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Hearing Every Voice: Teaching American History in South Carolina

Aiken, Edgefield, and Saluda County Schools in South Carolina included 22 schools in need of improvement, corrective action, or restructuring at the time of the grant application. To address history teachers' limited access to professional development, Hearing Every Voice will involve teachers in content-rich professional development in American history. Annual activities will include a 3-day fall colloquium, a 2-day summer colloquium, regional historical site visits, a series of 1-day Hometown Heroes workshops that fit local stories into the larger tapestry of American history, and access to quality Web-based content and pedagogical resources via Cicero and Sojourner History. These activities will include intensive content lectures, primary source analysis, innovative pedagogical techniques, training in the use of Historical Habits of the Mind, and hands-on experiences in historical settings. Forty teachers will participate throughout the five years of the project and will be trained as master teachers and mentors for others in their districts. The project’s unifying theme is its focus on helping educators and students understand the interrelated nature and significance of group and individual voices, events, and deeds within the flow of history. Instructional strategies based on Historical Habits of Mind will help teachers and their students develop historical thinking skills and will integrate primary sources and technology. Teachers will create lesson kits that combine scholarly readings, classroom resources, and high-quality lesson plans. These will be made available online.