Assembled here are links to some of the state's and nation's premiere sources for historical documents and lesson materials in social studies, including those provided by the National Archives, the Library of Congress, and libraries and repositories throughout Texas.
A project of the National Endowment for the Humanities, EDSITEment offers humanities-focused educational materials to students, teachers, and parents. Subject areas include history and social studies, literature and language arts, art and culture, and foreign languages. The website features a collection of lesson plans for teachers as well as interactive activities for students, and a guide to resources specifically for online instruction.
The National Archives and Records Administration preserves important federal government documents and offers online public access to items such as the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. The Archives website also features an online teaching tool called Docs Teach, which offers classroom-specific activities and primary source documents. They also offer a number of free e-books, including Using Primary Sources to Review Major Topics in U.S. History: 1860–1979, which presents six review lessons designed to engage students in hands-on learning and discussion. In light of the interruption to classroom teaching due to COVID-19, the National Archives has partnered with the Presidential Primary Sources Project to offer interactive distance learning opportunities through the end of May 2020.
The Digital Public Library of America is a portal to historical documents, images, and resources gathered from America’s libraries, archives, and museums. The collection allows users to search through materials in innovative ways, including by timeline, map, virtual bookshelf, format, and topic.
The Library of Congress is the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution as well as the largest library in the world. The library’s website includes digital collections and services, providing access to print, pictorial, and audio-visual materials, which can be used to supplement classroom instruction.
The Huntington Library is an institution that supports and promotes the appreciation of, as well as research and education in, the arts and humanities. Fundamental to their work is conservation—stewarding and protecting artworks, books, manuscripts and related materials to ensure their continued availability for new discoveries and interpretations. The Huntington’s website features a variety of online resources that support instruction for subjects including U.S. history, Texas history, world history, geography, and English language arts. These resources include standards-aligned lessons for learning at home; interdisciplinary activity guides; resources developed by teachers, for teachers, and inspired by the Huntington’s collections; and access to lesson plans and learning modules.
The iCivics Remote Learning Toolkit makes available enrichment activities and lessons to facilitate home learning for K-12 students nationwide. The website offers customized resources to provide differentiated solutions for at-home learning. The Remote Learning Toolkit for Families offers manageable learning and engagement activities that children can enjoy with minimal supervision. The Remote Learning Toolkit for Educators provides best practice guidance and high-quality resources that are motivating and engaging. The toolkit includes virtual professional development webinars and support networks, updated resources on timely topics such as news media literacy, and the newly launched Game Odyssey, which encourages student game play at home through leveled game quests with badges earned for completion.
The PBS Learning Media site provides numerous lesson plans, online activities, classroom resources, and educational videos covering multiple subjects for preschool through 12th grade. With the creation of a free teacher account, users have access to a vast array of PBS video resources like Crash Course and Founding Principles for use in their classrooms. PBS Learning Media also has an entire section of the website dedicated to Reading in History and Social Studies, which encourages and instructs students to analyze primary source documents to form their own hypothesis.
The National Constitution Center’s approach to constitutional education emphasizes historic storytelling, constitutional rather than political questions, and the habits of civil dialogue and reflection. Its suite of online educational resources includes an interactive Constitution tool, copies of original historical documents, educational videos, lesson plans, and various interactive activities and games that engage students in close reading and critical thinking exercises. The Center is also offering remote learning opportunities through free lectures and civil dialogue sessions on the Constitution that students can access online on a home computer, laptop, or phone.
The Stanford History Education Group comprises Stanford faculty, staff, graduate students, post-docs, and visiting scholars and seeks to improve education by reaching directly into classrooms with free materials for teachers and students. SHEG’s Reading Like a Historian curriculum engages students in historical inquiry and encourages critical reading and analysis skills through the use of primary source documents. The Beyond the Bubble assessments unlock the vast archive of the Library of Congress to create easy-to-use assessments that measure students’ historical thinking rather than recall of facts. SHEG has also created a Civic Online Reasoning curriculum to help students develop the skills needed to navigate our current digital landscape.
BlackPast is a reference center dedicated to providing comprehensive, reliable, and accurate information on African American history and the history of more than one billion people of African ancestry around the world. The website has a dedicated page to using its vast resources in the classroom that includes guides and suggestions provided by teachers.
The Portal to Texas History, created and maintained by the University of North Texas Libraries, provides access to Texas history materials, such as books, maps, photographs, and newspapers, all of which come from Texas libraries, museums, archives, historical societies, and private collections. The site also offers numerous resources for educators, including primary source sets and classroom activities.
A collaborative project of the Texas State Historical Association, The Portal to Texas History, and Texas Heritage Online, Teaching Texas brings together in one place diverse resources for teaching Texas studies in order to both save time and promote awareness of what is available.
The Texas Historical Commission is the state agency for historic preservation. On their website, you can find content area-specific lesson plans (on topics like Prisoner of War Camps in Texas) as well as area-specific lesson plans centered on historic sites. Their YouTube channel is also an excellent resource for short, informative videos organized by subject, including playlists on Texas: Forged of Revolution, World War I: Texas and the Great War, World War II on the Texas Home Front, African Americans in Texas, and more.
The Texas Archive of the Moving Image’s collection provides access to archival films relating to Texas, U.S., and world history as well as free lesson plans aligned with Texas teaching standards (TEKS) for grades K-12. Their website allows teachers to browse films by topic (such as civil rights and civil liberties, farming and ranching, Texas culture) and by grade. They also provide a guide for viewing films with students as well as a guide to the different genres of film offered by their collection.
Texas is home to three presidential libraries, all of which provide educational resources for K–12 teachers. The LBJ Presidential Library’s collection of online curriculum resources includes exhibition guides to enhance self-guided visits and interactive classroom activities that encourage students to think critically about historical events that shaped the world we live in today. The George H. W. Bush Presidential Library offers a variety of games for K–12 students that promote problem solving and critical thinking skills through historical simulation and document analysis. Live and recorded education programs are also available through Connect2Texas. The George W. Bush Presidential Library’s online educational resources include TEKS-aligned lesson plans and interactive historical object analysis projects, as well as links to complete collections of President Bush’s public papers, executive orders, speeches, and more.
The Voces Oral History Project is the leading Latino oral history archive in the United States. It began in 1999, with a mission of capturing untold stories of Latinos and Latinas who served—in the military and on the home front—during World War II. Their archive has expanded to include the Korean and Vietnam Wars, and political and civic engagement, focusing on the continuing fight for Latino civil rights.
Humanities Texas has assembled a list of online educational resources related to the Harlem Renaissance and its history, literature, and culture. These websites include primary source documents, lesson plans, photographs, and other interactive elements that will enhance classroom instruction and student comprehension.
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