Tag Archives: history

Women’s History Month Resources

janetpic_preferred_croppedBy Janet Pinto, Chief Academic Officer, Curriki

Women’s History Month is celebrated in March in the U.S., the U.K. and Australia. This year, the theme is “Celebrating Women of Character, Courage, and Commitment”. You can find more about the celebration of, and history behind, National Women’s History Month in the U.S. here.

There are plenty of related resources on Curriki, appropriate across all grade levels. Some of the exemplary resources are available here, and here, and here. The last of these includes a number of free Kindle e-books on women’s rights and other topics.

Can you name these accomplished women from history, who exhibited character, courage and commitment?



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Hispanic Heritage Month

KimJonesimageBy Kim Jones, CEO, Curriki 

In the U.S., Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated from September 15th to October 15th. It honors the many contributions of Hispanic and Latino Americans to the U.S. Many Hispanics have immigrated to the U.S. from Mexico, Central America and Latin America. Just considering the government sector, Hispanics have served as Governors, in Congress, in the Cabinet and on the Supreme Court.


Why does the observance of Hispanic Heritage start in the middle of the month? Because the 15th of September is observed as the Independence Day for a number of countries in Central America. These include Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and Nicaragua. And the next day, September 16th, is Mexico’s Independence Day. Furthermore, Chile and Belize celebrate their independence 2 days and 5 days later than that, respectively.

Many cities, towns and states in the U.S. have Spanish names, since they were originally founded by Spanish colonialists. Among these are San Francisco, Los Angeles, Santa Fe, Albuquerque and San Antonio. California and Florida are two states with Spanish names.

ImageSan Francisco

In fact Curriki’s headquarters are in Cupertino, California (the same city in which Apple’s headquarters are found) and both the city and state are Spanish names. The Spanish named a creek which runs through the city after Saint Joseph of Cupertino (Copertino is a town in Italy, his birthplace). The name of the creek is now Stevens Creek, but the city, which was named much later, has adopted the original name of the creek.

Here are resources for Hispanic Heritage Month on Curriki:


There are a number of resources on Curriki in the Spanish language. But certainly not enough. We encourage Spanish speakers from around the world to see how you can contribute educational resources in the Spanish language to Curriki.


July Resources at Curriki

janetpic_preferred_croppedBy Janet Pinto, Chief Academic Officer, Curriki

There are new featured resources highlighted at Curriki for the month of July, in math and science, and in social studies and English language arts. See these pages on the Curriki site covering the four subject areas:

ELA: http://www.curriki.org/welcome/subjects/english-language-arts-11/

SS: http://www.curriki.org/welcome/subjects/social-studies-10/

MATH: http://www.curriki.org/welcome/subjects/mathematics-10/

SCI: http://www.curriki.org/welcome/subjects/science-11/


Since Independence Day is next week in the U.S., we highlight U.S. history here. One of the curricula under the Social Studies category above is a high school level U.S. history curriculum.


This curriculum covers all of the material outlined by the College Board as necessary to prepare students to pass the AP U.S. History exam.

Upon completion of this course students will:

  • Demonstrate comprehension of a broad body of historical knowledge.
  • Express ideas clearly in writing. Work with classmates to research an historical issue.
  • Interpret and apply data from original documents.
  • Identify underrepresented historical viewpoints.
  • Write to persuade with evidence.
  • Compare and contrast alternate interpretations of an historical figure, event, or trend.
  • Explain how an historical event connects to or causes a larger trend or theme.
  • Develop essay responses that include a clear, defensible thesis statement and supporting evidence.
  • Effectively argue a position on an historical issue.
  • Critique and respond to arguments made by others.
  • Raise and explore questions about policies, institutions, beliefs, and actions in an historical context.
  • Evaluate primary materials, such as historical documents, political cartoons, and first-person narratives.
  • Evaluate secondary materials, such as scholarly works or statistical analyses.
  • Assess the historical significance and cultural impact of key literary works (e.g. Common Sense, Uncle Tom’s Cabin).

Notice that this curriculum is built around critical thinking: comprehension, interpretation, expressing ideas clearly, persuasion, analysis, developing an argument with defensible support, critiquing and assessing documents, policies, beliefs, and cultural impact.


