Helping Teachers Become Excellent History Educators

Teacher Professional Development

Dr. Edward T. O'Donnell has been leading engaging and interactive presentations to teacher professional development programs on a wide range of topics since 2002. He has worked with more than 50 school districts across the country in 26 states through the Teaching American History program. His presentations range from half-day or full-day sessions that combine interactive lectures, pedagogy discussions, and primary source workshops. O'Donnell also leads teacher groups on historical walking tours in New York and Boston.

About the Presentations

Today’s students are visual and interactive learners—and so are their teachers. Consequently, these multimedia presentations are built around 50+ unique and carefully selected visuals, including vintage photographs, etchings, maps, cartoons, and documents (samples appear on this page). O’Donnell uses them to enhance a lively and interactive presentation. Ample time is allotted for Q & A, but O’Donnell always welcomes questions at any time during the session. The presentations are available as content lectures or in a workshop format with an emphasis on pedagogy, primary sources, and using images to teach history.

Benefits for Your Teachers

  •  A renewed and/or deepened awareness of the topic’s essential content.
  • An enhanced understanding of the topic’s critical questions, concepts, and ideas.
  • New ideas for finding and using primary sources and developing DBQs, simulations, projects, debates, and field trip preparation.
  • An introduction to O’Donnell’s How to Use Images to Teach History and his unique S.I.G.H.T.™ method of visual analysis.

Programming Options

  • Time Flexibility – all presentations and workshops can be tailored to meet your needs, from 1 to 3 hours.
  • Pedagogy Workshops – on primary sources, using images to teach history, DBQs, simulations, projects, and debates.
  • Walking Tours and Historic Site Visits - O’Donnell has led thousands—just ask!


“Ed is a master historian and educator, knowledgeable, entertaining, and informative. … I was deeply impressed by his skill in dealing with teachers, particularly his ability to build interest and evoke reactions from nearly everyone in attendance. … He has a creative approach to teaching history that encompasses a wide variety of media and sources, including documents, visuals, literature, newsprint, and songs. If [you are] seeking a historian to assist in educational programs for school teachers and other school personnel, Ed O’Donnell is, in my view, one of the finest candidates around for the job.”

Jack Zevin

Professor of Social Studies Education, Co-Director, TAH Program at Queens College

“Edward O’Donnell is one of the most outstanding teacher workshop leaders with whom I’ve had the pleasure of working. Teachers find his multimedia presentations both fascinating and extremely helpful in developing lesson plans and ways of using primary sources. Their evaluations rave about his enthusiasm, engaging style, and accessibility.” 

Linda Harris

Social Studies Coordinator, TAHG Project Director, New York City Board of Education

“Thank you once again for the tremendous job you did with the Chesterfield County teachers last week. I hope it was apparent how much they enjoyed you, and how much they got from your presentations. The teachers were really engaged throughout … I coordinate a number of teacher programs and get a chance to see a lot of presenters, but I don’t think I have ever seen anyone do a better job. I was really impressed with the way you worked with the teachers.”

William B. Obrochta

Director of Education, Virginia Historical Society

“I highly recommend Dr. Edward T. O’Donnell as a presenter for K-12 teachers. Dr. O’Donnell led a seminar entitled “Nineteenth-Century Immigration” … [and] during this five-hour session he provided an overview of immigration, led a discussion of Jacob Riis photographs, and facilitated a primary-source workshop using political cartoons. … Dr. O’Donnell’s overview of immigration was informative and engaging. The participants loved his conversational speaking style and very much appreciated his use of technology. … The twelve participants absolutely raved about the quality of the session on feedback forms at the end of the seminar. … A few of the participants have taken part in a number of seminars offered by the Keepers of the Republic TAH grant, and two of the veterans told me that Dr. O’Donnell’s seminar was the best they’d attended over the course of almost three years!”

Amy Sopcak-Joseph

Education Coordinator, The American Antiquarian Society, Worcester, Massachusetts

“It is rare to find historians that work so well with teachers. The care, effort and passion you put into your work is reflected by the energy of the teachers and the excitement they bring back to the classroom. I am writing to express my sincere gratitude for your making our Teaching American History summer institute a success. It was a pleasure to work with you. All of our participants made it a point to tell me how much they enjoyed your insightful and thoughtful presentations.”

Erik Baumann

Project Director, Teaching American History Grants, Bristol Community College, Fall River, MA

 “Your presentation on the ‘Making of the Empire City’ made a strong impression on the teachers, and their evaluation forms were filled with praise. Participants enjoyed the excellent documents and images you used to support your lecture and commented that your talk was ‘fascinating’ and was filled with useful and relevant information that ‘makes the study of history more interesting.’”

Suzanne Wasserman

Gotham Center for New York City History, City University of New York

“Thank you for joining us during our Teaching American History Grant (TAHG) Summer Seminar Session on June 19, 2008. You were, indeed, one of the most engaging presenters we have hosted. Your presentation on the Reconstruction Era captured the interest of our teachers and reinvigorated their awareness of this important age in American history. Thank you for providing such useful hand-outs and CD materials; teachers have begun to implement the resources and information you provided into their classroom instruction. Your delivery style is to be highly commended. We were delighted to have you join us.”

LaNesha DeBardelaben

Project Manager, TAHG, Flint Michigan Community Schools