• “Give me cereal, or you get death!”

    By Bennett Sherry, OER Project Team
    Maine, USA

    How do societies balance “order” and “liberty”? How does the state protect, or coerce, citizens? What are the costs and benefits of government?

    As governments around the world attempt to convince—or coerce—citizens to stay home and wear masks, these debates take center stage. But efforts at collective safety have been met with the objection that they…

    • 6 Jan 2021
  • Contextualizing the big stuff: Turning a core competency on its head

    By Trevor Getz, OER Project Team
    San Francisco, USA

    We all know students need to learn to contextualize

    Contextualization fits in everybody’s list of core historical skills. No, really! It’s hard to find anybody who doesn’t call for students to learn how to, in the words of the AP World History Course and Exam Description, “analyze the context of historical events, developments, or processes.”…

    • 6 Jan 2021
  • January Community Highlights

    By the OER Project Team

    Ring in 2021 with these exciting conversations that are taking place in the OER Project Community. And if you’re looking for a New Year’s resolution you can accomplish right now, how about posting a question or an idea in one of these discussions?

    Pacing during a pandemic

    2020 is finally kaput, but we’re not out of the woods yet. Check out how fellow teachers have handled lesson pacing…

    • 5 Jan 2021
  • Choose your own (writing) adventure: Project Score

    By the OER Project Team

    Do your students need more scaffolded and deliberate practice with writing? Have you been trying different strategies but haven’t had as much success as you’d like? Introducing Project Score. Project Score is our brand new OER Project writing extension that can be used to support social studies writing instruction in all kinds of classrooms. And better yet, Project Score uses Score, our (free!…

    • 4 Jan 2021
  • Ice cream, Nicholas Cage, and untimely death: A glimpse into Project X

    By the OER Project Team

    If you had a crystal ball that let you see into the future, what would you want to know? What would you look for? If you didn’t say “My likelihood of being killed by ice cream or Nicholas Cage films,” then I have some concerning news for you:

     Correlation does not equal causation: Violent crime index vs. ice cream sales. By WHP, CC BY-NC 4.0.


    Spurious correlations, by Tyler Vigen…

    • 4 Jan 2021
  • Did you hear that? Best practices for using audio as a reading scaffold (now available in WHP too)!

    Rachel Phillips, OER Project Team Learning Scientist
    California, USA

    If you’re a Big History Project (BHP) teacher, you likely already know that there are audio versions available for the majority of BHP articles. And for World History Project (WHP) teachers…the wait is over! You’ll now find audio versions of articles in the WHP Origins and 1750 courses. These audio files—which are based on each article’s highest Lexile…

    • 21 Dec 2020
  • Introducing Project X and Project Score

    Know a teacher on the fence about trying OER Project? Our new standalone course extensions are a great way to sample what we do.

    If you logged into the OER Project platform recently, you probably noticed two new course offerings: Project X and Project Score. You might be asking yourself, “What ARE they and who should use them?”

    At OER Project, we've been working hard to make great content easily accessible…

    • 17 Dec 2020
  • Lunchtime! What are OER Project teachers eating in 2020?

    By OER Project Staff

    Lukewarm coffee, anyone? Brewed just two class periods ago!

    Between teaching (virtually, in person, or hybrid style), the holidays, good old winter, and, of course, the pandemic, who has time to think about lunch?!

    Thank you so much, everyone, for sharing your midday routines—whether it’s a quick eat-at-your-desk salad, or a hopefully-not-still-ice-cold frozen dish. We have loved reading about your…

    • 15 Dec 2020
  • OER Project at NCSS: A quick recap

    By the OER Project Team

    While we were really looking forward to a trip to the nation’s capital for this year’s National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS), 2020—as we all know too well—had different plans for us. Despite the move to a virtual format, we were excited to see many faces, familiar and new, in three OER Project sessions during NCSS, December 5 and 6. Here’s a quick recap of the fun!…

    • 15 Dec 2020
  • December Community Highlights

    By the OER Project Team

    Whether you’re looking for that next great activity to “wow” your students, novel ideas for distance learning, or some extra help with a specific teaching topic, the OER Project Community is a great place to collaborate with fellow teachers and scholars. Here are a few exciting discussions taking place right now!

    What legacy will your art leave?

    Here’s a very engaging activity…

    • 3 Dec 2020
  • Historicizing holidays

    By Bridgette Byrd O’Connor, OER Project Team
    Louisiana, USA

    The arrival of colder temperatures, at least in the northern hemisphere, means it’s holiday season! Our students start to get excited for this time of year—I mean who wouldn’t, right?! They get to dress up for Halloween, enjoy the lights of Diwali, stuff themselves for Thanksgiving, and celebrate Christmas, Hannukah, and Kwanzaa with family. And, of course…

    • 1 Dec 2020
  • “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus…. and you helped create him.”

    By Trevor Getz, OER Project Team
    San Francisco, USA

    History, it is sometimes claimed, is the study of continuity and change over time (CCOT). Most historians and teachers demote CCOT to just one among several core competencies in the formal study of the past. They place it alongside other skills with labels like sourcing, historical empathy, comparison, and causation. Even put in its place among complementary skills, the…

    • 1 Dec 2020
  • November Community Highlights

    By the OER Project Team

    It’s been a busy month in the OER Project Community, a virtual space where teachers and scholars can share ideas, ask questions, and find inspiration. Here are just a few of the important conversations happening right now. Check out the topics below and don’t be afraid to add your voice to the discussion! 

