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Memorializing Promise and Conflict: A Monumental History of U.S. Democracy

Teachers in this project's western Massachusetts districts noted that they are least knowledgeable about recent history, which also is the most likely historical period to be limited by time constraints at the end of a year; therefore, it will be addressed in Year 1 of the project. Each year will begin with an immersion field trip to visit monuments and historic sites; the Veterans Education Project will provide personal accounts of people who witnessed related history, and funding will help teachers create "archive boxes" of primary sources and artifacts for classroom use. During the school year, participants will attend four seminars that deliver content, pedagogy and historical thinking skills; they will also take part in after-school workshops that include book groups and technology training. The number of teachers participating each year (35) will eventually produce a cadre of teacher leaders who can support their colleagues and sustain the benefits of the grant. The theme of American democracy will serve as the medium through which the content of each historical period will be filtered. The content addressed during each 50-year block of history will be presented so as to align with state standards. Teachers will learn to use fiction and graphic novels for history teaching, along with differentiated instruction, primary sources and technology tools, such as wikis, podcasts, digital storytelling and Web-based archives. Grant activities and products will be posted on a Web site, giving all history teachers access to virtual museum tours, videos of activities and examples of classroom teaching, examples of student work, blogs, podcasts and more.