Oklahoma Core Curriculum Test. Eighth grade teachers will focus on Northern and Southern economic growth, the Jacksonian Era, and the eve of the Civil War. High school teachers will focus on imperialism, World War II, and post-World War II foreign policy.

Grantee Name:Tulsa County Independent School District No. 1
Project Name:Tulsa's American History Project
Project Director:Roberta Ellis
Number of Teachers Served:78
Number of School Districts Served:1
Number of Students Served:4,960
Grade Levels:Grades 6-12
Partners:Oklahoma State University, University of Tulsa, Gilcrease Museum, Tulsa City-County Libraries, Circle Cinema, Bill of Rights Institute
Topics:Late colonial America, the American Revolution, the New Nation, Age of Jefferson, Age of Jackson, the Industrial Revolution, the Westward Movement, the Civil War and Reconstruction, emerging modern State, World War I, the American Renaissance, the Great Depression, World War II, the Cold War, the Civil Rights Movement to the present
Methods:Colloquia, summer institutes

Student academic performance in American history is not where the school district would like it to be. In the last three years, only 50%, 59%, and 62%, respectively, of middle school students achieved proficiency on the state standard exam. For high school students, only 47%, 64%, and 61%, respectively, achieved proficiency on the state exams. Today's students must understand their nation's history and founding principles if they are to be informed and engaged citizens. To that end, this project will serve 78 teachers over a three-year period in an effort to increase their knowledge of traditional American history content so that they can impart this knowledge to their students. Professional development will be addressed through an engaging sequence of content, pedagogy, and instructional technology workshops, colloquia, on-line forums, and summer institutes. Through this project, teachers will search for answers to questions such as, "Why did the American Revolution work and the French seem to fail?"; "Why was Jefferson so influential?"; and, "Was Jackson justified in his treatment of the Indians?" Content workshops that will be presented include the following: (1) Origins and Arguments: Shaping the Constitution; (2) The Founding Fathers; (3) The Presidency: Adams, Jefferson, Madison and Monroe; (4) Life, Legends, and Legacy of Old Hickory; and (4) The Industrial Revolution and the changing of the American economy.

Last Modified: 08/14/2008