For those of you outside of the U.S., there is a great resource, Tour of the Universe, that we can all relate to. This is for use in middle school grades 6, 7, or 8 to meet astronomy and earth science standards; it has integration with mathematics, history, and technology subject areas.


This semester of science focuses on a linear exploration of our universe. Students begin by exploring the history of astronomical thought, then move to our current understanding of the universe, including the structure of the solar system, and end with a study of our home planet, Earth.

Take a look at these 12 highlighted resource areas for July, there is sure to be one or more of interest in the list!

Khan Academy in the New World of Common Core Standards

janetpic_preferred_croppedBy Janet Pinto, Chief Academic Officer, Curriki

An intern at Khan Academy recently asked for suggestions on a Reddit education site. There was some interesting discussion in response around the efficacy of Khan Academy videos and how these video resources relate to Common Core standards.

One commenter notes that it is harder to grade and check answers with this approach. Another points out that math and science topics are more objective, so potentially more amenable to the use of short video lessons than say, history. “Dr. Momentum” responds that even math and science still involve opinions.

ImageStudents need to be able to understand a logical argument, construct a logical argument and refute an incorrect argument. Students need to develop their own reasoning ability. And coherence and depth in teaching a subject, not just subject knowledge, are required from their teachers.

One commenter points out that the Common Core standards for math include Mathematical Practices as well as Mathematical Content. Indeed, Khan Academy is good for the procedural side of things, and in conveying content. Practice transmission, on the other hand, just doesn’t happen on its own, and it’s not enough to explain procedures. It’s about developing expertise in students – “reasoning ability, conceptual understanding and procedural fluency,” among other attributes.


Here are the 8 practices for Math, which you can find at http://www.corestandards.org/Math/Practice
MP1: Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them.
MP2: Reason abstractly and quantitatively.
MP3: Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others.
MP4: Model with mathematics.
MP5: Use appropriate tools strategically.
MP6: Attend to precision.
MP7: Look for and make use of structure.
MP8: Look for and express regularity in repeated reasoning.

Attention to how a student is thinking and attempting to reason is not something a video can do. Don’t get us wrong, we love the Khan videos, and there are many of them accessible from Curriki.

It’s about the connectedness. One can pick up a procedure or three, but until one has the ability to generalize then the subject matter is not really being understood sufficiently. While some students have an innate ability to do this, most will benefit from coaching and development and assistance in seeing the larger context.

The Curriki Algebra 1 course found here is designed to align with Common Core State Standards.

Interview with Rob Lucas, Educator and Curriki member

If you could give a TED talk, what would it be about?


The public value of learning. Social media gives students an opportunity to learn while creating knowledge of value to communities outside the school. They can conduct research of public interest, post it to blogs, wikis, and video-sharing sites, and then judge the reception of their work. By doing this, students not only develop knowledge and skills but learn why learning matters. Not everyone thinks about educational technology in these terms, so I’d like a chance to convince them. 

Why do you use Curriki?

I am inspired by the vision of educational resources that are open to all–and to building an online educational environment where teachers, students, and other citizens can learn bycontributing to the learning commons.

What advice would you give to new teachers?

Cultivate a habit of reading newspapers, magazines, professional journals, websites, and well-written public scholarship. Watch films and documentaries, too, and listen to radio and podcasts, looking for ways in which these give purpose, meaning, and value to your subject matter. Obviously, a new teacher will spend a great deal of time developing basic practices of teaching like managing a classroom–and rightly so! But the more you can remain connected to both your students and to broader public conversations, the more sustaining your work will become.  

What’s the first website you check every day?

Probably Slate.com. I love provocative well-written opinion journalism. Social studies teachers should also check out their new blog of intriguing historical documents, The Vault, written by Rebecca Onion.http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_vault.html

What would you be doing if you weren’t in your current role today?

Today, I’m a postdoctoral scholar, but I’d also love to be teaching high school AP US History. More and more, though, I find myself interested in documentary photography and film making. There’s no career change in my future, but with luck, I’ll find some way to work that in to my research and teaching.

Name your favorite guilty pleasure.

Spy novels on audiobook. Lately, I’ve been hooked on a mid-twentieth-century writer named Eric Ambler. Try Epitaph for a Spy or A Coffin for Dimitrios.

Handwritten Mail to the Chief

By Janet Pinto, Chief Academic Officer, Curriki

NHD_header-1National Handwriting Day in the U.S.A. will be on January 23, 2013. The “lost art” of handwriting is celebrated each January 23 on John Hancock’s birthday.


