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Interactives: United States History Map - Annenberg Media

Grades
4 to 9
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Annenberg Media has created this fantastic interactive tool that allows you to trace the growth and settlement of the United States by using a map. Throughout this interactive challenge,...more
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Annenberg Media has created this fantastic interactive tool that allows you to trace the growth and settlement of the United States by using a map. Throughout this interactive challenge, students learn about map legends, the compass rose and cardinal directions, and different types of maps. Students also learn about the various regions of the United States and the rivers, lakes, mountains, oceans, and more that are located in the United States. This website even delves into U.S. History by displaying major Indian tribes (and regions), explaining colonists, and the expansion of the great nation. This website requires FLASH. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): colonial america (108), directions (19), india (37), map skills (82), maps (293), westward expansion (29)

In the Classroom

What a comprehensive website - offering geography, U.S. history, map skills, and more. Use your interactive whiteboard (or projector) to share the interactive activities (there are five, including a "test").

If time permits, divide your class into five groups and assign each group one of the main topics to explore. Give each group 30 minutes or so to read through the information. Then have each group share their findings with the class. Take the final "test" together on an interactive whiteboard (or projector).
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Loud Lit - Loudlit.org

Grades
1 to 12
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Loud Lit offers "literature for your ears and eyes" (although the site's visual appearance is quite plain!). This collaborative project with public domain offers recorded literature....more
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Loud Lit offers "literature for your ears and eyes" (although the site's visual appearance is quite plain!). This collaborative project with public domain offers recorded literature. You are given the options of listening to the literature, listening and reading the literature, or downloading the literature to an MP3 player. The number of items available for public use is constantly increasing. The current contents include novels, poetry, classic children's literature, a few historical items, and classic short stories. Some examples of the available literature includes A Tale of Two Cities, The Little Match Girl, The Gift of the Magi, The Declaration of Independence, The Gettysburg Address, and countless others. A separate column lets you know about newly recorded items. This site requires Flash and Quicktime. Get them from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): declaration of independence (13), gettysburg (26), gettysburg address (18), literature (275), poetry (225)

In the Classroom

This site is helpful for many subjects and grade levels. Have students use this website when they have to memorize poetry, the Gettysburg Address, or the Declaration of Independence. ESL and ELL students and many learning support students will benefit from the option of "reading" in multi-media format. Use the audio stories with younger students for listening skills. During a poetry unit, why not have students choose one of the poems to read and listen to? Have the students analyze and write in their journal about what they think the poem means. Then have the students share the original poem and their own opinions with the class, making this activity a listening, reading, writing, and speaking lesson. If you are into podcasting, encourage students to create some of their own poetry readings with commentary.
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English Renaissance Drama - Anniina Jokinen

Grades
9 to 12
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Students know something about Shakespeare, but they tend to think he was the only playwright of his day. This site helps them realize that he was only one of many ...more
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Students know something about Shakespeare, but they tend to think he was the only playwright of his day. This site helps them realize that he was only one of many in the Elizabethan period and that there was a Tudor period before and a Jacobean period after him. This is an exhaustive, albeit entertaining, and authoritative look at English drama as it moved from the Middle Ages through the Renaissance. The articles are written by professors and they all contain links with explanations for all the referenced allusions. While rather encyclopedic in nature, having all the resources in one place is extraordinarily handy for the teacher of this period.

tag(s): elizabethan (16), renaissance (34)

In the Classroom

Have students "become" one of the rival playwrights after researching the times and the playwright might be interesting. Perhaps students could do a panel discussion or write a blog entry as their "playwright." Don't miss the Introduction section to get valuable information about the theaters and the staging conventions of the time.

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The Case Files - The Franklin Institute

Grades
4 to 12
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This wonderfully informative website provides numerous "case files" about many famous people from the world of science and technology.. There are five major areas including computing,...more
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This wonderfully informative website provides numerous "case files" about many famous people from the world of science and technology.. There are five major areas including computing, transportation, cosmic inquiry, energy, and communications. Once you click on one of the major areas, a list of names appears. Then click on the names of the famous people to learn more about their specific inventions and/or contributions to science and technology. The text also includes images of artifacts from each scientist's life: diaries, writings, and more, all clickable to bring up a larger image of the "real thing." Numerous famous scientists and inventors are included (Alexander Graham Bell, William Jennings, Marie Curie, Albert Einstein, Henry Ford, Catherine Gibbon, and many others).

tag(s): aviation (39), energy (203), inventors and inventions (96), scientists (70), transportation (41)

In the Classroom

There is a "teachers link" available to learn more about this website. Why not use this website as a resource for "case file" research projects. Assign each student (or groups of students) a different person to investigate. Weaker readers may need a partner with strong reading skills. Then have the students present a multimedia presentation about their "case file." Or have a day when students actually portray their scientist and interact with others "in character."

