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A Century of Progress: Thinking Historically Through the 1800s

The districts involved in this project are located in central Kansas, where budget cuts and prioritization of reading and math have reduced the amount of professional development available to history teachers. A Century of Progress: Thinking Historically Through the 1800s teachers will commit to a series of school-year workshops and 4-day summer institutes led by professors, visiting historians, authors and specialists in history teaching strategies and technology integration. These in-person events will be complemented by online conversations, classroom visits and attendance at the Kansas Council for History Education annual conference. The 40 participating middle school teachers will be selected according to interest and need. Three overarching themes will guide this project: (1) the significant issues, episodes and turning points in U.S. history; (2) how the words and deeds of individual Americans have determined the course of our nation; and (3) how the principles of freedom and democracy have shaped this country's struggles and achievements as well as its social, political and legal institutions and relations. All content will align with the state's eighth grade standards and will be aimed at cultivating an awareness of America's multi-ethnic history. Instructional strategies will range from the time tested, such as effective use of primary resources, to the cutting edge, such as use of the iPod touch to store, access and share teacher-created lessons and activities among participants. Methods instruction will also include understanding points of view, formulating research questions and improving reading comprehension. Teacher-created materials will be posted on a Web site, and teachers will provide training to colleagues in their schools and districts.