Teaching Oklahoma History:



Oklahoma History is usually required in public schools in 4th grade, 8th grade, and again in high school. As a homeschooler, you can teach Oklahoma History when it works best for you. I recommend doing it as a multi-level unit and teaching it once in elementary school, once in junior high and again in high school. Here are some resources I have found that will help you to teach this subject. Some of them are out of print but you can often find them at used book sales, through the links below, or at your local library.


Oklahoma Products from Cindy Downes

Books About Oklahoma:


Activity Books & Internet Sites of Interest

Okie Quiz

Suggested syllabus (Syllabus-OKHistory Online) for teaching Oklahoma History in six months (15 weeks). This follows my Oklahoma History Online curriculum; however, it can be used to help anyone plan a class in Oklahoma History.

Oklahoma Products from Cindy Downes

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Recently Added:

Oklahoma Hiking Trails by Kent F. Frates and Larry Floyd. Good for nature studies and PE.

Red Dirt Girl by Mona Phipps. I met Mona at the retirement home we both live in and learned that she had written a memoire of her family's life in 1800s Oklahoma. It is VERY interesting reading, so I though I would add it here. (6th+)

Oklahoma Land Run, The by Una Belle Townsend. For more info, see my review.

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Primary Grade Books:

The 1930s from the Great Depression to the Wizard of Oz by Stephen Feinstein. 64 pgs. 2001. ISBN: 0766016099. This is a terrific book for 4th+ and up. Nice illustrations.

100 Oklahoma Outlaws, Gangsters, and Lawmen 1839-1939 by Dan Anderson.

ABC's Oklahoma Style by Kathleen M. Woods. 1994. No ISBN. A very cute book with illustrations done by an eight grade class. K-6th. Check the library and used book stores in Oklahoma.

Adventures at Spiro Mounds by Cindy Downes. FREE download included in Oklahoma History Online curriculum. (requires the free Acrobat Reader software).

An American Safari: Adventures on the North American Prairie by Jim Brandenburg. (all ages)

Annie Mouse's Route 66 Adventure by Anne Maro Slanina.

Beautiful Land: A Story of the Oklahoma Land Rush by Nancy Antle. 54 pages, ISBN: 0140368086. 1994. Written in story format, this is a tale of the Oklahoma Land Rush for 2nd grade readers and up. Easy Reader.

Boom Town Boy by Lois Lenski. 1948. Out of print but a cute book about a boy living in the early 1900's during the oil boom. Fun read aloud for K-6+. Check library or used.

The Buffalo Solder by Sherry Garland. An introduction to the Buffalo Soldiers. (3-6+)

The Buffalo Solders (We the People) by Alice K. Flanagan. (3-6+)

Buffalo Soldiers and the Western Frontier the West (Westward Ho!) by Emily Raabe (K-3)

A Child's Story of Oklahoma by Maud Llewellyn McMullin. 203 pgs., told in a story format, out of print, 1941, read aloud for K-6th+. Almost impossible to find at a reasonable price. Check the library and used book stores in Oklahoma.

Children of the Dust Bowl: The True Story of the School at Weedpatch Camp by Jerry Stanley. A portrait of the “Okies” driven to California by the Dust Bowl days of the 1930s and the formidable hardships they faced. ISBN 0517880946. Gr. 4th+

The Choctaws by Liz Sonneborn. Published in 2006 - brand new!

Color Oklahoma Characters, A poster/coloring book by Phillip R Buntin. Characters in the book include: Gene Autry, Garth Brooks, Jesse Chisholm, Gordon Cooper, Angie Debo, "Pretty Boy" Floyd, Brad Henry, Ben Johnson, Wilma Mankiller, Quanah Parker, David L. Payne, Sequoyah, Belle Starr, Jim Thorpe, J. C. Watts, and many, many more. You can order this book through the Heritage Center, Dodge City, Kansas. (http://www.ksheritage.org). 64 pages. $7.95.

Cowboy CampCowboy Camp by Tammi Sauer, one of the best picture book authors I know. You'll love this book! (K-4)

Coyote Autumn by Bill Wallace. Fictional story about a boy with pet coyote in Oklahoma. ©2000. ISBN: 0823416283. A nice reader for 3rd+

The Dalton Gang by Carl Green.

