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Desert Area Teaching American
History Institute

2004 Theme
The Meeting of Three Worlds

The ignorance of one voter in a democracy impairs the security of all.
- John F. Kennedy

Public schools have been given the difficult but exciting task of preparing young people for their role as citizens. If John Kennedy is right, our very survival as a society rests on the success of our schools in building the knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary for citizenship. Through a grant from the U.S. Department of Education, the partners in the Desert Area Teaching American History Institute will support schools in this task over the next three years by providing teachers with resources, content instruction, teaching strategies, coaching, and a sustained professional network. Years 1 and 2 are for teachers in grades 5 and 8 and year 3 is for teachers of grades 8 and 11. The institute includes a one-week summer institute, and two two-day sessions during the school year, with follow-up after school coaching, content literacy, and technology support.

Benefits of participation in year one of the Desert Area Teaching American History Institute include...


Stipend of $700 per teacher participants upon completion of project.
Classroom sets of the award winning civic education material We the People.
Content literacy materials, coaching, and support specially designed for history-social science.
Opportunity for fifth grade teachers to be selected as one of three teachers to attend a week-long, all expense paid learning experience in Colonial Williamsburg.
Free classroom admission to the Four Directions John M. Swisher Museum Native American Center in Hesperia.
Exciting problem-based lessons that increase student motivation and learning.
Binder and website of lesson material on American history specifically designed for grade 5 and 8 standards.
Primary source visuals and documents edited with vocabulary and access strategies.
Professional networking with other educators and with university faculty.
American History Colloquium featuring reenactments and student and teacher projects.
Support for History-Social Science assessment, curriculum development, and pacing of instruction.



Session I February 27-28, 2004

Pre-Columbian America

Experience California’s newest interactive museum, the John M. Swisher Museum on the multi-million dollar campus of the Four Directions Institute at Hesperia Lakes. This opportunity to step back in time was inspired by the Pueblo Bonito site in Chaco Canyon, New Mexico. Desert Area Teaching American History Institute participants will be immersed in the major cultures of North American Indians through immersion experiences with replica dwellings, storytelling, and cultural artifacts.

Providing these experiences will be our presenters Dr. Julie LaMay and Larry Sunderland. From the ceremonial round house and wickiups typical of California cultures, the participants will travel to the Plains display featuring a tipi with artifacts and a light and laser presentation demonstrating the massive migration onto the Plains. Moving to the Southeastern display teachers will explore features of a roundhouse typical of the so-called civilized tribes in which storytelling will be the medium for learning the native perspective on the “Trail of Tears.” Then on to the Northeastern display featuring a wigwam with crafts, storytelling, historical presentations, and songs. They then travel to the Pueblo kiva with history, storytelling, and discussions of the role that kachinas play in Pueblo culture. Finally, at the Navajo female hogan they will see a presentation of Navajo culture and arts. After the Institute session, teachers may bring students for free to this interactive museum.

Teacher Institute Class Description and Photo Gallery



Session II May 24-25, 2004

Colonial America


Colonial Williamsburg Teacher Institute interpreters bring an authentic colonial experience directly to the Desert Area Teaching American History Institute participants. Costumed interpreters offer a two-day seminar featuring original primary documents, artifacts and music so that teachers will see first hand what life and thinking were like in colonial America. The early elements of democracy as well as slavery are explored. Each teacher receives a vast array of primary source and lesson material for their classrooms and plenty of ideas for linking study of colonial America to methods for improving student literacy. Schools of participating teachers will further enrich their curriculum and maintain the connection to Colonial Williamsburg through the Electronic Field Trip Program which brings the dilemmas and people of history into the classroom.

After viewing either on line or videotaped historical adventures, students of Institute participants will interact with Colonial Williamsburg characters through writing and email. Finally, three fifth grade teachers from the Desert Area Teaching American History Institute will be selected to participate at no cost to themselves in the weeklong Colonial Williamsburg Teacher Institute in Virginia over the Fourth of July 2004.

Day 1 Agenda

Summer Institute

This one-week institute session is a time to focus on exciting 17th and 18th century American history content and instructional pedagogy. Outstanding scholars will present and lead fascinating discussions of topics drawn directly from the History-Social Science Standards followed by application sessions that demonstrate engaging ways to implement that content in the classroom using methods that reinforce literary and writing skills.

The overarching theme for the summer is to examine how the “Meeting of Three Worlds” influenced the society, economy and political ideas of 18th century colonial America. In doing so, the scholars will focus on the democratic principles, economic realities, and common ideals that drew the separate colonies together to become one nation. They will feature those issues such as slavery, rural-urban differences, and differing concepts of human rights that tested the ability of the people to form a Constitution and remain a nation.

Institute participants will receive student-friendly primary source material with vocabulary and guided reading strategies, and exciting problem-based lessons for use in their classrooms via the internet. They will also take part in an ongoing professional dialogue with professors and other educators through specially provided discussion boards.


Day 2 Agenda

After School Meetings and Ongoing Support

The Desert Area Teaching American History Institute in partnership with the Center for Civic Education will provide after school workshops and materials for the study of the Constitution including classroom sets of We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution books for every participant. They will also offer coaching support for implementation of a Congressional hearing in participant classrooms.

In addition, monthly sessions in content literacy strategies will be offered in the Barstow district for Institute participants. Coaching and ongoing support for implementing these proven content literacy strategies will be integrated with the effective teaching of American history.


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