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Resources for Education During a Pandemic

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Published on Tue, 09/15/2020

Streetcar with surgical-mask-wearing conductor, waves goodbye to two men on street wearing hats & overcoats, one wearing improvised mask.
Precautions taken in Seattle, Wash., during the Spanish Influenza... Library of Congress collections This photo is from Library of Congress Print and Photographs Collection:

September 15, 2020 (last update, October 4)

At Emerging America, we focus on resources for teachers of History, Social Studies, and Civics. On this regularly updated page, we feature resources for teachers of those subjects who are designing curriculum in the context of the pandemic, both for students learning from home, and for students navigating a changing environment no matter where teaching and learning happens. Please see the "Featured Resources" box below for notable new additions or timely highlights. 

Throughout the period in which teaching is affected by measures to protect students and community members from COVID-19, we will continue updating this post. (We welcome submissions!) Send submissions to or

For upcoming webinars and other time-sensitive events, check the most recent issue of the weekly History eNews (click here).

-Alison Noyes

Headings for the annotated resource sections  (click heading title to jump ahead): 

Scroll down to see more.

New and Featured Resources


Remote Teaching for History, Social Studies, and Civics

Collected Resources

Compendium of links for remote teaching during COVID-19 from the Massachusetts Civic Learning Coalition: Resources for Educators, Students, and Families

  • All resources organized by grade span and, within each grade span, by topic.
  • Separate sections for educators, for students and families, and for public health resources.
  • National resources organized for Massachusetts educators by content standards. 
  • Extensive and comprehensive collection of links, and assistance offered to meet specific needs.


TPS Teaching Online with Primary Sources group.   Join this network for Teaching with Primary Sources (TPS) through the Library of Congress. You must join (no cost, very simple) to access the Teaching Online group. 

Social Studies Innovation Network guide to new content for teaching K-12 social studies - whether in person or remotely. The guide, provided as a download by KidCitizen, features 13 resources covering a broad range of topics.


Remote-Teaching Pedagogy

Zinn Education Project offers strategies to adapt role plays, document-based-lessons, and more to both synchronous and asynchronous virtual classroom settings and home-based-learning. 

5 Tips for Teaching Controversy in a Remote Classroom - Emma Humphries and Lora De Salvo, iCivics

Teaching Online Masterclass. 1-3 minute videos on approaches to online and blended learning.

Back to School 2020 - Facing History and Ourselves offers Activities for a Remote or Hybrid Start

Making a plexiglass light-board to write on while facing students during online teaching. 

Primary source learning activities with ideas for modifying the activity for learners with no, low, and high access to technology. Guidelines for all three access levels to be used as a framework. (TPS Network - free registration)

8 Strategies to Improve Participation in Your Virtual Classroom - Edutopia article by Emelina Minero with links to examples of the strategies in action. 

"Cameras Be Damned" - Educator Karen Costa begins with a call to make cameras optional (from a trauma-informed perspective) and offers a wealth of suggested alternatives for virtual teaching and learning.

Coronavirus: Latest Updates and Tips - Powerful and useful tools and approaches from specialists in teaching students with disabilities at that apply to ALL students under stress with new school formats. 

Flip grid app. Free. "In Flipgrid, educators post discussion prompts and students respond with short videos, whether they are learning in class or at home."

Google Apps to use for remote instruction - links to collaborative activities that can be accomplished across the entire Google Apps suite. "These activities utilize the real-time collaboration, chat, commenting and link sharing capabilities of Google Apps."

HistoryTech: Glenn Wiebe's blog features educator online teaching examples, pedagogy and tool suggestions, and more. Link is to current post; check out past (April, 2020) posts, too. 

inquirED - Together When Apart: Tips for Distance Learning. Each suggestion has a “send home,” “posted online,” and “live online” version

I See You. I Care. How Can I Help You Grow?” Using culturally responsive, asset-based feedback to support students’ learning in the COVID-19 era

Leading Groups Online: "a down-and-dirty guide to leading online courses, meetings, trainings, and events during the coronavirus pandemic" Includes downloadable templates for visuals to lead class discussions and activities. (Additional note: if real-time captions will help participants who have difficulty hearing/audio glitches; GoogleMeet has automatic captions. -ATN)

Library of Congress-funded Teaching Online with Primary Sources professional development webinar recordings

Preparing to Take School Online: 10 Tips to make it work. 

