TeachersFirst's National History Day Resources

Other TeachersFirst Special Topics Collections

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.

 

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Social Studies Foldables - Susie Orr

Grades
4 to 8
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Find downloadable pdfs and templates to support US History social studies curriculum. An extensive list of offerings includes items from maps to events to documents etc. The site also...more
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Find downloadable pdfs and templates to support US History social studies curriculum. An extensive list of offerings includes items from maps to events to documents etc. The site also includes limited suggestions on how to use the offerings. There are also links to other maps at this carefully documented site. Scroll down to see the letter from the person who created the originals, as the "Read Me First" note suggests.

tag(s): abolition (7), american revolution (86), bill of rights (28), black history (59), colonial america (107), declaration of independence (13), history day (23), inventors and inventions (101), louisiana purchase (7), maps (288), native americans (78), politics (99), presidents (130), slavery (72), states (163), washington (36)

In the Classroom

Even if you do not have time to explore all the offerings, check the list of activities often to enrich your background information on U.S. historical events and people and your lessons. Search for templates or maps that are useful to what you are currently studying.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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The Civics Connection - Lou Frey Institute

Grades
9 to 12
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This series of 16 short videos with former members of Congress includes related teaching materials on topics about "the inner workings of Congress, legislative-executive branch relations,...more
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This series of 16 short videos with former members of Congress includes related teaching materials on topics about "the inner workings of Congress, legislative-executive branch relations, landmark public policies, political parties and interest groups, campaigning for Congress, and the relationships between Congress and the public." Word documents are available for download, including teacher manuals, student handouts, and more. Free teacher registration is required to access some components so the Institute knows how many teachers are using the materials. The topics align easily with high school, AP, and college courses on U.S. government. The streaming video files are .ogv format. They are not on YouTube, however, so should be accessible inside school filters.

tag(s): branches of government (48), congress (33)

In the Classroom

Explore these videos as primary source interviews on government or as entire lessons for your government classes. Have students research and generate their own explanations of some of the tensions in government using video clips and the various primary sources offered with each clip. If they are adept with technology, they can use a tool such as Online Converter, reviewed here, to download a video clip-- with proper credit, of course -- and use an excerpt in their own classroom "newscast" or investigative story on their chosen topic. Downloaded videos should not be used in online projects, since this would be a copyright violation.

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Our Documents - National Archives

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6 to 12
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This site, a collaborative effort among the National Archives, National History Day and USA Freedom Corps, highlights the most important documents in US history. Each of these "milestone"...more
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This site, a collaborative effort among the National Archives, National History Day and USA Freedom Corps, highlights the most important documents in US history. Each of these "milestone" documents is detailed and photographed on a separate page; the photo can be enlarged for presentation on an interactive whiteboard. What is most helpful for teachers, however, is the link to tools for educators: a downloadable sourcebook, suggestions for using the documents to meet specific national social studies, economics, English, arts, civics, history, geography and technology standards, and lesson plans. This site was clearly designed with teachers in mind!

tag(s): history day (23), primary sources (86)

In the Classroom

The use of primary sources in teaching has been greatly increased by our digital access to documents like these. Peruse the list of "milestone" documents, and commit to using the photographs on an interactive whiteboard (or projector) when the document comes up in a lesson or discussion. For teachers who are supporting student projects for National History Day, this site also has a link to specific tips, although it appears the site has not been kept up to date with current information on individual competitions. Challenge cooperative learning groups to investigate one of the documents and create a multimedia project of their choice. Looking for some inspiration? How about having groups create a podcast using PodOmatic (reviewed here). Or have students create online posters on paper or do it together as a class using a tool such as Web Poster Wizard (reviewed here) or PicLits (reviewed here). Have students narrate a photo of the document (using a FREE and LEGAL photo) using a site such as Thinglink, reviewed here.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Annenberg Classroom - NPR/NY Times

