Through the Texas History for Teachers (TX4T) project, Andrew J. Torget, Humanities Texas, the University of North Texas Libraries, and a team of master teachers will provide 4th- and 7th-grade social studies educators access to a website featuring authoritative, evidence-based historical content and best-practices pedagogical resources for teaching Texas history. The state of Texas requires public school teachers to cover Texas history in both 4th- and 7th-grade while addressing a sprawling array of skill and content standards. This project will meet a pressing need for a comprehensive set of thematically connected, historically accurate lesson plans tied to primary sources, and it will serve as a national model for integrating best-practice instruction into social studies curriculum.
The work will build on The Portal to Texas History, a free online archive of primary sources which teachers often discover when searching for classroom content, curating its massive quantity of historical documents into a more targeted suite of pedagogical resources and building a teacher-facing website to serve as a central hub for accessing this content, organized into 15 chronological “units” that correspond to historical eras identified in the Texas state standards.
The judges were impressed by Dr. Torget’s credentials: as a nationally recognized expert in Texas history with deep pedagogical experience, he struck them as an ideal lead for this important project. They also praised the institutional partners’ strong track record working with teachers, their comprehensive outreach plan, and their attention to digital sustainability in the design of the website, which will help ensure these resources will be available to teachers for many years to come.
Andrew J. Torget is an Associate Professor of History at the University of North Texas. He is a historian of nineteenth-century North America, and he teaches classes on the Old South, American expansion, slavery, Texas, the U.S.-Mexico borderlands, and digital scholarship. His work has revolved around two intersecting themes: the expansion of the American South into the West, and developing new digital methods for research, scholarship, and teaching. His most recent book is Seeds of Empire: Cotton, Slavery, and the Transformation of the Texas Borderlands, 1800-1850, which won the David J. Weber-Clements Center Prize for Best Non-Fiction Book on Southwestern America from the Western History Association.
Torget also runs a digital scholarship lab that experiments with applying advances in technology and computer science toward developing new methods for historical research and teaching. Recent projects have included the Digital Austin Papers (http://digitalaustinpapers.org/) and Mapping Texts (mappingtexts.org). He is currently writing a history of the rise and fall of nineteenth-century Galveston as the key to the development of the American Southwest.
The Texas History for Teachers project depends on a large team that includes project co-director Dreanna Belden, Assistant Dean for External Relations at the University of North Texas Libraries (UNTL); curriculum consultants Jay Ferguson, of Round Rock Independent School District, and Michelle Phillips, of College Station Independent School District; William Hicks, Lead Website and Digital Infrastructure Developer at UNTL; Jake Mangum, Project Development Librarian at UNTL; Joshua Sylve, Director of Marketing and Communications at UNTL; and Megan Gellner, Photographer and Videographer at UNTL. TX4T also relies on the guidance of members of our Pedagogical Advisory Board and our Historical Advisory Board (full membership of each board can be found on the TX4T contributors page).
Project: The Texas History for Teachers Project