Department of History
Old Horticulture
506 E. Circle Dr
Room 256
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI 48824
Main: 517.355.7500
Fax: 517.353.5599
Email: history [at] msu [dot] edu
Hours: 8:00-5:00 M-F

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Teaching American History Grants

2007 “Turning Points in American Freedom”

Grantee: Battle Creek Public Schools, Battle Creek, MI
Funding: $999,999
Number of School Districts Served: 13
Number of Students Served: 28,283

The goal of the project is to create a professional learning community among Calhoun County’s elementary, middle school, and secondary teachers working together with Michigan State University historians for the purpose of improving teaching and learning in American History. Expected outcomes are:

  • 48 teachers of American History at the 5th, 8th, and high school levels will increase their American History content knowledge as well as their use of historical thinking skills, primary sources, and systematic assessment in their instruction
  • Students taught by these teachers will demonstrate increased AH content knowledge.

Project content will be based upon two core principles: (1) biographical study of the past deepens students’ understanding of how the personal drives the public sides of life; and (2) periods of crisis and tension create “turning points” when underlying disagreements emerge between the real and the ideal in a country dedicated to liberty and equality.
Strategies to achieve these goals include:

  • Professional Development, collaboratively planned by teachers and MSU historians, will take place at week-long summer institutes and day-long history seminars throughout the school year
  • Cross-district Professional Learning Groups, small groups of teachers with a common grade level and focus, will develop American History resources, curriculum and assessment tools to use with their students in Calhoun County classrooms
  • A group of Teacher Leaders who participated in the first Battle Creek TAH project (2003-2006) will mentor their teaching colleagues in content learning, unit/lesson development, and assessment strategies.
  • These units will incorporate lessons that use technology and Web-based resources to support students inquiring into questions in American History that are aligned with Michigan’s new Social Studies Grade Level Content Expectations and also meaningful for students.
  • MSU historians will serve as consultants to teachers throughout their TAH experience, as they first expand their own American History content knowledge and then increase their students’ content knowledge.
  • Online communication will support this professional learning community in sustaining conversations among teachers and historians about American History and how to teach it effectively.

2005 “MI Freedom”

Grantee : Lansing School District, Lansing, MI
Funding: $999,996
Number of Teachers Served: 75
Number of School Districts Served: 1
Number of Students Served: 24,000

MI Freedom is providing history curriculum development, alignment, integration, and professional development for 75 U.S. history teachers serving high-needs students in Grades K-12. Partnering with the LEA are the Smithsonian Institution, the National Council for History Education, Michigan State University, the Library of Michigan, the Michigan Department of Education, and other supporting organizations. Activities include after-school and summer seminars and institutes, Internet-based learning, on-site study at Colonial Williamsburg, conference opportunities, and peer discussion groups. Year 1 addresses Foundations of Freedom; Year 2, Reconstructing a Nation; and Year 3, Modern Expressions of Freedom. Within each period, historians work with teachers to examine the lives of key individuals, social movements, and the evolution of individual liberty doctrines.

2004 “Path to the Present: A Model Program to Improve and Support Modern American History Teaching in Michigan”

Grantee: Okemos Public Schools, Okemos, MI
Funding: $999,878
Number of Teachers Served: 60
Number of School Districts Served: 10

This project is teaching 10 teacher-pairs per year from a diverse group of schools in mid-Michigan at intensive 2-week history academies in collaboration with Michigan State University’s Department of History and MATRIX Center for the Humane Arts, Letters and Social Sciences and Social Sciences Online; ABC-CLIO, H-Net Humanities and Social Sciences Online; Michigan Historical Center and State Archives; and Michigan Department of Education. The teacher-pairs—1 new and 1 master teacher in grades 9-11—will create model curricula and attend follow-up school-based workshops in which outcomes will be disseminated to other teachers. Participants are intended to form the core of a new Michigan History Teaching Network with online headquarters for continuing education. Addressing crucial events and turning points in traditional American History, year 1 focuses on Growth of the State: U.S. and the World; year 2 on Economic Development and Political Reform; and year 3 on American Society and Culture: Pluralism and Diversity. The project supports methodologies for using primary materials to develop student aptitude in analyzing historical issues.

2003 “Meaningful Learning in American History”

Grantee: Battle Creek Public Schools, Battle Creek, MI
Funding: $927,999
Number of Teachers Served: 160
Number of School Districts Served: 4

This partnership with Michigan State University College of Arts and Letters and College of Education provides teachers of grades 4-12 with professional development that focuses on using technology to support research-based organizing ideas and classroom instruction. Strategies are: formation of American history Professional Learning Groups, American history Professional Learning Anchor events of 1-5 days, American history historian consultants, and communication about American history teaching and learning, Content includes governance and politics, ideals of American democracy, American democracy in action, government and world affairs, and the Civil War as “a defining event upon which we have often imposed unity and continuity.”

2003 “Foundations of Democracy – Teaching American History”

Grantee: Delta-Schoolcraft Intermediate School District, Escanaba, MI
Funding: $969,746
Number of Teachers Served: 165
Number of School Districts Served: 1

Serving 34 public schools, 2 private schools, 1 public school academy, and 2 alternative high schools, the district is partnering with National Council for History Education, Center for Civic Education, faculty from Michigan State University and Western Michigan University, U.S. Forest Service Heritage Resources, Delta County Historical Society, Detroit History Museum, and Fayette Historic State Park to create 66 master history teachers and provide mentoring for 99 additional teachers in grades 5, 8, 11 and 12. The master teacher cadre receive approximately 275 hours of professional development emphasizing traditional American History, biography, key individuals and events, foundational documents including the Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and Bill of Rights, development of the judicial system, and regional history focusing on environment, values, political institutions, exploration migration, expansion, and economic development. Activities include use of Internet resources, research, summer institutes focusing on narrative history and storytelling, colloquia, piloting and videotaping of instructional units, and in-service on student playwriting, addressing historical events.