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World History for us All

World History for Us All is a free online powerful, innovative world history curriculum that:

  • Offers a treasury of teaching units, lesson plans, and resources. 
  • Presents the human past as a single story rather than unconnected stories of many civilizations. 
  • Helps teachers meet state and national standards. 
  • Enables teachers to survey world history without excluding major peoples, regions, or time periods. 
  • Helps students understand the past by connecting specific subject matter to larger historical patterns. 
  • Draws on up-to-date historical research. 

The World History for Us All web site offers educators and students both a treasury of teaching materials and resources and a coherent conceptual framework for thinking about the human story from early times to the present. This innovative program is premised on the idea that humankind as a whole has a history to be explored and that classroom world history suitable for the twenty-first century must pay attention to large-scale changes and cross-cultural linkages, not just to the achievements and contributions of different civilizations. 

World History for Us All draws on the burgeoning field of academic research focusing on history from cross-cultural, comparative, and global perspectives. It is also inspired by cognitive research showing that students achieve greater competence in history when they are guided to relate particular facts and stories to bigger patterns of historical meaning. 

The World History for Us All project team has organized the curriculum to connect concrete instructional materials rich in class activities and source documents to an overarching framework of guiding historical concepts, objectives, and themes. The curriculum has a unified chronology, organizing the human past into nine Big Eras, each of them encompassing changes around the globe. A major innovation is the curriculum’s organization of teaching units in categories of historical scale from the global to the regional and topical. [See also NCHS companion reader, World History: The Big Eras.]

Most state standards encourage study of civilizations and regions, including Europe, as separate, compartmentalized units. Teachers may therefore have a hard time convincing students that world history is anything other than a tangle of cultural contributions and achievements—one civilization after another. By contrast, World History for Us All is organized to help teachers and students put the histories of civilizations in the context of larger interregional or global developments. 

World History for Us All Website:

Announcement: NCHS has joined with the California Council for the Social Studies to publish as a package two exciting new resources for world history educators,  Available separately for $15 each, the package sells for only $25.

The first is World History: The Big Eras: A Compact History of Humankind for Teachers and Students (see NH188 for a full description). The second resource in thepackage is the Spring-Summer 2010 issue of SocialStudies Review, journal of the California Council for the Social Studies.The issue's theme is “The New World History: How Can We Bring Our Students’ World in the Classroom?” In thirteen articles K-12 and university educators, including the authors of World History:The Big Eras, demonstrate that world history research, teaching practice,and cognitive studies on how students learn about the past have come a long way in the past few decades. Compiled and edited by world history educator Avi Black, these articles offer a treasury of new ideas for conceptualizing, organizing, teaching, and learning world history in both middle and high schools in any of the fifty states.

Together, World History: The Big Eras and this special issue of Social Studies Review make a powerful case for rethinking history education in the United States as an endeavor to help young Americans understand how the histories of particular civilizations and nation-states are connected to large patterns of change and how the complicated world we live in today got to be the way it is.

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