• Coming soon to an OER Project course near you: Course updates!

    By the OER Project Team  As you all wrap up another year of hard work (and in the case of the 2020–21 school year, a year that likely threw you more than a couple of curveballs) we hope you’ve scheduled ample time to relax, have some...
  • June Community Highlights

    By the OER Project Team Happy June to you! As you prepare to close the door on another school year, here are a few discussions from our OER Project Online Teacher Community to keep you moving towards the finish line!But first, consider this your head...
  • Juneteenth: An African American celebration with global significance

    By Tony Yeboah, OER Project ContributorNew Haven, USA Each of the holidays we celebrate has its own history. Governments and other important institutions are responsible for the declaration of many of the holidays we celebrate—usually the ones ...
  • It’s finally summer! The 2021 OER Project summer reading list

    By the OER Project Team Finally! Summer is near after a whirlwind year, and we’re looking forward to some relaxation: perhaps on the beach (though the lawn or fire escape will do!), with a refreshing drink nearby and a book in hand! Need a new ...
  • Schoolhouse rocks: Top teacher tunes

    By the OER Project Team

    While the majority of conversations in the OER Project Community center around all things teaching, it’s nice to get a glimpse into your nonteaching lives, and to learn about the kinds of things you love to do outside the classroom. We’ve learned about your favorite books, sports teams, and now, we’re talking music!

    You shared with us an all-time favorite song or album, and thanks…

  • Are things getting better or worse?

    By Trevor Getz, OER Project Team
    California, USA

    Like most “world” historians, I was trained as an area studies specialist. In my case, I’m a historian of Africa. Although most of the courses I now offer are about the global past, history education, and comics, I still teach a course on modern African history pretty much every spring. For 20 years, however, I have struggled with how to end this course. Having spent 14…

  • From Knowledge to Usable Understanding

    By Bob Bain, OER Project Expert
    Michigan, USA

    “There are two questions you must ask your students to evaluate your courses,”or so Mortimer Adler, the philosopher and founder of the Great Books Program, told me as I drove him to the Cleveland airport in 1988.

    The drive to the airport ended my 24 hours hosting Dr. Adler's visit to Cleveland and my high school. And it happened after he and I co-taught one of my…

  • May Community Highlights

    As you start to ramp up for the final weeks of the school year, a great place to turn to for fresh ideas is the OER Project teacher community. Whether you’re a frequent flyer in this free online space or you’re just checking things out for the first time, these discussions are sure to give you some new ideas for your classroom. Take a look at these popular May discussions to help get you started:

    Mentor …

  • Literacy for everyone: OER Project tools for building reading and writing skills

    By the OER Project Team

    In the OER Project courses, students are presented with, and asked to make sense of, a lot of very big ideas. In the process, they’re doing a ton of reading and writing. Students read some pretty challenging texts from contemporary scholars, as well as older primary source material. They’re also asked to write. A lot. For many students, the OER Project courses provide a foundation of the skills…

  • Time to Celebrate Teachers!

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

    Happy National Teacher Appreciation Week! In pre-COVID times, the teachers’ lounge would be filled with delicious treats from the parent club to say thanks for educating—and tolerating—their darling children. Most of us will miss the banners with words of encouragement and trays of mini-muffins, but not as much as we miss having students in our classrooms…

  • Scale switching and other history buzzwords

    By Trevor Getz, OER Project Team
    San Francisco, USA

    In his keynote talk for the 2020 OC for SS conference, historian Dr. Yohuru Williams reminded an eager audience of educators about the importance of scale. He asked us to think about how our students encounter history, and how they learn to “think about how the past influences our family, our community, our nation, and our world.” Williams then gave an example of how…

  • Framing the global past

    By Bennett Sherry, OER Project Team
    Maine, USA

    The best example Ever Given

    Over the course of the past few decades, history has taken a global turn. World history, global history, Big History, oceanic history—the list goes on. More than any previous generation, today’s historians are writing about connections across the global human community. Why do we—from our vantage in the twenty-first century—seem so drawn to these…

  • Fan favorites from the OER Project Community

    The OER Project Team

    Sports! Baseball, basketball, hockey—at OER Project, we love all of them! Whether you follow a particular player, have a favorite team, or are just there for the (excellent) snacks, sports offer a joyful reprieve from grading papers and planning lessons. Last week, you all came together in the OER Project Community to share your favorite teams. A fun conversation developed—and perhaps one or two new…

  • April Community Highlights

    By the OER Project Team

    With just a few months of the school year left, now is the perfect time to ask a question, post an answer, or discuss a new idea in the online teacher community. Check out some of the most popular conversations below!

