WBA Criteria for Professional Development

How Do WBA History Educators Provide Feedback and Evaluate Teacher Work?

Who Built America Badges for History Education grows out of American Social History Project's two decades of engaging in face to face professional development with history and social studies teachers in New York City and around the country. Drawing on this long experience, WBA History Educators will review the work you submit to earn instructional design badges according to the following criteria:

Creating and Modifying Lessons and Units

  • Historical content and thinking skills  

Every choice you make in designing a lesson or unit is an opportunity to have students engage with challenging historical content and learn to think in discipline-specific ways about it. Think specifically about what you want to accomplish with every aspect of a lesson or unit, and we’ll help you make the most of those choices in your lesson design process so that you can create the best possible lessons and units for your students.

  • Understanding of Common Core literacy standards

Each Common Core Standard for Literacy in Social Studies and History requires students to master multiple skills and cognitive processes. You should demonstrate not just familiarity with the standards but that you have thought concretely about these embedded skills and can design learning activities that help students gain proficiency in them.

  • Designing student supports

Whether you’re creating your own lessons or adapting a WBA Inquiry Unit for use with your students, we will encourage and recognize your ability to develop modifications that will help all of your students learn.

Reflecting on and Revising Lessons and Units

  • Specificity

Form submissions and chats should reflect a careful, specific effort to contend with the complexities of lesson design and classroom implementation. For example, when you reflect on the experience of teaching a lesson or unit, writing “the students were really engaged” isn't enough. Tell us what documents or questions engaged them, and how, and note, too, where in the lesson or unit they might have been less engaged.

  • Connecting lesson design to student outcomes

A key element of successful lesson design is the ability to identify how particular elements of a lesson or unit (ex. documents, pedagogical approaches, sequence, worksheets, etc.) help your students to meet the learning goals you’ve set for them. You should demonstrate your ability to diagnose when and why various elements of a lesson don’t work as planned and to revise your lessons accordingly.

Professional Community

  • Constructive and active engagement

In order to grow professionally with Who Built America, you need to be actively engaged with your colleagues via Community discussions and with WBA History Educators via sustained, thoughtful dialogue on lesson reflection and revision. Tone matters, and your communication with others should be constructive, thoughtful, and professional.