Grades
6 to 12
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This collaborative website focuses on controversial contemporary issues, including juvenile justice, eco-topics, gun control, women's rights, voting rights, civil liberties in war,...more
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This collaborative website focuses on controversial contemporary issues, including juvenile justice, eco-topics, gun control, women's rights, voting rights, civil liberties in war, and affirmative action. Help students understand the role of the news media in a democracy. This website combines the radio broadcast resources of Justice Talking and written articles and features from the NY Times Learning Network. Lesson plans corresponding to each "hot topic" offer social studies, language arts, and science teachers opportunities to connect the real news with topics in their curricula. A glossary of words important to the democratic process and a link to the Constitution with a "what it says, what it means" feature allow students to understand authentic sources as well as historical references. "In Their Own Words" (accessible from the Site Guide) provides primary source documents and statements from each of the three branches of government, from the press, and from schools.

tag(s): civil rights (117), ecology (135), radio (27), women (101)

In the Classroom

Use this site to help students explore the branches of government in action as they address a "hot topic." Have groups of students listen to real broadcasts and analyze the issues as examples of the constitutional concepts you are studying. Make this link available from your teacher web page while studying the Constitution, the branches of government, and many other social studies topics. Use your interactive whiteboard or projection screen to share a video or audio clip to spark discussion on an issue or activate your lesson. Then, divide your class into teams and have a class debate about the issue. Have students prepare a pro/con wiki using links to the primary sources to support their position or create their own podcast commentaries with support for their opinions.

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Too many resources to even summarize. I can't wait to share this resource. CONSTITUTION ON SEPT. 17. Patricia, NJ, Grades: 6 - 12

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Digital Roman Forum - University of California, Los Angelos

Grades
6 to 12
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Here you will find a digital model of the Roman Forum as it appeared in 400 A.D. Are you ready to travel back in time? Take the virtual tour of ...more
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Here you will find a digital model of the Roman Forum as it appeared in 400 A.D. Are you ready to travel back in time? Take the virtual tour of the Roman Forum! This massive site is part of UCLA's Rome Rebuilt program. Using the Timemap feature, the button above the first paragraph, allows you to view the ruins, and the model at the same time. A very cool aspect of this feature is as you click and rotate the upper picture, which is the virtual model, the lower picture, which is the present day ruin, will rotate, too, and you will see a 360 degree panoramic view of both the old and the new. Clicking on the Timemap also allows you to search by Primary Source (Cicero, Festus, etc.), by Function (Religious Structures, Residential Buildings, etc.), and by Types (columns, arches, etc.).

tag(s): architecture (83), forum (9), latin (22), romans (35)

In the Classroom

You may want to investigate the first feature with the entire class using your interactive whiteboard or projector for annotations to show them how to get around on the site. Then allow the students to play with and study the Roman Forum model and ruins in the Timemap area at a designated station in your classroom, or on laptops with a partner. Once all students have become familiar with the Roman Forum features, have small groups choose one to investigate, starting with one of the primary sources listed on the site When the student or student groups complete their investigations, have them create an online, interactive poster known as a "glog," using GlogsterEDU, reviewed here, to share their findings.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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TeachersFirst Resources for Baseball Season - TeachersFirst

Grades
3 to 12
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Looking for a way to include baseball in your teaching? Whether it is time for Spring Training or the World Series, browse these options for curriculum connections to engage the ...more
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Looking for a way to include baseball in your teaching? Whether it is time for Spring Training or the World Series, browse these options for curriculum connections to engage the sports fans in your classroom.

tag(s): baseball (36), statistics (122)

In the Classroom

As spring or the World Series approaches, look to this collection for connections between your curriculum and baseball. Invite students to create their own baseball-related activities using the concepts you are studying right now: math word problems, scientific analysis of baseball physics, baseball writing ideas, or primary source interviewing about baseball.

