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The Blues - PBS

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6 to 12
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The PBS series on "The Blues" combines history and musicology in a reverential treatment of this uniquely American musical form. The site includes biographies, some good analysis of...more
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The PBS series on "The Blues" combines history and musicology in a reverential treatment of this uniquely American musical form. The site includes biographies, some good analysis of the musical theory and compositional form behind the blues, and samples of blues songs that are in the public domain (These seem to work on Internet Explorer only). While you probably cannot make an entire unit out of this one, it would be a neat addition to a unit on African American culture, American music, or the history of the twentieth century.

tag(s): africa (180), african american (113), blues (21), harlem (9), jazz (15)

In the Classroom

A lot of this site has been altered so that teachers have to order the lesson plans and classroom sets from PBS itself. However there are still the biographies and resources list available. Have students select a blues musician to complete a brief biography on, using the list provided on this site as a starting point. There is plenty of information, and students with little inspiration are sure to find someone of interest here.
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Perilous Fight - World War II in Color - PBS

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6 to 12
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American History teachers should turn their visual learners loose on this one. Based largely on collections of color still photos taken during World War II, the site - a companion ...more
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American History teachers should turn their visual learners loose on this one. Based largely on collections of color still photos taken during World War II, the site - a companion to the PBS show of the same name - examines the progress of the war in Europe, in the Pacific, and on the home front. The narrative is secondary to the photos and provides only a synopsis of some events, but visually, this is powerful stuff.

tag(s): world war 2 (142)

In the Classroom

Save this site on classroom computers and use it as a learning center or station. Some of the content does have sound, so make sure to include headphones for student use. This site does have a lot of information, and would perfectly be utilized during a unit on WWII or on the evolution of aircrafts in general. Tech-geeks will love this one!
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Anyday

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6 to 12
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This one is tough to categorize. Enter a day of the year, and this site will tell you about important events, births, and deaths that have happened on that day. ...more
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This one is tough to categorize. Enter a day of the year, and this site will tell you about important events, births, and deaths that have happened on that day. Try using this one to create a list of important events - covering a variety of subject areas - for an entire week.

tag(s): quiz (85)

In the Classroom

This site would make for a great creative writing project for students in a high school english class. Have students search for their birth date, and find one person on that list that they can focus their paper on. Have students research their historical person, eventually writing a analytical paper about the similarities and differences between their own life and that of their selected person. Teachers can focus more on similarities to make it more difficult and interesting - but it is a great way to get students thinking about comparing and contrasting.

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Days of Infamy - American Radio Works

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6 to 12
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Here's a web site comparing American reactions after the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the attacks on the World Trade Center. The real substance of the presentation is a series ...more
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Here's a web site comparing American reactions after the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the attacks on the World Trade Center. The real substance of the presentation is a series of audio recordings of commentary and "person in the street" reactions to the two events. To supplement these, there are image sets that contrast American responses to the two events. Transcripts are also available.

tag(s): pearl harbor (12), world war 2 (142)

In the Classroom

Of particular note to teachers: the audio can be used in either short segments or as a complete one-hour presentation.
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Looking Back - Duke University

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9 to 12
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Duke University's 37-minute audio retrospective on the September 11 attacks offers a haunting set of memoirs about that day that is striking for the visual images the speakers construct....more
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Duke University's 37-minute audio retrospective on the September 11 attacks offers a haunting set of memoirs about that day that is striking for the visual images the speakers construct. Creative teachers may find ways to use this one in the classroom, though some of the language is coarse.

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National Park Photographs - National Park Service

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4 to 12
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The National Park Service manages both an incredible inventory of natural wonders and many of America's most historic places. This site makes professional quality images of these -...more
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The National Park Service manages both an incredible inventory of natural wonders and many of America's most historic places. This site makes professional quality images of these - searchable by park - available for classroom use. In a world where copyright is always an issue, this site is a welcome addition.

tag(s): air (163), national parks (16)

In the Classroom

Use this site to search for images of a particular region being studied in a Physical geography class. These images can be incorporated into lectures, projects, displays etc. Just research before-hand what parks are in the specific area, and search away!

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Art of the Stamp - National Postal Museum

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4 to 12
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Art and Social Studies teachers will find this collection of contemporary stamp artwork interesting both for its style and for the range of themes that have been incorporated into stamps....more
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Art and Social Studies teachers will find this collection of contemporary stamp artwork interesting both for its style and for the range of themes that have been incorporated into stamps. The oversize artwork helps illustrate the details in these images.

tag(s): africa (180), african american (113)

In the Classroom

Use this site as a learning center or station during a lesson on the evolution of mail services in the US, and how services such as the pony express was affected by Westward expansion. Allow students to explore the site on classroom computers, using the stamp template as a formative assessment of their understanding. To make the stamp activity more content-based, have students design their stamps to reflect what they learned rather than allowing them to draw anything they can think of. History teachers will like this one!

