Tooele Teaching American History Project
Many students in this Utah district come from multigenerational, low-income families in rural communities spread across a large geographic area, including an American Indian reservation. Each year, project teachers will participate in monthly symposia, featuring lectures and reading assignments that examine key concepts, issues, questions and primary sources; monthly lesson study groups, focusing on pedagogy, research, assessment development, presentations and the historical investigation process; and studies of online collections and on-site field research at local sites. Four teachers also will attend the annual conference for the National Council for the Social Studies. In Years 3 and 5, all teachers will participate in a 5-day regional capstone field study. Annually, the project will serve 20 history teachers (half elementary and half secondary), each of whom may participate for up to three years. In addition, the history lectures and instructional resources will be open to all district teachers. The project's themes will be based on common threads across the Utah History Core and an assessment of teachers' needs. The strategies will include using expert historians and master history educators, embedding impactful pedagogical methods, and using local and national resources. The trainings will be supplemented with effective strategies that entwine continuous learning into teachers' daily routines, including professional learning communities, lesson study, one-on-one mentoring/coaching and virtual networks. Teachers also will have an opportunity to earn professional and master's degree credits. The teachers will create high-quality products, including standards-based curriculum units, mini-research projects involving primary sources and benchmarks, and common assessments for the new Utah History Standards.