New Writing Guide for AP History Courses from Sherpa Learning | Sherpa Learning

New Writing Guide for AP History Courses from Sherpa Learning

New Writing Guide for AP History Courses from Sherpa Learning

CROSSCURRENTS: Aristotle’s Common Topics Meet the AP® History Courses by Chris Freiler and Steve Heller is now available from Sherpa Learning

West Milford, NJ — Sherpa Learning is proud to announce a brand new resource for high school and college-level history courses: CROSSCURRENTS: Aristotle’s Common Topics Meet the AP® History Courses, by acclaimed authors/educators Stephen Heller, Ph.D. and Christopher Freiler. Crosscurrents is an in-depth guide to interpreting and writing historical arguments. It was born out of a belief shared by both authors—an AP Euro teacher and an AP Lang teacher—that historical argument serves as a useful foundation for all arguments. Using Aristotle’s Common Topics as a foundation, Crosscurrents demonstrates a way of approaching any argument in a systemized and structured manner.


Crosscurrents is unique in that it bridges the gap between historical and rhetorical thinking and writing skills. As such, it serves as an interdisciplinary guide to engaging in meaningful inquiry with primary and secondary sources and to writing strong academic essays. Each of the five Common Topics entails distinct moves that writers or speakers make in developing their arguments. Crosscurrents examines those moves in detail and provides myriad examples and exercises to master those moves.

The text was specifically crafted to the AP History courses and includes a wealth of examples and exercises on topics drawn from the AP U.S. History, AP European History, and AP World History Modern course frameworks. The authors have integrated the 6 Historical Thinking Skills and 3 Reasoning Processes, and accounted for the revisions to the AP History essay rubrics announced in the fall of 2023. Crosscurrents includes writing prompts that have been carefully crafted to the style and structure of those found on the AP exams, and over six dozen primary and secondary sources from all three AP History courses.

Crosscurrents really is a masterpiece of a resource,” said Sherpa Learning’s founder and CEO, David Nazarian. “I believe the book’s potential value to students is immeasurable. Though tailored to the AP History courses, the skills it develops are essential to academic success—and beyond.” Nazarian said he was “thrilled at the chance to work on a brand new concept with “two of the most intelligent and insightful authors that I’ve ever had the privilege of working with.” He went on to say, “In this resource, they are combining their years of experience—both as teachers and as AP consultants—to create a truly innovative guide to argumentation.”


Christopher Freiler has taught Advanced Placement European History at Hinsdale Central High School in Hinsdale, IL, since 1993. Additionally, he has taught Philosophy Honors since 2003, a course he proposed and developed. He has been involved with the national AP program since 1997, serving as a workshop consultant and in leadership positions for the annual exam scoring, the re-design of the AP European History course curriculum, and in test development. Chris earned his B.A. in History at Northwestern University, M.A. in History at University of Virginia, and M.A. in Philosophy at Northern Illinois University. Chris’s publications include ACHIEVER: Exam Prep Guide for AP® European History, now in its 3rd edition, available from Sherpa Learning.

Stephen Heller taught AP English Language and Composition at Adlai E. Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire, IL, for 22 years, 8 of which were combined with AP US History in American Studies. Since 1999, he has served in numerous capacities with the College Board, including consultant, test development committee member, co-designer for Vertical Teams workshops, AP Exam Question Leader, Table Leader, and Reader. Steve earned his B.A. in English at Northwestern University, M.A. in the Teaching of English at the University of Illinois Chicago, and Ph.D. in Educational Administration and Supervision from Loyola University of Chicago. Steve’s publications include AP® English Bound, Entering the Conversation, and Documenting United States History.

Crosscurrents is available now on Amazon and through Sherpa Learning’s website. For more information, please visit


Launched in August of 2014 and based in West Milford, NJ, Sherpa Learning is a trusted publisher of print and digital skills-based instructional resources written by rock star teachers (i.e., leaders within their discipline) for Advanced Placement (AP) and other high-level courses. Founded on the principle that educators should author educational resources with collaborative input from the extended teaching community, Sherpa Learning develops resources for teachers, by teachers. Over 2,200 educators from across the country are registered with Team Sherpa to review, develop, and test original content. The company is currently producing both online and print resources for Advanced Placement and other college-level courses.


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