Telling America's Story: Traditional American History through Media and Literacy
Telling America's Story will target 24 Title I schools in need of improvement within Community School Districts 8, 11, and 12 in the Bronx, where student performance has been extremely poor on New York's standardized history assessments and more than a fourth of all teachers are teaching without valid certification or outside of their subject certifications. Participating teachers from these schools will engage in the following professional development activities each year: eight full-day Saturday workshops featuring content lectures and pedagogy sessions at various museums and historic sites, four workshops on American film, four lectures by professional historians, two monthly school-based study group/peer coaching meetings, and a culminating 4-day summer institute on creating curriculum. Teachers will also receive free passes to 30 local museums and laptops for networking and curriculum development. A new cohort of 25 teachers will participate each year. Those teachers who "graduate" will then become teacher-historians who facilitate on-site project activities within their schools. The thematic focus will be on how historical events and times have shaped America's current and past social, political, and economic values, especially as viewed through the lens of New York City. Teachers will learn to stimulate historical thinking and analysis as they integrate traditional media (film, television, radio, and literature) and interactive literacy techniques such as blogs into the delivery of American history content, making history accessible to all, including poor readers and nonreaders within their classrooms. Classroom-ready media, presentations, and lessons created during Telling America's Story will be disseminated via a program Web site.