This page is being updated less frequently, since by now we have more experience than we had when this resource was begun. Still, new resources are being published, and teachers around the US are facing circumstances that continue to change. Please forward anything you think will be of interest to others (email@example.com).
We are approaching the third winter of education during a pandemic, now with the benefit of experience, vaccines, and the expectation that any school closures will be brief and that in-person learning will remain the norm. Still, the impact of COVID-19 as a teaching challenge that has propelled educators to develop a wide range of digital learning skills and strategies to meet learners where they are, maintains the relevance of the social studies resources that have been collected here.
If you are here for the first time, welcome. At Emerging America, we focus on resources for teachers of History, Social Studies, and Civics. On this page, we feature resources for teachers of those subjects who are designing curriculum in the context of the pandemic, both for students learning from home, and for students navigating a changing environment no matter where teaching and learning happens. Please see the "Featured Resources" box below for notable new additions or timely highlights.
Throughout the period in which teaching is affected by measures to protect students and community members from COVID-19, we will continue updating this post. Beyond this point, we will continue to make the post available as a compendium of resources for digital learning in civics, history, and social studies, as well as content related directly to studying the COVID-19 pandemic in historical context.
For upcoming webinars and other time-sensitive events, check the most recent issue of the monthly Emerging America History eNews (click here).
Headings for the annotated resource sections (click heading title to jump ahead):
Back-at-school Teaching for History, Social Studies, and Civics
Compendiums of links • Equity for Complex Learners: Resources for PD, IEP & 504 Standards in Online Learning, Student Needs • Online Learning Platforms
COVID-19 resources on teaching English Learners and students with disabilities
Opportunities for Students: Civic Engagement, Contests, Service related to History & Social Studies
Scroll down to see more.
Back-at-school Teaching for History, Social Studies, and Civics
Student-teacher relationship (re)building
Watch Your Attitude: Your Students are Counting on You. Blog post by Amber Chandler on how best to support students (and your own teaching) in a new pandemic-times school year.
What is Sketchnoting? Blog post by Amber Chandler on an approach to note-taking that can be used for social studies and history providing alternatives and additions to all-verbal notes. (A great tool for accessible teaching, and response to students' challenges after disrupted instruction.)
Remote Teaching for History, Social Studies, and Civics
Compendium of links for remote teaching during COVID-19 from the Massachusetts Civic Learning Coalition: Resources for Educators, Students, and Families
- All resources organized by grade span and, within each grade span, by topic.
- Separate sections for educators, for students and families, and for public health resources.
- National resources organized for Massachusetts educators by content standards.
- Extensive and comprehensive collection of links, and assistance offered to meet specific needs.
TPS Teaching Online with Primary Sources group. Join this network for Teaching with Primary Sources (TPS) through the Library of Congress. You must join (no cost, very simple) to access the Teaching Online group.
Social Studies Innovation Network guide to new content for teaching K-12 social studies - whether in person or remotely. The guide, provided as a download by KidCitizen, features 13 resources covering a broad range of topics.
How Chicago’s students feel about the battle around in-person, remote learning. WBEZ Chicago. January 11, 2022. (17:49 minutes). Link to the WBEZ broadcast.
Student-teacher relationship (re)building
“I See You. I Care. How Can I Help You Grow?” Using culturally responsive, asset-based feedback to support students’ learning in the COVID-19 era
Facing History and Ourselves: Taking School Online With a Student-Centered Approach
Techniques to reduce learning difficulties, relevant to all students
Coronavirus: Tips - links to dozens of useful tools and approaches from specialists in teaching students with disabilities at Understood.org that apply to ALL students under stress with new school formats. Compiled in spring, 2020.
Plexiglass light-board to write on while facing students during online teaching.
Classroom Activity adaptations for online and distance learning
Question Formulation Technique (structured activities to generate and prioritize questions that direct and motivate learning). Resources for using the Question Formulation Technique in a remote learning environment. (Tools for Education and Self-Advocacy in Times of Crisis.)
Primary source learning activities with ideas for modifying the activity for learners with no, low, and high access to technology. Guidelines for all three access levels to be used as a framework. (TPS Network - free registration)
inquirED - Together When Apart: Tips for Distance Learning. Teaching adaptations for synchonous <> asynchronous sequencing for virtual teaching and hybrid in-person/virtual schedules.