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Radio Diaries - National Public Radio

Grades
6 to 12
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This site provides a large, indexed database of first person accounts and contemporaneous accounts of important eras and events in history. Primary sources can give the sense of "you...more
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This site provides a large, indexed database of first person accounts and contemporaneous accounts of important eras and events in history. Primary sources can give the sense of "you are there" that can make history come alive. They can also give valuable insight into the context and culture of a time and place remote from our own. Without the interpretation, summarization, and dilution that comes from textbook accounts, these narratives are invaluable to understand history in its purest sense. Search by time period or general topic and get speeches, diaries, and eyewitness accounts. Use the "Voices" tab to access audio recordings (requiring RealPlayer). Use the "History in Motion" tab to view film clips (requiring Flash). SnapShots provides photo montages from recent history. The home page is updated regularly to include "this month in history" features, a photo of the week, and a list of new entries to the database. A collection of the audio essays ("Teenage Diaries")draws on the experiences of a diverse group of teens who describe their lives, what's important, and what they're thinking. It's fun to browse and explore, but there is also a comprehensive index if you're searching for something in particular. One downside is the liberal use of moving advertising that can be distracting. This website requires Flash and RealPlayer.

tag(s): writing (358)

In the Classroom

This is a fabulous resource for augmenting generic textbook accounts of history with primary source material. Whether we like it or not, our students are more visual than we were; they will love the film clips and photo montages from recent events. Use these on an interactive whiteboard or projector for full impact (although the film clips are fairly small to maintain resolution). If you teach social studies, this is a site you'll want to bookmark and visit often. English teachers will want to use the teenage diaries as inspiration for creative writing assignments, or even as a source of ideas for college admissions essays. Challenge students to create their own visual complements to the audio essays using a tool such as GlogsterEDU, reviewed here.

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The Geography of Slavery in Virginia - University of Virginia

Grades
4 to 12
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The University of Virginia has collected the 19th century ads for runaway and captured slaves and indentured servants covering the period between 1736 and 1803 into a digital archive....more
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The University of Virginia has collected the 19th century ads for runaway and captured slaves and indentured servants covering the period between 1736 and 1803 into a digital archive. This searchable data base reveals a rich archive of information about daily life in Virginia, including geographic detail, the habits, appearance, clothing, and behavior of slaves and indentured servants, and general cultural attitudes of times regarding slavery. The site also offers commentary and resources helpful in understanding the database.

tag(s): primary sources (86), slavery (72), virginia (16)

In the Classroom

Students will certainly gain a more concrete and visceral understanding of attitudes toward slaves when reading these advertisements. The concepts are not necessarily Virginia-specific! Use some of the "personal profiles" to help students get to know one of the runaway slaves or servants more intimately. Have students review the diary entries of slaveowners to cut through our modern interpretations of what plantation owners thought or believed. Use these primary sources to guide a frank discussion on the role of slavery in Virginia and the South prior to the Civil War. The site is also an important resource for students doing research on antebellum Virginia.

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National History Day - National History Day

Grades
6 to 12
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No national social studies competition carries more respect than National History Day. Each year a new theme leads students to delve into primary research on local, regional, or national...more
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No national social studies competition carries more respect than National History Day. Each year a new theme leads students to delve into primary research on local, regional, or national issues and events. This site is the home page for the competition, complete with all materials and information needed to participate. Whether you choose to hold a History Day event within your school or to compete against others, this site will get you started. Use this site in combination with TeachersFirst's collection of History Day Resources.

tag(s): history day (23)

In the Classroom

Whether you choose to hold a History Day event within your school or to compete against others, this site will get you started. Make this a permanent link on your class web page or share it with your gifted enrichment specialist for a curriculum connection to challenge any student.

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American Labor Studies Center - ALSC

Grades
5 to 12
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This site offers a collection of lesson plans, videos, photographs, songs, timelines, and other documents about the history of the labor movement in the U.S. The documents are a compilation...more
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This site offers a collection of lesson plans, videos, photographs, songs, timelines, and other documents about the history of the labor movement in the U.S. The documents are a compilation from many prestigious sources including the Library of Congress, the National Archives, labor history from individual states, and labor museums. Click topics to explore such as Using Songs to Teach Labor History, Black Labor History, Women's Labor History, Religion and Labor, and several others.

tag(s): labor day (5)

In the Classroom

Offer a lesson from this site when planning student projects for National History Day or in conjunction with Labor Day. Use this site to have students compare labor issues in several states. Show students a timeline of labor history from one area and have them create a similar one for their own state or region using a site such as TimeRime reviewed here. Show selected videos (on your interactive whiteboard or projector). Share authentic photographs from this site when discussing employment topics or the history of unions. This site can also provide context when reading literature based in the Great Depression or industrialization era.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Teachinghistory.org - National History Education Clearinghouse

