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The best way to learn history

Past Initiatives cover two important projects in the Center for History Teaching and Learning. These projects include: Learning by Doing; and Making Americans Making America. (MAMA) These projects help provide fellowships to help 100 elementary and secondary public school teachers learn new ways to teach American history.

Learning by Doing

The Center for History Teaching and Learning is also a partner in this project which is funded by the U.S. Department of Education Teaching American History Program. Learning by Doing has received two separate grants (2003-2006 and 2004-2008). With this funding, the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Department of History is providing fellowships to help 100 elementary and secondary (4-12 grade) public school teachers learn new ways to teach American history through an innovative two-year, 12- to -15-credit graduate certificate program. The program will reach additional teachers who will participate in district based study groups. The "Learning by Doing: Public History in the Classroom" program has been created by Project Director Patricia Turner, Professor, Dept. of History, to give teachers the necessary content, experience and resources to develop standards-based curriculums that emphasize project-based strategies. Research in the teaching and learning of history demonstrates that history is best learned when students have opportunities to apply their historical knowledge and skills meaningfully within and beyond the classroom. Students learn the practice of history and American history content by collecting and interpreting historical data for research projects. In short, for teachers and students alike, the best way to learn history is to do history.

Learning By Doing: Project-Based Approaches to Teaching Wisconsin and U.S. History

The four teaching units at left on Wisconsin and U.S. History were the products of an extension project of “Learning by Doing: Public History in the Classroom” (LBD), a graduate certificate program for U.S. history teachers in northwestern Wisconsin funded by two Department of Education “Teaching American History Grants in 2002 and 2204. The objective of the LBD program was to create a comprehensive project-based U.S. history curriculum based on the Wisconsin U.S. Academic History Standards.

These four units exemplify the three pedagogical goals of the LBD program:

  • The use of local and regional history to teach the standard “grand” narratives of Wisconsin and U.S. history
  • The engagement of students in project-based and active learning to increase retention and understanding of historical content, methods and interpretation
  • The creation of teaching units which can be readily implemented into the classroom and which can also serve as instructional models for how to incorporate project-based and active learning in the teaching of Wisconsin and U.S. History

Each of these teaching units contains all the teacher resources necessary for classroom implementation. The entire units -- together with all associated primary sources, worksheets and assessments -- can be downloaded, printed or viewed online. The units also contain PowerPoint presentations designed to serve as research models and teaching aids.


What is MAMA?

MAMA is the acronym for Making Americans, Making America: Community, Citizenship, and the Constitution. In it, K-12 teachers from much of Wisconsin took graduate credit courses that looked at the story of America as seen through the lens of Wisconsin immigration history.

MAMA is conducted in partnership with the UWEC History Department, the UWEC Center for History Teaching and Learning, the Chippewa Valley Museum, CESA 10, and a consortium of CESAs across the state.

Who funded MAMA?

MAMA received its funding from the United States Department of Education through the auspices of the Teaching American History (TAH) Grant Program. Originally started by Sen. Robert Byrd of West Virginia during the 1990's, this small program has since grown to now encompass over 300 grant programs throughout all 50 states.

What is a CESA?

CESA is an acronym for a Cooperative Educational Services Agency. The role of a CESA is to provide educational services to school districts in Wisconsin that they would otherwise be unable to provide. CESAs often provide for curriculum development, testing and assessment, special education, technology, and professional development. These 12 governmental agencies each have their own region and have a headquarter city. CESA 10 was the lead agency for this grant.

Which CESA's belong to the consortium for MAMA?
Along with CESA 10, CESAs 3, 4, 5, 8, 9, 11, and 12 belonged to the consortium for MAMA. MAMA participants came from throughout the region highlighted on the map.
Making America Making Americans map of Wisconsin
What is the UWEC Center for History Teaching and Learning?

The UWEC Center for History Teaching and Learning is a joint effort of the Department of History in the College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Education and Human Sciences. The Center develops and coordinates programming that aligns with the K-12 standards as well as Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction rules for teacher licensing, professional development and mentoring. The Center also engages in programming to bring history to the general public. It is the Center’s responsibility to maintain the MAMA website after the grant ended.

What is the Chippewa Valley Museum?

The Chippewa Valley Museum (CVM), a regional history museum accredited by the American Association of Museums. It provided instruction for the Making Americans, Making America Summer Institutes and coordination and instruction for its regional one-credit workshops. In particular, it instructed participating teachers in how to use public history interpretation to interpret primary materials effectively.

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