“That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history” – Aldous Huxley
History was the first subject I really dived into as a kid. It probably grew out of my childhood love of mythology and then blossomed into an ongoing passion. There are so many great resources for history–I alone have boxes upon boxes of great books at home–that it’s very easy to get lost. This page highlights a few I have used, or intend to use, in my teaching. The bookmarks to the right are a great place to explore.
Below I have listed a few good teaching references, as well as a couple book suggestions that I think are good touchstones for the history profession. If you have other great suggestions please make a comment!
Center for History and New Media – An excellent clearinghouse of teaching resources on the web. Includes a great database of history departments around the world.
PBS online, BBC HIstory, The History channel, & The Discovery Channel are all great media sites that not only have great videos and documentaries, but also have great teaching resources. The British Pathe has recently posted all their extensive historic video collection online (85,000+)
Edsitement – A great site of lesson plans, activities, and resources produced by the National Endowment of Humanities. The NEH also produces the amazing America in Class education resource site. It has simply phenomenal lesson plans and primary source materials.
Stanford History Education Group – Good lesson plan ideas with resources. I particularly recommend the “reading like a historian” activities. They have great primary source material.
The Big History Project – An amazing resource. This is how history should be taught, it is no surprise that the Gates foundation is behind this beautiful history of the Universe. Targeted for high-schoolers but I have successfully adopted many of the lessons for middle schoolers as well.
World History For Us All – A middle School History teacher’s dream! Detailed lesson plans covering all the world’s big historical eras. Produced by San Diego State and UCLA’s National Center for History in the Schools. I would also strongly recommend The Annenberg Learner’s Bridging World History, which has a similar theme.
Awesome Stories – This site is wonderful for teachers, with great stories about history in audio, visual, and text form. In a similar vein, Eyewitness to History has good anecdotes–often told from the perspective of historical actors. Although a little more scholarly Laphem’s Quarterly reproduces short historical writings grouped by theme. It is often very educational to read original texts and learn how historical figures themselves saw the world–in their own words!
History Matters Quantitative Historical Data Online – I found this site looking for historical statistical data in easy to understand formats for student projects. I particularly like the Historic Census browser which allows you to search census data by year, subject, or region. If studying the US The St. Luis Federal Reserve has very accessible historic data, including year by year statistical abstracts, as well as ton of other data. They also have some excellent student lessons such as this one on the Great Depression.
Best of History Websites – There are tons of great links here. Great History Sites is another great collection, particularly good on American history and historical oddities. In the same vein History Students Resources also has good links. DocsTeach.Org goes one further with wonderful US history lessons pre-prepared. Also Historical Thinking Matters.
Repository of Primary Sources – Just what it sounds like. An great collection of over 5000 websites with primary source material. Great research tool. The Internet Modern History Sourcebook also has great primary sources, and is very helpfully organized.
Active History – IB – I found this site incredibly helpful when doing my internship in an IB history class. (Unfortunately the best materials are behind a paywall).
Gilder Lehrman Institute – Another good site on American history with great primary resources
HistoryTeacher.net – The ever helpful high school history teacher Ms. Pojer has compiled a pretty good list of references for teachers and students alike. In particular the historical society list is quite comprehensive and very helpful for young researchers.
History and Politics Outloud – A great repository of audio sources. Easily searchable.
Open Culture – So much good stuff here. For example this recording of the world’s oldest song, or this one of Ancient Greek Music, or this free course on Western Architecture. If you need to spice a lesson with something culturally interesting look here.
Go Social Studies Go – A little gimmicky, but good simple interesting resources for kids of all ages.
Clash of Steel – A site for military history buffs, which many teenage boys also appreciate.
Many of our cultural Institutions such as The Smithsonian or Britain’s National Archives, also maintain educational resources with some real gems in them. I have spent hours wondering through their virtual halls.
The US Government also maintains a number of very helpful sites, For example Ask Eric is an excellent virtual library maintained by the Educational Research Information Center. The Federal Registry for Excellence in Education is an other great database. The State of California’s online database of social studies resources, SCORE, is also quite helpful for lesson planning.
And of course, The Library of Congress. The most important primary resource site on the web.
Take a look at this blog post on my favorite general history books.