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.
Grades6 to 10
In the ClassroomHistory and English teachers studying the Medieval time period can show the primary source of the illuminated alphabet script on The Canon of Medicine. Then have students create a mini-bio for themselves, starting with illuminating the first letter of their name. Use this site to study how the power of pictures can enhance text. The Process section explains how the Gutenberg Press used wood blocks or metal cuts along with the letterpress to print a book with images. Have your students view the "Process" part of this site, and look at several books printed in the Gutenberg time period. You may want them to further investigate the workings of the Gutenberg Press and what it took to make a book (materials and time). Then have your students make a simple, illustrated book using a program like Bookemon reviewed here. Have them use a timeline tool such as History in Motion,
Grades7 to 12
In the ClassroomAll of these topics are of interest to students doing research into 20th century US and international history, and might be particularly useful to students working on in depth projects for National History Day. After researching a specific topic, have students make a multimedia presentation using one of the many TeachersFirst Edge tools reviewed here.
Grades4 to 8
tag(s): abolition (7), american revolution (89), bill of rights (29), black history (60), colonial america (108), declaration of independence (13), history day (24), inventors and inventions (96), louisiana purchase (7), maps (293), native americans (77), politics (99), presidents (132), slavery (72), states (165), washington (35)
In the ClassroomEven 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.
Grades9 to 12
In the ClassroomExplore 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.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomThe 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.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomUse 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.
Too many resources to even summarize. I can't wait to share this resource. CONSTITUTION ON SEPT. 17.Patricia, NJ, Grades: 6 - 12
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomYou 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 using Sway, reviewed here, to share their findings.
Grades3 to 12
In the ClassroomAs 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.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomThis 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 Canva, reviewed here.
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomStudents 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.
Grades6 to 12
tag(s): history day (24)
In the ClassroomWhether 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.
Grades5 to 12
tag(s): labor day (5)
In the ClassroomOffer 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.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomWhile 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.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomAdd 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.
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomThe 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 Canva 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.
Grades6 to 12
tag(s): primary sources (93)
In the ClassroomUse 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.
Grades8 to 12
tag(s): cold war (28)
In the ClassroomPrimary 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!
Grades3 to 12
In the ClassroomThis 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.
Grades2 to 12
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!
In the ClassroomExplore 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.
Grades6 to 12
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.