Teaching American History

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Arizona 2009 Grant Abstracts
Archived Information

Grantee Name:Deer Valley School District #97
Project Name:Gathering Lessons from Yesterday’s Peoples and Happenings (GLYPH)
Project Director:Debbie Peters
Funding:$1,696,435 over 5 years
Number of Teachers Served Overall:45
Number of School Districts Served:1
Grade Levels:5-12
Partners:Arizona State University, Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, Arizona Historical Society, Pioneer Living History Village, George Washington Carver Museum
Topics:Year 1: Early Civilizations in the East and West
Year 2: Foundations of American Government
Year 3: Crisis of the Union: Civil War and Reconstruction Year
4: Progressive Movements in Modern America Year
5: America and the World
Methods:History workshops, summer academies, book study circles, Lesson Study, field research, elective activities

The Deer Valley School District in Phoenix has many teachers who have little formal history training and have expressed a lack of confidence in teaching the full scope of American history content. At annual Gathering Lessons from Yesterday’s Peoples and Happenings (GLYPH) kick-off events, staff will preview the year’s topics and teachers will receive materials for book studies and classroom use. Day-long history workshops, week-long summer academies at historic sites, book studies, Lesson Study, mentoring, and elective activities will provide content information, field experiences, and instructional strategies practice. The cohort of 45 teachers will be selected through nominations by principals and invitations to all history teachers from schools in need of improvement, with a goal of including teachers who need the most support. The theme of highlighting the perspectives of diverse groups in American history provides the backdrop for historical inquiry and developing relevant context and multidimensional understanding of history. GLYPH activities will address identified gaps in teachers’ knowledge by selecting two topics for each summer academy and other topics for workshops during the school year. Teachers who participate in at least 75 percent of annual activities will be eligible to attend the summer academy. University historians and skilled GLYPH teachers will lead two book study circles each year, and GLYPH staff will provide classroom demonstrations and observations, as well as ongoing, one-on-one mentoring in using Lesson Study. The Lesson Study cycle will result in lessons to be shared with other teachers, and the project will also provide classroom resource materials, including multimedia libraries related to specific topics.

Grantee Name:Mesa Unified School District #4
Project Name:East Meets Southwest: Traditional American History for Mesa Public School Teachers II
Project Director:Steve W. Green
Funding:$961,810 over 3 years
Number of Teachers Served Overall:30
Number of School Districts Served:1
Grade Levels:4-8
Partners:Arizona State University, Colonial Williamsburg Educational Foundation, National Council for History Education, Center for Civic Education, Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, Arizona Historical Society, Heard Museum, Library of Congress, Bill of Rights Institute, National Archives
Topics:Year 1: Diversity and Unity (Beginnings to 1815)
Year 2: Conflict and Resolution (1801 to 1920)
Year 3: Continuity and Change (1920 to the Present)
Methods:Summer institutes, lectures, peer discussions, independent study, research, electronic field trips, travel study, Professional Learning Communities, work meetings, mentoring

Mesa Unified School District , the largest school district in Arizona, serves students from Mesa, Salt River, Fort McDowell, and the Navaho and Hopi communities. East Meets Southwest will focus on 10 of the district’s most disadvantaged/underachieving schools as it immerses teachers in substantive professional development. Annual activities will include a day-long Library of Congress training and a 2-day National Archives Training (Year 1), summer mentoring institutes (Years 1 and 2), a 5-day summer colloquium, two 1-day seminars, a 2-day workshop, two half-day curriculum mapping sessions, and travel-study field experiences. Lectures, peer discussions, independent study, research, and electronic field trips will be embedded in program activities. Under the mentorship of teachers with experience in another Teaching American History grant, participating teachers will meet in Professional Learning Communities to accomplish vertical articulation of content and teaching practices, to develop assessments, to review lesson plans, and to develop new content that can be incorporated by teachers throughout the district. Thirty teachers from six elementary schools and four junior high schools will participate throughout all three years of the program. East Meets Southwest will explore the country’s traditions, founding principles, and ongoing struggles by connecting regional history to a meaningful narrative of traditional American history. Teachers will learn to incorporate historical thinking, primary source materials, biography, content-based teaching strategies, and strategies such as debate, role-play, and historical reenactment. Professional Learning Communities will be sustained beyond the life of the program, and a Web site will provide district-wide access to lesson plans, alternative assessments, primary source information, and other resources.

Last Modified: 09/02/2009