The San Diego County Office of Education kicked off its third and final year of the American History in the Schools (HITS) program this week.
Dr. Daniel Vickers, lead faculty historian at UCSD, highlighted the first day of the program, addressing the importance of teaching history and facilitating a lively discussion on that topic. "History is not of the past," said Vickers. "Morally, it is important to envision oneself in other shoes. That is what makes learning history tremendously energizing."
Other highlights of the program featured Cheryl Barnes and Kathleen Krull, authors who specialize in teaching children about history and government. Barnes' books include Woodrow for President, House Mouse and Senate Mouse. Krull is best known for her work on the Bill of Rights and Famous Americans, and the popular A Kids' Guide to the Bill of Rights.
The American HITS Program is funded by the Teaching American History grant program funded by the U.S. Department of Education. The grant enables the University of California, San Diego, in collaboration with the San Diego County Office of Education, to provide content-based professional development to teachers in grades 2-5 and 8.
"Although I have only attended one day, I am so impressed with the American HITS program and look forward to implementing my new learning strategies in my classroom this upcoming school year," said Melissa Roy, a 5th grade teacher from San Diego City Schools.
The American HITS Program also includes presentations provided by faculty historians, featured authors, local field trips, a live video-conference with the Library of Congress, and various topical sessions which provide engaging strategies to support teaching and learning American history.
Laurie Moiser, Project Director for the County Office of Education said, "Although the American HITS program's primary purpose is to improve content knowledge among teachers, the program also focuses on effective strategies to integrate and differentiate instruction so all students have access to the history curriculum."
More than 150 teachers in San Diego County have taken part in the American HITS program. The program is grounded in state standards for history-social science, focusing on the themes of constitutionality and citizenship.
Participants in the program will attended the summer institute July 24-August 4 and will continue their participation by attending four follow-up sessions throughout the 2006-07 school year.