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JHAT Jr.: Discovering America's History

This project's districts are located in north-central Utah, where a previous Teaching American History grant for middle and high school teachers was quite successful. To help elementary teachers become conversant and comfortable with teaching history, the project will engage participants in a 15-day seminar during their first year of participation. In subsequent years, shorter seminars and eight days of field study will be used to deliver content knowledge and methods training, and these will be bolstered every year by follow-up support and coaching. Three cohorts will convene in a tiered arrangement: Cohorts 1 and 3 will serve 30 teachers each from year-round schools, and Cohort 2 will serve 30 teachers from 9-month schools; Cohort 1 will begin in Year 1, Cohort 2 in Year 2, and Cohort 3 in Year 3, with all continuing through Year 5. By starting small, project leaders intend to take lessons learned about effective activities from the first cohort and apply them as remaining cohorts move into the project. All activities and instruction will focus on how the words and deeds of individuals shape history. During seminars, scholars and historians will guide learning of traditional American history, and the project director and a master teacher will lead methods sessions. Field visits will consist of explorations to local and national historic sites, and these will be guided by essential questions that prompt research and study. Throughout, teachers will collaborate to develop lesson units, podcasts, videos and other teaching resources. These materials will be shared on a project Web site and through the National History Education Clearinghouse.