    Tech savvy or tech novice?

    Teachers have had to adapt over the course of the pandemic. Read one teacher’s guide to the different digital teaching tools that they have tried in their…

  • Anthropocene: Avoiding an epoch fail

    By Bennett Sherry, OER Project Team
    Maine, USA

    This is not a place of honor

    In the 1990s, the US government invited a group of scientists, scholars, and futurists to solve a problem: How can we store nuclear waste so that people don’t dig it up tens of thousands of years in the future? The group decided that the method couldn’t include a written warning—future people might not be literate. And the warning needed to convey…

  • There’s no comparison—so why compare?

    By Trevor Getz, OER Project Team
    San Francisco, USA

    Your students may not believe it, but historians are cool. Sure many of us spend hours alone in dusty archives, surrounded by reams of paper written by long-dead bureaucrats, but we also manage—from the smallest of details—to reconstruct the lives of some very interesting people and communities. Yet, among historians, there’s a category of historical method that has become…

  • Big History Project as an elective in New South Wales, Australia

    By Michael Saxon, Principal, Liverpool Boys High School 
    Liverpool, Australia 

    Note: Recently, the NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) has announced some changes to its School Developed Board Endorsed Course (SDBEC) program. We’ve received a number of questions from Big History teachers in New South Wales asking whether BHP will be affected. We turned to local high-school principal Michael Saxon to talk us through what…

  • What to read next? Book recommendations from the OER Project Community

    By the OER Project Team

    Here at the OER Project, we love diving into a new book and same goes for a good book recommendation—who doesn’t?! So, it’s been quite a joy to read your responses to this month’s community snapshot post! Thank you, teachers and community members, for sharing your current reads and recommendations. From books that offer exciting stories and escapes, to those that have expanded your understanding…

  • Graphic biographies: Bringing Black individuals into the world history classroom

    By Trevor Getz, OER Project Team
    San Francisco, USA

    This is the final in a three-part series on the use of comics in the social studies classroom, focusing largely on Black creators and subjects, both in recognition of Black History Month and also to acknowledge the importance of celebrating diverse voices year-round.

    In my last two posts, I’ve described some of the history of Black comics makers and explained how…

  • March Community Highlights

    As we continue to march through the school year, here are some conversations you might find useful for your classroom. Now’s the perfect time to ask a question, share some wisdom, or just stop in and say hello!

    How comics help humanize history

    Join this discussion on how comics have allowed those not usually given a voice to be included in the historical narrative and how to incorporate graphic biographies in your…

  • What caused GameStop mania?

    By Bennett Sherry, OER Project Team
    Maine, USA

    Here at the OER Project, we’re pretty big fans of causation. Why? Not only is causation a key historical thinking skill, it’s also a skill that helps students make sense of current events. The causation skill progression helps BHP and WHP students develop evidence-based arguments in response to cause-and-effect questions. Causation can be a challenge for students. Adopting…

  • How I learned to stop worrying and love nonfiction comics, and why you should too

    By Trevor Getz, OER Project Team
    San Francisco, USA

    This is the second in a three-part series on the use of comics in the social studies classroom, focusing largely on Black creators and subjects, both in recognition of Black History Month and also to acknowledge the importance of celebrating diverse voices year-round.

    In my last post, I described how the creation of the graphic history March provided a solution to Congressman…

  • "Nevertheless, she persisted”: A celebration of women’s history

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

    I taught a variety of social studies courses at an all-girls high school for 10 years, including one on women’s history. To explain the context, this was a course I taught to girls in the twenty-first century, but it was also in an ultra-conservative district. So, I wasn’t shocked when the father of one of my students made a snarky comment about how it must…

  • A serious history of Black comics creators

    By Trevor Getz, OER Project Team
    San Francisco, USA

    This is the first in a three-part series on the use of comics in the social studies classroom, focusing largely on Black creators and subjects, both in recognition of Black History Month and also to acknowledge the importance of celebrating diverse voices year-round.

    It was 2008 and Congressman John Lewis’s staff were in a long meeting. They were trying to figure out…

  • Share your Zen!

    By the OER Project Team

    We’re nearly a year into this pandemic, and we are all still finding our footing. Between teaching, caring for the health of ourselves and our families, wearing masks, and spending a whole lot of time in isolation, the difficulties of this year have highlighted the necessity of carving out small moments of calm.

    Thank you, everyone, for sharing with us your mini-getaways and the other ways…