Tools for Education and Self-Advocacy in Times of Crisis. Resources for using the Question Formulation Technique in a remote learning environment.

Share My Lesson: Teaching in the Age of Coronavirus (blog by Sari Beth Rosenberg) includes Tackling AP Exam Prep During Coronavirus, Student Outreach (when they disappear or don't turn cameras on)

#sschat - Regular teacher-led professional development in Twitter.

Teaching Tolerance: Teaching Through Coronavirus: What Educators Need Right NowSupporting Students With Learning Disabilities During School Closures

Zoom Active Learning Activities helpfully organized by individual exercise, Group work, Assessment and Engagement, and Document Cameras on Zoom by NYU. 

Facing History and Ourselves: 


Moments like now are why we teach’: Educators tackle tough conversations about race and violence — this time virtually

Community of Practice posts from the Center for MH in Schools at UCLA - include topics on addressing social justice and equity with students, remote teaching and learning's impact on teachers and students.

Tips on preparing a screen-reader friendly page

  • not using the same text in the title and the top heading (the reader will read the same phrase twice, confusing the listener)
  • using informative headings, not "teaser text" (like: "I couldn't believe what I learned about the Middle Ages!")
  • don't use "Click Here" for links, and instead attach the link to a descriptive word or phrase


Organizations offering Online History and Social Studies resources without charge

Anti-Defamation League (ADL) 


American Revolution Institute of the Society of the Cincinnati 


Bill of Rights Institute 


California History and Social Science Project


Center for Civic Information 

  • Sixty-Second Civics (podcast with 60-second pieces on voting, citizenship, and more. Useful for asynchronous pre-work before class discussions. 

Citizen U from the Barat Foundation


Constitution Center 


Common Sense Education


Discovering Justice, Moakley U.S. Courthouse.


EduHam (Hamilton, the musical) at Home

  • Through EduHam at Home, in partnership with Gilder Lehrman, students study primary source documents from the Founding Era, learn how Lin-Manuel Miranda used such documents to create the musical Hamilton, and create their own original performance pieces. Available through August 2020.


Emerging America


Facing History and Ourselves


George Washington's Mount Vernon


Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History



  • Collection of resources on the 2020 national election. Curated by Washington Post, includes student-view. 


Historic Northampton




Kid Citizen


Library of Congress


Massachusetts Appeals Court

  • Right to a Public Hearing: Observe the Massachusetts Judiciary in action from home! The Massachusetts Appeals Court is streaming live and maintaining recorded oral arguments on YouTube.


Mass DESE (Department of Elementary and Secondary Education)


Mass Moments


Mikva Challenge - Online Civic Engagement Resources


Model United Nations

  • Modules for Remote Learning Model UN preparation re-conceived as individual or team project-based learning, with an option to submit the final Position Paper to the United Nations Association of Greater Boston (UNAGB) for review and feedback. Teacher training offered weekly. 


National Archives DocsTeach online teaching tools.


National Council of History Education (NCHE)


National History Day YouTube Channel - New Webinars on Teaching History Virtually 


New York Times Learning Network  


Our American Voice: Civic Action and Engagement Choice Board


PBS Learning Media - Educators can search by subject, grade, and standards.


Primary Source

  • “Primary Source World Online” Curriculum and Teacher Toolkits are currently available without charge. Information 


Right Question Institute 

Social Studies School Service - Currently being offered free 


Stanford History Education Group (SHEG) - free with registration

  • The Reading Like a Historian curriculum - ready-to-go lessons on world and U.S. history based on primary source investigations. 
  • Civic Online Reasoning curriculum, a SHEG collaboration with Google's MediaWise, helps students evaluate online media.


Teaching Tolerance: 



  • LGBT+ inclusive U.S. History Curriculum - professional learning and instructional resources  offered through a digital platform designed for both traditional and online teaching and learning.


