America on the World Stage in Solano County
This California county is halfway between San Francisco and Sacramento, and its population reflects the state's economic and ethnic diversity. Lack of teacher preparation to teach history is reflected in disappointing student performance. Activities will include four scholar seminars each year; these will provide insight into the history and examine primary source documents. After each seminar, teachers will participate in a history lab to consider how to apply the content in ways that engage students. The Year 1 cadre will include 30 elementary teachers; although they will be encouraged to stay for the full grant period, it is likely that many spaces will open up for middle and high school teachers in Years 2 through 5. Project content will focus on intensive reading of recent scholarship, considering its emphasis on how the United States has always depended on transactions with other nations for ideas, commodities and populations. As teachers learn to use lesson study in Year 1, they will produce one lesson each; thereafter, teachers will work in teams to develop curriculum kits that include a background essay, a multiday historical investigation that requires analysis of primary sources, a student assessment and related rubric, samples of student work, reflection on teaching the lesson and an annotated bibliography. The 10 best lessons each year will be published online and presented at the annual showcase, the 20 best lessons of the project will be presented at its summative conference, and the 30 best presenters among the teachers will go on a study and exchange trip to Washington, D.C., and Virginia.