California, U.S., and World History ResourcesResources listed on this page are relevant for the curriculum areas of California, United States, and World History. External resources should be carefully reviewed before use in the classroom.
Successfully implementing the 2016 California History-Social Science (HSS) Framework and content standards for students in kindergarten through grade twelve (K–12) requires access to high-quality curriculum and instructional resources. Explore the below tabs to find free resources from nonprofit organizations to support instruction in California, United States (U.S.), and world history.
Return to the HSS Professional Learning and Curriculum Resources web page to access resources for general social science; civic learning and engagement; economics and financial literacy; geography and environmental education; and global education.
The below sites provide comprehensive resources to cover a variety of topics in California, U.S., and world history.
Content Standards and Frameworks
California Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts and Literacy (PDF)
Spanish translations are available on the Common Core en Español website .
California HSS Content Standards (1998) (PDF)
The main guiding document for California’s HSS curriculum, the content standards lay out the expectations for what students should know and be able to do at each grade level.
California HSS Curriculum Framework (2016)
This document provides guidance for teachers and administrators on how to implement a standards-based curriculum in the classroom.
General Curriculum Resources
Academic Earth: History Lectures and Courses
Comprehensive collection of free online college courses, history journals, trade magazines, information on grants and scholarships, and other resources to support general enrichment in HSS.
Collection of K–12 curricula including Common Core-aligned lesson plans and multi-grade anti-bias curriculum guides that promote critical thinking and assist educators in teaching current events topics through the lens of diversity, bias, and social justice.
Big History Project
Part of the Open Educational Resources Project, this free course provides foundational skills and concepts for middle and high school students that form a foundation for high school work.
California’s History-Social Science Project (CHSSP)
CHSSP is one of nine California Subject Matter Projects that provide high-quality professional development for educators at the pre-kindergarten through post-secondary levels. Participation in CHSSP fosters the development of knowledgeable HSS educators who take responsibility for the development and implementation of standards-based comprehensive and sequential programs in HSS at every educational level. CHSSP Regional Sites host activities that are designed to deepen teachers' knowledge of history, geography, civics, and economics, and enhance teachers' instructional strategies in the teaching of those disciplines. The CHSSP has also developed a Parent’s Guide to HSS .
Center for History and New Media
Includes digital media and computer technology to incorporate multiple voices, reach diverse audiences, and encourage popular participation in presenting and preserving the past.
Facing History and Ourselves
Facing History and Ourselves provides educational materials to support civic responsibility, tolerance, and social action for young people. From Reflection to Action: A Choosing to Participate Toolkit provides resources to support teaching about voting rights, media literacy, and civic participation in remote and in-person settings.
Historical Thinking Project’s Historical Thinking Concepts
The Historical Thinking Project promotes critical historical literacy through six distinct, but closely interrelated, historical thinking concepts.
J. Paul Getty Museum
Provides professional development options, classroom resources (including a rich collection of photographs and analysis tools), and games, videos, and other activities for students.
National Center for History in the Schools (NCHS)
Part of the University of California, Los Angeles Public History Initiative, NCHS provides publications, professional development, and community engagement resources to encourage ties between the historical profession and classroom teachers.
National History Day
National History Day offers curriculum materials and sponsors challenging contests that teach students the critical skills they need to be effective citizens in the 21st century.
PBS LearningMedia Crash Course
The popular world history Crash Course series is now available through PBS LearningMedia, complete with teaching resources to use alongside each video. HSS courses are available in world history, U.S. history, and government.
Stanford History Education Group (SHEG)
SHEG offers a range of professional development options for teachers across grade levels. Their Reading Like a Historian curriculum engages students in historical inquiry, teaching students how to investigate historical questions by employing reading strategies such as sourcing, contextualizing, corroborating, and close reading. Their Beyond the Bubble assessments utilize Library of Congress archives to measure historical thinking. Their newest resource, the Civic Online Reasoning curriculum, provides free lessons and assessments to help students evaluate online information.
