Teaching Materials
Ask a Master Teacher
Lesson Plan Gateway
Lesson Plan Reviews
State Standards
Teaching Guides
Digital Classroom
Ask a Digital Historian
Tech for Teachers
Beyond the Chalkboard
History Content
Ask a Historian
Beyond the Textbook
History Content Gateway
History in Multimedia
Museums and Historic Sites
National Resources
Website Reviews
Issues and Research
Report on the State of History Education
Research Briefs
Best Practices
Examples of Historical Thinking
Teaching in Action
Teaching with Textbooks
Using Primary Sources
TAH Projects
Lessons Learned
Project Directors Conference
Project Spotlight
TAH Projects
Technical Working Group
Research Advisors
Teacher Representatives
Quiz Rules
Teaching History.org logo and contact info

Let Freedom Ring: Participating in American History through Primary Documents

The city of St. Louis constitutes the core of a large metropolitan area, and its schools serve a high-needs population. Students in St. Louis Public Schools have scored considerably below averages on Missouri's state achievement test, and the state has designated the district as being in need of improvement. To reform and revitalize the St. Louis Public Schools American history program at the elementary school level, Let Freedom Ring will provide two years of professional development to each fourth and fifth grade teachers in the district's 40 elementary schools. For each teacher, the first year of involvement will include a 35-hour seminar series, a 3-day summer institute on the tools of social science inquiry, and a 3-day field experience. In their second year, teachers will receive on-site assistance and support from historians as they design and implement at least three high-quality standards-based instructional units. Four cohorts will be trained, with 30 teachers in each cohort. Teachers and, ultimately, their students, will become more knowledgeable about critical events, documents, timelines and relationships in our nation's history and will experience history in a personal way as they interact with primary source documents. Instructional strategies will focus on inquiry methods that require hands-on examination of primary documents, critical analysis, case study, discussion and research. Let Freedom Ring will provide a model for enhancing American history programming at the elementary level, and a program implementation guide will be made available to other districts wishing to adopt or adapt the St. Louis model.