Teaching American History

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Oregon 2008 Grant Abstract
Archived Information

Grantee Name:Beaverton School District 48J
Project Name:Great Decisions in U.S. History
Project Director:Meg Merrick
Number of Teachers Served:75
Number of School Districts Served:3
Number of Students Served:9,375
Grade Levels:Grades 6-12
Partners:Portland State University, Oregon Historical Society
Topics:Louisiana Purchase, Fifty-Four Forty or Fight: American Expansion to the Pacific, 1861: Year of Decision, Japanese Internment, School Integration
Methods:Graduate courses, workshops, and institutes

The "Great Decisions in U.S. History" project is focused on the development of the "historical imagination" in project teachers in order to direct teacher attention on history rather than social studies. The project will improve teachers' knowledge, understanding, and appreciation of traditional American history. Teachers will participate in a graduate level instructional program developed at Portland State University that includes a two-term course and a summer institute. Components of the project include 1) in-depth historical content training; 2) pedagogy grounded in historical thinking; 3) incorporation of primary source documents; 4) incorporation of interactive historical inquiry tools; and 5) opportunities for mentoring and leadership-building within and between districts. Teachers will develop curriculum guides that represent a "toolkit" that not only has a content base, but also incorporates instruments and instructions for assisting students in conducting authentic historical inquiry. The project will cover four "great decisions and decision-makers" in each of three project years, for a total of twelve topics. Specific topics include: the Louisiana Purchase, the Monroe Doctrine, Fifty-Four Forty or Fight: American Expansion to the Pacific, 1861: Year of Decision, The Dawes Severalty Act, the U.S. Forest Service, Hawaiian annexation and statehood, Japanese internment, the atomic bomb, school integration, the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, and Kelo v. New London.

Last Modified: 08/06/2008