Teaching Tolerance provides free resources focused on social justice and anti-bias to K–12 educators. They offer a lesson bank that allows educators to locate targeted resources, and their lessons incorporate Teaching Tolerance’s Social Justice Standards as well as Common Core-aligned literacy strategies and student performance tasks. They also offer a Lesson Plan Builder , which allows educators to create easy to implement custom-tailored lesson plans.
The below sites offer curriculum and instructional resources to support the teaching of California history.
California Historical Society (CHS)
CHS is a 140-year-old, non-profit organization with a mission to inspire and empower people to make California's richly diverse past a meaningful part of their contemporary lives. The CHS Collection represents the environmental, economic, social, political, and cultural heritage of the entire state, including materials from outside California that contribute to a greater understanding of the state and its people.
California Indian History Curriculum Coalition
This informal coalition of educators, tribal scholars, and native activists promotes the creation, adoption, and implementation of California Indian-vetted curricula.
Home of the California Hall of Fame, the California Museum engages, educates, and enlightens people about California’s rich history and unique contributions to the world through ideas, innovation, the arts, and culture.
California State Library
The California State Library is the state's primary information hub, preserving California's cultural heritage and connecting people, libraries, and government to the resources and tools they need to succeed and to build a strong California. The California History Section holds a major collection of documents from and about California's rich history. The documents range from books, maps, newspapers, and periodicals, to pictorial materials (including daguerreotypes, lithographs, stereographs, and paintings) and ephemera (such as posters, programs, pamphlets, and sheet music).
Oakland Museum of California
Through exhibitions, outreach programs, and community dialogue, the Oakland Museum features first-person stories about California; wall labels in English, Spanish, and Chinese; and interactive gallery stations.
Open Educational Resources (OER) — California History
The OER Project offers UC-approved and standards-aligned free California history curricula for middle and high school classrooms.
Teaching California provides classroom-ready resources to help teach California’s HSS Framework. Their inquiry sets include curated collections of primary sources, teacher and student notes, activities, and other tools for teacher use.
The below sites offer curriculum and instructional resources to support the teaching of U.S. history.
American Historical Association (AHA)
The largest professional organization in the U.S. devoted to the study and promotion of history and historical thinking, the AHA integrates a variety of resources to support educators, including videos, teaching prizes, primary sources, and advancing conversations about teaching history.
Brown Foundation for Educational Equity, Excellence and Research
The Brown Foundation for Educational Equity, Excellence and Research was established in 1988 to serve as a living tribute to the attorneys, community, organizers, and plaintiffs in the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision of May 17, 1954, Brown v. the Board of Education.
Colonial Williamsburg Teacher Community
Lesson plans, discussions, primary sources materials, and more are available at the Colonial Williamsburg Teacher Community by creating a free account.
A partnership between the National Endowment for the Humanities , and the National Trust for the Humanities EDSITEment offers a treasure trove for teachers, students, and parents searching for high-quality material on the Internet in the subject areas of literature and language arts, foreign languages, art and culture, and HSS.
Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History
This institute supports the study and love of American history through a wide range of programs and resources for students, teachers, scholars, and history enthusiasts throughout the nation. The institute creates and works closely with history-focused schools; organizes summer seminars and development programs for teachers; produces print and digital publications and traveling exhibitions; hosts lectures by eminent historians; administers a History Teacher of the Year Award in every state and U.S. territory; and offers national book prizes and fellowships for scholars to work in the Gilder Lehrman Collection as well as other renowned archives. Free subscriptions are available to K–12 teachers and students.
Historical Thinking Matters
Historical Thinking Matters focuses on key topics in U.S. history, designed to teach students how to critically read primary sources and how to critique and construct historical narratives.
National Congress of American Indians
The National Congress of American Indians offers a guide for teachers titled, Tribal Nations and the United States: An Introduction , developed to provide a basic overview of the history and underlying principles of tribal governance. The guide also provides introductory information about tribal governments and American Indian and Alaska Native people today.
