Teaching American History

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Oregon 2010 Grant Abstract

Grantee Name:

Southern Oregon Education Service District

Project Name:

Thinking Historically: A SOESD Initiative

Project Director:

Joe H. Peterson

Funding for Years 1-3:


Number of Teachers Served Overall:


Number of School Districts Served:


Grade Levels:



Southern Oregon Historical Society, University of Nevadas - Las Vegas, American Institute for History Education, Bill of Rights Institute, Civil War Institute, Civil War Society


Year 1: The Empire vs. the Colonies
Year 2: The agrarian South and the Industrial North; Civil War and Reconstruction
Year 3: Democracy, economic depression, totalitarianism, war, and modern America


Colloquia, book studies, field studies, summer institutes, video conferences, technology training

Nine of this project's 13 districts have failed to make Adequate Yearly Progress, and few teachers have better than scant knowledge of American history. Three colloquia and a summer institute, totaling 11 days, will be offered each year, and sessions will be led by historians, instructional experts and master teachers. An annual book study will require reading, writing and discussions with professors and education specialists. Teachers will keep multimedia journals and compile collections of resources for classroom use. A cadre of 50 teachers will be recruited, with the goal of retaining all for the full 3 years to build an enduring, history-based professional learning community. By studying American history chronologically through the historian's academic lens, teachers will see the powerful cause and effect relationships and push/pull factors that have impacted our history. Teachers will engage in discourse and experiential learning with the goals of (1) developing historical reasoning skills, along with the ability to engage student learning and critical thinking; and (2) becoming trainers of colleagues in their schools and districts. Specific instructional methods will be introduced each year, and the historical reasoning approach will build a foundation for acquiring historical knowledge. Strategies will be bracketing history; E.Q.U.A.L., a strategy to study primary documents; and the Great Parley, in which students study events from multiple perspectives. All project work will be published on the Southern Oregon Education Service District Web site, and student- and teacher-created video resources will be posted to TeacherTube.

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Last Modified: 11/24/2010