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Teaching as Historians

Two of these southern Washington state districts collaborated on a previous Teaching American History grant; it was so successful that teachers on a waiting list made it clear that extending the project—and involving another district—would have value. Each year, teachers will attend seven full-day symposia of scholarly lectures and lesson modeling. In monthly study groups, teachers from all three districts will work as a learning community to solve problems, reflect on practice and conduct lesson study. During a 5-day summer field study, teachers will work directly with historians, archivists and curators at local and regional sites. Five 1-year cohorts of 25 teachers will participate; teachers will be those who need to reach highly qualified status or who come from the lowest performing schools. The project theme of "Towards a More Perfect Union" will guide the exploration of civil rights throughout U.S. history. The Concerns-Based Adoption Model will be the overarching framework for more than 100 hours of annual professional development. Led by expert historians and master history educators, teachers will learn History Habits of Mind and study traditional American history by addressing essential questions about the ideals of democracy, liberty and equality. To promote a culture of instructional excellence and collegiality, project staff will introduce professional learning communities, lesson study and one-on-one mentoring/coaching by teachers who participated in the previous grant. All state teachers will have access to project-created products, including standards-based lesson plans and assessments, activities based on historical texts, in-service units for future use, and classroom kits that incorporate history and archeology for hands-on experiences.