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November 28, 2005

Nation's largest public school system adopts new history education materials authored by CW

California public school students will be the first to benefit from Colonial Williamsburg’s innovative, living history approach to teaching American history with the adoption Nov. 9 by the State of California of exciting new teaching materials published by Pearson Scott Foresman and authored by Colonial Williamsburg.

The new program is the result of the partnership between Pearson Scott Foresman and Colonial Williamsburg. With the publication of this program, Colonial Williamsburg becomes the first museum in the United States to author a history-social studies basal curricular program. Since 2004, a team in Colonial Williamsburg’s department of educational media, under the leadership of William E. White, Ph.D., created the educational materials for Pearson Scott Foresman, the nation’s largest publisher of primary and elementary school textbooks. “This approach to teaching history and social studies is truly revolutionary,” White said. “We teach American history because these are the stories that help our children become the engaged and active citizens of the 21st century. There is no subject more important to the future of our republic.”

With California’s History-Social Science educational standards serving as its foundation, the revolutionary new curricular materials are the first to offer a comprehensive approach focusing on the California state standards for grades K through 5. The program incorporates three distinct and complementary approaches for teaching and learning: an interactive and consumable student text, hands-on activities, and digital media tools. Each chapter is not only dedicated to a single state social studies standard, but also offers the additional benefit of incorporating California’s reading standards, along with parallel lessons for English language learners. The program is available in both English and Spanish with strong support functions such as text playback so students can listen to the text if struggling to read it.

Each chapter of History-Social Science for California includes three teaching integrated pathways that help bring history to life for California students :

  • The Textbook Path, which includes a streamlined and illustrated consumable student text that encourages students to actively read the text and engage in note taking. All students receive their own text. It is theirs to keep.
  • The Active Path, for which Colonial Williamsburg created 169 classroom activities, delivers hands-on living history teaching techniques that support teachers and inspire students to learn.
  • The Digital Path is used for teaching each standard or chapter with rich digital media resources and activities.

    Pearson Scott Foresman is the world's leading elementary educational publisher. Its full line of educational resources supports teachers and helps schools and districts meet new demands for adequate yearly progress and reporting. Pearson Scott Foresman publishes school curriculum materials in all subject areas, including reading, language arts, mathematics, science, social studies, music, art, bilingual, ESL/ELL, and religion. Its educational resources and services include textbook-based instructional programs, curriculum Web sites, digital media, assessment materials, and professional development.

    Through productions, publications and learning ventures, Colonial Williamsburg actively pursues educational outreach opportunities in early American history in fulfillment of its educational mission, “that the future may learn from the past.” For more information, visit Colonial Williamsburg’s Web site at

    Media Contact:
    Jim Bradley
    (757) 220-7281

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