    “Jamboarding the EP Notebook,” with Angela Flakker 

    How can your students…

    • 17 Nov 2020
  • What’s in a workspace? A glimpse into some OER Project teacher setups!

    By the OER Project Team

    We have had a blast peeking into your virtual and in-person classrooms—what an inspiring collection of workspaces! Thanks to all of you who shared your classrooms and corners, your tips on how to get the most out of an adjusted setup, your best Zoom backgrounds and costumes, and your sanitizing stations.

    Check out some of the highlights below: we’ve chosen a couple of winners in some unusual…

    • 17 Nov 2020
  • One-vote margins and coin flips: Putting the 2020 election count in context

    By Trevor Getz, OER Project Team
    San Francisco, USA

    So that was a pretty close election, eh?

    Or… was it?

    As of the writing of this blog post, Joe Biden has 75,641,852 votes, while Donald Trump has received 71,252,741. That’s a difference of 3.0%, with the gap expected to grow. Even if we focus on the Electoral College, which is what really counts in American presidential elections, we’re looking at a projected total…

    • 10 Nov 2020
  • Assessment at a distance: Not so different from assessment in person

    By the OER Project Team

    By now, you may be settling into the new routines and practices that come with teaching at a distance. Just as you do when you teach in the physical classroom, you likely have a “am I ready to teach today?” checklist you go through each morning:

    • Camera on, audio working, and light good? Check.
    • Zoom room ready? Check.
    • Lesson plan revised for teaching at a distance? Check.
    • Business on…
    • 3 Nov 2020
  • October tips & tricks for distance learning

    By the OER Project Team

    At the OER Project, we’re always eager to collect feedback so that we can best support you. Considering how new Teaching at a Distance is for all of us, we’d love to hear what you think about our TaaD materials. What’s working? What’s not? What would you like to see? Let us know here!

    At this point in the school year, teaching remotely may still feel brand new—or, it may…

    • 2 Nov 2020
  • “Urbanization from the Bottom-Up”

    By Bennett Sherry, OER Project Team
    Maine, USA

    I want to tell you a story about cities. It’s a story about the challenges of urbanization, and it’s a story about the modern advances that allowed cities to grow. It’s a story from the bottom up.

    If you live in a wealthy nation, you probably don’t think about this story. You conduct your business and flush it down unseen pipes, not worrying about what comes…

    • 2 Nov 2020
  • Writing historical essays—not as easy as it sounds!

    By Bridgette Byrd O’Connor, OER Project Team
    Louisiana, USA

    This was a difficult blog to write—go figure that the “writing” blog post would be the hardest to write! The problem is that historical writing is hard for anyone—whether student or adult—to master. That puts a lot of pressure on us in our role as teachers. On top of that, historical writing requires so many different elements that students often struggle…

    • 2 Nov 2020
  • Humans ARE world history: Introducing WHP graphic biographies!

    By the OER Project Team

    Where do you and your students fit in world history?

    The history of the world is an immeasurably large topic spanning millennia of time and huge stretches of land and ocean. A person, by contrast, is usually between three and six feet tall and generally lives for less than a century. It follows that humans fit into world history in such a way that they basically disappear in the vastness of space…

    • 13 Oct 2020
  • Teaching at a Distance framework – I do, we do, you do

    By the OER Project Team

    This blog provides an explanation of our guiding Teaching at a Distance (TaaD) framework, but we've got many more TaaD materials for you! Head on over to the TaaD Center for more (make sure you're logged into your OER Project account).

    I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!! That’s not just a fun childhood saying…it’s also a great mnemonic device for remembering the general…

    • 5 Oct 2020
  • Time for history: OER Project Periodization

    By Bennett Sherry, OER Project Team
    Maine, USA

    What. A. Year. If you’re like me, time has felt weird in 2020. It’s flown by and yet slowed to a crawl. The drudgery of quarantine day-to-day is punctuated by the sudden, all-encompassing horror that—holy...! Summer’s over? How?!

    Can you do me a favor? (You’re not busy this time of year, are you?) If you assigned the History of Me or the Draw…

    • 1 Oct 2020
  • Foraging or farming? Two visual answers to an age-old question.

    By Trevor Getz, OER Project Team
    San Francisco, USA

    It used to be such a simple story. Humans started out as dirty, primitive, cave people. Then they learned how to use tools. Stones to hunt and dig and cut with. Fire to cook with, making edible the inedible. Pottery to store provisions in. But food was still sometimes scarce. So they innovated. They found ways to grow their food, and keep and domesticate animals for their…

    • 1 Oct 2020
  • We'll see you (virtually) at NCSS 2020!

    By OER Project Team

    We all know 2020 has thrown more than a few curve balls our way. The daily routines of educators and students have been upended. But, not surprisingly, we see teachers continue to do what they’ve always done when faced with seemingly insurmountable obstacles: keep on. Keep on teaching, keep on caring, and keep on learning. So we’re pretty sure a professional development opportunity as cool as…

    • 21 Sep 2020
  • Developing classroom culture at a distance

    By OER Project Team

    It’s more important than ever to foster a positive classroom culture. We’re all facing new challenges and a huge amount of uncertainty in our lives. Before we can even get to teaching and learning, we must attend to our students’ well-being and make sure we’ve established a safe and comfortable learning environment. This helps engage students, makes them more open to sharing their successes…

    • 21 Sep 2020