Dust for Dinner by Ann Turner. An I Can Read Book. 1995, 64 pages. ISBN 0060233761. Not specifically about Oklahoma, but a story about the 1930s dust bowl. K-4th.

Dust to Eat by Michael Cooper. A story of the Dust Bowl years. 4th+

Elmo: The Oklahoma Prairie Dog (Oklahoma '07 Centennial) by Norma Scudder.

The Flimflam Man by Darleen Bailey Beard. I love this book. It's fiction but based on a true event in Wetumpka, OK. You can read my complete review on my blog.

Geronimo (History Maker Bio) by Catherine Welch. 48 pages. K-6.

The Great Land Rush by Sally Senzell Isaacs. Nice pictures and simple text tell the story of the Oklahoma Land Rush.

Harvey Girls by Sheila Wood Foard. Historical fiction about an Ozark farm girls who runs away to become a "Harvey Girl." There were several Harvey Houses in Oklahoma.

Hiking the Wichitas, Now You can Find it! by Alan Thode. A Pocket Guide to hiking in the Wichita Mountains. All ages.

Hiram and the Rattales by Joan Brozek. Contains some short stories regarding Oklahoma history told from the point of view of rats. I've only seen this at Bibliomania in Tulsa, OK. 918-438-9889. Read aloud for K-4th+

Hooray for Oklahoma, 1889 by Carolyn Kirschstein. ISBN 0926521004. This is a fun book to use as an introduction to the Land Run. It's short, simple, and gives just enough info to "wet" their appetite for more. It is out of print so check the library or bookstores for a used copy. I recommend it for ages PreK-4th.

Hoping for Rain: The Dust Bowl Adventures of Patty and Earl Buckler by Kate Connell. 4th+

How to Draw Oklahoma's Sights and Symbols by Eric Fein. Kids who like to draw will have fun learning about Oklahoma as they draw symbols including a map of Oklahoma, the State Seal, State Flag, Mistletoe, Redbud tree, Scissor-Tailed Flycatcher, Bullfrog, Geronimo, an Indian hut, and the state capitol building. Great for the Visual and Kinesthetic Learner. ISBN 0323960927.

I Want to be a Cowboy by Firefly Books. A 24-page picture book about cowboys with very simple text suitable for young children. ISBN 1-55209-432-4 (PreK-2)

In Their Name, edited by Clive Irving. Forward by Billy Graham. Commemorative volume on the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995. 165 pages. ISBN 067944825X.

It Happened in Oklahoma by Robert L. Dorman.

It's My State: Oklahoma by Doug Sanders. New in 2006! A great introduction to Oklahoma History course for K-6th+.

John Ross by Felix Lowe. 1990, 32 pages. ISBN 0817234071. Excellent reader with nice pictures about John Ross and Indian Removals. Out of print. Check your library. 2nd+

The Journal of C. J. Jackson, a Dust Bowl Migrant, Oklahoma to California, 1935 A story about a boy's family during the Dust Bowl in the Oklahoma Panhandle and their migration to California. (4-7)

The Journal of Jesse Smoke : A Cherokee Boy, Trail of Tears, 1838 (My Name Is America) by Joseph Bruchac.

Journey to Cahokia by Albert Lorenz. Although not specifically about Oklahoma, this children's picture book gives us a glance at the moundbuilder culture.

Life on the Trail (Life in the Old West series) by Bobbie Kalman. 32 pages. Color illustrations. Covers the cattle trails and life on the trail. ISBN: 0-7787-0104-2 (1-6)

The Long March: The Choctaw's Gift to Irish Famine Relief by Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick. (2-5+)

The Man Who Painted Indians: George Catlin by Nancy Plain.

Meet Christopher: An Osage Indian Boy from Oklahoma (My World: Young Native Americans Today). For ages 9-12.

Mounds of Earth and Shell by Bonnie Shemie. (3-6+)

Just for fun: The Mystery of Tornado Alley (Nancy Drew) by Carolyn Keene.

