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Abstract of the Grant
The Oakland History Collaborative:
Teaching American History in an Urban School District

The Oakland Unified School District (CA) will work with the University of California Berkeley, Department of History; the University of California History-Social Science Project; the Oakland Museum of California; and the Peralta Hacienda Historic Park to engage 4th, 5th, 8th, and 11th grade teachers (those responsible for teaching American history in California) in intensive, content rich, staff development.

The project aims to increase teachers' knowledge of traditional American history and improve their ability to translate this knowledge into instruction that advances student understanding of American history as measured by state, district, and classroom assessments.

One professional development strand will support the work of elementary teachers (fourth and fifth grades), who teach early American history; a second strand will support the work of secondary teachers. Participating teachers will attend an after-school speaker series, school-year release days, and summer institutes. They will develop an American history "Lesson Study" around each of the project's three yearly themes and an instructional question they choose to research.

The different emphases in each year offer separate slices of American history and, taken as a whole, they will provide participating teachers multiple ways of understanding significant events, individuals, and ideas in American history.

Year 1 will cover such issues as trade, territorial expansion, and modern trade treaties; Year 2 will cover America's political struggle over democracy, equality, and civil rights and connect it to the history of America's foreign policy; and Year 3 will focus on the nation's stated ideals and will trace how these ideals shaped concrete historical outcomes in foreign affairs. Specific content will focus on the American Revolution, the Civil War, slavery, the Gold Rush, and Transcendentalists.

Along with content, project sessions will be devoted to historical inquiry, historical thinking, and post-talk historiographic discussions.