Wisconsin Historical Society Press Education Materials | Wisconsin Historical Society

Classroom Material

Wisconsin Historical Society Press Education Materials

Use these materials to teach Wisconsin history in your classroom

Wisconsin Historical Society Press Education Materials | Wisconsin Historical Society

The Wisconsin Historical Society has created many educational materials that you can use to teach the content of Society Press books in your classroom. Materials include discussion questions, inquiry-based projects and activities, Wisconsin educational standards, and coloring pages for younger students.

Click on the links below to access the educational materials for each book. Those marked with an asterisk (*) can be downloaded for free. Others are available for purchase (please contact Maris Education at mariseducation@gmail.com or 262-695-9365 to purchase copies for your school).

Elementary School 

*Great Ships on the Great Lakes: A Maritime History takes upper elementary readers on a rip-roaring journey through the waterways of the Great Lakes, from sea battles and storms to the impact of shippingand the shift from sail to steamon Wisconsin history. In addition to the teacher's guide linked here, the book itself includes a timeline of events, on-page vocabulary, and a list of resources and places to visit.

 *The Fishermen, the Horse, and the Sea tells the true story of the boy, the family, and the neighbor horse who rescued a sailor trapped in a tumultuous Lake Michigan storm in 1895. Award-winning illustrations showcase the beauty and ferocity of Lake Michigan, as well as the life and history of those who fish it. In addition to the education materials linked here, the book itself includes vocabulary definitions, an illustrated map of Lake Michigan, and short biographies of the story’s featured characters.

*Native People of Wisconsin shares the concise histories of Wisconsin's 12 Indian Nations. Written for mid- to upper- elementary readers by award-winning Ojibwe Indian Author Dr. Patty Loew, this authentic resource includes stories of incredible resilience, profiles of outstanding young people from each nation, and chapters on the Brothertown Indian Nation and urban Indians. In addition to the teacher's guide and student activities linked here, the book itself includes maps, illustrations, and a glossary.

*Sport, Ship Dog of the Great Lakes introduces young readers to the heart-warming, true story of the rescued puppy turned hard-working ship dog who lived thrills and dangers of service on the Great Lakes during the early 20th century. This beautifully-illustrated, award-winning children’s book was written by a children's librarian and based on historical documents and photos. In addition to the education materials linked here, the book itself includes diagrams, a map, and a historical note supplement.

Voices and Votes: How Democracy Works in Wisconsin invites upper elementary school students to explore the intersection of American civics and Wisconsin history and introduces them to the basic structures of American democracy, state government, and Wisconsin's road to statehood. The first seven chapters help students grasp how the three branches of government function at the federal, state, local, and tribal levels, while tying these structural notions to Wisconsin history. Students will learn that citizens' voices and votes help government evolve to meet ever-changing societal needs. (This book is currently available in ebook format only; teacher's guide available in print.) 

Middle and High School

*How to Be An Indian in the 21st Century explores Oneida Indian author and poet Louis V. "Two Shoes" Clark III's lifelong search for identity. In deceptively simple prose and verse, Clark shares his story, from childhood on the Rez, through schoolyard bullying and workplace racism, and ultimately to life as an elder, grandfather, and published poet. Warm, plainspoken, and wryly funny, his unique voice talks frankly about his and his own culture’s struggles to maintain heritage and inspires readers to explore their own identity. The lesson plan linked here guides students through an analysis of poetry and helps them identify a variety of literary devices.

*Indian Nations of Wisconsin: Histories of Endurance and Renewal: From origin stories to contemporary struggles over treaty rights and sovereignty issues, Indian Nations explores Wisconsin's rich Native tradition. This unique volume—based on the historical perspectives of the state’s Native peoples—includes compact tribal histories of the Ojibwe, Potawatomi, Oneida, Menominee, Mohican, Ho-Chunk, and Brothertown Indians. Author Patty Loew focuses on oral tradition—stories, songs, the recorded words of Indian treaty negotiators, and interviews—along with other untapped Native sources, such as tribal newspapers, to present a distinctly different view of history. In addition to the teaching materials linked here, the book includes maps and photographs.

*Modern Jungles: A Hmong Refugee's Childhood Story of Survival shares Hmong refugee-turned UW-Green Bay professor Pao Lor's life journey. The memoir shares his harrowing escape from war-torn Laos as a 5-year-old orphaned Hmong refugee, his inspiring story of survival in refugee camps in Thailand, and his eventual re-settlement in Wisconsin and the cultural challenges he faced. This inspiring memoir also includes discussion questions. The educational materials linked here include additional discussion questions as well as chapter-by-chapter inquiry-based activities that align with WI social studies and ELA standards.

*Remembering the Holocaust brings together 14 interviews of Holocaust survivors who later settled in Wisconsin. With words and photographs, they describe the richness of pre-war Jewish life in Europe, the advent of proscriptive laws, arrests, and deportation, the unspeakable horrors of the Nazi camps, and ultimately the liberation and postwar experiences of the survivors. These oral histories of Holocaust survivors assign names and faces to what might otherwise be an abstract reckoning of terror and inhumanity. The educational materials include discussion questions as well as guidelines for local research and oral history projects.

 *Somos Latinas: Voices of Wisconsin Latina Activists shares the life and work narratives of 25 Latina activists. From outspoken demonstrators to collaborative community-builders to determined individuals working for change behind the scenes, these narrtives share the long-standing legacy of Latina activism throughout Wisconsin. Drawing on interviews conducted as part of the Somos Latinas Digital History Project, housed at the Wisconsin Historical Society, this collection looks deep into the life and passion of each woman. 

*We Will Always Be Here: A Guide to Exploring and Understanding the History of LGBTQ+ Activism in Wisconsin presents examples of LGBTQ+ activism throughout Wisconsin’s history for young people to explore and discuss, using primary source examples to help foster discussion about LGBTQ+ history among teens and young adult readers. This book provides a jumping-off point for readers who are interested in learning more about LGBTQ+ history and activism, as well as for readers who want to build on the work of earlier activists.