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Since 1989, ASHP’s history educators have worked with K-12 and college instructors in professional development seminars in New York City and around the country. Our mission is to make the past, and the working people and ordinary Americans who shaped it, vivid and meaningful. All of our work is based on the belief that students are most motivated to learn history when they see people like themselves and their family members in the past, and begin to understand its relevance to the present and to their own lives. We work closely with independent evaluators to assess and continually strengthen our programs and materials.
Over the years, we’ve developed an extensive archive of primary documents, teaching strategies, and other resources that look at how ordinary people both influenced and were influenced by the nation's economic and political transformations. You can see them on HERB: Social History for Every Classroom and through ashp.cuny.edu. HERB’s resources are free, classroom ready, and designed to engage students with deep historical questions and support learning at every level.
Who Built America Badges for History Education is designed to give you opportunities to develop and practice the curriculum design and implementation skills that are the hallmark of great history teachers. It also provides a professional community where you can connect in constructive ways with other history teachers, in an environment separate from your school. The program is rigorous, and that’s because we believe that being designated a Master History Teacher should involve real mastery.
We also believe that professional development should be directly connected to what you do in your classroom. Who Built America gives you concrete models for Common Core aligned units and the opportunity to get feedback from ASHP history educators and other teachers on your experience teaching and modifying them. You can earn badges at your own pace and decide who sees them. By breaking what we ask you to do into “badge-able” tasks we’re trying to be specific about the different skills that go into being a great teacher, and offer a way for you to be independently recognized and rewarded for those skills by peers and supervisors.
Teachers who earn Who Built America Builder badges may be eligible for CEU credit. States and school districts are responsible for evaluating online professional development programs and awarding CEUs.
While Who Built America Badges for History Education is not authorized to grant CEU or graduate credits directly, our team will assist you in obtaining CEUs by providing:
- A printable certificate for the specific Builder badge you completed that describes the work that you did, provides links to artifacts of your teaching and learning (eg. annotated student work), and indicates the number of hours spent on the WBA program
- A PDF copy of the program syllabus for each Common Core inquiry unit used to earn a Journeyman Builder badge:
In order to pass the quizzes required to earn a Journeyman badge, you need to a minimum score of 7 out of 10. If you do not pass, you will see which questions you answered incorrectly and can retake the quiz until you pass.
To prepare for the quiz, we recommend downloading and printing out the unit overview and each lesson. Be sure to review:
- “Teacher Prep” in the unit overview which includes suggestions for when to teach the unit and additional resources, such as articles or podcasts, you should review in preparation to teach the unit
- Historical Thinking and Common Core alignment for each lesson
- Primary and secondary documents + analysis worksheets
Many badges require you to complete and submit forms which will be reviewed by a WBA History Educator. Once you submit a form, you should see a green alert box indicating that your submission has been received. You can expect to receive feedback in 2-3 business days. If a WBA History Educator has any questions or concerns about the contents of your submission, he or she will contact you via a private chat.
Upon having your form accepted, you will automatically receive the badge or badge section.
Step 1. Determine Key Instructional Objectives
Before you begin, consult the relevant instructional benchmarks for explanatory and argument writing tasks (we’ve provided a set for each grade band). The benchmarks lay out the elements of the writing standards; you will need to add the specific historical understandings and historical thinking concepts (e.g., Cause and Effect) that you want students to demonstrate in their performance of this task.
Step 2. Select 2 Pieces of Student Work
After students have completed the WBA unit writing task, review their work and select two examples that represent the performance level of most students in the class.
Use a black marker or otherwise delete students' names or other data that could be used to identify them.
Step 3. Identify Specific Evidence of Student Proficiency and Struggle
Using the instructional benchmarks as a guide, create at least four annotations for specific sentences or passages in the student’s writing that explain why the sentence or passage indicates proficiency or not. (See sample.) Your annotations may also indicate degrees of proficiency—for example, why a student is close to identifying a counterclaim but not quite there. If you have the student work as a Word file, use the Comment function to insert comments where you can write your annotations. If you have a printout or handwritten student work, use numbers to indicate where in the work you are placing an annotation then write the corresponding annotation in the margin or on a separate page.
In the sample provided, notice that each comment relates to a specific standard. The teacher has noted how the sentence(s) reflects student understanding or misunderstanding.
Step 4. Upload Annotated Student Work to Unit Reflection
Double check to be sure you have deleted or blacked out students’ names or other data that could be used to identify them, then upload your two pieces of student work via the Unit Reflection form.
Why Do We Ask You to Annotate Student Work?
- It develops your knowledge of student proficiency for Common Core standards and historical understandings.
- It helps you identify where the student needs additional work in practicing a skill and/or clarification of the content.
- It provides WBA History Educators with an indicator of your own understanding of how to identify student progress with content knowledge and Common Core-aligned skills.
- It allows you to make an accurate assessment of a unit’s effectiveness and revise instruction as necessary.
Anytime you complete a submission as part of earning instructional design badges, you will have the opportunity to have a private chat with a WBA History Educator. WBA chats are asynchronous, meaning that they do not happen in real time (responses make take up to 2-3 days).
You are also encouraged to contribute comments to the WBA Community that both WBA members and WBA History Educators may read and respond to.
You may also send us comments and questions by visiting the Contact Us page and completing the form.
To become a Master Builder, WBA teachers engage in the process of curriculum design for themselves by building their own inquiry units, with guidance and support from WBA History Educators.
WBA teachers on the Master Builder path will have already earned a Journeyman Badge by studying and teaching model WBA inquiry units that:
- address an essential question through a series of lessons around a particular historical topic and culminate in a writing task;
- demonstrate close alignment of historical understandings, historical thinking concepts and skills, and Common Core reading and writing standards; and
- follow the principles of backward design––lessons are carefully constructed and sequenced to support students’ success in engaging with the essential question, practicing Common Core-aligned skills, and completing the writing task.
Master Builders create, test, and revise units that are informed by their experiences using WBA inquiry units in their classrooms.
Several WBA inquiry units use clips from a series of ten Who Built America documentaries produced by the American Social History Project. These programs explore the central role of working women and men in U.S. history, and engage students in middle school through college level classes. Each documentary has a downloadable Viewer’s Guide that is written for student readers. It introduces the main topics, events, and composite characters that help to dramatize the historical themes in many of the programs. All programs are 30 minutes long and available for purchase on DVD at ASHP's online Shop for $20-$30.
It is not necessary to purchase a DVD to teach WBA inquiry units. All required clips are available to WBA members as streaming videos under the unit resources.