BHP Team
Washington, USA

BHP covers some seriously old stuff—13.8 billion years of it. But that doesn’t mean we’re not paying attention to more recent developments. We have some big news: Erik Christensen—a BHP teacher at Granada Hills Charter in Los Angeles—is Rookie of the Year! The California Council for the Social Studies (CCSS) presents an annual award for Outstanding Rookie Social Studies Teacher of the Year to an educator with one to five years’ experience teaching social studies in grades K-12.

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Erik might be Rookie of the Year, but he’s not inexperienced. Before he started teaching four year ago, Erik worked in commercial construction for two decades. He went back to school to pursue his passion for education, and his experience and enthusiasm have made him an outstanding teacher. Erik says that the ability to connect with other teachers has been the single most important aspect of his training. Erik and Kathy Hays (a former BHP teacher and current BHP outreach coordinator) first met through BHP’s online community, where Erik’s generosity and enthusiasm were on full display. If you’d like to hear Kathy and Erik talk about their experience collaborating and connecting their two classrooms, check out their full conversation here:

Erik never loses sight of his priority—the students. He is tireless in his efforts to bring the world into his classroom, inviting guest speakers to help prepare students to become global citizens and take action in their communities. As evidence of Erik’s excellence, this is not the first time he has been recognized for his teaching. He has already received the Peter Lincoln Spencer Fellowship for his commitment to student literacy. And if all that’s not enough, he’s also an expert in wilderness survival. With Erik as a guide, BHP students will never feel lost.

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Erik Christensen

If you’d like to hear Erik speak and learn more about BHP and our new world history course, drop by one of our sessions at the CCSS annual conference February 28 through March 1. If you can’t make it and you’d like to learn more about teaching Big History Project or World History Project in your school or district, visit our websites and sign up. Or, you can email us at team@oerproject.com.

BHP and WHP at CCSS

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BHP and WHP sessions at CCSS

If you’re curious about what BHP and WHP are up to, be sure to check out one of our excellent sessions at CCSS.

  1. Big History for Middle School – Content, Tools, and Tips

Join BHP teachers Erik Christensen and Hajra Saeed along with our education program specialist, Maheen Sahoo, for a look at scaffolding BHP for middle schoolers. This session will share best practices, tips, tools, content, and strategies when adapting BHP for middle school classrooms. BHP uses a single narrative as an organizing framework that helps students connect the past to the present with an eye toward the future. This session will explore how BHP teachers can use narrative and interdisciplinarity to help make history usable today.

Friday, February 28, 1:30 pm – 2:30 pm

    • Room: Bristol 3:
      Erik Christensen, BHP Teacher
      Hajra Saeed, BHP Teacher
      Maheen Sahoo, Education Program Specialist, Gates Ventures
    • CCSS session link
  1. Introducing World History Project: Teaching World History Through Narratives

Come hear about our new course! World History Project (WHP) is a completely free, online curriculum using big inquiry problems and multiple narrative frames to help students develop a critical and coherent understanding of the past. WHP teacher Curt Greely and our education program specialist, Maheen Sahoo, will discuss how WHP uses the power of narrative to help students make sense of human history. Students often struggle to find relevance and meaning in all the dates and facts in history classes. But when history is framed as a series of interwoven problems and investigations of competing or complementary narratives, history courses can become usable, engaging, and dynamic experiences. Come see how WHP pilot teachers have developed strategies around narratives and historical thinking practices in their classrooms.

Friday, February 28, 2:40 pm – 3:40 pm

    • Room: Bristol 3
      Curt Greeley, WHP Teacher
      Maheen Sahoo, Education Program Specialist, Gates Ventures
    • CCSS Session Link

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