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Stories and Histories

These districts serve the Colorado Springs metro area, which has seen recent influxes of new teachers and students; many are new to the United States and lack awareness of the country's history and what it means to be an American. The project will take a four-step approach: (1) grade-based learning teams with mentoring support, (2) summer and school-year professional development tracks, (3) a virtual network, and (4) resources (e.g., books, professional memberships in history organizations). Whichever track participants choose, they can earn academic and/or state continuing education credit. Every cohort will propose a presentation for the National Council for History Education annual conference, and four teachers will attend (one from each district). Five 1-year cohorts, each consisting of 40 history, civics and government teachers, will work in professional learning teams. Each cohort will commit to the school-year program, the summer program, or both; teachers may continue after 1 year, based on availability and need. Stories and Histories will pursue the theme of integrating thinking skills into history teaching. Inquiry questions will guide study of pivotal events, people, documents, legislation and judicial cases, as well as their local, state and national significance. Training will focus on helping teachers use digital storytelling, look at history as a historian does and apply such strategies as Understanding by Design and collaborative coaching. Every teacher will develop and use either a digital storytelling project or a primary source activity for the classroom; along with students' digital products, these materials will be posted on the Web for other teachers to find and use.