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The Statue of Liberty: The Meaning and Use of a National Symbol - EDSITEment

Grades
3 to 7
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This online unit plan includes seven lesson plans plus extension activities. The topics all relate to the Statue of Liberty and national symbols. Specific lesson plan topics include...more
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This online unit plan includes seven lesson plans plus extension activities. The topics all relate to the Statue of Liberty and national symbols. Specific lesson plan topics include "Isn't it Symbolic," "A Mighty Women with a Torch," "Built-in Symbols," "Using the Symbol," "Choose a Symbol, any Symbol," "Create a Symbol," "The United States Symbol," and various lesson extensions. There are objectives provided, but formal standards are not listed. Many of the lesson plans include interactive components. Some of the activities require FLASH. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): symbols (19)

In the Classroom

If you are learning about the Statue of Liberty or national symbols in general, visit this useful online unit. Even if you don't have time to complete the entire unit, you can "cherry pick" the good stuff. The activities are ready to go and very simple to use. Why not use your interactive whiteboard to share some of the unique pictures and activities available at this website.
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Exploring Online: The Sweet Lure of Chocolate - Exploratorium Magazine

Grades
3 to 8
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If your class is studying chocolate or investigating nutrition or agriculture, look no further than this website dedicated to this delicious delicacy. Some of the unique topics include...more
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If your class is studying chocolate or investigating nutrition or agriculture, look no further than this website dedicated to this delicious delicacy. Some of the unique topics include "Chocolate in the Forest" (which takes students to the Amazon rainforest), the health risks and benefits of chocolate, the history of chocolate, and many other "yummy" bits (or bites) of information. Some of the articles feature interactive elements that require Real Video. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): aztecs (9), chocolate (7), mayans (13), nutrition (159)

In the Classroom

There are numerous ways that this website could be incorporated into the classroom. Why not have a class debates about whether chocolate is healthy or hurtful to the human body? This website also presents concise and diverse research that could be used for independent projects.
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Timeline of Art History - Metropolitan Museum of Art

Grades
6 to 12
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The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City offers this site. View World Maps, Timelines, Thematic Essays, and more. Click on the "Works of Art" link to search by ...more
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The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City offers this site. View World Maps, Timelines, Thematic Essays, and more. Click on the "Works of Art" link to search by time period, geographical region, or thematic category. Time periods include 8000 BC to the present. Thematic categories include African, Renaissance, Colonial, Medieval, Modern, and more. The timeline features nearly every continent and many categories of art.

tag(s): art history (72), medieval (27), renaissance (34)

In the Classroom

Art teachers will find it easy to search for themes. History teachers can access items by date. Any of the "thematic essays" could be projected on an interactive whiteboard (or projection screen) to accompany a lecture in class. Or have students use this excellent resource for independent research or to illustrate their own presentations. Challenge groups to choose a time period and create blogs about the "mood" of the art. If you are beginning the process of integrating technology, have students create blogs sharing their learning and understanding using Telegra.ph, reviewed here. This blog creator requires no registration! Or have students make a multimedia presentation using one of the many TeachersFirst Edge tools reviewed here.

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Interactives: Historical and Cultural Contexts - Annenberg Media

Grades
6 to 12
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This website teaches students to recognize different kinds of primary documents, interpret them by using context clues, and apply what they've learned to better understand the past....more
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This website teaches students to recognize different kinds of primary documents, interpret them by using context clues, and apply what they've learned to better understand the past. Professional historians rely heavily on primary documents in their research. The world wide web has opened up a wealth of primary documents for use by a broader audience, and students can gain valuable insight into the past by understanding and analyzing them. Advanced classes, particularly AP-level, emphasize the importance of primary documents. What is particularly good about this site is that it is written at a level accessible to younger students. This allows teachers to begin using primary documents much sooner. The Speed Round requires FLASH. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): primary sources (93)