National History Education Clearinghouse
This site is designed to help K–12 history teachers access resources and materials to improve U.S. history education in the classroom. With funding from the U.S. Department of Education, the Center for History and New Media created this site with the goal of making history content, teaching strategies, resources, and research accessible.
New Visions for Public Schools U.S. History
New Visions for Public Schools is an organization based in New York City that developed full scope and sequence curricular frameworks for HSS courses. The curriculum is provided in editable format through Google Docs, and integrates primary and secondary texts, maps, images, videos, and other resources to create easy-to-implement lessons designed to improve literacy, critical thinking, speaking, and writing skills. Units include pacing guides, vocabulary, and formative and summative assessments.
Teaching American History
This project, hosted by the Ashbrook Center , provides free high-school-level curriculum in both American history and government. The curriculum focuses on nine primary documents, each formed into a unit. Each unit also provides multiple assessment options.
Funded by the U.S. Department of Education and created by the Center for History and New Media, this organization provides a clearinghouse of resources and materials geared at improving U.S. classroom history education.
Teachers Righting History (TRH)
TRH is an educational project started by former Treasurer of the United States Rosie Rios that highlights historic American women in classrooms across the country. Using a database of information collected by the U.S. Department of Treasury’s recent effort to redesign the nation’s currency, teachers and students have the ability to discuss and post images of historic American women in their classrooms as a teaching tool.
Developed in partnership with the New York Historical Society, Smithsonian National Museum of American History, iCivics, the White House Historical Association, and the American Battlefield Trust, UnTold History develops videos about key issues in U.S. history that may not be included in traditional textbooks. Topics include arts and artifacts, American democracy, and slavery.
Veterans National Educational Program (V-NEP)
V-NEP aims to teach U.S. modern history through the understanding of the humanistic and cultural aspects of America’s military conflicts and how they have influenced the fabric of our global society.
VCDH is home to a number of digital projects spanning the range of American history, from the Jamestown settlement, to the Civil War, to the Civil Rights movement. These projects are built to be used by K–12 educators, college students, scholars, and the general public.
The below sites offer curriculum and instructional resources to support the teaching of world history.
Children and Youth in History
Provides teachers and students with primary sources, case studies, and modules to support teaching about young people from around the world.
New Visions for Public Schools World History Curriculum
New Visions for Public Schools is an organization based in New York City that developed full scope and sequence curricular frameworks designed for HSS courses. They offer free materials for two world history courses: Global History and Geography I , and Global History and Geography II . The curriculum is provided in editable format through Google Docs, and integrates primary and secondary texts, maps, images, videos, and other resources to create easy-to-implement lessons designed to improve literacy, critical thinking, speaking, and writing skills. Units include pacing guides, vocabulary, formative and summative assessments.
The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
The museum promotes the responsible teaching of the Holocaust through a variety of resources and programs to help the nation's educators increase their knowledge of Holocaust history and implement sound teaching strategies. Education outreach programs provide teachers with quality Holocaust education, incorporating accurate history, appropriate pedagogy, classroom strategies, and teaching resources.
University of Colorado Boulder Program for Teaching East Asia (TEA)
The Program for TEA at the Center for Asian Studies conducts national, regional, and state projects designed to enhance and expand teaching and learning about East Asia at the elementary and secondary school levels. Specific projects focus on curriculum development, professional development for teachers, and curriculum consultation and reform related to Asia in K–12 education.
World History for Us All
Sponsored by the UCLA Department of History Public History Initiative , this national collaboration of K–12 teachers, collegiate instructors, and educational technology specialists provides teaching units, lesson plans, and other resources to support world history instruction.
World History Project (WHP)
Part of the Open Educational Resources Project, WHP offers online curricula tailored to high school world history teachers that develops essential skills and concepts that prepare students for Advanced Placement courses. The curricula are offered through two timeframes: origins to present, and 1750 to present.