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Foundations

Given a high number of English Language Learners and California's emphasis on English language arts, this project chose an overall focus on integrating history into language arts. For five days in the summer, historians will present history content. For four days during the school year, a history educator and a technology specialist will present teaching strategies and Web 2.0 technologies. Teachers will also work with a university professor to research commercial teaching materials, using CICERO, History Alive! and other materials in their classrooms. They will analyze and review the software, print and online products, including games and simulations, to benefit other history teachers. A core group of 38 teachers&#8212two from each elementary school—will stay through the full five years, spending at least 13 hours a year mentoring a teacher outside the project. In keeping with elementary history standards, the project will address the foundations and founding documents of the United States. Content literacy will be developed by helping teachers build prior knowledge, apply structured note-taking, analyze images and evaluate historical materials. Specific pedagogical approaches will include Binary Paideia and historical thinking skills, and strategies will include bracketing history, E.S.P. (considering the economic, social and political aspects of events), analyzing primary sources and others. This project aims to be on the cutting edge of the "Facebook approach" to teaching American history; that is, it will use Facebook, Twitter, blogs and discussion threads as important communication and dissemination tools. A project Web site will host all lesson plans, reviews of history teaching materials and other products as freely available resources.

 
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