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Great Lakes Maritime History Project - Wisconsin Historical Society

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6 to 12
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Created by the Wisconsin Historical Society, this site gives users access to a database of images of commerce on the Great Lakes over the past 150 years or ...more
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Created by the Wisconsin Historical Society, this site gives users access to a database of images of commerce on the Great Lakes over the past 150 years or so - primarily dealing with Wisconsin. The contents include photographs, digitized documents, advertising posters, and other material that chronicles traffic on the lakes. Both the search and keyword features are more awkward than they should be, and this likely will relegate this site to use by interested teachers only. It's a pity; there are interesting items here.

tag(s): wisconsin (3)

In the Classroom

Use this site to teach about the evolution of transportation in the US and how that affected areas such as the Midwest and the Great lakes regions. Search this site for primary sources that could be incorporated into your classroom, illustrating the content. These 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) 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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Anne Frank the Writer - Smithsonian

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6 to 12
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This site documents the US Holocaust Museum's recent exhibit about Anne Frank's unpublished writings. The site includes an introduction, interviews, excerpts from a number of unpublished...more
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This site documents the US Holocaust Museum's recent exhibit about Anne Frank's unpublished writings. The site includes an introduction, interviews, excerpts from a number of unpublished works, and a series of links for additional information. This one could be an interesting bridge between a writing assignment and the study of World War II.

tag(s): anne frank (10), holocaust (39), world war 2 (142)

In the Classroom

Use the virtual exhibit as a learning center or station during a unit on WWII in a history class or during a study of her book in an English class. This would be a great way to introduce Anne Frank, the exhibit serving to put all students at the same level of understanding of her life. If in need of some sort of assessment to see what students have learned from the site, challenge students to create an online graphic to share using Tabblo reviewed here.
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Images of Native Americans - UC Berkeley

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6 to 12
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Of interest to teachers of social studies, American history, or art, this site from UC Berkeley samples over 400 years of artistic portrayals of Native Americans in a variety of ...more
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Of interest to teachers of social studies, American history, or art, this site from UC Berkeley samples over 400 years of artistic portrayals of Native Americans in a variety of settings. The site is notable both for the quality of the images but also for the contexts in which they are presented. Suitable for a wide age range, depending on the amount of guidance the classroom teacher provides.

tag(s): india (36), painting (66)

In the Classroom

Use this site on a projector or interactive whiteboard to discuss and informally assess prior knowledge as you start your study of Native American Culture. This site could be used to discuss Native American culture both pre-colonialism and during Westward Expansion. Have students research the site in order to better understand the way Indians have been depicted in modern culture rather than the reality. To show what they have learned from this site, challenge students to create an online graphic to share using Tabblo reviewed here.

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American Leaders Speak - Library of Congress

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6 to 12
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Here is an interactive glimpse of political speeches delivered between 1918 and 1920. These fifty-nine speeches discuss topics such as World War I and the election of 1920. ...more
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Here is an interactive glimpse of political speeches delivered between 1918 and 1920. These fifty-nine speeches discuss topics such as World War I and the election of 1920.

tag(s): 1920s (16), elections (75), politics (99), world war 1 (54)

In the Classroom

Beyond the audio files themselves, there is also a "collections connections" section that provides teachers with helpful advice for integrating the speeches into American History, critical thinking, and humanities lessons. Hearing the actual voices can be a powerful experience for students.

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Smithsonian Education - Smithsonian

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4 to 12
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Divided into resources for educators, parents, and students, this Smithsonian site has a wealth of information. ...more
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Divided into resources for educators, parents, and students, this Smithsonian site has a wealth of information.

In the Classroom

The lesson plans in the educator's section are sorted subject area and cover arts and design, language arts, history and culture, and science and technology. The site also has helpful hints for planning a field trip to the Smithsonian, as well as a searchable database that allows educators to browse the lesson plans in search of a particular subject.
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Lewis & Clark Lessons - PBS

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6 to 12
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This group of seventeen lessons seeks to determine the importance of geographic, scientific, and other discoveries made by Lewis and Clark throughout their expedition. The site focuses...more
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This group of seventeen lessons seeks to determine the importance of geographic, scientific, and other discoveries made by Lewis and Clark throughout their expedition. The site focuses on the expeditions' importance to American History and illustrates the many ways in which the journey influenced modern American science and culture. The lessons are categorized by their primary subject area and cover social studies, mathematics, science, and language arts topics.

tag(s): lewis and clark (15)

In the Classroom

Take advantage of the free lesson plans and classroom activities for this site! There are a lot of interdisciplinary uses for the tale of Lewis and Clark listed.

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New Perspectives on the West - PBS

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6 to 12
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This PBS site has ten lessons that examine "new perspectives" on the westward expansion of the United States during the Nineteenth Century. The lesson plans are part of a larger ...more
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This PBS site has ten lessons that examine "new perspectives" on the westward expansion of the United States during the Nineteenth Century. The lesson plans are part of a larger site, rich with additional resources for researching and teaching about the America's movement westward. Specific lessons touch upon topics such as the transcontinental railroad, Mark Twain, the creation of the literary "west," and the role influence of disease and natural disasters upon western lifestyles.