Discussion in a Virtual Classroom
Teaching Controversy in a Remote Classroom - Emma Humphries and Lora De Salvo, iCivics
Leading Groups Online: "a down-and-dirty guide to leading online courses, meetings, trainings, and events during the coronavirus pandemic" Includes downloadable templates for visuals to lead class discussions and activities.
Zoom Active Learning Activities Group work, Assessment and Engagement, and Document Cameras on Zoom by NYU.
Current Events in Your Classroom - Facing History and Ourselves
Issues of Equity
Online Teaching Can be Culturally Responsive - Teaching Tolerance
"Cameras Be Damned" - Educator Karen Costa begins with a call to make cameras optional (from a trauma-informed perspective) and offers a wealth of suggested alternatives for virtual teaching and learning.
Community of Practice posts from the Center for MH in Schools at UCLA - include topics on addressing social justice and equity with students, remote teaching and learning's impact on teachers and students.
Are your handouts fully accessible to students who use screen-reader apps because of low vision or a disability? Tips on preparing a screen-reader friendly page -
- not using the same text in the title and the top heading (the reader will read the same phrase twice, potentially confusing the listener)
- using informative headings, not "teaser text" (like: "I couldn't believe what I learned about the Middle Ages!")
- don't use "Click Here" for links, and instead attach the link to a descriptive word or phrase
Apps: Choice and Use of Online Tools
Flip grid app. Free. "In Flipgrid, educators post discussion prompts and students respond with short videos, whether they are learning in class or at home."
Google Apps to use for remote instruction - webpage from a trainer with links to collaborative activities using the entire Google Apps suite. "These activities utilize the real-time collaboration, chat, commenting and link sharing capabilities of Google Apps."
Google Jamboard - teacher example photo from analysis of primary sources
Classroom Case-Studies and Teachers Sharing Insights
Make an "Invisible Ink" electronic document - students can uncover hidden answers, text, or clues (Twitter video link)
8 Strategies to Improve Participation in Your Virtual Classroom - Edutopia article by Emelina Minero with links to examples of the strategies in action.
HistoryTech: Glenn Wiebe's blog features educator online teaching examples, pedagogy and tool suggestions, and more. Link is to the current post; check out past (April, 2020) posts, too.
How-To Videos and Webinars for Teachers
Teaching Online Masterclass. 1-3 minute videos on specific approaches to online and blended learning with emphasis on Universal Design for Learning (UDL) techniques to reduce barriers and increase accessibility for all students..
Library of Congress-funded Teaching Online with Primary Sources professional development webinar recordings
Teachers’ Peer Support and Resource-Sharing
#sschat - Regular teacher-led professional development in Twitter.
Smartphones, screen time, and digital literacy: Research and resources for parents and students. (Georgia Tech coding bootcamp promotion.)
Organizations offering Online History and Social Studies resources without charge
Anti-Defamation League (ADL)
- Online mini-lessons on identity, hate and bias, and civic action.
American Revolution Institute of the Society of the Cincinnati
Bill of Rights Institute
California History and Social Science Project
Center for Civic Information
- Sixty-Second Civics (podcast with 60-second pieces on voting, citizenship, and more. Useful for asynchronous pre-work before class discussions.
Citizen U from the Barat Foundation
- Civics in Action. Lessons on the pandemic, civic action projects, and more
- Online resources, including available live video sessions with scholars
- Interactive Constitution curriculum
- educational resources and games
Common Sense Education
Discovering Justice, Moakley U.S. Courthouse.
- Powerful reading list [RC] http://discoveringjustice.org/working-for-justice/
EduHam (Hamilton, the musical) at Home
Through EduHam at Home, in partnership with Gilder Lehrman, students study primary source documents from the Founding Era, learn how Lin-Manuel Miranda used such documents to create the musical Hamilton, and create their own original performance pieces. Available through August 2020.
- Polio and Parallels to the Covid-19 Pandemic primary source set
- Links to apps for teaching Civics online - games and activities: supported by Library of Congress: http://emergingamerica.org/programs/civics-education (scroll to bottom of page)
Facing History and Ourselves
- Support for Teachers during the Covid-19 Outbreak includes teaching ideas, on-demand webinars, readings
- Eyes on the Prize, the landmark documentary series about the American civil rights movement: stream free, and use Facing History's study guide (start with 2, 3, 5, 6, & 8, recommends the filmmaker)
- Connecting Current Events Curriculum
George Washington's Mount Vernon
- Resources for Online Learning
- For Students page, including "Ask Mount Vernon" videos
- George Washington's Mount Vernon Distance-learning guided field trips. Choose from a Guided Virtual Tour of the Mansion, a facilitated game of "Be Washington," and Primary Source Analysis. Funding is available to cover program costs for qualified Title 1 Schools.
Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History
- EduHam (see above)
- Summer 2020 History School for middle school and high school students and History Camp for elementary. Live interactive online lessons, master teachers, lessons anchored in primary source documents.
- Free subscription for Teachers and Parents
- Using Colonial and Revolutionary America lesson plans for younger learners
- Collection of resources on the 2020 national election. Curated by Washington Post, includes student-view.
- Offers teaching materials and teaching tips in regularly updated posts. https://www.icivics.org/news
- iCivics Remote Learning Toolkit
- iCivics released weekly planners for virtual learning by grades 6-12.
- iCivics Election HQ.
- https://www.kidcitizen.net/ K-5 students work with primary source photographs to explore Congress and Civic Engagement.
Library of Congress
- https://loc.gov/engage Engage with authors and connect to the Library’s resources from anywhere in the world
- https://loc.gov/teachers/professionaldevelopment/office-hours/ education specialist open hours and links for teachers
- TPS Teaching Online with Primary Sources. The source for many of the pedagogy and content links on this page, crowdsourced and added to daily. Join to access.
- Teacher Blog, including Ideal for Distance Learning: Primary source-based interactives and apps for students
Massachusetts Appeals Court
- Right to a Public Hearing: Observe the Massachusetts Judiciary in action from home! The Massachusetts Appeals Court is streaming live and maintaining recorded oral arguments on YouTube.
Mass DESE (Department of Elementary and Secondary Education)
- Daily stories of events in Massachusetts history (can be posted on daily message, emailed, or shared via Facebook). https://www.massmoments.org/about.html
Mikva Challenge - Online Civic Engagement Resources
- Excellent virtual assignment Action Civics Showcase Scavenger Hunt. Also find other virtual assignments from Mikva
Model United Nations
- Modules for Remote Learning Model UN preparation re-conceived as individual or team project-based learning, with an option to submit the final Position Paper to the United Nations Association of Greater Boston (UNAGB) for review and feedback. Teacher training offered weekly.
National Archives DocsTeach online teaching tools.
National Council of History Education (NCHE)
- every Thursday at 10:00am - casual online conversation with Historian Joanne Freeman
- Earth Day Resources
National History Day YouTube Channel - New Webinars on Teaching History Virtually
New York Times Learning Network
- Free resources, including lessons on social studies and current events. Also find quizzes, activities and a student-level NYT crossword. (Includes paid advertisements.)
- Webinar Wednesdays: Opportunities for Teachers and Parents on Remote Learning With The Times
Our American Voice: Civic Action and Engagement Choice Board
PBS Learning Media - Educators can search by subject, grade, and standards.
- K-12 Spanish Language Resources including videos available in both English and Spanish with accompanying lesson plans in civics and social studies-relevant topics.
- American Experience - Curated selections from the "American Experience" documentary series for grades 4-12. See also the main link for all American Experience offerings, including Influenza 1918.
- Ken Burns in the Classroom - 5-10 minute videos and classroom activities.
- K-5, Google-classroom-ready. Animated characters focus on community, civics, and social-emotional learning in Arthur episodes and materials (e.g. speaking out).
- “Primary Source World Online” Curriculum and Teacher Toolkits are currently available without charge. Information
Right Question Institute
- Ideas for focus questions at home. Webinars. See current offerings.
Social Studies School Service - Currently being offered free
Stanford History Education Group (SHEG) - free with registration
- The Reading Like a Historian curriculum - ready-to-go lessons on world and U.S. history based on primary source investigations.
- Civic Online Reasoning curriculum, a SHEG collaboration with Google's MediaWise, helps students evaluate online media.
- Affirming Black Lives Without Inducing Trauma by Teaching Tolerance
- Supporting Students With Learning Disabilities During School Closures
- New resources added regularly.
LGBT+ inclusive U.S. History Curriculum - professional learning and instructional resources offered through a digital platform designed for both traditional and online teaching and learning.
United States Census 2020 - Response Rates Map
USS Constitution / Old Ironsides
- Live tours of the ship by video-feed are offered by an active-duty US Navy officer daily at 10:00am Eastern Time via Facebook Live. Students can ask questions via the chat window and receive real-time answers.