United States Census 2020  - Response Rates Map


USS Constitution / Old Ironsides 

  • Live tours of the ship by video-feed are offered by an active-duty US Navy officer daily at 10:00am Eastern Time via Facebook Live. Students can ask questions via the chat window and receive real-time answers. 


World History Digital Education Foundation


The Pandemic in Current Events and Historical Context

Library of Congress


Current Events  / Historical Context

ADL: Racial Disparities in the impact of coronavirus 

Asia Society ongoing series on the coronavirus, Asia, and the world. Interviews with leaders in Japan, Iraq; discussions of Covid-19's impact on press freedom, climate change. Learn more.

Backstory - Podcasts on history, civics, and social justice, including Overcoming an outbreak: How San Francisco survived the plague.

Contextualizing the Pandemic - essay from the California History and Social Science Project

“The Economist” Daily Chart: (April 1, 2020) Lessons from the Spanish flu: social distancing can be good for the economy, (June 6) Deaths from epidemics* v GDP per person by type of government, 1960-2019

Embrace Race has assembled links to news stories that begin to tell the story of the outsized impact of COVID-19 on Asian, Black, Indigenous, and other racialized communities

Emerging America: Polio and Parallels to the Covid-19 Pandemic primary source set

"Hidden Brain" Podcast May 18, 2020 on civic disposition, backfiring incentives, and widespread social cooperation during the coronavirus

Historic Deerfield: The Fear of Cholera in 19th Century Deerfield

"Letters from an American" - Analysis of political events with a historical lens, by Boston College professor Heather Cox Richardson. 

New York Times Learning Network (Includes paid advertisements.)

Newsela: Asian Americans say some politicians stoking stigma with coronavirus.

Resources to Address Challenges in the Portrayal of Asians in Context of Covid-19 - University of Colorado.

Re-imagining Migration - Many online resources! 


Right Question Institute: Question Focus Resources for exploring the Spanish Flu of 1918


Museums and Virtual Tours


Google Arts and Culture - Encyclopedic photo tours, short info texts, tiny films (e.g. Who Invented Braille in 90 seconds) Theft at the Gardener Museum, and much more. 

MCN Guide to Virtual Museum Resources - ['A vast list!’ - RC; 'Includes eLearning activities, too' -ATN]

From CBS, A Guide for Socially Distancing Art Lovers - includes National Gallery of Art, the Louvre, Mass MOCA, and many more! 

Specific Museums and Historic Exhibits

Dorothea Dix Begins Her Crusade (Mass Moments)

Ellis Island Virtual Tour.

Emerging America Online exhibits

  • Radical Equality: Utopian Abolitionism in the 1840's 
  • Steamboat Barnet (1826 voyage of the first river steamboat into Massachusetts)
  • Forge of Innovation: The Springfield Armory (engineering the industrial revolution)


Folger Shakespeare Library - Teaching During COVID-19 features texts, performances, & primary sources.

Ford’s Theater - Online Resources 

George Washington’s Mount Vernon: Library on the Potomac

Japanese art museums - Virtual Walks through seven major museums (English text option).

Library of Congress Online Exhibitions - hundreds of rich, well-researched, primary source-based sites.

Lower East Site Tenement Museum - Virtual Tour

Massachusetts Historical Society The Case for Ending Slavery

Memorial Hall Museum Online - live-action interactive activities with early American handwriting, clothes from underwear to outerwear, and more. 

National Museum of the American Indian - Smithsonian - Interactive Digital Experience of the complex history of Native Americans in the United States

Oklahoma City National Memorial Museum - A Day to Remember • Lesson Plans

National Archives Online Exhibits 

National Parks - The Hidden Worlds of the National Parks - Online visits and exhibits

Native Women Artists: 

New York Historical Society Online

Perkins School for the Blind - Virtual Museum

World Digital Library - 19,147 captivating items from 193 countries. 


Resources for Schools

Johns Hopkins' School Reopening Policy Tracker

Curated links to multiple resources

Collaborative for Educational Services 

Massachusetts Department of Elementary & Secondary Education


Connecticut Department of Education offers COVID-19 Resources for Families and Educators with sections that include a broad range of topics. 

