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January 2009

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2009 Teaching American History Grant Competition Announced!

The 2009 Teaching American History (TAH) grant competition is now open. Visit the TAH website for complete details. The application deadline is March 9, 2009. Pre-application workshops will be held on Thursday, January 8, 2-4 p.m. (New York Hilton Hotel, NYC) and on Monday, January 12, 10 am-12 pm and 2-4 p.m. (U. S. Department of Education, Washington, D.C.).

History Content

The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire

This website tells the story of the fire in six chapters: Introduction; Sweatshops and Strikes; Fire; Mourning and Protest; Relief Work; and Investigation, Trial, and Reform.
The text, targeted to a middle and high school audience, is accompanied by numerous primary sources that could be of use to more advanced researchers. These include close to 70 photographs, 18 newspaper articles, 17 testimonials, three oral histories, excerpts from investigative reports written in the years following the fire, and much more. Explore other websites here.

Best Practices

Making Textbooks More Meaningful!

Analyzing textbooks from a historiographical stance allows students to see that history is more about interpretation, perspective, and bias than about rote memorization. By looking at how textbooks from different eras describe a certain event, such as the Mexican-American War, students learn about the choices that textbook authors make. For example, do the textbooks depict the U.S. as the aggressor, as an unwilling participant forced into a conflict by enemy antagonism, or something in between? More....

Teaching Materials

Ask a Master Teacher!

What are the most significant changes in history teaching over the past 10 years? First and foremost would be the influence of the Internet. Teachers across subjects use the web for lesson plans, best practices, and professional development, and this is certainly true for history teachers. For a great example, check out America's History in the Making, a 22-part online professional development course that spans from the pre-Columbian period to present day. More...

Issues and Research

Research Highlights—Connections Between Instruction and Assessment

Most educators use test results to measure student learning, but what are the connections between how students perform on tests and what goes on in their classrooms? Julie Smith and Richard Niemi (of Oakland University and the University of Rochester, respectively) explored these questions in their 2003 study of National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) U.S. history results and student survey data. Read a brief summary of their study here.

TAH Grants

Project Spotlight: Bringing History Home

Visit this website based on a TAH grant in Iowa. Bringinghistoryhome.org builds lesson plans that integrate historical narratives, timelines, and written and visual primary sources. Curricular units introduce the tools of historical thinking across grade levels. Bringinghistoryhome.org originally targeted elementary school educators, but the value of the curriculum modules led to its extension into middle school and high school. Explore other TAH projects here.

Professional Development

Online Workshop! Teaching African American History with WPA Slave Narratives

This workshop, hosted by the National Humanities Center on February 26, 2009, will examine a range of questions, including what recollections of formerly enslaved people, gathered by the Works Progress Administration in the 1930s, tell us about slavery in America, and what interpretative challenges the WPA slave narratives pose. More...