American Social History Project • Center for Media and Learning

ASHP Teaching Resources: Help for Remote Teaching in the Time of COVID-19

Published March 31, 2020

As COVID-19 requires educators and parents to move classes online and adjust to social distancing, the American Social History Project wants to remind you of some of the resources we have available. We hope that you will encourage your colleagues, friends, family, students, and others to explore these and other materials through our website.

If you are looking for historical parallels or materials to help better contextualize the national and local responses to the current pandemic, check out:

  • Epidemics in U.S. History, a curated collection of documents and online resources on topics from the 1918 flu epidemic, AIDS, to the history of medicine in the U.S. more broadly, complete with questions for discussion and reflection
  •  Virtual New York City, an online exhibit about the ways that disasters – storms, riots, fires, and disease – have shaped the city’s policies, politics, and the lives of people since the 19th century.

Many ASHP resources were developed in collaboration with teachers and can be incorporated into learning exercises for students from middle school through college.

  • HERB this extensive collection of primary source materials, along with classroom activities geared toward middle and high school students
  • Picturing U.S. History is particularly useful for high school and college teachers hoping to enliven online teaching with visual evidence
  • Investigating U.S. History offers interactive lessons designed for use in college-level U.S. history classes.  A great way to encourage students to ‘do’ history by analyzing and interpreting primary source materials on topics including strikes during the Great Depression, Emancipation, and women’s suffrage
  • History Matters offers over one thousand primary source documents with contextual headnotes, annotated links to web resources, interpretive guides and other resources to help high school and college-level students actively interpret evidence about the lives of ordinary Americans  
  • Mission US features five games that give players the chance to experience history and confront the choices that young people might have faced at critical moments in the past.  If you want a more robust learning experience, educators’ guides and supplementary materials also are available.

Documentary films: a great source of education and entertainment for students, teachers, and restless family members.  These 30-minute programs cover a range of topics including African American migration from the South, U.S. Imperialism and the Spanish American War, and the Great Uprising of railroad workers to protest corporate greed and pitiful working conditions. All stream online for free.  A teaching guide and relevant HERB lessons are linked to each video.

Lost Museum:  if you are feeling stuck inside and want to wander through an 1860s museum and learn about antebellum New York for a few hours, check out this online three-dimensional re-creation of P. T. Barnum’s American Museum and solve the mystery.

Finally, ASHP’s collection of podcasts presents lectures and panels featuring some of the country’s leading scholars.  Going back to 2009, the collection is searchable by topics and is particularly strong on themes related to the Visual Culture of the Civil War, U.S. Immigration history, and Latino/a history. The most recent episode draws from the series “Monuments of the Future: Alternative Approaches."

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