Calvert Teacher Contributes to National Collection of Teaching Materials

March 19, 2021
Amie Dryer, a white woman, sits at her desk. She wears her brown hair pulled back and a white blouse with black trim and black polka dots. To her left is her bulletin board and she sits in front of her file cabinet.
Image courtesy of Amie Dryer, pictured

(Baltimore, MD) – Amie Dryer, a teacher at Calvert High School in Prince Frederick, has contributed to Building a More Perfect Union, a new collection of lesson plans and essays from National History Day® (NHD) and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Only 15 teachers nationwide were selected to participate. The collection supports the National Endowment for the Humanities’ special initiative to advance civic education and the study of United States history and culture in preparation for the 250th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 2026. These classroom materials will help middle school and high school social studies teachers engage students with unique primary sources and themes of democracy and citizenship throughout United States history.

Through two introductory essays and 15 primary source-rich lesson plans, this book explores events, legislative accomplishments, and civic actions across United States history—from foreign policy to civil rights to debates surrounding citizenship. Building a More Perfect Union and its supporting materials are available for free download via NHD’s website and the National Endowment for the Humanities’ EDSITEment website.

Dryer’s lesson plan is entitled “Challenging School Segregation: The Fight of Chinese Americans.” It challenges students to evaluate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and its impact on Chinese Americans. The lesson plan guides students to assess two Chinese American school desegregation cases between 1885 and 1927. “It’s been an eye-opening experience researching sources about Chinese Americans fighting school segregation,” Dryer says.

Like every lesson plan in the book, Dryer’s offers guiding questions, inquiry-based activities, opportunities to consider multiple and competing perspectives, and supplementary materials. Each lesson also includes ideas for how to connect relevant themes and concepts to other lesson topics presented in Building a More Perfect Union to support integration across curricula.

Dryer has taught for 13 years and has participated in Maryland Humanities’ Maryland History Day program—an affiliate of National History Day—each year. “It’s a very important staple in my philosophy of education, and I don’t know of any other program that offers the skills and benefits to my students while offering them such a great amount of choice,” she says.

“Mrs. Dryer has contributed to a collection of resources unlike anything we have ever put together at NHD,” says Dr. Cathy Gorn, National History Day Executive Director. “The bedrock benchmarks of National History Day classroom materials shine through in every lesson plan; but further, thanks to our longstanding partnership with the National Endowment for the Humanities and the guiding principles offered by its A More Perfect Union initiative, we have the unique opportunity both to further the NHD mission of improving the teaching and learning of history and to support the NEH’s enduring commitment to tell America’s story.”

“An understanding of civics and our nation’s history is vital to a healthy democracy,” said National Endowment for the Humanities Acting Chairman Adam Wolfson. “As we prepare to mark the United States’ 250th anniversary, the National Endowment for the Humanities is pleased to partner with National History Day to make these lesson plans and resources on U.S. history, culture, and government widely available at NEH’s EDSITEment website to help engage and inform young citizens.”

The 15 educators chosen to contribute lesson plans represent NHD affiliates in California, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Korea, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. The two introductory essays are authored separately by Dr. Serena Zabin, Professor of History, Carleton College, and Adrienne Whaley, Director of Education and Community Engagement, Museum of the American Revolution. More information about the National Endowment for the Humanities’ “A More Perfect Union” initiative is available here.

For Maryland History Day, students create original documentary films, exhibits, performances, research papers, or websites exploring a historical topic of their choice on an annual theme. Affiliates of National History Day include all 50 states and the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Northern Mariana Islands, and international school programs in China, South Asia, and South Korea.

Along with NHD, Maryland Humanities also has a relationship with National Endowment for the Humanities. Maryland Humanities formed at the invitation of the national organization and is one of the 56 state humanities councils partly funded through the generosity of the National Endowment for the Humanities’ Office of Federal/State Partnership.

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