Nellie the Brave (Sisters in Time series) by Veda Boyd Jones. New in 2006! "Forced by U.S. soldiers to leave their home in Tennessee, Nellie, her family, and thousands of other Cherokees travel the long, dangerous "Trail of Tears" to a new home in the Indian Territory of modern-day Oklahoma. Using actual historical events as a backdrop, this brand-new children's novel teaches lessons of American history and the Christian faith. " 3rd+

Night Bird (A Story of the Seminole Indians) by Kathleen V. Kudlinski.

Oklahoma (Hello U.S.A.) by Rita LaDoux. 2003, 82 pages, ISBN 0822507919. Lots of colorful pictures and easy to read text make this the most interesting “textbook” for the younger grades that I've seen. You could use this along with the videos below for your elementary requirement. K-4th.

Oklahoma, A MyReportLinks.com Book by Donald Hinkle. ISBN 0766051382, 48 pgs. ©2003. A book of Internet resources specific to Oklahoma History as well as a brief history of the state. 4th+

Oklahoma (World Around Us) by Geneva Hudson. Published by Macmillan/Mcgraw-Hill. This is the approved textbook for elementary grades in public schools. ISBN 0021440905. You will not be able to get the answer key, but you can get the textbook from Amazon.

Oklahoma (Rookie Read About Geography) by Susan Labella.

Oklahoma (This Land is Your Land) by Ann Heinrichs. ©2003, 48 pgs. ISBN 0756503302, Nice color illustrations and a brief history of the state. A good read aloud for the family or assigned reading for 4+

Oklahoma (From Sea to Shining Sea) by Linda Saylor-Marchant. ©2003, 80 pgs. ISBN 0516223933. Colorful illustrations, easy to read. Gives a short history and information on the government and geography. Up to date information on the OKC bombing. 1-6.

Oklahoma and It's Heroes by James Smallwood. (2001) Focuses on men and women who created the heritage of Oklahoma. K-4+

Oklahoma Facts and Symbols.Presents information about the state of Oklahoma, its nickname, motto, and emblems.

Oklahoma, The Sooner State by Michael Martin. ISBN 0836853121. Out of the current offerings of books covering the state of Oklahoma, this is one of the best for primary grade readers. It has 48 pages, bright colorful illustrations, and east-to-read text. The contents include maps, fast facts, a brief but interesting history of Oklahoma, information about the people, the land, economy and commerce, politics and government, culture and lifestyle, and notable people. It also includes a timeline, state events and state attractions. Use this as the basis for your lesson plan outline, covering one chapter per week, add library books and writing activities that relate to each lesson, and you have a twelve-week unit.

Oklahoma's Blending of Many Cultures by Lu Celia Wise. Out of print.

One April Morning: Children Remember the Oklahoma City Bombing by Nancy Lamb. The Oklahoma City Bombing told from the viewpoint of fifty Oklahoma children, ages 3 to 14. 4th+

Portrait of America by Steck-Vaughn. Not recommended. I only put it here so you will know what it's about as other homeschool stores are selling this.

Red-Dirt Jessie by Anna Myers. A fiction story about a 12 year old girl and a dog set during the Oklahoma Dust Bowl and Depression. 107 pages. Gr 4+.

S is for Sooner for by Devin Scillian. Ages 4-8. Rhymes tell the story of the people, places, and landmarks of the Sooner state.

Sequoyah (History Maker Bio) by Laura Waxman. Biography. 48 pages. K-6.

The Search for Sooner Silver, Adventures of the Blacktails Kids by Paul Scott Martin. The only place I have found this for sale is at the Totem Pole Museum in Foyil, OK. Buy it used on Amazon or other bookstores.

The Shadow of Robbers' Roost by Helen Rushmore. Based on truth, this fiction story is about a boy, a group of robbers led by William Coe, and the Robbers' Roost in the Black Mesa. 4th+

Soft Rain: A Story of the Cherokee Trail of Tears by Cornelia Cornelissen. 3rd+

The Story of Oklahoma by W. David Baird. Published by the University of Oklahoma Press, this makes an excellent high school level history textbook. It includes field trip ideas that reinforce the lesson. 1994. 506 pgs. B/W illustrations.

