Teaching American History in South Carolina
South Carolina tackled professional development through two Teaching American History (TAH) grants and from a statewide perspective. Teaching American History in South Carolina (TAHSC) emphasizes developing relationships between educators and local community resources in order to teach and learn history. From a a primary source timeline to virtual tours of selected local cultural and historical sites, TAHSC helps teachers develop innovative teaching techniques to connect national history to local and regional events, people, and places.
The Teaching American History in South Carolina website incorporates a variety of teaching tools with an emphasis the use of community cultural resources and historic sites to teach history.
But perhaps the most exciting contribution of this well-thought out website is the lesson plan section. Lesson plans for grades 3 through high school are posted by chronologically beginning with Encounters in the New World (up to 1607) to and ending with Contemporary America (1945 to Present). Each lesson presentation includes academic standards, historical background, primary and secondary sources with hyperlinks if available, lesson plans, samples of student work, and suggested approaches to assessment.
Teachers also comment in the lesson plans about their own experiences with their classes when they implemented various lesson plans. For example, a teacher implementing a high school lesson on the South Carolina Black Codes discusses what worked and what didn't while integrating primary sources into small group activities. Follow the extensive guidelines and historical background provided in Between the Rivers and you'll perhaps find more questions answered than many people might have thought of asking.
A Master Scholar leads ten-day summer institutes in three regions of the state, providing content instruction in American history. Teachers also take part in master teacher workshops and presentations at local museums, libraries, and historic sites across the state. During the school year, teachers receive continuous research support to develop curriculum-based lessons based on their institute experience.
The first TAHSC award in 2001 served 146 teachers directly over a period of three years in targeted school districts in the state; the second grant, awarded in 2004, expanded the outreach to 180 additional teachers and a new coalition of school districts.