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The Evolving West in American History

Very few teachers in the Burbank and Glendale, California, districts have history degrees, and history professional development has been hard to get. Also, 64 different languages are spoken in these schools, adding another challenge for teachers whose students have little understanding of the nation’s history. Annual activities will include five after-school workshops, a summer institute or workshop, a spring break or summer field trip, 10 hours of one-on-one lesson development and coaching support, and visits to local museum and archive resources.

Cohorts of 25 teachers will participate each year, based on content appropriate to their grade level, with an additional 20 teachers per year having access to workshops and summer institutes. The participants will explore historical turning points, key individuals and founding documents through four interconnected themes: the setting, the stories of the people, the government policies and Western influence on the nation as a whole. Teachers will learn research techniques, use of primary source documents, lesson development and evaluation. Their visits to local and distant sites will help teachers better understand the content they teach. Participants will develop rigorous, standards-based lesson plans to be disseminated through presentations at professional conferences and at special professional development events sponsored by the project. In addition, the project Web site will house model lesson plans, recorded lectures and presentations, and other resources for content and pedagogy.

 
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