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Feature: Take a Walk on the Historical Side

Teachers view Among the Sierra Nevada, California Teachers view “Among the Sierra Nevada, California” (National Portrait Gallery). Teachinghistory.org, 2012. As a high school history teacher gazes up at an enormous mural, he begins to plan an activity that engages his students in careful analysis of both the image and its historical context. Listening to a drum beat while she walks in the footsteps of a Civil War soldier, a fourth-grade teacher gains an appreciation for the power of music and of historic places. She learns new ways to incorporate multiple senses into her classroom, opening student minds through the sounds, smells, and tastes of the past. 

Whether it takes place in a national museum, on a working seventeenth-century farm, or in a library or archive, professional development that allows teachers to explore history in person can be a powerful learning experience. But what are the components of good history and social studies workshops for teachers? What roles can cultural institutions, such as museums, libraries, archives, and historic sites, play in creating quality learning opportunities for educators? What strategies help teachers translate these experiences into classroom learning, inspiring students to think in new ways?

Schools, Districts, and States Transform Seat-based Requirements into Competency-based Pathways to College- and Career-Readiness

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, in addressing the "new normal" schools are facing – tight budget times that call for doing more with less and finding ways to innovate, increase efficiency and effectiveness, and accelerate reform – released promising practices last March to help states, districts, and schools meet this extraordinary challenge. The Department, in furthering the Secretary's efforts, offered a set of additional innovative approaches and best practices, Increasing Educational Productivity, last May.

Resources for Observing Native American Heritage Month Year-round

First recognized as "Native American Indian Heritage Month" in 1990, by President George H.W. Bush, the month of November has been celebrated annually as "Native American Heritage Month" (or a variant thereof) since 1994. The observance is a prime opportunity to recognize the unique contributions of Native Americans, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians to both the U.S. regions in which they reside and to American society-at-large.

Teaching American History Participant Named National History Teacher of the Year

Students in Stacy Hoeflich’s fourth-grade classroom at John Adams Elementary School in Alexandria, Va., don’t just learn American history, they live it through encounters with primary sources and historical reenactors, participation in “Colonial Day” fairs, field trips to historical sites, operas about historical figures such as George Mason and Thomas Jefferson that are written and performed by the students, and more. Ms. Hoeflich’s efforts were recognized last month by the Gilder Lehrman Institute for American History, which awarded her the prestigious 2011 National History Teacher of the Year Award. Co-sponsored by the Gilder Lehrman Institute, HISTORY®, and Preserve America, the award was presented in a ceremony at the Frederick Douglass Academy in New York City and is accompanied by a $10,000 cash prize.

Twenty-three Investing in Innovation Applicants Named as 2011 Grantees Pending Private Match

(November 10, 2011) The U.S. Department of Education announced today 23 highest-rated Investing in Innovation (i3) applicants as potential grantees for the 2011 grant fund of the $150 million. The finalists, selected from nearly 600 applicants, must now secure matching private matching funds equivalent to at least 5% of Scale-up, 10% of Validation, or 15% of Development awards by December 9, 2011, in order to receive their grant.

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