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Making History

The Making History project serves Connecticut's largest city, where 13 percent of students are English learners who come from 70 language groups. In 2009-2010, one year of American history is being added to Grade 7 and a semester to Grade 10, meaning that teachers who have never taught American history will need extra support. Teachers will receive 50 hours per year of professional development delivered in five stages: (1) a summer colloquium, (2) content-focused seminars, (3) a field trip, (4) workshops on pedagogy, and (5) practica for implementing innovations in the classroom. Annual cohorts of 80 or more elementary, middle, and high school teachers will learn together, share content knowledge, and instructional strategies, and support one another in implementation. Making History will focus on the human elements of history, especially presidents and other "history makers" from the Revolution to World War II. Teachers will explore the "history of history" as an academic discipline. Seminars will include sessions such as "Picturing American History," where teachers learn about interpreting pieces of art as historical artifacts. Instruction will include learning historical habits of mind, using document-based questioning, and initiating student research and presentation. At the end of the project, the district will have a group of eight to 10 key lead teachers who are history specialists and advocates and a standards-based curriculum. All activities, lessons, and/or units of study created during the project will become Assured Experiences—things all district teachers are required to teach—and will be included in the electronic curriculum.

 
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