In the Classroom

Take advantage of the free lesson plans on this site! Make sure to save it as a favorite on your desktop to allow for easy retrieval later on.

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Abolitionism in America - Cornell University

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7 to 12
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This Cornell University online exhibit provides a detailed portrait of the abolitionist movement in America ready for classroom use. The site examines the origins of the movement, provides...more
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This Cornell University online exhibit provides a detailed portrait of the abolitionist movement in America ready for classroom use. The site examines the origins of the movement, provides detailed descriptions of life as a slave, and discusses the importance of the emancipation proclamation and the thirteenth amendment in the struggle against slavery. The site combines historic narrative with literary and biographical resources to highlight the important cultural role the abolitionist movement played in the United States.

tag(s): abolition (7), africa (180), african american (113), slavery (72)

In the Classroom

Use the images on this site to create a "picture walk" in your classroom, introducing the topic of Abolitionism. Select 10-15 of the more powerful and diverse images, hanging them up in different locations around your classroom. Have students rotate around the classroom every 30-45 seconds, jotting down what they observe and infer about each image until the entire class has completed the circuit. After the class is back in their seats, have a class discussion based on what they observed and what this says about abolitionism as well as slavery. A great way to get students thinking about the content in a way that's more personal and lecture-less!

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Steamboats

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4 to 8
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This virtual museum explores the world of paddlewheel riverboats through collections of photographs of a number of famous boats. There are also exhibits and articles to view and read....more
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This virtual museum explores the world of paddlewheel riverboats through collections of photographs of a number of famous boats. There are also exhibits and articles to view and read. The site's Learning Center highlights which exhibits may be most useful in developing lesson plans, including a site that examines the science behind steam engines.

tag(s): mississippi (6)

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Oral Histories of the Holocaust

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6 to 12
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This site, created by High School Students in San Francisco, presents personal oral Holocaust accounts in written and audio formats. The site provides a unique perspective on the manner...more
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This site, created by High School Students in San Francisco, presents personal oral Holocaust accounts in written and audio formats. The site provides a unique perspective on the manner in which the Holocaust affected so many lives, by providing the detailed accounts of six survivors. Due to the nature of the subject matter, teachers may want to limit access of this site to older students.

tag(s): holocaust (39), jews (20), world war 2 (142)

In the Classroom

Beyond the obvious testimonials this provides to the content, this site can also be used as the perfect example of how students can complete a similar project. During a modern history unit, select a topic that students have the potential to interview their own family members on. Instead of the typical tape recording, try a new technology similar to one used on the website. Use a site such as PodOmatic (reviewed here).

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First Amendment Center - Vanderbilt University

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9 to 12
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Whether as a comprehensive source for research or as a primer for studies on the first amendment's guaranteed freedoms of speech, press, religious liberty, assembly and petition, this...more
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Whether as a comprehensive source for research or as a primer for studies on the first amendment's guaranteed freedoms of speech, press, religious liberty, assembly and petition, this site has wonderful resources for civics and government courses. The site also has a variety of print and web-resources available for further study of first amendment issues, including links to a number of Supreme Court documents.

tag(s): bill of rights (28), constitution (79)

In the Classroom

A series of twelve lesson plans are available for teachers in planning a basic look at first amendment issues.

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Life in Williamsburg - Colonial Williamsburg

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4 to 12
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A remarkable history resource for all ages. If you can't make the journey to Colonial Williamsburg in person, this site provides detailed descriptions of life in the era. Explore Williamsburg...more
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A remarkable history resource for all ages. If you can't make the journey to Colonial Williamsburg in person, this site provides detailed descriptions of life in the era. Explore Williamsburg clothing, politics, food, religion, and more through detailed articles, photos, and lesson plans.

tag(s): colonial america (107), virginia (16), williamsburg (12)

In the Classroom

Share this site on an interactive whiteboard or projector as an introduction to this unit or as review. Allow students to explore the site further individually or in cooperative learning groups. Have cooperative learning groups create podcasts demonstrating their understanding of one of the concepts. Use a site such as PodOmatic (reviewed here).
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Teach Vietnam - The Learning Experience - Vietnam Veteran's Memorial Fund

Grades
6 to 12
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Created by the Vietnam Veteran's Memorial Fund, the full title of this site is "Echoes From The Wall: History, Learning and Leadership through the Lens of The Vietnam War Era." ...more
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Created by the Vietnam Veteran's Memorial Fund, the full title of this site is "Echoes From The Wall: History, Learning and Leadership through the Lens of The Vietnam War Era." The approaches the Vietnam War era with a focus on history, leadership, citizenship, and civic responsibility. The site has good primary source research materials and an interactive timeline, as well as a detailed teacher's guide with teaching modules.

tag(s): 1960s (30), memorial day (13), vietnam (36)

In the Classroom

Take advantage of the free lesson plans and activities offered on this site! All are related back to standards of learning, and provide great resources for teachers who need to cover the Vietnam War. Save the site as a favorite on your classroom computer and refer to it when in need of fresh ideas.

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