World History Digital Education Foundation
- Three-Day Module for teaching Covid-19 (in partnership with the National Council for the Social Studies)
The Pandemic in Current Events and Historical Context
Library of Congress
- Jill Lepore on How This Pandemic Will Go Down in History
- A dozen historic newspaper articles from the 1918 pandemic flu, compiled by Library of Congress librarians. https://guides.loc.gov/chronicling-america-spanish-flu/selected-articles
- The sad story of Typhoid Mary - who did not isolate. https://www.loc.gov/rr/news/topics/typhoid.html
- Library of Congress blog posts: Pandemic and Civic Virtue: The American Red Cross and the Influenza Pandemic of 1918; Nationwide sewing project of the Civil-War-era (compare to mask-making today); Cartography of Contagion features 1874 maps of typhoid, malaria, pneumonia, tuberculosis, and rheumatism incidence in the Eastern US population.
- Links in the TPS Teachers Network TPS Commons (join this network), including
- compassionate examination of anguish over separations because of smallpox in 1894
- comparison to the home front in wartime. See also
- remote learning during the 1940's polio epidemic, featuring Minneapolis mayor Hubert Humphrey and a “School by Air” radio show.
- mask design activity featuring historic anti-contagion mask photos and designs
- letter-writing to nurses volunteering in COVID-19 hotspot hospitals
- Avoiding Digital Racial Trauma When Using Primary Sources in the TPS Teachers Network
- Pandemic Perseverance, Then and Now : The New York Tenement Museum
- Albums in the TPS Teachers Network - NO LOGIN REQUIRED to access these - share links with your students
Current Events / Historical Context
Asia Society ongoing series on the coronavirus, Asia, and the world. Interviews with leaders in Japan, Iraq; discussions of Covid-19's impact on press freedom, climate change. Learn more. https://asiasociety.org/video
Backstory - Podcasts on history, civics, and social justice, including Overcoming an outbreak: How San Francisco survived the plague.
Contextualizing the Pandemic - essay from the California History and Social Science Project
“The Economist” Daily Chart: (April 1, 2020) Lessons from the Spanish flu: social distancing can be good for the economy, (June 6) Deaths from epidemics* v GDP per person by type of government, 1960-2019
Embrace Race has assembled links to news stories that begin to tell the story of the outsized impact of COVID-19 on Asian, Black, Indigenous, and other racialized communities https://www.embracerace.org/resources/disproportionate-racial-impacts-of-covid
Emerging America: Polio and Parallels to the Covid-19 Pandemic primary source set
"Hidden Brain" Podcast May 18, 2020 on civic disposition, backfiring incentives, and widespread social cooperation during the coronavirus
Historic Deerfield: The Fear of Cholera in 19th Century Deerfield
"Letters from an American" - Analysis of political events with a historical lens, by Boston College professor Heather Cox Richardson.
New York Times Learning Network https://www.nytimes.com/section/learning (Includes paid advertisements.)
Resources to Address Challenges in the Portrayal of Asians in Context of Covid-19 - University of Colorado.
Re-imagining Migration - Many online resources!
Right Question Institute: Question Focus Resources for exploring the Spanish Flu of 1918
MCN Guide to Virtual Museum Resources - ['A vast list!’ - RC; 'Includes eLearning activities, too' -ATN]
From CBS, A Guide for Socially Distancing Art Lovers - includes National Gallery of Art, the Louvre, Mass MOCA, and many more!
Specific Museums and Historic Exhibits
Dorothea Dix Begins Her Crusade (Mass Moments)
Emerging America Online exhibits:
- Radical Equality: Utopian Abolitionism in the 1840's
- Steamboat Barnet (1826 voyage of the first river steamboat into Massachusetts)
- Forge of Innovation: The Springfield Armory (engineering the industrial revolution)
Folger Shakespeare Library - Teaching During COVID-19 features texts, performances, & primary sources.
Ford’s Theater - Online Resources
George Washington’s Mount Vernon: Library on the Potomac
Japanese art museums - Virtual Walks through seven major museums (English text option).
Library of Congress Online Exhibitions - hundreds of rich, well-researched, primary source-based sites.
Lower East Site Tenement Museum - Virtual Tour
Memorial Hall Museum Online - live-action interactive activities with early American handwriting, clothes from underwear to outerwear, and more.
