Presidential Speeches

The Miller Center is a website that specializes in presidential scholarship, public policy, and political history. The Miller Center has an impressive official oral history project  for every administration from President Carter to President Obama. They are also transcribe  White House audio tapes  of President FDR through President Nixon. The Miller Center provides first hand accounts on how administrations have dealt with complex and difficult issues. They have an impressive collection of presidential speeches from transcripts, audio, and video that is easily searchable by topic and president. This primary source collection could significantly enhance any US History or Government course.

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Gilder Lehrman Reconstruction Seminar Resources

US History Resources for Common Core

Forty-five states have implemented the Common Core State Standards in ELA and Mathematics for every subject. These standards are not intended to drive history and other subjects away from the curriculum, but they are designed to encourage our students to be critical readers who can apply the knowledge they learned.  These standards are intended to engage students in the history curriculum and teach them skills needed to be successful. The websites listed below are useful  to supplement the curriculum and teach students the skills needed to be successful  21st century learners.

Under Common Core Student’s will be encouraged to:

  • Examine and analyze primary sources  
  • Use evidence to support an argument
  • Understand historical context
  • Read multiple accounts and perspectives
  • Question: Who? What? Why? When? How? Where?
  • Take a position and defend it with evidence


  • Docs Teach: This website is a wonderful resource that has over Four Thousand primary documents from the National Archives. The website also has tons of resources and ready to use tools to enhance your instruction.
  • Gilder Lehrman Institute: This website offers a massive variety of resources to assist teachers and students. It offers professional development opportunities for educators, provides documents and exercises for classroom use, and encourages excellence in student writing with essay prizes.
  • Digital History: This website is another great resource that has tons of useful materials such as an alternative textbook, teaching ideas, primary documents, learning modules, and media rich lessons.
  • NROC: This is the website from the National Repository of Online courses that provides teachers with video clips on every unit, key readings, and so much more.
  • Teaching History: Teaching history is a website designed by the National History Education Clearinghouse. This website offers tons of history materials from “Ask a historian,” teaching materials, and best practices.
  • EDSITEment: EDSITEment is another wonderful website from the National Endowment from the Humanities. The website offers free resources and over 393 history lessons for teachers. These lessons stress primary source documents, critical thinking, and other common core skills.  The website is extremely easy to navigate and it has a plethora of valuable and easy to implement lessons.
  • Pearson Hall: This website has online educational materials FREE for educators such as vocabulary building activities, review games, interactive links, and assessments.
  • DBQ and Thematic Essay: Greece Public Schools in Greece, NY has a wonderful collections of Document Based Questions and Thematic Essays that have appeared on the New York State Assessment.
  • Eye Witness to History is a wonderful website to incorporate primary sources such as first-hand accounts, vintage photographs, and radio broadcasts into your classroom.
  •  Reading Like a Historian is a wonderful  curriculum to engage students in historial inquiry.  The Standford History Education Group produced over 75 Lesson Plans based on primary documents and activities to engage your students in the study of United States History.These lessons seems to align perfectly with the Common Core Standards of reading, analyzing, forming an opinion, and debating primary source materials. Students are not learning the material from a textbook or a teacher but engaging in real and meaningful historical inquiry.



Change the way your student’s watch videos with Zaption!

Zaption is a wonderful program I learned about this week. It is truly changing the way students view videos. Teachers can quickly add images, text, quizzes, and even discussions to existing videos from youtube, vimeo, or other private videos. I plan on using this program to flip my classroom. Instead of having them just watch a video they can now be fully engaged with the video. Zaption allows you to display questions for students to answer as they watch a video. Teachers can get immediate feedback on how students interact with the content and understand key concepts.

Here is a sample video for my sociology class on gender stereotypes and expectations

To create a quiz on Zaption you start by creating a “tour” in your account. A tour is a collection of videos, images, and text. Zaption allows users to add videos from YouTube, Vimeo, PBS, or National Geographic. After selecting your video you can start and pause the video where you want to add a question. When students watch the video they will see questions appear during the paused video.

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Edcamp Social Studies will be held November 22nd

Are you doing something amazing in your classroom that engages students and helps them to learn more? Do your students love social studies and love learning in your class? Or, perhaps, you feel stymied or frustrated by the current state of our education system? Do budget cuts and dwindling resources leave you little choice but to teach in isolation?

Bring It!

In order to be prepared, it’s best to bring along the following to an EdCamp

  • An open mind
  • A positive attitude
  • A willingness to collaborate and share
  • A couple of your colleagues
  • EdCamps are NOT about formal presentations. They are about conversations and they are fully participatory.
  • A concept or idea that has worked really well in your classroom that you can share and about which you are prepared to guide a discussion.
  • Ideas about things you’d like to learn – you don’t need to teach everyone else if you lead a session, you can just as easily lead a session by asking others to teach you. In other words, practice the inquiry-based practice in leading a session.
  • EdCamps are not techno-centric, however, it is a good idea to bring a laptop or other device as many people will be filling backchannels and Twitter streams around the conversations taking place. Conversations can be centered around tech and non-tech ideas and concepts.


You can expect:

  • Passionate educators sharing their tricks & techniques
  • Collaboration with others like you in learning new tools, content, etc. together
  • Instantaneous excitement, networking and camaraderie
  • Rich, meaningful conversations that will last far beyond the construct of the day
  • A blank schedule at the start of the day. You’ll be encouraged to sign up for a session you’re willing to lead and the schedule being built from it. This is participant and teacher driven.
  • A rule of two feet, or as fellow organizer, Shawn McCusker would say, the ability to “go where you grow” – if a session doesn’t meet your needs, you keep moving to one that does.
  • A smackdown – at the close, participants have one to two minutes to share a favorite tool, lesson, website or concept in a highly energetic fashion. The resources are curated and shared with all participants and beyond through Twitter