In the Classroom

The site would work well on an interactive whiteboard (or projector) as a classroom activity. With the teacher leading and clarifying, the class might walk through several simple document analyses to gain an understanding of primary documents and their uses. If you do History Day competition, this activity would be a good starter early in the process. Alternatively, students could be instructed to complete the activity independently as an introduction to a more complex discussion of primary documents or to prepare for the dreaded DBQs ("document-based questions") in AP History classes.
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Biographical Dictionary - s9.com

Grades
3 to 12
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This Wikipedia-type dictionary includes more than 33,000 biographies on men and women from ancient times to today. Search by birth or death dates, professions, achievements, name or...more
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This Wikipedia-type dictionary includes more than 33,000 biographies on men and women from ancient times to today. Search by birth or death dates, professions, achievements, name or other keywords. Anyone can register to edit or add to a biography. If you do recommend this site as a source for research, be sure to have the discussion about its unknown authorship and usefulness as a general information tool but not as a "scholarly" resource.

tag(s): critical thinking (112)

In the Classroom

This site could be a terrific way to publish student research projects to the real world. When you assign research projects on a famous scientist, author, famous American, musician, etc., have students create their written projects in a format that will fit into this online dictionary, including providing links and references for their information. Younger students could write an entry together as a class (perhaps on an author whose book you have just read). Challenge middle and high school students to find articles in your research area that contain possible inaccuracies or bias (and the research to prove it) and present both the original and their proposed changes to the class before putting them online. What a critical thinking challenge!

Be sure to follow your district's acceptable use policy if you are allowing students to contribute to this site. Make sure you have written parent permission to post student work online.

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Way Back: Flight - WGBH for PBS

Grades
3 to 8
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This interactive website (created by PBS) presents the history of flight. What a fabulous way to integrate history, science, inventions, research, and writing. Click your way through...more
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This interactive website (created by PBS) presents the history of flight. What a fabulous way to integrate history, science, inventions, research, and writing. Click your way through the notable and not-so-notable flight pioneers. Other highlights of this website include a wealth of information about the Wright Brothers, a modern day female barnstormer, "joke" links, and more.

tag(s): flight (36), inventors and inventions (96), wright brothers (25)

In the Classroom

Use the "People to Know" section as a model for a class activity on any science or history topic. Share this section of the Flight site on a projector or whiteboard during your inventions or Famous Americans unit. Then, in your next unit, have students write about an important figure without his/her name and ask others to guess who it might be. Put the writings on your class blog or wiki and have other students respond with their guesses.
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Way Back: Summer Vacation - WGBH for PBS

Grades
4 to 8
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"Travel" is perhaps a better name for this site. No matter what time of year, students love to dream of vacation and plan a fantasy trip. Explore destinations in the ...more
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"Travel" is perhaps a better name for this site. No matter what time of year, students love to dream of vacation and plan a fantasy trip. Explore destinations in the USA through reading the information at these links--and don't forget to send postcards along the way. Three links feature information on car camping, Miami Beach, and summer camp. Definitely check out Tim Hollis' interview in the 'Buzz' section. He discusses some out-of-the-way places to vacation in the south. Can your class make their own list of lesser-known places to explore in your local area?

This site is a good companion to TeachersFirst's own 50 States, where the "Sites to see" for each state include some lesser-known and intriguing options, as well.

tag(s): summer (12)

In the Classroom

As your class learns about places in America, they can make their own 'road trip map' just like the featured one at this site or use a wiki as a class trip-planner. If you use Google Earth, you could create placemarkers with student's own writings, then play the "tour." Or, perhaps your students can simply choose one of the 13 destinations on this site to research further.
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Comments

sounds like a great add on to my see the USA project. Susan, NJ, Grades: 0 - 3

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The History of Jim Crow - NYLife/PBS

Grades
6 to 12
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This website presents a comprehensive look at Jim Crow and the history of segregation in the United States. It is full of direct information as well as links to related ...more
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This website presents a comprehensive look at Jim Crow and the history of segregation in the United States. It is full of direct information as well as links to related sites. Subtopics include television, geography, history, American literature, and teacher resources. The teacher resources include lesson plans (with standards), activities, and other resources. The literature connections provided are the "icing on the cake." Note: some additional information about the site -- and sales of videos -- appears in a pop-up. You may want to temporarily allow pop-ups to see if this information is helpful.