Grades
6 to 12
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This is another incredibly rich site, so much so that it's difficult to know where to start in describing it. Designed to be a resource to those teaching history, the ...more
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This is another incredibly rich site, so much so that it's difficult to know where to start in describing it. Designed to be a resource to those teaching history, the site is divided into three main areas: teaching materials, history content, and best practices. The teaching materials section includes reviewed lesson plans, teaching guides, and a searchable index of state standards. The history content includes website reviews, multimedia resources, links to museums and historical sites and other resources. The best practices section looks at how one thinks as a historian, advice on using primary sources, and tips for those teaching history. There are brief video introductions to the site focused on different instructional levels (elementary, middle school, and high school). Tucked in the corners is a weekly history quiz, video interviews with historians, and an NHEC blog.

tag(s): history day (23), primary sources (86)

In the Classroom

While the "history content" section of this website contains resources that might be directly usable in the classroom, there is much more here for the teacher to use in preparing lessons, learning more about topics of interest and in infusing the teaching of history with more primary documentation and historical thinking that has been past practice in a traditional social studies classroom. There is also a focus on the limitations of mass produced text books, and guidance on helping students begin to question what they find in those text books as historians. On this site there are interactive posters to use with your students to get them to start thinking like a historian. You can see the review for the elementary poster here,. Altogether, this is a very rich resource and should be in regular rotation among your "go to" bookmarked favorites.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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A Very Old Place - N Bosch

Grades
6 to 12
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Created by a former elementary gifted education teacher, this is a blog that focuses on primary source documents and websites. Because it's a blog, the site has a series of ...more
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Created by a former elementary gifted education teacher, this is a blog that focuses on primary source documents and websites. Because it's a blog, the site has a series of keywords down the right margin, and features dated entries about various topics. Like other "old places," it's made to explore, noodle around in, and generally lose yourself. While the site might not necessarily be a great resource to students themselves, teachers will find it fascinating and possibly inspiring for teaching ideas and student projects, all using primary sources. Inspire a love of history with the "things" that bring it to life.

tag(s): primary sources (86), resources (112)

In the Classroom

Add this site to your Favorites and use it for an ongoing source of ideas and interesting websites to bring into the classroom and to explore. Challenge students to make a digital collection of "primary source" materials about your school or local community as they come to appreciate the value of such documents and artifacts through a historical eye.

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Spy Letters of the American Revolution - Clements Library, University of Michigan

Grades
4 to 12
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This fascinating site is based on an exhibit of American Revolutionary spy letters from the William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan. The Gallery of...more
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This fascinating site is based on an exhibit of American Revolutionary spy letters from the William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan. The Gallery of Letters provides a brief description of each letter and links to more information about the stories of the spies in the letter or the secret methods used to make the letter. This site is rich with primary sources, taking students back in time!

tag(s): evolution (100), primary sources (86)

In the Classroom

The use of spy letters shows students a different perspective of the Revolutionary War. Have your students use the information about the spies and write a biography. Add a little mystery to your classroom and have students write spy letters from the perspective of people on each side of the war. Have students use the images and information from the site and create a poster using Glogster reviewed here. Post the letters on an interactive whiteboard or projector and use the letters in an English class to discuss letter writing, grammar, and sentence structure. The whiteboard tools can be used to highlight and annotate. Several more examples of fun activities including writing with disappearing ink can be found in the Teacher's Lounge.

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CSI: Cemetery Scene Investigation - Enhanced Learning Center

Grades
6 to 12
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Every town has cemeteries. What can these places tell us about the history of our community, the history of our country, and the cultural customs of different historical eras? All ...more
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Every town has cemeteries. What can these places tell us about the history of our community, the history of our country, and the cultural customs of different historical eras? All these questions are explored in this website. A fabulous example of what a motivated and inspired class of students can accomplish with a great idea. This group of gifted students decided to tackle local cemeteries as primary source material. The website is the story of their exploration, including their journals, the history of cemeteries, the history of burial customs, information about decoding old burial markers, examples of their grave rubbings; everything down to proper etiquette for visiting a cemetery. Included are teacher resources to help inspire you to undertake a similar project. The site serves both as a good resource itself, but is more valuable as an example of how to design a similar exploration for your own students.

