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Teaching California

Funded by a grant from the California State Department of Education, the California Historical Society worked with the California History-Social Science Project to create Teaching California, an innovative, free, online resource of instructional materials to support the implementation of California’s History-Social Science Framework. Made for teachers in classrooms across the state, this program is designed to improve student reading, writing, and critical thinking, while inspiring them to discover and engage with California’s complex histories. 

Teaching California was designed to provide K-12 educators with engaging and relevant primary sources, organized to specifically (and easily) address the inquiry-based instructional model the History-Social Science Framework outlines. These primary sources are organized as Inquiry Sets, each of which collects classroom-ready sources, historical background, as well as teacher and student source notes to address specific investigative questions from the History-Social Science Framework.  

These inquiry sets collected here have been developed by California Revealed to mirror and supplement existing Teaching California Inquiry Sets. With ongoing support from the California State Library, California Revealed partners with hundreds of libraries, archives, museums, historical societies, and other memory organizations across the state to provide free digital preservation and online access services for primary source materials documenting California history. The resulting collections span diverse formats, regions, time periods, and cultural perspectives. We hope these curated sets will prove valuable to K-12 teachers looking to dive deeper with Teaching California’s classroom-ready Inquiry Sets and more generally to California educators interested in teaching with primary sources. 

These inquiry sets only scratch the surface of the educational possibilities to be found at Because California Revealed represents a multitude of distinct partner organizations, our repository is an excellent resource for California educators looking for a strong local perspective on teaching topics. Our strengths in audiovisual materials and unusual print formats offer a wealth of engaging primary sources to analyze and explore our state’s complex history.  

As California Revealed continues to explore how to meaningfully connect California educators with primary sources that lend immediacy and local relevance to teaching curriculum, we would love to hear from you with any ideas, suggestions, or requests. Please reach out to us and sign up for our seasonal newsletter for more news on educational initiatives: 

This first-grade inquiry set provides images from the past to help students address the concept and practice of school rules. These questions guide the inquiry set and the activities that help students make connections between themselves and their classrooms today and in the past: What are class and school rules? How were they developed? Who is responsible for enforcing the rules?
This inquiry set is the first time that students are introduced to the vocabulary term and concept of primary sources (in comparison to secondary sources). As the framework text details, primary sources shape students’ own lives, heritages, and family identities, and they can serve as an entry point for students’ broader learning about the richness of source material.

This is one of a series of California Revealed Curated Themes designed to mirror Teaching California's Inquiry Sets. This page builds on the 3.1. Why Did People Settle in California? set.


This is one of a series of California Revealed Curated Themes designed to mirror Teaching California’s Inquiry Sets. This page builds on the K.3 Work Long Ago set.

From Teaching California: This lesson focuses on the topic of work and jobs to illuminate change over time. Kindergartners have some direct experiential knowledge of jobs today, which can be leveraged to learn about the differences and similarities of jobs and work in the past.