tag(s): segregation (15)

In the Classroom

There are countless ways that secondary teachers could incorporate this website. The lesson plans are ready to go and simple to use (see Teacher Resources). Why not work together with your teaching team to offer an interdisciplinary unit on segregation, relating the history to literature? Use the books, To Kill a Mockingbird, Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, or numerous others to help your students visualize the time period and make connections about the history and the literature. This website is also a great opportunity for collaborative work. Have your students read different historical fiction books from this time period, and then share the various similarities that they find. As an extension, have students write fictional blog entries from people they read about.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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National Museum of African American History and Culture - Smithsonian

Grades
6 to 12
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The National Museum of African American History and Culture is the only national museum devoted to documentation of African-American life in the United States. Explore the virtual museum...more
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The National Museum of African American History and Culture is the only national museum devoted to documentation of African-American life in the United States. Explore the virtual museum through collections, exhibitions, stories, and more. Search collections by topic, era, or name to view artifacts including photographs, maps, and much more.

tag(s): africa (175), african american (113), black history (60)

In the Classroom

This site is a great tool for individual research, add this site to your teacher web page so students can access it from home. Use an online tool such as Interactive Two Circle Venn Diagram (reviewed here) to compare information from different time periods or locations in the United States. Have cooperative learning groups create podcasts providing information about African-American life throughout the years, or as a newscast from one particular time or event. Use a site such as PodOmatic (reviewed here).
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Time Line Maker - Teachnology

Grades
1 to 5
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This site provides a quick and easy way to create a time line. Clear, step-by-step directions explain the process in language that even younger students can follow. Time lines cannot...more
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This site provides a quick and easy way to create a time line. Clear, step-by-step directions explain the process in language that even younger students can follow. Time lines cannot be saved, but can be printed horizontally (6 events) or vertically (9 events).

In the Classroom

Sign up to use the computer lab or laptops for students to complete a time line of their life or other topic, such as an animal life cycle or a biorgaphy of a famous person.

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Ultimate rollercoasters.com - ultimaterollercoaster.com

Grades
4 to 12
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Although this website doesn't have a lot of "bells and whistles." It is very useful to learn more about the physics behind thrill rides, the history of the roller coaster, ...more
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Although this website doesn't have a lot of "bells and whistles." It is very useful to learn more about the physics behind thrill rides, the history of the roller coaster, and more. The site provides statistical information, historical information, construction information, and more about various thrill rides (mainly roller coasters). Did you ever wonder what the tallest steel roller coaster was in the world? This website provides a "record book" with a wide variety of statistical information about what roller coasters can claim to be the tallest, longest, fastest, and more.

tag(s): roller coasters (3)

In the Classroom

This website could also be used for various research projects (either researching actual roller coasters - their history, structure, speed, etc..), or even researching different time periods and the types of rides that were available during that time. If you study laws of motion, assign students to find "real world" examples of the laws in action using research on this site. Ignore the annoying pop-ups!

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Timeless Ideas for Teaching - Concord Monitor Publishing

Grades
6 to 12
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Posted by the New Hampshire Concord Monitor Newspaper in the Classroom program, this website offers many interactive ideas that students can use either with a physical newspaper...more
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Posted by the New Hampshire Concord Monitor Newspaper in the Classroom program, this website offers many interactive ideas that students can use either with a physical newspaper in front of them, with an online news service such as CNN, or with online editions of newspapers that you find here. The examples used all refer to the New Hampshire newspaper, but are easily adaptable to whatever topic you want the students to deal with. This site includes such varied activities as creating a database and writing recipes. It covers every section of a newspaper. Students could create their own classroom newspaper using some of these activities or simply create journalistic articles based on whatever topic you are currently teaching. This is adaptable to almost any grade level and subject area.

tag(s): local history (14), news (264), newspapers (97)

In the Classroom

Whether you use hard-copy papers or electronic editions, many of these ideas will work even better using technology: word processing, wikis, blogs (for editorials), graphic organizer tools, digital cameras, etc. Use today's tools to study this powerful medium as it goes through transition into an electronic world. Consider asking students to compare electronic vs. hard-copy newspapers and their pros/cons, as well.

