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

Setting Our Sites on History: Using Historical Museums and Landmarks to Teach American History

In these western New York state districts, teachers have few opportunities for history professional development and, because of state certification requirements, most have little formal preparation in American history. Setting Our Sites on History (Setting Our Sites) will address teachers' needs with 90 hours of professional development in a yearlong program: eight school-day workshops to present content, three Saturday workshops to design service learning activities, and a 4-day residential summer institute in Washington, D.C. to link local themes into a national framework. Historians and a regional archivist will present content in a site-based learning format, with sessions to be held at museums and historical landmarks. Each annual cohort of 25 teachers will be joined by future teachers of social studies from Buffalo State College—either in classrooms as student teachers or in project activities. Setting Our Sites will explore the ramifications and ideas behind the American ideal of "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." This theme will link an exploration of the experiences of eight groups of people in American history who have struggled for and among one another for full rights (Native Americans, soldiers, pioneers, immigrants, women, children, the working class and African Americans). Instructional strategies will include a focus on service learning, which will have teachers design activities to engage students with local and national history. After completing the year-long training, teachers will mentor their colleagues to improve history teaching and employ service learning to build the collections of and interactions with historical sites and museums.