TeachingExperimental Creating a Blueprint for History and Social Science Education: Advancing Instruction, Assessment, Student Learning, and Engagement

AHA Session 144
Saturday, January 7, 2012: 11:30 AM-1:30 PM
Chicago Ballroom F (Chicago Marriott Downtown)
Anne Hyde, Colorado College
Academic Collaboration on the History Blueprint
Karen Halttunen, University of Southern California
Standards and Assessments: Challenges of Developing the History Blueprint
Shennan L. Hutton, California History-Social Science Project, University of California, Davis
Experiencing the Civil War via the History Blueprint
Amy Hale, Santiago Charter Middle School; Kristi Peckham, Santiago Charter Middle School
The Audience

Session Abstract

The California History-Social Science Project (CHSSP) proposes a session on the History Blueprint initiative to improve the quality and frequency of instruction in history in grades 4 through 12.  The CHSSP is a collaboration between history faculty at universities and K-12 history-social science teachers.  Alarmed at the marginalization of history as a discipline in the nation’s public schools, the CHSSP launched the Blueprint to improve the quality of history instruction and inform public policy across the nation.  The initiative’s goals are to increase student engagement in history, and improve students' reading, writing and learning in the discipline.  To accomplish this, the CHSSP will create a history curriculum - complete units for the history-social science standards for each grade - and make it freely available online.  During 2011, a team of university historians and teacher leaders will write one pilot unit, which will combine lesson plans, primary sources, digital media, strategies to teach historical analysis and develop academic language, assessments and online support.   At the outset, historians will frame the units with historiographical arguments, posing historical investigation questions in language which is appropriate for younger students, but challenges them to think historically.  All curriculum will be linked to development of the investigative questions, embedding the content in a framework of current historiographical understandings, thematic logic, and consistent development of analysis skills.  Rather than teaching discrete facts, teachers will thus focus their instruction around arguments which reflect current academic developments.  In addition, the History Blueprint team will write assessments designed to gather information before, during and after each unit about students’ historical knowledge and analytical ability.  This session will examine different aspects of the History Blueprint’s first year from three perspectives.  Karen Halttunen (history professor, University of Southern California) will address the ways in which the Blueprint can develop and strengthen connections between the academy and the K-12 schools, as she explores the process of collaborating with teachers from the academic perspective.  Shennan Hutton (CHSSP program coordinator) will discuss the history standards of various states and the process of the pilot unit development, particularly Blueprint’s efforts to compose analytical assessments.  Teachers will present selected lessons from the pilot unit, and analyze the process of collaborating on the Blueprint project from the perspective of classroom teachers.  At present, Nancy McTygue, the Executive Director of the CHSSP, is listed as the presenter for this paper.  If the session is accepted, I will register the specific teachers' names, as directed by Sharon K. Tune.  The first two presenters will speak for fifteen minutes each, and the teachers will engage the audience in lessons for thirty minutes.  A question-and-answer period will follow.  The session targets a mixed audience of faculty and K-12 teachers who are interested in education.

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