Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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America's History in the Making

Unit Descriptions

Pre-Columbian AmericaUnit 1. Pre-Columbian America
This six-hour workshop focuses first on the Historical Thinking Skills, as developed by the National Center for History in the Schools. The second portion of the session introduces Pre-Columbian societies in North America.
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Mapping Initial EncountersUnit 2. Mapping Initial Encounters
Columbus's arrival launched an era of initial encounters between Europeans, Native Americans, and Africans that continued for nearly 300 years. This unit examines how these contacts began the phenomenon now known as the Columbian Exchange, profoundly altering the way of life of peoples around the globe.
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Colonial DesignsUnit 3. Colonial Designs
As encounter changed to settlement, relations between Native Americans and European colonial powers became more complex. This unit charts the changing interactions between competing European powers and Native Americans, and the increasing reliance on the race-based enslavement of Africans.
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Revolutinoary PerspectivesUnit 4. Revolutionary Perspectives
In the eighteenth century, Enlightenment-based ideas of freedom and equality swept through the British colonies. This unit traces the effects of those ideas and the impact on diverse groups such as British Loyalists, Revolutionary leaders, Native Americans, yeoman farmers, and enslaved blacks.
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Classroom ApplicationsUnit 5. Classroom Applications 1
This unit steps out of historical content to focus on the pedagogy of assessment techniques, revisiting the Historical Thinking Skills introduced in Unit 1. Beginning with self-assessment of previous unit activities, teachers will develop a student assignment based on content learned to date.
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The New NationUnit 6. The New Nation
Following the War of Independence, Americans disagreed—often passionately—about the form and function of the Federal government. This unit explores how those conflicts played out as the new Republic defined its identity in relation to other nations.
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Contested TerritoriesUnit 7. Contested Territories
The United States acquired vast territories between the time of the Revolution and the Civil War, paying a price economically, socially, and politically. This unit examines the forces that drove such rapid expansion, the settlers moving into these regions, and the impact on the Native Americans already there.
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Antebellum ReformUnit 8. Antebellum Reform
As a response to increasing social ills, the nineteenth century generated reform movements: temperance, abolition, school and prison reform, as well as others. This unit traces the emergence of reform movements instigated by the Second Great Awakening and the impact these movements had on American culture.
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A Nation DividedUnit 9. A Nation Divided
Although the Civil War is viewed today through the lens of the Union's ultimate victory, for much of the war that victory was far from certain. By examining the lives of the common soldier, as well as civilians on the home front, this workshop examines the uncertainty and horrible destruction in the war between the states.
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Reconstructing A NationUnit 10. Reconstructing A Nation
Emancipation was only the beginning of a long road to freedom for those released from slavery. Following the Civil War, an immense economic and political effort was undertaken, focused on reunifying the divided nation. This unit examines the successes and failures of Reconstruction.
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Classroom ApplicationsUnit 11. Classroom Applications 2
This capstone session provides an opportunity for teachers to generate student assignments for use in their classrooms. Building on techniques learned in Unit 5 for teaching Historical Thinking Skills, it also reviews content from the final two interactives and Units 6 through 10.
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Classroom ApplicationsUnit 12. Using Digital Technologies
This workshop introduces procedures to develop or improve Internet research skills, as well as related copyright laws so teachers can effectively use and teach with historical primary sources. The unit also demonstrates strategies for finding, and using a wide variety of high-quality Web sites, videos, DVDs, and historical documents. It includes templates for classroom lesson plans developed by the National Center for History in the Schools (NCHS).
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Taming the American WestUnit 13. Taming the American West
In post-Reconstruction America, western settlers' assumptions of an endless, bountiful frontier were tested when they moved to the Great Plains and attempted to cultivate the unfamiliar, arid landscape. This experience led to the rise of Populist politics, which championed farmers' and industrial workers' critique of political and economic powers.
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Industrializing AmericaUnit 14. Industrializing America
From factories in San Francisco to sweatshops in New York, productivity flourished—fed by waves of immigrants from Asia and Europe. This unit explores how growing urbanism contributed to changing social norms, from the working classes to the elite.
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The ProgressivesUnit 15. The Progressives
Overburdened cities led Progressives to agitate for reforms on political, economic, and social fronts. While most Americans agreed that government intervention was needed to address large-scale problems such as child labor or food contamination, there was little agreement on a proper solution.
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A Growing Global PowerUnit 16. A Growing Global Power
Fueled by patriotism, capitalism, and religion, the U.S. extended its reach beyond national borders. New partnerships between government and big business drove an evolving diplomacy that would set the tone for American foreign policy in the twentieth century.
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Classroom ApplicationsUnit 17. Classroom Applications 3
The thematic strands and historical eras from Units 13, 14, 15, and 16 are re-examined. This unit helps teachers develop a series of lesson plans that use primary sources and historical thinking skills, covering the content learned in previous units. Exemplary lesson plans from The National Center for History in the Schools (NCHS) are used as touchstone models.
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By the People, For the PeopleUnit 18. By the People, For the People
Plummeting agricultural exports, the stock market crash, and environmental disaster all led to an unprecedented economic depression. Subsequently, a new relationship between individuals and the government arose, with a strong communitarian spirit drawing the nation together before World War II.
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Postwar Tension and TriumphUnit 19. Postwar Tension and Triumph
This unit examines the tensions of the Cold War era, reflected in divergent dichotomies: a growing suburban, white, middle-class and increasingly ghettoized blacks and Latinos; a faith in scientific progress contrasted with a fear of the bomb; and an idealization of individualism tempered by an anti-Communist call for conformity. Individuals and groups raised their expectations for equality as veterans returned from the global conflict of World War II.
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Egalitarian AmericaUnit 20. Egalitarian America
Brown v. Board of Education was one of the significant results of Americans demanding political, social, and economic equality. This call for parity in all walks of life was symptomatic of a growing social and political liberalism, which was fueled by the growing presence of mass media.
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Global AmericaUnit 21. Global America
As the turn of the century approached, the pendulum of American politics and social structures began to swing back toward conservativism. With immigration from Asia and the Americas on the rise, the face of America changed rapidly. This unit examines the competing forces of ethnic and American identity in a world dominated by globalization and one remaining "superpower."
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Classroom ApplicationsUnit 22. Classroom Applications 4
The thematic strands and historical eras from Units 18, 19, 20, and 21 are re-examined Participants develop lesson plans using primary sources, historical thinking skills, and content learned in previous units. The emphasis of this unit is on the use of digital primary sources, writing biographical accounts, and planning for student-written biographies.
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