The Story of Oklahoma by Lon Tinkle. ISBN 0394904001. This is a Landmark Book. A wonderful story about Oklahoma written in story format. 181 pgs., 1962. An oldie but goodie. Recommended for 4th+

Summer of the Monkeys. A fiction book set in Oklahoma. Excellent! All ages will enjoy.

Trail of Tears (Cornerstone of Freedom) (Second Series) by Deborah Kent. 3rd+

Uniquely Oklahoma by Reuben Anderson. 48 pgs. Color illustrations. Covers basic information about Oklahoma including geography, climate, state symbols, a brief history, government, food, and much more. For those who just want to get it over with, this would make a very simple Oklahoma history course for 4th grade. Read the book, add some activities like the Oklahoma Big Activity Book and you're done. ISBN: 1-4034-4727-6. (3-6)

Walking the Choctaw Road, Stories from Red People Memory by Tim Tingle. ISBN: 0938317741. (5th+)

We Were There at the Oklahoma Land Run by Jim Kjelgaard. 1957, 182 pgs. Another oldie but goodie! A wonderful book about Oklahoma told in a story format. Hard to find. Try Used bookstores. Grades 4th+

Who is Maria Tallchief? by Catherine Gourley. An Osage Indian who became America's first prima ballerina.

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Junior and Senior High Books:

1921 Tulsa Race Riot and the American Red Cross by Bob Hower. 1993. 231 pages. A compilation of photos and primary source writings from witnesses of the Tulsa Race Riot and the relief efforts of the Red Cross. 7th+ ISBN 0966582306. Out of print. Check your library. (7th+)

And Still the Waters Run by Angie Debo. 472 pages. First published in 1940. Angie Debo's study of the Five Civilized Nations in Oklahoma in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Read this for an accurate account of the Indian Removal. ISBN 0691005788.

Boys' life of Will Rogers by Harold Keith. Written in 1937, this books tells the story of Will Rogers' boyhood and youth through his early twenties. Very interesting reading and will interest all children. Out of print. You will have to find it used or at the library.

Buckskin, Calico, and Lace by Glenda Carlile. 118 pgs. B/W. illust. Short biographies of Oklahoma's Territorial Women including Mary Alice Murray (Indian Princess), Rachel Haines (Boomer who lost her claim), Bethsheba (the all women town where steers, roosters, or males of any species were not allowed), Belle Starr (outlaw), Mary Rogers (mother of Will Rogers) and many more. Another resource for stories about Oklahoma women is Petticoats, Politics, and Pirouettes by the same author. Out of print. Try used.

The Buffalo Soldiers African American Achievers) by Taressa Stovall

Cherokee Rose by Al and Joanna Lacy. Christian historical fiction related to the Trail of Tears, John Ross and Sequoyah. 9th+

Child of the Fighting Tenth: On the Frontier with the Buffalo Soldiers by Forrestine C. Hooker. 7th+

The Choctaw Code by Brent K. Ashabranner.

Distinguished Oklahomans by Victoria Lee.

Don't Forget Winona by Jeanne Whitehouse Peterson.

Fort Gibson: Terminal on the Trail of Tears by Brad Agnew. 1980 Univ. of Oklahoma Press. 274 pages. Tells the story of the nineteenth-century Indiam-army relations. 9th+

Ghost Towns of Oklahoma by John Morris. 229 pgs. 1980. ISBN: 0806114207. Short histories of Oklahoma towns that no longer exist. Illustrated. Very interesting for grades 9-12.

If We Must Die: A Novel of Tulsa's 1921 Greenwood Race Riot by Pat M. Carr. The experiences of a 17-year old white teacher in a segregated school during the race riot of Tulsa.

It Wasn't Much: True Tales of Ten Oklahoma Heroes by Jana Hausburg. See Reviews for more information.

Isaac C. Parker: Federal Justice on the Frontier by Michael J. Brodhead.

The KATY Railroad and the Last Frontier by V. V. Masterson. Maps, illustrations, and text tell the story of the KATY railroad through Indian Nations.

