• 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…

  • Happy Day of His Elective Majesty

    By Trevor R. Getz, OER Project Team
    San Francisco, USA

    Welcome to Presidents Day, an annual holiday on the American calendar that reminds us not only of the founding of our republic, but also the role and position of the American president, from George Washington to Joe Biden. This annual red-letter day, like the swearing-in of the president at a formal inauguration ceremony every four years, is meant to condition us to…

  • February Community Highlights

    By the OER Project Team

    Here’s to hoping this monthly update with tips, tricks, and other advice from the OER Project Teacher Community gives you a little extra inspiration as you head into February. Read on for a cute post about pets; tips for teaching contextualization; a vocabulary scavenger hunt; and plenty more you can use with your students today!

    Vocabulary scavenger hunt

    Enjoy this fantastic idea from an…

  • How can we help students identify disinformation? Teach them claim testing and sourcing skills.

    By Bridgette Byrd O’Connor
    Louisiana, USA

    The entire world breathed a collective sigh of relief when 2020 came to an end, but little did we know what would greet us at the start of 2021. Our students are living through a tumultuous time, and they are continuously bombarded with information from a variety of sources that can be contradictory and thus confusing. In addition, they’re exposed to an alarming amount of…

  • A usable history of disease

    By Trevor Getz, OER Project Team
    San Francisco, USA

    Blogging through a pandemic

    Back in the old days—the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic—things were different for the OER Project team. Like teachers everywhere, we scrambled to adjust to the new reality: Our lives were spent mainly at home, our meetings and social gatherings were held online, and on those rare occasions we dared to venture out into the world, we did…

  • Bringing the voices of Aboriginal peoples into the Big History classroom

    By Hayden Brown, OER Project Teacher
    Perth, Australia

    Note from the OER Project team: As the school year kicks off in Australia, we’re publishing a couple of Australia-centric blogs to help our Aussie teachers hit the ground running. However, this blog is relevant to teachers across the globe in providing tips for how to bring Indigenous and local histories into the classroom.

    Too often, the narrative of Aboriginal…

  • Big History Aussie style

    By Kim Lochner, OER Project Teacher
    Queensland, Australia

    When I first started teaching BHP, I wasn’t sure how it would meld with the Australian Curriculum. I thought I could use bits, but would have to create my own assessment. I was pleasantly surprised to find the fully resourced writing Investigations aligned neatly with the Australian Curriculum, matching key elements of the humanities and science syllabi. I have…

  • A fun day at the paw-ffice

    By the OER Project Team

    Seeing your pets and their contributions to your life has brought us all such warm and… fuzzy feelings. Thank you, teachers, for sharing photos of your furry (and sometimes scaly) friends! Sure, they may not do much actual “helping” (in fact, it seems like they tend to do a lot of sleeping on the job…), but hey, we love them anyway.

    The Most Technologically Literate …

  • “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…

  • 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.”…

  • 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…

  • 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!…

  • Ice cream, Nicolas 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 Nicolas 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…