TeachersFirst's National History Day Resources
Whether your students actually compete in National History Day or not, the annual themes and the challenge of hands-on, primary research wrapped into the History Day project format is an engaging way for students to participate in their own learning and produce rigorous, meaningful projects they will never forget. This collection of TeachersFirst resources pulls from our offerings on primary sources -- a requirement in the national history day competition. Check the official National History Day site at the start of each school year for the specific theme of the year. Then search TeachersFirst for more resources related to that year's theme. Explore and share these offerings as you plan a "history day" type event for your school or to assist students participating in National History Day.
Grades8 to 12
In the ClassroomBookmark and save this site for use throughout your World War Two unit. Introduce this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Then have students explore this site independently or in small groups. Challenge students to find examples of the Allies' use of propaganda and use an online tool such a Creately (reviewed here) to create diagrams, mindmaps, and other visual graphic organizers comparing the uses of propaganda. Have students create a word cloud of the propaganda terms they learn from this site using a tool such as Wordle (reviewed here), Tagxedo (reviewed here), or WordItOut (reviewed here). Save this one in your favorites to suggest if you have students who need primary sources projects for National History Day.
Grades6 to 12
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In the ClassroomThese are great primary source images and documents for the study of 1930s construction projects related to the rebuilding of the US during the final years of the Great Depression. Share the PowerPoint and photographs on your interactive whiteboard. Have students create a multimedia presentation using UtellStory, reviewed here. This tool allows narrating and adding text to a picture. To find Creative Commons images (with credit, of course), try Wikimedia Commons, reviewed here. Use the photos as part of a physics or technology unit about bridges. Include this as one of several structures for students to research and analyze using their new-found concepts.
Grades1 to 12
Download lessons, Resource Packs, and Podcasts. Be sure to check out the extensive section for students including games, study skill tips and advice, and information on using primary sources. Learn about important people, government officials, and heroes of the past and present such as Charles Dickens and Florence Nightingale. Explore and research famous events/times such as American Civil Rights Movement or Life During War Times. The site was created in the UK, so some of the pronunciations and spellings may differ from American English.
In the ClassroomKeep this site in mind as an easy place to find games and lessons related to British history (and even some world history topics). Use this site as an anticipatory set or "activator" to introduce a unit or lesson on a projector or interactive whiteboard. Present the same time period, such as World War II, from a British and American point of view using this site and similar primary source images from U.S. collections like this one or this one. Have students create timelines (with music, photos, videos, and more) using Capzles (reviewed here). Have students use Fakebook (reviewed here) to create a "fake" page similar in style to Facebook about a British resident during any time periods involved with these activities. Take advantage of the ready to go lesson plans, interactives, podcasts, and videos. Literature teachers will also want to explore and share the information about British authors.
Grades2 to 12
tag(s): advertising (33), black history (59), cross cultural understanding (115), history day (23), immigration (58), journalism (45), lincoln (86), martin luther king (37), poetry (227), presidents (130), primary sources (85), professional development (123), roosevelt (16), slavery (72), writing prompts (92)
In the ClassroomTake a look at the free professional development for using primary sources for teachers. In the Archives for Connecting to the Common Core, there are writing prompts for K-5 plus a link to the triangle activity. Download and use the PDF for the Thinking Triangle. Have older students research an interest and report to the class using a tool like Zoho Show (similar to PowerPoint, but easier and free) reviewed here.
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomClick on "In the Classroom" to find activities for each artifact for elementary, middle school, and high school. Personalize Abe Lincoln for your students by sharing some of the artifacts on your interactive whiteboard. Have students explore this site independently or in small groups. Students can then create a word cloud of the important terms they learn using a tool such as Wordle (reviewed here), Tagxedo (reviewed here), or WordItOut (reviewed here). Use ideas from Engaging Students With Primary Sources reviewed here to help high school students analyze primary source documents they find on Under Lincoln's Hat.
