David & Lorraine Cheng Library

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U.S. History Resources


American Indian Library Association -- Resources
The American Indian Library Association, an affiliate of the American Library Association, work to improve library services of American Indians and Alaska Natives. This page identifies a variety of resources about American Indians including lists of recommended books, archives of photographs and images, and other initiatives for improving the life and image of American Indians.
Grades: PreK - 12

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Bibliographies and Research Guides

American Historical Fiction
A selected bibliography of historical fiction from pre-revolutionary America to the early twentieth century. All titles are available from the Curriculum Materials Center of the Cheng Library.
Grades: K - 8
American History Education Videos, PreK-12
An annotated list of videos that are appropriate for teaching grades PreK-12. Available in either DVD or VHS formas these videos are located in Media Services and may be viewed in the library or checked out.
Grades: PreK - 12
American Indian Library Association -- Resources
The American Indian Library Association, an affiliate of the American Library Association, work to improve library services of American Indians and Alaska Natives. This page identifies a variety of resources about American Indians including lists of recommended books, archives of photographs and images, and other initiatives for improving the life and image of American Indians.
Grades: PreK - 12
Celebrating America: Teaching about Patriotic Holidays
A selection of resources available from the Cheng Library's Curriculum Materials Center. These can be useful for teaching about patriotic holidays, symbols and history in Preschool through grade 8 classrooms.
Grades: K - 12
Celebrating Black Pride
A selected bibliography of materials for teaching about African American history in the PreK-12 classroom. These materials are available in the Curriculum Materials Center of the Cheng Library.
Grades: PreK - 12

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Lesson Plans and Teaching Activities

American Experience: Eyes on the Prize
Eyes on the Prize is a 14 hour documentary series about the Civil Rights movement that was produced by PBS. This companion website includes primary sources (newspaper and magazine articles, video footage, photos, etc.) from the murder of Emmett Till in 1955 until 2006. The Teachers section contains sample lesson plans for elementary, middle school and high school.
Grades: 5 - 12
American Memory from the Library of Congress
The American Memory Project is a digital record of American history, containing documents, maps, photographs, moving images, sound recordings and memorabilia from American life. The collection of over 5 million items chronicles daily life as well as major events. Searchable by broad subjects or keywords. The Learning Page includes sample lesson plans and other teaching suggestions.
Grades: 3 - 12
American Valor
This PBS website includes stories and interviews with recipients of the Medal of Honor, a history of the award,sample lesson plans and other resources.
Grades: 6 - 12
Birmingham Civil Rights Institute
The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute (BCRI) was founded to commemorate its civil rights history. This companion website to the museum includes oral histories, an interactive timeline, multimedia clips, primary source materials, and a curriculum guide.
Grades: K - 12
Civil Rights Digital Library
The Civil Rights Digital Library, a project of the University of Georgia, is a comprehensive effort to identify and collect resources about the Civil Rights movement from 1950-1969. It includes primary source materials (sound and video recordings, photos, government documents, diaries, etc.) as well as links to resources in other collections. The Educator Resources consists of lesson plans, study guides, timelines, worksheets, etc.
Grades: 6 - 12
Civil Rights Resource Guide
Part of the Homework Center of the Multnomah County Library, this page identifies a number of civil rights topics and web resources for that topic. Also included are links to lesson plan websites on Civil Rights.
Grades: 6 - 12
The National Archives has developed seven free teacher tools that can make primary source materials more accessible to students. A curated collection of primary source materials, divided into eight time periods of U.S. history, is part of this website. Registration is required.
Grades: 6 - 12
Gateway to 21st Century Skills
The Gateway was developed by the U.S. Department of Education. Now supported by the National Education Association, the Gateway provides access to the lesson plans and other teaching resources from over 750 organizations. All are evaluated for authoritativeness, quality, and availability.
Grades: PreK - 12
Historical Scene Investigation
In partnership with the Library of Congress' Teaching with Primary Sources program, the College of William & Mary School of Education created this model of researching with primary sources. Thirteen "cases" are presented with primary sources and critical thinking questions. The Teacher View provides additional background information, teaching suggestions and NCSS standards.
Grades: 6 - 12
History Lab
Subtitled: An inquiry-based approach to teaching history. The History Lab provides a framework to help teachers teach history through primary sources. Search by broad topic, grade level or keyword. Search results identify primary sources and instructions for the suggested project. A primary source guide guides students through the activity.
Grades: 3 - 12
History Matters
From George Mason University this website includes extensive list of links to primary sources and teaching activities focusing on American History from exploration through the present day. Many resources are available with suggestions of how to use primary sources with students.
Grades: 6 - 12
Jazz in America
Jazz in America is a project of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz that provides lesson plans about jazz and its role in US history. The curriculum aligns with standards of the National Association for Music Education and the National Center for History in the Schools. Includes links to video and audio recordings.
Grades: 5 - 12
National History Day
"It's not just a day, it's an experience" is the slogan for the History Day competition for students in grades 6-12. Stressing strong research skills and the use of primary and secondary resources, the official website includes information about the contest, lesson plans, links to primary resources, as well as samples of successful History Day projects.
Grades: 6 - 12
National Park Service: Learn NPS
Information on parks as classrooms, historic places, and Great American Landmarks are given, and ideas for lessons based on these themes are included in this official site from the National Park Service.
Grades: 4 - 12
New Jersey Digital Highway
Your "one stop shop" for New Jersey history and culture, from the collections of NJ libraries, museums, archives and historical societies. It provides primary sources such as photographs, documents, and maps from the American Revolution, Civil War, Cold War and in social protest during the 1960's and 70's.
Grades: 6 - 12
New Jersey Historical Commission
Print and online publications, materials for teachers, links to New Jersey museums and historical societies and related websites.
Grades: K - 12
New Jersey History Kids
Multimedia clips and accompanying teaching materials focus on 11 New Jersey locations to teach children from grades K-4 about the geography and history of the state. The Lenape Indians, American Revolution, Industrial Revolution, Underground Railroad, Thomas Edison, farming, the Pinelands and the shore are introduced through this website.
Grades: K - 4
New Jersey History Partnership
A collaboration of the Montville Township school district, Kean University, and the New Jersey Historical Commission, and funded by a grant from the Teaching American History Program, this website provides units about the American Revolution, the Market Revolution and the Progressive Era. The units are web-based and interactive and use primary source materials.
Grades: 6 - 12
New Jersey Women's History
Facts, images, documents and sample lesson plans are included in this web site designed by the Women's Project of New Jersey in collaboration with Rutgers University Libraries and the Alice Paul Institute.
Grades: 3 - 12
Separate is not equal: Brown v. Board of Education
In 2004 the Smithsonian National Museum of American History mounted an exhibit commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education decision. This website tells the story of the history of the fight for equal rights through text, images, quotes and other primary sources. Resources include an annotated bibliography, timeline and teacher's guide.
Grades: 4 - 12
Smithsonian Education
Created by the Smithsonian Center for Education and Museum Studies this website provides lesson plans and other resources from the Smithsonian Institute. Searchable by keyword, grade level, subject area or standards, the resources range from activity sheets, photos, videos and across all subject areas.
Grades: PreK - 12
The War, a Ken Burns video series about World War II, explores the war through the stories of four American towns. The web site contains an extensive database of photographs,primary source documents, and videoclips of historical footage, interviews, home movies, and historic newsreels. Lesson plans are available in the For Educators section.
Grades: 9 - 12