Return to Learn Playbook - a 61-page document that offers best practices, instructional strategies, and tools for remote learning and hybrid learning scenarios compiled by instructional technology coaches in schools around Chicago. Resources are centered around digital engagement, feedback, and communication. 

Individual Resources for Schools 

How Students Benefit from a School Reopening Plan Designed for Those at the Margins (Kara Newhouse, July 9, 2020, KQED Mindshift series on returning to school during the COVID-19 pandemic. Presents takeaways from UCal Berkeley’s Design Challenge to reimagine 2020 classrooms

Northampton Public School in Massachusetts offers an example of communication to families about planning for a return of students to school facilities. Video link (11:21 min:sec, has Spanish subtitles). 


Equity for Complex Learners: Resources for Professional Development and Meeting Student Needs

Supporting Students With Learning Disabilities During School Closures - District Responses to Coronavirus Teaching Tolerance. Both articles address access issues. 

KQED - Four Core Priorities for Trauma-Informed Distance Learning

CASEL CARES: SEL Resource During COVID-19  Experts address how Social Emotional Learning can be most helpful in response to today’s circumstances

Educating All Learners Alliance Searchable resource library, participant discussion forums, weekly webinars and office hours to advance equity for complex learners during the COVID-19 epidemic. 

IEP & 504 Online Accommodations Guide from Quality Matters. Examples of what accommodations a student might have, suggestions for how you can address it while in a Remote Emergency Instruction situation, as well as how they relate to the Specific Review Standards from the QM K-12 Rubric™, Fifth Edition and the National Standards for Quality Online Teaching

Leading Groups Online: "a down-and-dirty guide to leading online courses, meetings, trainings, and events during the coronavirus pandemic" with a focus on accessibility. (Additional note: ask if real-time captions will help participants; GoogleMeet has automatic captions. -ATN & RC)

School District and practitioner free access to accessibility and assistive tools from Don Johnson (Snap&Read, CoWriter, Wordbank, etc)

Colorîn Colorado on serving immigrant students and English Language Learners during COVID-19 closures

The Immigrant Learning Center Public Education Institute has compiled a list of resources for immigrants, refugees, educators and parents to get through this crisis.

Share My Lesson blog post


Online Learning Management Platforms with Social Studies applications

Social Studies School Service - Currently being offered free to affected schools


History, Social Studies and Civic Engagement Opportunities for Students

Constitutional Rights Foundation - Civic Action Projects Student Discussions plus webinars for students, lesson plans, and more. 

Community Service Opportunities

Library of Congress "By the People" transcription service--students transcribe, review, and tag digitized images of manuscripts and typed materials to improve search, readability, and access to handwritten and typed documents for those who are not fully sighted or cannot read the original documents. Options include transcribing newspaper clippings in the Alice Stone Blackwell subject file, reviewing correctness of transcriptions of typed letters in Black activist Mary Church Terrell and out-of-print magazines publishing Walt Whitman's poems--plus opportunities to decipher handwriting.  See all Current Campaigns here

Massachusetts Service Alliance - Volunteer Opportunities.  Clearinghouse of opportunities. Includes in-person tasks like solo-meal delivery and online-remote tasks like organizing schedules of volunteers. Most are for students 18 or older. 


New Dates for Previously Scheduled Events

September 24, 2020 Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) 2020 Civics Literacy Conference, Edward M. Kennedy Institute, Boston. 

The NERCVirtual2020 Conference of the Massachusetts Council for the Social Studies will kick off on the weekend of October 4-5, 2020 and continue through October and November. 

The 50th Northeast Regional Conference for the Social Studies (NERC50) will be held in the 2021-2022 school year.



Alison Noyes

Assistant Director, Emerging America
Alison Noyes is the Assistant Director of the Emerging America program at the Collaborative for Educational Services. She has worked in the field of education for over 20 years, entering as a teacher of English Language learners and high school history, and working for many years with international students and college study abroad as a program director and assistant dean before returning to focus on engaging K-12 students.