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Crossroads of American History: Teaching American History Through State History

This partnership linking Montville Township School District with Kean University and the New Jersey Historical Commission targets mandated integration of state history into the teaching of American history in middle and high schools. The project pairs 7-12th grade teachers in a suburban district with teachers from 10 "special needs" districts. Emphasizing primary sources such as diaries, letters, news accounts, pension and church records, census returns, maps, and damage claims, the project includes summer institutes, historic site tours, work at libraries and archives, and development of lessons. Lesson materials will be reviewed by the National Council on History Education. Based on the premise that connecting American with state history makes the subject more interesting for/relevant to students, the curriculum focuses on the battles of Trenton and Princeton as turning points in the American Revolution; the founding of Paterson, NJ, as one of the nation's first planned industrial cities; and Woodrow Wilson's term as governor of New Jersey as a dress rehearsal for his presidency.