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This website is supervised by Peter Pappas with contributions from his undergraduate / graduate social studies methods class ~ ED 456/533E at the University of Portland’s School of Education.  Peter also teaches ED 424 ~ Computers and Educational Technology at UP.

  • Calendar: Find classes and assignments by date here
  • Classes: Go directly to each class (most recent first)
  • Student posts: all student work (most recent first)
  • Student roster: see current students with link to their portfolio (Former students: use search below to find your work. Then click on your author link)
  • Resources: Curated lists of history teaching and ed tech resources
  • Privacy Policy – all the stuff we have to say because Europe has some serious privacy regs

We utilize a practical, hands-on, project-based approach to mastering the art and science of teaching secondary social studies. Our course goals:

  1. Learn to think like a historian (or other social scientist).
  2. Become a skillful instructional designer.
  3. Develop skills for reflection, growth and professional networking.

Peter Pappas, the instructor,  is a University of Portland-based educator, writer and instructional designer exploring frontiers of teaching, jazz, Macs, film, great books, and garlic. He also blogs at Copy / Paste and lurks on Twitter @edteck


Contact Peter


Header image: by Valentin Antonucci from Pexels

Historical Archives

Most materials are in the public domain if they were produced before 1923. I see this as roughly equivalent to everything that happened in the world up to and including World War I.

Primary sources produced by the federal government are normally in the public domain both before and after the magic copyright date of 1923. That explains why we as teachers can use the fabulous oral history interviews of former slaves collected between 1936 and 1938 by workers from the Federal Writers’ Project.

Best websites to find primary source documents and historical content in the public domain:
  • Library of Congress : The LOC is a vast collection in a variety of formats – posters, photographs, video, audio, maps and more. You can search by collections – for example prints and photographs. Or search by a variety of themes or topics. 
  • Chronicling America – searchable collection of US newspapers from from 1789-1963. Newspaper guides by subject – a collection of articles around a single topic.
  • US National Archives Docs Teach – Choose from Thousands of primary sources for use in classroom activities. Refine search by historical era of document type.
  • World Digital Library : A Library of Congress project the provides historical content from nearly 200 countries between 8000 BCE and 2000 
  • PICRYL – The World’s Largest Public Domain Source and the largest search engine for public domain images, documents, music, and videos.
  • NYPL Digital Collection : Explore nearly a million items digitized from The New York Public Library’s collections
Here’s how to search any website (including those above using a “search operator.” Example: site:loc.gov

Image source: Main reading room at the Library of Congress
by Carol M. Highsmith