top of page

Resources for History Teachers


Kelsey Berry is a Klingenstein Summer Fellow (2014) and a history teacher at Holderness School.  

Content Resources

Stanford History Education Group: Teachers need to make an account- but it is free! This group also offers a history education degree. The founder, Sam Wineberg, is author of Historical Thinking and Other Unnatural Acts, a must read for new history teachers. More on the professional development opportunities at SHEG (although I can’t comment personally on their merits, here).

  • Reading Like a Historian has 70+ US history lessons and 20+ world history lessons. They are suitable for grades 6-12, and are often adaptable for a single class period.  Multiple sources examine the same issue, with questions, prompts, graphic organizers, pre-made powerpoints and lesson plans to help students start to think like historians.


  • Historical Thinking Matters is a smaller collaboration at SHEG currently with four “lessons” in American history (Spanish-American War, Scopes Trial, Social Security and Rosa Parks). It is a multimedia, several day set of lessons very similar to the single day reading like a historian work.


  • Beyond the Bubble is a new assessment tool in partnership with the Library of Congress which rejects multiple choice questions as an assessment of historical thinking skills. There are interactive rubrics, sample student responses, and excellent primary sources in each assessment.



Under construction.

Professional Development for History Teachers

Under construction.

The Choices Program from Brown University is an excellent source of materials for supplementary units or in lieu of a textbook (for an elective perhaps). Teachers can purchase one or several depending on their budget. They also have some interesting  professional development opportunities (although I can’t speak to their merits). The narrative text component is great for teaching note taking skills, as each sub-title is a question. I use this to teach q-notes, or notes that turn the subtitle into a question to be answered in the notes. Every unit is set up to end with a debate of the “choices”, three options are given as to what historical actors or bodies could have done. This format is useful because it helps them to quickly grasp the varying perspectives on the issue. Additionally, it is a great tool to teach about writing with primary sources. Each choice is summarized for students, and then there is a section titled “From the Historical Record”, with primary source evidence supporting a particular choice. I use this resource to teach about addressing the counter-argument. Students will work on the basic 5 paragraph essay, and their thesis will include one reason for their choice, but also what is “wrong” with the other two choices. This is a helpful approach when introducing persuasive writing, but also as a step towards understanding complicated court decisions.



  • Free Useful Components

    • Scholars Online Videos these are intended to compliment the curriculums, but currently you can access them for free.

    • Supplemental Materials are again intended to complement the curriculum, but they list good resources (including the Scholars Online Videos), such as web links and a bibliography of books you might want to consider. Check out this one on the American Independence and the Constitution.

    • Unit Overviews - I have been inspired by their ideas from lessons without buying the curriculum (and sometimes handouts and powerpoints are available) check out this description of the curriculum and list of lessons: The Vietnam War and the Limits of Power, and an available online lesson from this unit on Political Cartoons, with a free PDF available.

  • Note: There are strict rules about distributing the curriculum on learning management systems (Moodle, Canvas etc) as they would prefer your students buy it. A single PDF of the curriculum is $39, student copies are $18. A curriculum will typically include:

    • Student Book

      • approximately 30 pages of textbook reading

      • supplementary sources

      • the Choices with Evidence

      • Epilogue of what happened

    • Teacher Resource Book

      • Lesson plans with handouts such as graphic organizers, review questions

      • Ideas for integration


Facing History and Ourselves This is an excellent free source to teach about genocide. I first learned about it when we had an exhibit of Samuel Bak paintings in the gallery at Holderness. The Facing History and Ourselves coordinator was excellent, and helped to give me a framework for how to discuss genocide with my students. It began as a Holocaust curriculum, but has since expanded to include the following resource collections. Many, as you will see, overlap. I have used the Eugenics, Race and Membership Resource Collection in a 9th grade 20th century history course, and in a 10th grade Research Methods course. If anything the resource collections are too exhaustive, there are so many resources, it might be hard to choose one. Each set includes an introduction, a publication from the Facing History And Ourselves program, and lists of links to lessons, readings, online resources, library resources and related websites.

Gilder Lehrman Institute for American History this is a program based in New York that offers excellent professional development, a strong teacher community portal and many resources. For some things you need to become a member (freE) If you are a US history teacher, especially an AP US history teacher you should definitely bookmark this page, it will be useful as you are planning lessons and finding resources. Also, they have an affiliate school program which is worth going through the process of becoming. It gives you benefits such as one free exhibit for you school each year, summer seminars (see more about this in the professional development section), and your students access to essay competitions. Their new AP US study guide (developed for the course redesign of 2015)

  • Traveling Exhibits we used this for the first time last year, and got an excellent exhibit for our library for a month on Frederick Douglass. It was a great model for some of my students who were working on their exhibits for National History Day.


Other Excellent Sources


  • Crash Course: My students swear by these videos from John Green. Although they get weary of them in class, they are great if you want to give students a night off from reading the textbook, and/or help them to review (especially if they are more visual, auditory learners). The American history ones I have found seem to be partly based on Eric Foner’s Give Me Liberty! The titles, sources and approaches are similar, but the materials complement any text well.


AP U.S. History (College Board): Even if you do not teach AP, the resources and professional development opportunities are very good. Many of the sources I got here are from the AP Institute at St. Johnsbury, VT. I had the excellent Dr. Tracey Wilson as my lead teacher, but my cohort there generously shared their resources and tools. I can honestly say it was one of the best discipline-specific professional development things I have done.



Under construction.

bottom of page