Teaching American History

Current Section
 Office of Innovation and Improvement Home
Kentucky 2009 Grant Abstracts
Archived Information

Grantee Name:Central Kentucky Educational Cooperative
Project Name:Providing a Learning Academy for Secondary Teachers of American History (Project PAST)
Project Director:John Beardsley
Funding:$1,665,799 over 5 years
Number of Teachers Served Overall:100
Number of School Districts Served:23
Grade Levels:9-12
Partners:Georgetown College, National Council for History Education, Franklin’s Opus, Kentucky History Museum, Teachers Curriculum Institute, Learners Online
Topics:American history from 1866 to the present
Methods:Institutes, peer mentoring and observation, field experiences, readings

The Project PAST consortium includes both the regular and special education cooperatives for central Kentucky. They serve six districts that are in some phase of corrective action. Teachers in this rural region have had few opportunities for history professional development, and many would not be considered highly qualified to teach American history. Each year, the project plans to address a broad topic through six components: six historical encounters, a 3-day summer colloquium, a 2-day historical field institute, a mentoring and observation opportunity, three 5-hour online learning sessions, and two day-long curriculum institutes. Two cohorts of 50 high school teachers will participate; the first in Years 1 to 3 and the second in Years 4 and 5. As one strategy to achieve its goal of fusing immersion in content with training in practical classroom application, Project PAST will prepare the members of Cohort 1 to act as coaches to teachers in Cohort 2. All teachers will gain experience with using original documents, collaborating in grade-level teams, addressing the multiple abilities of students, and spiraling content to lead students from basic to critical thinking. Strategies will include theory-based instruction, creating standards-based lessons and authentic assessments, peer mentoring, and observation using a standard walk-through protocol, and integrating the fine arts and the humanities into history instruction. Project products will include a Moodle site—an Intranet-based learning platform that houses online lessons, discussions boards, curriculum, and interactive teaching resources—and a collection of standards-based lessons created by participants that will be available to all teachers in the consortium.

Grantee Name:Kentucky Educational Development Cooperative
Project Name:America’s Many Trails of Freedom
Project Director:Belinda Bowling
Funding:$1,667,109 over 5 years
Number of Teachers Served Overall:100
Number of School Districts Served:6
Grade Levels:K-12
Partners:Campbellsville College, National Council for History Education, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation Institute, Franklin Opus and Outreach Program, Teachers Curriculum Institute, Kentucky History Museum
Topics:Annual theme based on Kentucky state standards in history
Methods:Historical Encounter sessions, summer colloquia, institutes, mentoring, online pedagogy institute

America's Many Trails of Freedom targets six school districts served by the Kentucky Educational Development Cooperative and the Wilderness Trail Educational Cooperative in south central Kentucky. Students in these districts have shown little or no improvement on the state social studies assessment over a two-year period. To mitigate the lack of regional professional development opportunities related to teaching American history, the program will offer six components: six 3-hour Historical Encounter sessions per year that include collaborative work in grade-level teams; 3-day summer colloquia in alternate years; Colonial Williamsburg Teacher Institutes in Years 1, 2, and 4; opportunities to participate in mentoring, observation and feedback on standards-based lessons; 15 hours of Web-based lesson content development through Learners Online; and a 12-hour Teachers Curriculum Institute that features multiple instructional strategies that support the History Alive program. A cohort of 50 will participate in Years 1-3, and many of these will become teacher leaders; a second cohort of 50 will join in Years 4-5. Teachers will explore how the principles of liberty and democratic government have shaped America’s social, political, and legal institutions. The program will emphasize standards-based instruction that integrates conceptual and contextual content and incorporates role-playing and other instructional strategies that engage students. Each teacher will create a "traveling trunk" with a standards-based unit and related period costumes, music, art and artifacts. These resources, along with Electronic Resource Notebooks loaded with primary sources, will be made available to districts throughout the cooperative.

Grantee Name:Ohio Valley Educational Cooperative
Project Name:Project THEME (Themes of History for Elementary and Middle Educators)
Project Director:Karla Gibbs
Funding:$1,666,621 over 5 years
Number of Teachers Served Overall:40
Number of School Districts Served:11
Grade Levels:5, 8
Partners:Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, University of Kentucky, Berea College, Centre College, Georgetown College, Eastern Kentucky University, Northern Kentucky University, University of Louisville, Bill of Rights Institute, Teachers’ Curriculum Institute, Center for Civic Education, Kentucky Council on Economic Education, Kentucky Humanities Council, Filson Historical Society, Civil War Preservation Trust, Montpelier, McConnell Center
Topics:Year 1: The American Republic
Year 2: Cause-and-Effect Relationships in Significant Events
Year 3: Historically Significant Documents
Year 4: Growth of Democracy and Geographic Expansion
Year 5: Political, Social, Economic, and Cultural Differences
Methods:Kick-off workshop, summer institutes, field study experiences, workshops, classroom coaching, online mentoring

Eleven of the 14 districts served by the Ohio Valley Educational Cooperative in northcentral Kentucky have partnered for Project THEME. These districts include 40 elementary and middle schools that have performed below the state average on the social studies section of the state accountability assessment. Participating teachers in these schools will receive 70 hours of intensive, job-embedded, differentiated professional development each year for five years. Following a 2-day kick-off workshop, annual activities will include a multiday summer institute, midyear workshops, six to eight 2-hour local network meetings, 18 hours of classroom observation and feedback from curriculum specialists, online mentoring provided by three U.S. history coaches, and development of a presentation or product to be showcased at a display session. Each year, at least 10 teachers will also participate in field experiences at historical sites. Forty teachers from 40 schools will take part in the program. The overarching theme is the creation and evolution of the American Republic, with special attention given to its philosophical foundation, the purpose and structure of the federal government, and the establishment and preservation of individual liberty. Participating teachers will learn to develop dynamic lessons that engage students in the study of primary source documents and help them understand cause-and-effect relationships. Participants will develop one new "teacher product" each year (i.e., presentation at a regional history conference, peer lesson observation and review, book review, lesson, or instructional aide that incorporates technology). These products will be presented at an annual display session and stored on the program’s Web site.

Last Modified: 09/02/2009