tag(s): primary sources (86)

In the Classroom

Use this site to create your own class project on cemeteries in your local area. Visit the "Schedule" link to learn how to follow this example in your own class. Visit the "Teacher/General Resources" link to learn more about exploring history cemeteries and more. If your class doesn't have the time to do one of these explorations on your own, take advantage of the information provided at this site. Have cooperative learning groups explore specific areas of this site and create multimedia projects about famous burial sites, weathering, preserving cemeteries, cemetery horticulture, or one of the other many topics provided. Have groups of students narrate a picture using a tool such as UtellStory, reviewed here.

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Cuban Missile Crisis - Avalon project

Grades
8 to 12
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Lists of primary sources, spanning the Cuban Missile Crisis. ...more
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Lists of primary sources, spanning the Cuban Missile Crisis.

tag(s): cold war (29)

In the Classroom

Primary sources could be used to teach both the content and historical thinking skills in your classroom. Divide students into 5-6 groups, with each group assigned a different primary source to read and evaluate. (Sources should come from various perspectives to make the game more interesting, but should have the same general topic) Have the groups present quick summaries of their source to the class, making sure to mention who the author is and whether or not there could be bias. After all have presented, have each team pick a representative to argue in front of the class as to why their source is the most reliable and valid. After all have made their argument, have the class vote off the least reliable "survivor style" until you are left with just one!

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A Family Farm Album: The Photographs of Frank Sadorus - Illinois State Museum

Grades
3 to 12
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Take a journey through the life of Frank Sadoras. This site has a wonderful collection of photographs and biographical documents that chronicles Frank's life growing up on a farm in...more
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Take a journey through the life of Frank Sadoras. This site has a wonderful collection of photographs and biographical documents that chronicles Frank's life growing up on a farm in Illinois from 1898-1912. By using this site, you and your students will get a view of what life was like growing up on a farm as well as the photographic techniques Frank used to take his photos.

tag(s): agriculture (54), genealogy (7), photography (160), primary sources (86)

In the Classroom

This site is a good site to use if you want to introduce more primary sources into your teaching. There is an extensive activities and resource section that covers the topics of photography, history, farming and genealogy. In addition, the PDF entitled the Turning Point would be a good resource to use in a lesson on narrative writing. Share the photos in art (or photography) class on your projector or interactive whiteboard. Have students create blog entries from the perspective of Frank Sadorus. Use the pictures for creative writing exercises. Why not have a photo of the week and have students write a short piece on the class wiki about what they feel the picture represents, what is happening in the photo, what the animal or person was doing/thinking in the photo, or whatever else is applicable in your class. Do you want to learn more about wikis? Check out the TeachersFirst's Wiki Walk-Through.
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Memory Share - BBC

Grades
2 to 12
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On this site, students can see a variety of time lines that partially describe people's memories. Memories show up through the timeline, through a keyword, or through an individual...more
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On this site, students can see a variety of time lines that partially describe people's memories. Memories show up through the timeline, through a keyword, or through an individual url address. The archive of memories begins with 1900. For example, a page on the year 1968 yields information about a radio program popular that day. You can add your own memories to further describe the year 1968. Adding your own memories does require registration. Registration requires a member name and password, no private information is required. If you elect to have students use the site to share memories, we recommend that you follow guidelines on the TeachersFirst Edge Tips about memberships, schools policies, and safety.

The general site describes itself as a "gathering" of viewers' memories. Therefore, many of the events in Memory Share are personal, not global events. To begin, you click on the left side to select a particular year. Then scroll around a circular spiral which contains the memories others have submitted. To read a specific memory, you click on the "blob" on the spiral which represents the memory. The site also allows for storage of video memories. Both the written and the video memories are filed by keyword so they can be compared to other memories containing similar terms.