In order to promote good penmanship, and civic engagement, the Handwriting Without Tears company is encouraging elementary students to send handwritten letters to the President. They can provide advice and “share … hopes for the future, words of wisdom, good wishes” as President Obama’s second term begins. Letters should be sent to Mail to the Chief by January 15, 2013. Their web site has information on how to participate, for grades K-5, including downloadable information packets and double-lined paper. You can visit their site here: http://www.hwtears.com/sites/default/lpform/mttc2012form.php?pc=website

Why handwritten letters? Handwriting Without Tears maintains that “Handwriting is more than a style—it’s a thought process. It’s the primary way elementary students communicate. Handwriting promotes an organized approach to communication, maximizes thinking time, and boosts creativity.”

Here are a few of the more interesting suggestions from handwritten letters send by students at the beginning of the President’s first term:

·         “You should get a group of scientists to try to make a flying car that runs on air.” (Ryan in Delaware)

·         “Always be truthful. You will avoid trouble.” (Ainsley in Rhode Island)

·         “Can you stop the racism and stop the wars? Make people remember their manners.” (Victor, 4th grader in North Carolina)

·         “Sometimes I hope schools will have better food. Sometimes it looks like it expired a long time ago.” (Joel in Arizona)

·         “I would like for you to change the Food Lion to have lower prices.” (Mirian, 4th grader in North Carolina)

·         “If reporters are asking you questions, just smile and answer one at a time.” (Sophie in Nebraska)

·         “Bullies should be arrested and go to jail.” (Eden, 2nd grader in Indiana)

·         “I know you’ve heard of global warming. Everyone has, but most people aren’t doing anything.” (Alana, 5th grader in Tennessee)

·         “My advice I’d like to offer you is to lower taxes. Also, if you are getting a dog, you should get a beagle. They are really cute!” (Julia, 3rd grader in New York)

·         “I think you should stop the wars and don’t let your dog break anything.” (Ben, 1st grader in Massachusetts)

·         “Please work with other presidents and kings. Meet with them and become their friends. Then we can all get along.” (Abigail in Wisconsin)

·         “You know there is mother, father and grandparent’s day, right? I think there should be kids day.” (Izel, 5th grader in Maryland)

·         “Never doubt or be scared, for you are the president of the U.S.A.” (Evan in Michigan)

Free Curriki Curated Resources for Social Studies and Health

By Janet Pinto, Chief Academic Officer, Curriki

Wow, it was a busy summer here at Curriki as a small but energetic team of teachers put together more than 150 curated collections in several subject areas. A big thank you to Jessica Flint, Nate Merrill, and Marlaine deGuia!

These new collections are available to you for FREE and we simply ask that you share Curriki with your colleagues so they can take advantage of these time-saving, best-of-the-best lessons and activities.

Since there are so many new resources, we’ve been breaking this up by subject area. In prior blogs we addressed Math and Science and Language Arts resources. Today, we’re pleased to share more than two dozen Social Studies and Health collections with you.  Please check them out, put them to work, and tell us what you think!

Social Studies:

  1. Social Studies Videos and Lessons
  2. Social Studies Interactive Whiteboard Activities
  3. Social Studies Games
  4. Social Studies Rubrics
  5. Social Studies Diagrams and Images
  6. Oil in Society
  7. The Global Economy Today
  8. Ancient Greece Graphic Organizers and Worksheets
  9. Ancient Greece Lesson Plans
  10. Israel and Palestine: culture and conflict
  11. Constitutional Amendment Lesson Plans
  12. Cultural Diffusion and Global Awareness
  13. Chinese Economic Trends Today
  14. Florida Native Americans
  15. Islam
  16. Poverty
  17. Presidential Elections
  18. Politics and Political Parties: Lesson Plans
  19. Public Speaking
  20. Personal Finance
  21. Oral History Projects in the Social Studies Classroom
  22. The United Nations, NATO and international treaties
  23. The American Civil War Resources
  24. United States Government Lesson Plans


  1. HIV/Aids Resources, Lessons and Videos
  2. Psychology Lesson Plans

We hope you enjoy working with these new collections.  Stay tuned for more new resources in the Social Studies and Health subject areas!