Commentary Blog Posts

An Unexpected Source at a Summer Institute

This summer has been a busy one for us at the California History-Social Science Project! We have had the pleasure of hosting a number of summer institutes for educators across the state and have benefited from the shared knowledge and experiences of the teachers, teacher leaders, graduate and undergraduate students, and academic specialists who have joined us.

Educator Feature: Julie Law-Marín

Julie Law-Marín is a high school educator in the Sacramento area. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in History with a minor in Asian American Studies; she continued on to earn her Master of Arts degree in Education with a concentration on Multicultural Education. She kindly sat down with us to offer her expertise on culturally-responsive classroom practices and community based teaching. Below are her responses to the questions we asked her. 

What does culturally-responsive teaching mean to you?

Educator Feature: Jazmine Fortes

Jazmine Fortes is a third grade educator in the Bay Area. She completed her Bachelor of Arts in Ethnic Studies, with a double minor in Urban Education and Spanish. She has worked to create an equitable, holistic, relative, and empowering curriculum. She considers creating environments in which parents, students, and their community feel welcomed is central to this work. She sat down with us to help us see how she implements these strategies in her classroom. 

Culturally-Responsive Teaching

Celebrating Changemakers

The pandemic years of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage month have been as sobering as celebratory. Last May, in the shadow of the tragic and murderous deaths of spa workers and patrons in Atlanta, and in light of the necessity for a #StopAsianHate campaign, I urged our teaching and teacher community to integrate AAPI histories within their curriculum.

Black History Month

For nearly one hundred years, Americans have celebrated Black History during February. In 1926, during the height of the Jim Crow era in the United States, historian Carter G. Woodson and the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History introduced Black History Week as a week-long celebration during the second week of February. This week coincided with both Abraham Lincoln’s birthday and Frederick Douglass’s birthday celebration.

Teaching Lower-Elementary Students during the Pandemic

Last week was our first TK-3rd Grade Group of 2022. The timing of it - the second week after winter break, and in the middle of the Omicron surge - almost convinced us to cancel the Zoom workshop. Teachers did not have any extra time. Everyone seemed to be either sick or running on fumes.

Evacuees Today, California’s Students Tomorrow

It is highly likely that today’s Afghan evacuees are your students tomorrow, or sometime in the near future. California is presently and historically a magnet for newcomers—immigrants and refugees alike. Fleeing from persecution is just the beginning of a perilous journey towards an unknown destination for safety. That was my family’s refugee experience. 

Statement in Response to the January 6 Storming of the U.S. Capitol Building

We condemn all actions and actors that encouraged or participated in the insurrection and desecration of our nation’s Capitol and endangered our democracy’s long history of peaceful transfers of power. As a statewide network of history-social science educators, the California History-Social Science Project is resolved to defend our democratic ideals in order to take a stand against this and any demonstration of racism, injustice, and abuse of power.


The song Mother Blue’s is sometimes wildly inappropriate, but I can’t help but feel inspired when Ray Wylie Hubbard gets to one of the last lyrics. “And the days that I keep my gratitude higher than my expectations,” Hubbard sings, “well, I have really good days." 

The Movement for Black Lives

Justin Leroy studies the history of the United States in the 19th Century, specializing in African American history. This blog post originally appeared as an article in "Teaching in 2020" - the fall 2020 issue of our online magazine, The Source.

By Justin Leroy, Ph.D., Department of History, UC Davis

Teaching the Election

A Professor of History at UC Davis, Kathryn Olmsted studies the cultural and political history of the United States since World War I. We interviewed Professor Olmsted to get her take on campaigns during times of crisis, the role of the media, and her best suggestions for government students this fall.

The Source: Teaching in 2020

New Issue of The Source Now Available for Download

We’re very excited to announce the release of the Fall 2020 edition of our online magazine, The Source.  This issue, entitled Teaching in 2020, is organized into four sections – the pandemic, the fight for racial justice, economic collapse, and the election – to offer insight, ideas, and the opportunity to hear from your colleagues across the state.  Articles include essays from leading historians on the historical context of the Black Lives Matter movement and the pandemic, the 2020 presidential e

Statement in Response to the Death of George Floyd

We value and honor Black lives. The death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin has sparked national outrage, days of protest, violence, and destruction of property in many cities across the United States, including here in California.  That this is happening in the midst of a pandemic in which communities of color, particularly Black and Latinx Californians, are suffering and dying disproportionately heightens the urgency of the moment.

Parents' Guide to History-Social Science

My family just started week five (or is it week six – I’ve officially lost the will to keep count) with our three elementary-school-aged children at home, and while we’re so fortunate to be together, our family’s attempt at distance learning feels like a mess.  In week one of shelter in place, which seems like a lifetime ago, I was almost optimistic about having time alone at home to work and to experiment with some school work with my kids