The Obstinate Land by Harold Keith. 214 pgs. 1977. A fiction story of a family who made the land run of 1893, were beaten out of the plot they wanted by a “Sooner”, and settled on a less-favored spot. The book chronicles their battle against the drought, dust storms, bandits, hostile ranchers, and unpredictable Oklahoma weather. ISBN 0690013191.

The Obstinate Land: Cherokee Strip Run of 1893 by Harold Keith. 214 pgs. 1993. During a hard winter, the father of a pioneering German family settling the Cherokee Strip in Oklahoma freezes to death and his fourteen-year-old son must assume responsibility for the struggling family. ISBN 0927562154.

Oklahoma, A MyReportLinks.com Book by Donald Hinkle. A book of Internet resources specific to Oklahoma History as well as a brief history of the state. 48 pgs. ©2003. 4th+

Oklahoma by Jay J. Wagoner. 1987. 224 pages. ISBN 0962236101. If I were going to require my student to read a textbook about Oklahoma history, it would be this one or Oklahoma, The History of an American State by Ellen Blakey. It's fairly easy to read and includes questions to discuss at the end of each chapter, a glossary, and project activities (pgs. 222-223). Unfortunately, you will not be able to get answers. 6th+

Oklahoma, A Rich Heritage by Odie B. Faulk & William D. Welge. This beautifully illustrated, 380 page book relates Oklahoma history through its history makers. Published in 2004, it includes events and people up through 2002. Recommended reading for 9th+.

Oklahoma Adventure. The approved high school curriuclum in Oklahoma public schools. (ISBN 0961948485). I haven't seen this one. Check Amazon for a used copy. Publisher Contact: 1600 Sunset Lane. Oklahoma City, OK 73129. Phone: 405.787.8191 or info@oklahomaadventure.com http://www.oklahomaadventure.com/index.html

The Oklahoma City Bombing (Crime Scene Investigations) by Richard Brownell.

Oklahoma Slave Narratives by Federal Writers' Project of the Works Progress Administration. Commentaries, autobiographies, narratives, and interviews of surviving ex-slaves during the 1930s.

Oklahoma, The History of an American State by Ellen Sue Blakey. 1995. 405 pages. ISBN 1567330266. This is the approved curriculum for 8th grade in Oklahoma public schools. If I were going to require my student to read a textbook about Oklahoma history, it would be this one or Oklahoma by Jay Wagoner. This one is fairly easy to read, has color illustrations, and chapter reviews (define terms, questions, writing ideas, map skills, and projects). Unfortunately, there are only a few used ones online and you will not be able to get the answers. Try the library and used book stores. 6th+

Oklahoma Run - a historical Novel by Alberta Wilson Constant. Another oldie written in 1955. The story takes place in Lincoln County, Oklahoma, the Sac and Fox, Iowa and Kickapoo Indian country and the town of Chandler. Many of the events are actual occurrences. This book is for all ages. Another one that is out of print. You will have to buy used or borrow from the library.

Oklahoma Treasures and Treasure Tales by Steve Wilson. 1976. 322 pages. ISBN 0806121742. Very interesting reading about Oklahoma treasures for 7th+

One Room School: Teaching in 1930s Western Oklahoma by Donna Stephens. Western Frontier Library, Vol. 57. Memoirs of a school teacher from Woodward, OK. 173 pgs. 1990. ISBN: 0806123133. 9th+

The 101 Ranch by Ellsworth Collings. ISBN 0806110473.

Pawnee Bill's Historic Wild West: A Photo Documentary of the 1900-1905 Show Tours by Allen Farnum. A visual close-up look at a period in life that is gone forever--the Wild West show of the early 1900s--the forerunner of our modern rodeo. ISBN 0887404375.

Prairie City: The Story of an American Community by Angie Debo. 276 pgs. 1998. Originally published in 1944. Chronicles the life of an Oklahoma settler from the land run to WWII. ISBN: 0806130946. 9th+

The Real Wild West : The 101 Ranch and the Creation of the American West by Michael Wallis. Includes history of the ranch and biographies of 101 performers like Princess Wenona, the Native American rival to Annie Oakley, and Bill Pickett. ISBN 0312263813.