National Museum of the American Indian - Smithsonian - Interactive Digital Experience of the complex history of Native Americans in the United States
National Archives Online Exhibits
National Parks - The Hidden Worlds of the National Parks - Online visits and exhibits
Native Women Artists: https://americanart.si.edu/exhibitions/native-women-artists
Perkins School for the Blind - Virtual Museum.
World Digital Library - 19,147 captivating items from 193 countries.
Teacher Care is a Lot More Than Self-Care. An article for school leaders, advocating, "We must improve the environments that educators find themselves in everyday and at a minimum decrease the stress and increase the supports available in that setting."
Johns Hopkins' School Reopening Policy Tracker
Curated links to multiple resources
Collaborative for Educational Services
- Leadership for Remote Learning - article pointing to 5 needs of teachers in a remote school planning environment.
Massachusetts Department of Elementary & Secondary Education
- Covid-19 Resources for Teaching Students with Disabilities - Spreadsheet of Additional Resources for Supporting Students with Disabilities for All Educators and Providers
- Covid-19 Resources for Teaching English Learners
Connecticut Department of Education offers COVID-19 Resources for Families and Educators with sections that include a broad range of topics.
Return to Learn Playbook - a 61-page document that offers best practices, instructional strategies, and tools for remote learning and hybrid learning scenarios compiled by instructional technology coaches in schools around Chicago. Resources are centered around digital engagement, feedback, and communication.
Individual Resources for Schools
How Students Benefit from a School Reopening Plan Designed for Those at the Margins (Kara Newhouse, July 9, 2020, KQED Mindshift series on returning to school during the COVID-19 pandemic. Presents takeaways from UCal Berkeley’s Design Challenge to reimagine 2020 classrooms
Equity for Complex Learners: Resources for Professional Development and Meeting Student Needs
Students with Disabilities
- Supporting Students With Learning Disabilities During School Closures - District Responses to Coronavirus – Teaching Tolerance. Both articles address access issues.
CASEL CARES: SEL Resource During COVID-19 Experts address how Social Emotional Learning can be most helpful in response to today’s circumstances
Educating All Learners Alliance Searchable resource library, participant discussion forums, weekly webinars and office hours to advance equity for complex learners during the COVID-19 epidemic.
IEP & 504 Online Accommodations Guide from Quality Matters. Examples of what accommodations a student might have, suggestions for how you can address it while in a Remote Emergency Instruction situation, as well as how they relate to the Specific Review Standards from the QM K-12 Rubric™, Fifth Edition and the National Standards for Quality Online Teaching.
Leading Groups Online: "a down-and-dirty guide to leading online courses, meetings, trainings, and events during the coronavirus pandemic" with a focus on accessibility. (Additional note: ask if real-time captions will help participants; GoogleMeet has automatic captions. -ATN & RC)
School District and practitioner free access to accessibility and assistive tools from Don Johnson (Snap&Read, CoWriter, Wordbank, etc) https://learningtools.donjohnston.com/elearning/request-free-access/
Share My Lesson blog post - Supporting Students with Special Needs During COVID-19 https://sharemylesson.com/blog/special-needs-support-covid
- Distance Learning for ELLs: Colorín Colorado Guide https://www.colorincolorado.org/guide/distance-learning-ell
- Serve immigrant students and English Language Learners during COVID-19 closures https://www.colorincolorado.org/coronavirus
The Immigrant Learning Center Public Education Institute has compiled a list of resources for immigrants, refugees, educators and parents to get through this crisis.
Online Learning Management Platforms with Social Studies applications
Social Studies School Service - Currently being offered free to affected schools
Constitutional Rights Foundation - Civic Action Projects Student Discussions plus webinars for students, lesson plans, and more.
Community Service Opportunities
Library of Congress "By the People" transcription service--students transcribe, review, and tag digitized images of manuscripts and typed materials to improve search, readability, and access to handwritten and typed documents for those who are not fully sighted or cannot read the original documents. Options include transcribing newspaper clippings in the Alice Stone Blackwell subject file, reviewing correctness of transcriptions of typed letters in Black activist Mary Church Terrell and out-of-print magazines publishing Walt Whitman's poems--plus opportunities to decipher handwriting. See all Current Campaigns here.
Massachusetts Service Alliance - Volunteer Opportunities. Clearinghouse of opportunities. Includes in-person tasks like solo-meal delivery and online-remote tasks like organizing schedules of volunteers. Most are for students 18 or older.