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The Online Guide to Traditional Games - James Masters

Grades
8 to 12
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Clearly, students love playing games of all kinds. This website takes a look at the history of games from board games to lawn games. It both describes the pieces, the ...more
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Clearly, students love playing games of all kinds. This website takes a look at the history of games from board games to lawn games. It both describes the pieces, the boards, the rules, and the history. Since many of the games are from other places around the world, this site affords the opportunity to investigate how game playing relates to life in different times and places. This is a great site to get kids involved in history, games, and creativity. Not only can they learn about games from the Renaissance and before; they will laugh at names like "Toad in the Hole" and "Ringing the Bull." While many of these games will show the origins of games they play today, it will give students ideas on how to create their own games.

In the Classroom

Have students design gameboards or cards, game pieces, and rules to play variations of the games on the site. In your world cultures class, have students play and compare games from different cultures. Use game-creation as the culminating project at the end of a content or research unit or simply as a way to teach writing: both informational (directions) and creative. Have students role-play characters who might play original or historic games by writing character sketches and then performing them. Let the games begin!

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CommonCensus Map Project - Michael Baldwin

Grades
9 to 12
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Today's world is increasingly mobile, and deep-seated regional identity may be fading into the background. This project seeks to redraw the map of the United States using responders'...more
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Today's world is increasingly mobile, and deep-seated regional identity may be fading into the background. This project seeks to redraw the map of the United States using responders' self-reported regional "identity" rather than political or geographic borders. For example, the city or US region you most closely identify with may be different from your mailing address. Aside from being a new way of thinking about the question "Where are you from?" this concept has enormous political implications as candidates focus on the regional issues that matter to voters. There are also important issues relative to immigration, national identity, and the ever-shrinking global economy reflected in this data.

tag(s): demographics (19)

In the Classroom

The website is a work in progress and depends upon users to respond to a brief questionnaire. It might be interesting to have students participate after a discussion of concepts of regional identification or the importance of political involvement. (The form does require the user to enter a home address, but no other identifying information). Your students could also invite their parents to participate or conduct a local drive to add data to the project and see what happens to the map. The information gathered from this site might also be helpful in talking about regional and local political representation during election years. The opportuniites for critical thinking abound with this site.

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National Women's History Museum - National Women's History Museum

Grades
7 to 12
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The National Women's History Museum site includes a rich collection of resources. Although the collection is certainly deep on issues related to women's suffrage, there is also information...more
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The National Women's History Museum site includes a rich collection of resources. Although the collection is certainly deep on issues related to women's suffrage, there is also information on women in World War II, women and education, women and the Progressive movement, and women spies. There are good photographs of artifacts from the women's movement, and a nice collection of lesson plans, grouped by grade level.

tag(s): jamestown (11), women (92), womens suffrage (26), world war 2 (142)

In the Classroom

Of course, the site would be useful to students doing research on the women's movement in general, or on the role of women during several important historical eras. In the "educational resources" section, there is a collection of quotations from women that would be great for creating displays for women's history month. Challenge students to create a poster for one of the women quoted using a tool such as Adobe Spark, reviewed here. There is also a group of quizzes that could be adapted for classroom use. The section focused on the women of Jamestown includes the stories of Native American women as well as the role of early European settler women and could supplement the usual Thanksgiving lessons on the new American colonies. There are also free lesson plans and classroom activities that teachers should take advantage of!

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Time of Remembrance - Elk Grove Unified School District

Grades
9 to 12
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An admirable effort by a California school district to honor Japanese Americans who were discriminated against and sent to internment camps during World War II, this site contains a...more
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An admirable effort by a California school district to honor Japanese Americans who were discriminated against and sent to internment camps during World War II, this site contains a wealth of information for those doing research on this difficult chapter of American history. Although this site would be most useful for either teachers or students doing in-depth research on the topic, there are some more generally helpful gems here. Along with the wonderful interviews with people who were directly affected by discrimination, there are video clips and photographs that would be helpful in illustrating this time to students.

tag(s): california (27), japan (61), japanese (44), world war 2 (142)

In the Classroom

There are lesson plans (tied to California standards) and good resource lists for students and teachers. Skip the "guided tour" of the website, however, unless you are very new at using the Internet. Share this resource as one of several when studying civil rights, discrimination, and the U.S. Constitution in theory and practice. Have students create products to compare the internment camps to similar acts in history or create a presentation on the constitutional violations of such camps. Or include this as part of a study of the decades of the twentieth century.

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