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Teaching American History—Colonial to Centennial: American and Arizona History

This Arizona district is extremely diverse, and the large majority of students are first- or second-generation Americans. During the first three years of the project, 30 teachers will attend quarterly reading and conference sessions at Phoenix-area museums, six Professional Learning Community meetings and three summer study trips, including visits to historic sites in Arizona, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New York City. They also will attend the National Council for Social Studies Annual Conference. In the final two years, the same 30 teachers will study biographies and primary sources. Teachers will be selected based on their willingness to change the way they teach U.S. history, their existing historical knowledge and their commitment to full participation. Each of the largest high schools will be represented by at least one teacher, who will become a peer coach and trainer for others at the school. The project will emphasize parallel and divergent developments in American and Arizona history, highlighting areas where historians disagree. The teachers and their students also will take part in the Arizona Centennial celebration. The teachers will learn to use primary sources, including texts, art, artifacts and multimedia resources. In addition, they will learn strategies for planning classroom activities and delivering rich content; assigning and scoring student reading and writing projects that align with state and national core standards; and introducing content and materials that integrate the colonial and territorial history of the Southwest, especially Arizona, with the typical scope and sequence of U.S. history courses. A project Web site will house lessons and resources developed by the teachers.