• 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
  • Teaching at a Distance Center Overview

    This blog provides an explanation of what you'll find in our TaaD Center. Don't forget to log in with your OER Project account to access the TaaD Center itself!

    As many of us transition into the wild west of teaching in 2020, we’re confronted with what feels like a million different models of teaching: teaching in school; teaching from home; teaching from school while some students are there and some are at home;…

    • 10 Sep 2020
  • Drum roll please: WHP writing activities and assessments are here!

    By the OER Project Team

    It’s the moment you’ve all been waiting for—well, maybe not the moment you’ve been waiting for because an end to the pandemic would be way better, but it is pretty exciting news. The World History Project (WHP) writing progression activities and assessments are now live on the OER Project website! To mark this event, we thought that a blog post explaining the progression…

    • 4 Sep 2020
  • Three Close Reads: A powerful tool for training students to read critically—for life

    By Eman Elshaikh, OER Project Team
    Chicago, USA

    Whether your classroom is a physical or virtual place, keeping students engaged can be tricky, especially when it comes to reading. But we all know there’s no way to achieve learning unless students are engaged with both the content and skills. The OER Project’s answer to this problem? The Three Close Reads approach. We use this approach across the Big History Project and…

    • 1 Sep 2020
  • A world on the move

    By Bennett Sherry, OER Project Team
    Maine, USA

    When you tell someone about your day, where do you start? What elements do you focus on? What about the story of your life?

    I’m willing to bet that your stories emphasize movement. Where did you go? How did you get there? Where are you from? What journeys changed your life, and what people did you meet along the way? When you ask your students to envision their future, do…

    • 1 Sep 2020
  • Practice makes perfect: Practice Question feature now available!

    By the OER Project Team

    We’re excited to announce the launch of our new Practice Questions feature, available now in all OER Project courses! If you’re a veteran of Big History, you may be thinking “Oh, you’ve just moved the unit quizzes to the new platform.” Not quite – they’ve gotten an upgrade! We partnered with Khan Academy and incorporated their deep understanding of assessment to create these questions. Our writing…

    • 28 Aug 2020
  • Keep learning going: The OER Conference for Social Studies

    Watch Yohuru Williams discuss what he describes as "The Lewis Doctrine" and the gift John Lewis left for social studies teachers.

    Spring 2020 was a difficult period for educators determined to keep learning going. By the end of March, it was clear that even by fall, students would not all be back in classrooms learning as usual. In conversations with groups like the National Council for Social Studies (NCSS…

    • 13 Aug 2020
  • BHP Big Skills: Thresholds of Increasing Complexity

    By the OER Project Team
    Washington, USA

    Too often history is just a long list of people, places, and things to memorize. Students struggle to put them together. They might learn about Ancient Greece and Rome, the great states and empires of Africa, or the contributions of Islamic scholars, but not how these topics connect to one another. Students might focus on a single primary source and even be able to provide details…

    • 12 Aug 2020
  • Human history and the environment

    By Bridgette Byrd O'Connor
    Louisiana, USA

    In the era of COVID, it is almost impossible to deny the connections that exist between humanity and the web of life and matter around us. It’s not just the virus that reminds us of these connections. It’s the wildlife that reclaim our streets and the way the air and water clear when we’re sheltering in place.

    These connections are, in many ways, the foundations…

    • 3 Aug 2020
  • A more coherent view of the past: Using frames in world history

    By Trevor R. Getz
    San Francisco, USA

    There’s a classroom problem we all face. There’s just too much history to teach, especially in a world history course covering hundreds, thousands, or even millions of years. On one level, that means we have to pick and choose. Which histories are the most important? Whose stories get told? There are all kinds of judgements to be made here about what is “world historical.” What were…

    • 3 Aug 2020
  • History is not set in stone

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

    The world is facing a reckoning. This summer, protesters in the US, Senegal, the UK, Barbados, New Zealand, South Korea, and Belgium, among many other regions, have taken to the streets to stand against systemic racism in their justice systems. As protesters seek to dismantle racism today, many are also tearing down vestiges of our racist past. One after…

    • 1 Jul 2020
  • Protests: They worked for South Africa… Can they work in the United States?

    By Trevor Getz
    San Francisco, USA

    As we watch the upheaval that has spread across the country following the killing of George Floyd, many of us find ourselves asking: “Do protests succeed in creating lasting, meaningful change?”

    Historians differ on their answer to this question, partly because different historical movements have had divergent outcomes. The 1848 uprisings in Europe yielded almost no results…

    • 25 Jun 2020
  • Getting ready for SY 20/21: OER Project course updates

    It’s summer, which means it’s time for the annual update! And wow. Do we have an update for you!

    In case you’re new to the OER Project, here’s a little context: Every year, we review our content, reflect on feedback from teachers, students, and our advisory board, and then make revisions and updates based on that feedback. Unlike textbooks, which don’t change (unless of course you buy a new edition), the…

    • 22 Jun 2020
  • New school year, new us: OER Project website migration

    Check out these resources to learn more about our move!

    The OER Project team has some exciting news to share — Big History Project (BHP) is on the move! As of June 22 at 9 am PDT, BHP has joined World History Project (WHP) on a unified platform. That’s right—as we continue to grow, we’re bringing both communities together into one big OER Project family!

    So what does this mean for you? You now…

    • 11 Jun 2020
  • Save the date: 2020 OER Project book club

    We are excited to announce our first-ever OER Project Book Club pick. This summer, Big History Project and World History Project teachers are invited to join us in reading The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin. Our community discussions about the book will officially kick off on July 6th in the OER Project Teacher Community. In the meantime, we ask that you save-the-date, grab a copy of the book (we suggest checking out…

    • 11 Jun 2020
  • The OER Conference for Social Studies

    Join us August 5, 6, and 7 for a free, virtual conference to log PD hours and keep the learning going

    Calling all K–12 social studies teachers! Have your summer professional development plans been canceled? Since the pandemic took hold, the OER Project team has been working to identify ways we can help students, educators, and schools continue to teach and learn, whether in or out of the classroom. As summer approached…

    • 10 Jun 2020
  • Using history to shape a better future

    By the OER Project Team

    A central principle of the OER Project is the idea that history should be usable, should help orient us to the present and see what is possible in the future. Americans today—like all people who live in times of upheaval—are trying each in our own ways to make sense of the moment in which we live and to try to build a better future. To do so, we must look to our nation’s past. The United States…

    • 8 Jun 2020
  • WHP and BHP 2020 summer reading list

    It’s been quite a year for teachers globally. We hope your well-deserved break this summer gives you some time to rest, rejuvenate, or even dive into a new book! When it comes to the latter, we’ve got your back. Without further ado here’s our annual list of teacher-curated book recommendations for summer 2020.

    Without further ado here’s our annual list of teacher-curated book recommendations for summer…

    • 1 Jun 2020
  • OER Project & standards alignment

    Click on a highlighted state to see standards alignment materials!

    August 17 Update: More course plans are here! Check out for new state-specific course plans for Arizona, Florida, Illinois and Texas, created by talented teachers with in-depth knowledge of their state’s standards. Scroll down (or click the map) to also find course plans for the following states: California, Iowa, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, North…

    • 26 May 2020
  • Bake like a Roman

    Bennett Sherry, OER Project Team
    Maine, USA

    As quarantine drags on, a lot of people have turned to bread making. Seriously, do a quick search for “sourdough starter” on Twitter or Instagram—people are getting weird about their bread.

    Water, flour, and time. That’s all you need to make bread, though humans have added flourishes through history. Bread making is an old art. How old? You might think that…

    • 21 May 2020