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American Liberty: Making Historical Connections

Located in northern Indiana, these districts have limited access to professional development. Many teachers have little American history background and lack confidence in their ability to teach the subject. Each year's activities will begin with a half-day kickoff that previews content and includes a keynote address. Teachers will attend three content workshops delivered by historians from partnering organizations and three grade-level methods workshops designed to bridge the gap between content and the classroom, plus a 5-day summer institute that combines content and methods. Each year, 10 teachers will travel on a 5-day field experience to sites that are related to the year's content. Book studies will include three content-focused books and one methods-focused book each year; these will be discussed during workshops and online. Teachers who complete all five years will receive 740 hours of professional development. The 35 teachers will come from all four participating districts and will stay for the full term. Should any teachers drop out, others will be recruited to take their places. American Liberty: Making Historical Connections will blend a chronological approach with a theme-based one, thus enabling historians to help teachers delve deeply into events in American history. Methods workshops will focus on specific skills, such as historical research, historical writing and investigations, and historical schools of thought. During summer field experiences, teachers will keep journals, gather resources and develop lesson plans. Coaches will provide classroom-based support through two visits every year to observe, model and give feedback. Teachers will learn to use Web-based technologies to share lesson plans and resources with other teachers.