Sand in My Eyes by Seigniora Russell Laune. 1956. Tells about life of young girl growing up in Woodward, Oklahoma in first quarter of 20th century. ISBN 0806120169.

The Story of Oklahoma Newspapers. by L. Edward Carter. Traces the history of Oklahoma's newspapers from the Cherokee Advocate in 1844 to the daily presses of 1983. Very interesting reading and illustrations.

Tulsa, Where Streets Were Paved with Gold by Clyda Franks.

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Field Guides for Oklahoma:

Oklahoma Birds

Birds of Oklahoma

Oklahoma Trees and Wildflowers

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Travel Guides (These are some of my favorite travel guides. Not all of them are in print, but you may be able to find a used copy.)

Exploring Oklahoma With Children by Sarah Taylor

.Field Trip Cruiser by Cindy Downes

Get Off the Interstate and Enjoy Oklahoma's Route 66 by Bill Calkin. Travel guide that takes you from Quapaw to Texola on Route 66. Photos and brief history. No ISBN. Check libraries and gift shops.

Guide to Oklahoma Museums by David C. Hunt. Excellent for locating hard to find, small-town museums.

Hiking the Wichitas, Now YOU Can Find It! by Alan Thode.

Oklahoma, HIstorical Tour Guide by Burnis Argo. Great historical information!

Off the Beaten Path, Oklahoma by Deborah Bouziden and Kendra Fox.

Roadside History of Oklahoma by Francis L. and Robert B. Fugate. Another great historical aid as well as a travel guide.

For more resources on Oklahoma Travel, check out Cindy's Oklahoma Travel Resource Store.


Oklahoma Passage, 5 videos. Available at the library.

The Story of Oklahoma, 13 videos. Available at the library.

The Fur Trade in Oklahoma (Video) and teacher's guide. 1998. 14 minutes. Presented by the Oklahoma Historical Society. The teacher's guide contains activities and maps. Check your library.

Activity Books and Other Resources:

Trunk Shows - Oklahoma History. Mike Adkins, from the Oklahoma Historical Society, takes history to the public with a trunk full of artifacts, photographs, and documents. The current trunk shows include Oklahoma Black Gold, The Long Cattle Drive, Fur Trappers-Traders, Civil War, USS Oklahoma, Pioneer Tools, Oklahoma Statehood, Oklahoma Symbols, and Native American Cultures. For more information or to schedule a program, contact Joan Thompson at 405-522-6675.

The Chronicles of Oklahoma: Cumulative Index, a monthly magazine published by the Oklahoma Historical Society. Available at the library. Excellent to use for research.

Printable Worksheet: Oklahoma State Seal.

Big Oklahoma Activity Book by Carole Marsh. 2001. Oklahoma worksheets for primary grades. Includes worksheets for state symbols, history of Oklahoma, craft ideas related to Oklahoma history, and review quizzes. An excellent addition to a Oklahoma unit study! ISBN 0793395984.

Oklahoma Jography: A Fun Run Thru Our State! by Carole Marsh. 2001. Oklahoma geography worksheets for primary grades. An excellent addition to a Oklahoma unit study! ISBN 0793395976.

My First Book About Oklahoma by Carole Marsh. 2001. Oklahoma worksheets for primary grades. An excellent addition to a Oklahoma unit study! ISBN 079339595X.

A fun activity is to make a sod house out of brownies! We did this in my Oklahoma History class at Cornerstone Tutorial Center. Bake a sheet of brownies. Cut into "sod" squares. Build your house using brownies and "glue" together with chocolate icing. Then use pretzel logs for the roof. After we plastered the roof with icing, we sprinkled it with coconut dyed green for grass. We used plastic gloves so we could eat it afterwards!

Dust Bowl of Oklahoma from America's Story: http://www.americaslibrary.gov/cgi-bin/page.cgi/es/ok/dustbowl_1

Make an Edible State Map: http://atozteacherstuff.com/pages/295.shtml

Free, Oklahoma map, blank, printable (pdf)

More Oklahoma History Resources at Cindy's Oklahoma History Store.



Copyright © 2004 - by Cindy Downes