Russel Tarr & A History Teaching Toolbox

(Cross-posted from History Tech.)

Part of what I get to do is spend time browsing the Interwebs finding tools and resources that would be useful for history and social studies teachers. Sometimes I find new stuff like the very cool Smithsonian Learning Labs and sometimes I just keep going back to the classics.

Russel Tarr is one of the classics. His Active History site (along with his ClassTools and Tarr’s Toolbox) always has some new strategy or tool that I haven’t seen and it’s always something useful. I’m really not sure how he finds time to actually teach but he’s been doing this for almost twenty years.

He has a degree in Modern World History from Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford University and is currently Head of History at the International School of Toulouse, France. On his free time, he delivers training courses to history teachers in the UK and Europe, writes regularly for the national and international press on historical and educational issues, and is a prominent figure in the educational community on Twitter – where he is one the most followed history teachers in the world.

All of this to say that he knows what he’s talking about. And it just got better. Tarr recently published a book titled A History Teaching Toolbox: Practical Classroom Strategies.

It’s the perfect resource for busy classroom teachers looking for some new strategies with their students. You’re going to find more than 60 tried and tested activities and approaches organized into helpful categories and explained with step-by-step instructions and topic-specific examples to illustrate how they can be used immediately. A History Teaching Toolbox is written for both new and experienced teachers who want to engage their students in high level thinking and problem-based learning activities.

I ordered a copy last week and I’ve been browsing through it this afternoon. It truly is the type of resource that provides activities and suggestions that any 6-12 social studies teacher could implement tomorrow. It would also be a great book for PLCs and history departments – go through a chapter together, try out a few of the ideas, and come back together to tweak and adapt. I’ve posted a few table of content pics below to give you an idea of the scope Tarr covers in A History Teaching Toolbox.



So you’re gonna want to spend some time at his websites but then head over to Amazon for the old school print. Both totally worth your time.

About Glenn Wiebe

I work as a social studies specialist at ESSDACK, an educational service center in Hutchinson, Kansas. Before coming to ESSDACK, I taught middle school US History and higher ed social science classes.

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