Grades5 to 12
In the ClassroomEncourage students to connect with current events by sharing the daily post (or one per week) on your projector or interactive whiteboard as students enter homeroom or settle in for the start of class. If you teach reading, this is the perfect way to entice students to READ informational texts with a visual image in mind, adding a purpose to their reading of non-fiction. This is a very creative way to practice close reading, as students look for the reasons behind the illustrator's choices. Extend the activity by challenging students in reading OR social studies classes to create their own Wordless News illustrations to reflect a news story they find on their own. Share the challenges on a class wiki for other students to "guess" and include the links to the stories. Art teachers can use this blog as an example of the many ways artists find inspiration in everyday life. Even the very young can "draw" a news story they read. ESL/ELL teachers can use these illustrations to build speaking vocabulary as students discuss and guess the news stories and practice their language skills reading the actual text. Use this blog in social studies class to inspire historic " wordless news" stories with accompanying articles written by students (or primary source stories from the time). What would the illustration and article be like for the Emancipation Proclamation?
Grades5 to 12
tag(s): chinese (48), civil rights (117), great depression (24), immigration (58), industrial revolution (25), native americans (78), presidents (130), transportation (40), westward expansion (29), womens suffrage (25)
In the ClassroomYou may have thought about a unit in which students create their own documentaries, but then felt overwhelmed by all the logistical considerations. Digital Docs in a Box is the answer. While there is not an enormous archive, it is still growing, and there is plenty here to get started. Students don't have to track down their own images, worry about their formatting or copyright, or be distracted with those pursuits. Instead, they can focus on the real point of the project: to take historical information and images and use it to tell a story they themselves devise. The TeachersFirst Edge has dozens of reviewed digital storytelling tools for your students to create projects from these "raw materials." As a teacher, you can also focus on the same issues and not spend hours setting up the project, deciding how to assess students' success in executing it, or keeping students focused on the project goal. Once you've used the site a few times, you might be able to create your own Docs in a Box kits and expand the topics covered.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomSearch and view information from this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Find documents from similar time periods and events to compare and contrast different points of view. Have students download to create an annotated image including text boxes and related links using a tool such as Thinglink, reviewed here. Have students create timelines (with music, photos, videos, and more) using Capzles, reviewed here. Have students use Fakebook, reviewed here, to create a "fake" page similar in style to Facebook about any of the founding fathers included on this site.
Grades6 to 12
tag(s): primary sources (85)
In the ClassroomBookmark and save this site for use throughout the year as a guide for using primary sources. Use some of the lesson strategies with other primary source collections
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomThis site is perfect for students to emcee on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Open up each quadrant to view images and documents provided. Have students discuss their reactions and thoughts on each of the representations before clicking on the asterisk to find specific information. Use teaching resources provided to add context to Civil War lessons. Challenge students to create a talking avatar using a photo or other image (legally permitted to be reproduced). The avatars can be used to explain information provided by one of the images. Use a site such as Blabberize (reviewed here). To find Creative Commons images for student projects (with credit, of course), try Compfight, reviewed here. Challenge your students to use a site such as TimeRime reviewed here to create an interactive timeline of information from this interactive poster along with other information learned during your Civil War unit.
Grades4 to 12
tag(s): art history (69), artists (75), biographies (85), black history (59), civil rights (117), civil war (145), cross cultural understanding (115), disasters (39), earthquakes (48), easter (21), inventors and inventions (103), korea (15), lincoln (86), mars (41), movies (63), natural disasters (20), presidents (130), primary sources (85), resources (111), south africa (10), vocabulary (324), weather (187), womens suffrage (25)
In the ClassroomUse this rich site to support your social studies, history, science, language arts classroom and many others! There is a lot here to explore and many diverse topics. Use the Visual Vocabulary Builder to introduce your students to new vocabulary in a different way. Middle and high schoolers could use the movies to teach about character development and themes. The site includes several lesson plans that help you teach with current movies. Have your students use the site to find historical images to use in presentations. (Be sure to check the licensing on any image you use and cite it properly.) Project the video clips using an interactive whiteboard or projector to introduce students to a unit of study. Challenge small groups of students to explore one of the topics presented at this site and share their "story" with the rest of the class. Have students create an annotated image including text boxes and related links using a tool such as Thinglink, reviewed here. Many texts on this site are also useful examples of informational texts for practice of Common Core standards.
