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Unveiling History: Exploring America’s Past

This district—the largest in Maryland—includes more than 1,000 American history teachers, many of whom have little or no background in their subject matter or in specific strategies for teaching history and historical thinking skills. Each year, the project activities will feature a 1-week summer institute for separate cohorts of 20 elementary teachers. A 2-week summer institute, beginning in Year 2, will serve annual cohorts of 30 secondary school teachers. In addition, all teachers in the district can participate in six annual events during the school year: four content-based visits to historic sites in the Washington, D.C., area, and two skill and application workshops that integrate technology and reflective practice. Teachers who have participated in 1 year of the project will be allowed to return for a second year. Returning teachers will attend more advanced workshops on historical thinking skills and share what they have learned through presentations at their schools, meetings or state or national conferences. The project strategies will focus on historical thinking skills (such as close reading, assessing reliability and sourcing) and include practice with online resources and primary sources, biographies, autobiographies and other historical narratives. Returning teachers who demonstrate refined skills will be filmed in their classrooms, and the videos will be used in discussions regarding best practices. The Center for History and New Media will develop an open-source, open-access Web site to share project materials, including primary source activities, the classroom videos of teachers, podcasts of site visits and workshops, and workshop materials, such as bibliographies, teaching strategies and recommended Web sites.