Teaching American History

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

Grantee Name:Baltimore County Public Schools
Project Name:History Labs: Baltimore County Public Schools
Project Director:Rex Shepard
Funding:$998,174 over 3 years
Number of Teachers Served Overall:60
Number of School Districts Served:1
Grade Levels:Information Not Available
Partners:University of Maryland - Baltimore County, Maryland State Archives
Topics:Content: American Beginnings: Europeans in North America, 1492-1700; From Jeffersonian America through Civil War and Reconstruction; The United States from the Gilded Age through World War I; The Making of Modern America
Methods:Colloquia, graduate courses, summer institutes, workshops, electronic learning community

History Labs will recruit teachers from 92 district schools, the schools most in need of support. Historians will present content in a cumulative sequence through graduate, and master teachers will conduct parallel sessions on applying inquiry-based teaching. Archivists and technology specialists will contribute at appropriate times during the professional development as participants develop multi-day history labs to use in their classrooms. The project will recruit two cohorts of 30 teachers each, drawn equally from elementary, middle and high schools; each cohort will participate for two years, working at times in vertical teams and at times in grade-level teams. History Labs teachers will create professional growth plans and participate in observations conducted by the project manager to analyze their growth. Working in grade-level teams, teachers will prepare history labs. Each lab will be guided by an overarching question designed to be broad, open to interpretation, and to provide students with the opportunity to learn historical content and develop historical thinking skills. Labs will incorporate primary sources for students to analyze and will utilize a variety of authentic products for completion and assessment. By the end of the project, a total of 30 history labs will be available for classroom use, and all will be published on the district's electronic learning community.

Grantee Name:Board of Education of Prince George's County, Maryland
Project Name:American History at Home
Project Director:Phyllis Evans
Funding:$1,286,375 over 5 years
Number of Teachers Served Overall:100
Number of School Districts Served:Information Not Available
Grade Levels:9-12
Partners:University of Maryland - College Park
Topics:Frameworks of Understanding Modern America; Origins of the Great Depression; The Age of Mass Communication; The New Deal; The Home Front: From World War to Postwar Prosperity; The U.S. Economy in World War II; Atomic Bomb: Technology and Diplomacy; African American Public Memory; The Rise of Environmentalism; Technology and Its Impact on Post World War II America
Methods:Summer institutes, bridge sessions

Prince George's County, the 15th largest district in the country, has a student population more than 95 percent minority—a reflection, in part, of its large African American middle class. The district is classified as in need of improvement and has a disproportionate number of inexperienced, unlicensed teachers at low-performing schools. Its proximity to the nation's capital and to some remarkable experiments in suburban living (e.g., the New Deal community of Greenbelt) makes visits to key sites accessible for experiential learning by teachers and students. Each 2-year program of American History at Home will include a 2-day introduction, six 2-day bridge sessions and three 5-day summer institutes, all of which will be integrated with pedagogy sessions that transfer the content knowledge into practice. For participating in these activities, teachers will earn six graduate-level history course credits and three graduate-level education course credits. The project will train two 2-year cohorts of 50 teachers each. Because of the great need among ninth grade students, the goal will be to recruit 30 percent of teachers from this grade level. American History at Home will explore two thematic questions: (1) How did depression, war, and postwar growth reshape local communities? and, (2) What role did science and technology play in the histories of the county and of the nation during this period? Beginning with assigned readings and writing tasks, teachers will explore several interpretive frameworks and historiographic debates (e.g., consensus vs. conflict, technological momentum, statism and anti-statism). Pedagogical strategies will include creating multimedia classroom activities and employing strategic historical thinking.

Last Modified: 09/10/2009