Grades7 to 12
In the ClassroomExplore this site on your interactive whiteboard (or projector) as a class. Allow students to explore the site on their own. Challenge students to create a newspaper article about one of the main participants of the crisis, or one of the daily events using the Newspaper Clipping Generator. Choose individual chapters to view using links provided instead of viewing the whole documentary if time is an issue. Have students use a mapping tool such as Mapskip (reviewed here) to create a map of Cuban Missile Crisis events. Include audio "stories" and pictures as desired. Use an online tool such as Interactive Two Circle Venn Diagram (reviewed here) to create a visual comparison of JFK vs Castro or comparing the Cuban Missile Crisis to modern day events such as 9/11. This would be an outstanding inspiration for a History Day project.
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomThe "Lessons on Looking" can be used for a single class period or over several periods. Using a projector or interactive whiteboard, use the zoom tool to look at one aspect of the picture and have students interpret the image. Challenge your students to create a web exhibit collection about a historical topic using a tool such as Bag The Web (reviewed here). Students can share all of the important links, information, and even brief descriptions that they find on this site.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomUse your projector or interactive whiteboard and teach your students how to think like a historian. There are some interesting links here for you and your students to investigate. For instance, there are links for exploring the modern civil rights movement, primary sources to look at diary entries from other time periods, examining lithographs, using and reading multiple perspectives, and several more. You may want to go through each quadrant with the entire class, or you might want to assign groups to become "specialists" in a quadrant and have them present it to your class. Challenge the groups to create presentations using Prezi (reviewed here).
Grades3 to 7
In the ClassroomUse your interactive whiteboard or projector and teach your students how to think like a historian. There are some interesting links here for you and your students to investigate. For instance, there is a link to discover how different the lives of kids were in the past. View the primary sources to look at what nineteenth century kids read, what their toys were, and how the clothes looked. There are also links for using primary sources, and surfing the net successfully. You may want to go through each quadrant with the entire class, or you might want to assign groups to become "specialists" in a quadrant and have them present it to your class. Have students create online posters on paper using a tool such as Web Poster Wizard (reviewed here) or PicLits (reviewed here.
Grades9 to 12
tag(s): 1900s (33), 1910s (9), 1920s (16), 1930s (15), 1940s (13), 1950s (12), 1960s (30), 1970s (12), 1980s (9), 20th century (51), africa (180), asia (73), civil rights (117), cross cultural understanding (115), holocaust (39), jews (20), south africa (10), spain (9)
In the ClassroomBecause of the visual impact of this resource, it's perfect for use on an interactive whiteboard (or projector) as a complement to a study of the historical period or issue serving as the focus for each theme. Students can hear the voices of children who were affected by the Holocaust, see photographs of Apartheid era South Africa, and view primary source documents related to the life of activist Steve Biko. Allow yourself a little time to play with the site before you use it, as it may not be immediately intuitive. Overall, however, the impact of the images and video found here will add real power to your lessons. Challenge your students to use the search tool to find visual media related to events or topics your are studying and to explain the relationships. Even world language teachers will find the media available here a way to share a rich nuances of another culture.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomToday's Document would make a fantastic discussion starter in any classroom. It is an interesting, visual way for students to acquire background knowledge about American history and/or the Constitution and government. You may want to display a document on your interactive whiteboard as a bell-ringer (opener) activity, or as a story starter in English class. Cover up the cartoon explanation, and ask students to discuss events that they think took place. In U.S.history, government, or civics classes, use the site as an example, then challenge students to create their own comics to explain a topic using comic-creation tools from this TeachersFirst collection.
Grades8 to 12
The site is designed for use by college professors in designing research projects for individual students or student groups, but there is nothing here that would prevent advanced high school students from using the site or its materials as the basis for a research project. As the site is designed, instructors are to register prior to assigning research so that students can use an authorization code when submitting their research. If you decide to use the resources without submitting student work to the site, no registration is required. It should be noted that the terms of submission make the work the property of the University of Richmond; be sure that's consistent with your goals before you decide to submit.
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