History Matters: Bringing U.S. History to Diverse Learners
This project will serve diverse New York City schools, where only 38 percent of general education and eight percent of special education and English Language Learner (ELL) students pass 8th-grade U.S. history exams. Each year, the project will feature (1) eight day-long seminars, where historians introduce U.S. history topics using primary sources and the Thinking Like a Historian framework; (2) up to four half-day seminars at museums, demonstrating how to integrate art, material culture and local history resources into teaching; (3) guidance and support in developing and teaching classroom activities, including assistance in instructional design, classroom visits and online collaborative communities; and (4) pre- and post-project evaluation data and reviews of student work, which will help the teachers and districts improve instructional practice, teacher knowledge and student achievement. The project will involve two separate cohorts of 36 7th- and 8th-grade teachers who work with special education and ELL students. The first cohort will participate in Years 1-3; during Years 4-5, the second cohort will receive training in the topics from Years 1-2. The content is derived from the New York State core social studies curriculum, but organized topically to allow teachers to develop themes across U.S. history. The teachers will study major events and themes with leading historians as well as pedagogical designs that combine content with strategies for building general and special education students' historical understanding and skills. The project will videotape selected participants' teaching lessons and make these best practices available online. Primary source materials, podcasts by historians and teacher-created classroom activities also will be featured online.