American Social History Project • Center for Media and Learning

Teaching American History Programs’ NYCDOE Region 4 and 7

Published March 24, 2011

In our second year of providing professional development to New York City public school teachers through the federally-funded Teaching American History initiative, ASHP/CML is conducting two large programs serving teachers in Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island (in addition to offering workshops through other TAH-funded projects). These programs have enabled ASHP/CML to undertake in-depth work with 80 middle and high school social studies teachers, challenging them to engage with broad historical questions and helping them to develop classroom materials appropriate to their students’ diverse needs.

Thomas Nast political cartoon, 1867.
A political cartoon by Thomas Nast published in an 1867 edition of Harper's Weekly was one of many anti-Irish images discussed by historian Kevin Kenny in his talk about Irish immigration.

Teachers have responded enthusiastically to talks by historians Karen Kupperman (Early Encounters), Herbert Sloan (American Revolution), Joshua Brown (Gilded Age), Kevin Kenny (Irish immigration), Van Gosse (Cold War), and Matthew Frye Jacobson (Early 20th Century Immigration). The program uses these talks to anchor day-long Retreats focused on particular topics, and teachers also explore resources and approaches for teaching the topics to their students. Museum partners the Brooklyn Museum of Art, Brooklyn Historical Society, and Museum of Television and Radio have hosted Retreats introducing teachers to materials unique to each institution’s collection. Both TAH programs will culminate at the end of the school year with four-day summer institutes where teachers will work in small groups to revisit the historical questions raised at each Retreat and develop materials that they can use with their students. Program evaluators from the Center for Children and Technology at the Education Development Center are providing data to ASHP/CML about the program’s effectiveness and its impact on teacher practice.

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