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National Standards for History
Developed in 1996 by the National Center for History in the Schools at the University of California, Los Angeles under the guidance of the National Council for History Standards, the National Standards for History for grades 5-12 are divided into three sections. Standards for K-4 are also available through this website.
Grades: K - 12

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Other Resources

American Experience
Video footage from the American Experience series that looks at a variety of topics, e.g. the Abolitionists, Silicon Valley, the Rockefellers. See the For Teachers link at the bottom of the webpage for a chronological list of historical topics with primary and secondary resources,and suggested teaching activities.
Grades: 7 - 12
American Women through Time
Created by librarian Ken Middleton of Middle Tennesee University this website provides links to resources about American Women. Organized by broad date ranges, the timelines link to collections in institutions throughout the U.S. Most of the resources are primary sources.
Grades: 6 - 12
Digital Public Library of America
An DPLA strives to facilitate access to online collections of photographs, maps, documents and other resources from libraries, museums and archives from throughout the U.S. Searchable by keyword, exhibition, map, date and subject. Also provides links to apps that have been developed to access the collections.
Grades: 6 - 12
Digital Vaults
Digital Vaults is a National Archives Experience that introduces students to primary sources (images, documents, etc.). Focusing on a collection of 1200 items students are challenged to find "Pathways" or connections between sources. Students and teachers can create their own "Pathways" or digital posters or videos.
Grades: 6 - 12
Teaching the American 20's: Exploring the Decade through Literature and Art
Based on an exhibit at the Harry Ransom Center in Tucson, AZ this website examines the social, and cultural changes of the 1920's decade. Each broad category, e.g. Big Debates, is divided into a smaller topic, e.g Rise of Women, and will include a narrative as well as primary sources (photos, documents, etc.). Lesson plans are available, as well as an online glossary.
Grades: 9 - 12
Veterans History Project
This project of the American Folklife Center of the Library of Congress "collects, preserves, and makes accessible the personal accounts of American war veterans." The collection includes interviews, personal correspondence and photos of veterans from World War I to the present. Only a small portion of the collection is available online, however, the website includes information about how additional interviews, etc. can be collected.
Grades: 7 - 12

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