Home > About the Project > Abstract of the Grant

Abstract of the Grant
History Grows in Oakland
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 University of California Berkeley’s Interactive University, to engage 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 to improve their ability to translate this knowledge into instruction that advances student understanding and knowledge of American history as measured on state of California, district, and classroom assessments. This will be accomplished through a program designed to achieve the following goals:

1. Measurable improvement in teacher knowledge and understanding of traditional American History
2. Measurable improvement in teacher knowledge and understanding of how to use historical inquiry and historical thinking to deepen student knowledge and understanding of traditional American History
3. Measurable improvement in teacher knowledge of how to integrate reading, writing, and history in lessons designed to improve student academic and historical literacy skills
4. Opportunities for teachers to develop and analyze lessons that translate increased content and pedagogical knowledge into effective classroom history instruction
5. Support the induction of new teachers, as they take on the responsibility of teaching American history.

The grant will cover, over the course of its three years, three major themes –1) biography, 2) the Constitution, and 3) foreign policy, or, for 5th grade, enhancing critical reading of historical fiction. Teachers will attend monthly meetings, as well as week long summer institutes. They will develop an American history lesson around an instructional question they want to research and will share what they learn at a regional teaching American history conference, sponsored by this project, to be held at the end of the second and third year of the grant.