Since this site has content generated by the public, always preview information before you share it with your students!

tag(s): 20th century (51), timelines (62)

In the Classroom

Explore others' memories to gain a sense of a time period such as the 1920s, asking students what the memory tells then about life during that time. Have students interview an older family member or neighbor and add one of their own significant memories to the Memory Share site. This is also a great site to have students record holiday memories and favorite family holiday rituals. Use the site to explain what a primary source is, as well. Use memory writing as a way to practice sequencing skills and general narrative writing, publishing the final products on a timeline (protect identity, of course!). Have students create a timeline of their own memories concerning major world events such as the election of the first African American U.S. president. Share this link on your class website for students and parents to use together.
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Short Stories of Science and Invention - Today in Science History (Stories are from Charles Kettering)

Grades
6 to 12
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This site is an index of stories that have been spoken on radio shows by Charles Kettering. Kettering was head of research for General Motors and held over 140 ...more
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This site is an index of stories that have been spoken on radio shows by Charles Kettering. Kettering was head of research for General Motors and held over 140 patents. One of his standout accomplishments was the development of Freon as a refrigerant.

There are a number of short stories from all areas of science taken from Kettering's Radio talk shows. The general topics include "Introduction to Science and Invention," "Science and Invention in Transportation," "Science and Invention in War." Specific topics vary from Energy from the Sun to The Wright Way to Unraveling the Atom and many others.

tag(s): aviation (39), history day (23), inventors and inventions (101), scientists (68), sun (71), transportation (40)

In the Classroom

This site would be a helpful alternative text in the science classroom. Use this site for research projects or explaining some famous inventions. Extend reading into an online journaling project or even a classroom blog or wiki. Not comfortable with wikis? Have no wiki worries - check out the TeachersFirst's Wiki Walk-Through. The opportunity for collaboration, reflection, and eventually creating their own stories of their projects is wonderful. Have cooperative learning groups create multimedia presentations. To show what they have learned from this site, challenge students to create an online graphic to share using Tabblo reviewed here. Have groups create news reports and share them using a tool such as SchoolTube reviewed here.

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Nevada Test Site Oral History Project - University of Nevada Las Vegas

Grades
9 to 12
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Oral history has become an increasingly important tool in understanding recent history. This site chronicles the stories of those who have been personally affected by the testing of...more
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Oral history has become an increasingly important tool in understanding recent history. This site chronicles the stories of those who have been personally affected by the testing of nuclear weapons in Nevada between 1951 and 1992. You can browse a very rich list of individual transcripts or search by category of interviewee. There is a fairly short list of video interviews. There is a nice timeline that puts the development of nuclear weapons in the US into perspective. Finally, there is a link to information about the test site as a place, both as a place for testing, a place for protesting, and a sacred place to native people.

tag(s): cold war (29)

In the Classroom

This site might serve as a useful supplement to a unit on the Cold War. Students doing research on nuclear testing will find the transcripts and video interviews very valuable as primary source material. The timeline would be helpful projected on an interactive whiteboard or projector as part of a discussion of recent American history. Use this site for research about the Cold War and World War II. Have students create a multimedia presentation using ThingLink, reviewed here, to narrate a photo as if it is a news report.
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Primary Research: Bring History Closer to Home - Primary Research

Grades
9 to 12
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Primary Research is an archive of student projects related to local history near Beverly, Massachusetts. Projects range from an examination of local cemeteries and tombstones...more
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Primary Research is an archive of student projects related to local history near Beverly, Massachusetts. Projects range from an examination of local cemeteries and tombstones to the lives of African Americans in antebellum Boston. The site represents an excellent example of the kind of innovative projects student groups can undertake, and might spark ideas for similar projects regardless of the location. The "Library" section of the site provides primary documents used in the student projects, while the "Guides" section gives additional instruction used in the analytical sections of the projects.

tag(s): history day (23), local history (13)

In the Classroom

Provide this site to students who are considering group History Day projects, and it will surely encourage creative ideas. Consider adapting one of the projects to your local area for an entire class, or for a group of students looking for additional challenge. Why not make the projects even more interactive, by having students create multimedia projects. Have students narrate a photo using a site such as ThingLink, (reviewed here. Have students create online books using a tool such as Bookemon (reviewed here). Have students create and share videos using a site such as SchoolTube (reviewed here). "Map out" your local history using a tool such as Mapskip, reviewed here. The project possibilities are endless!

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