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Traveling America's Cs: Decisive Moments in American History

Located in southwestern Missouri, the participating districts—mainly small, rural and disadvantaged—have all been targeted for improvement. Each fall and spring, the semester will begin with a 6-week online course that includes reading, analysis and dialogue. This will be followed by a weekend seminar that combines lectures with discussions of readings and teaching strategies; lectures will be open to the public and to all teachers as in-service professional development. The year will conclude with a 5-day summer institute, during which teachers will visit historic sites and use primary sources to conduct research and prepare instructional materials. Each year, 30 elementary and secondary teachers will participate; they will work in cadres of three to five to prepare lesson materials, observe one another presenting the materials, and analyze lesson delivery and content along with associated student work. Through looking at decisive moments in American history, teachers and students will explore "who we are" as a nation and "why we are the way we are." Traveling America's Cs is designed to address identified gaps in teachers' knowledge. The project will introduce historical thinking skills; the revised Bloom's taxonomy; 21st century skills and research-based strategies, such as inquiry-based teaching, that help students take charge of their learning. Lessons will be reviewed by students to help teachers refine them for interest and effectiveness. Products will include electronic teacher portfolios, lessons, assessments, resources and ideas, and traveling trunks that will be available to all teachers in a 48-district consortium.