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Jimmy Carter - PBS

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6 to 12
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The Carter presidency's tone ranged from the lows of the Iran hostage crisis to the highs of the Camp David peace accords. This site from the PBS American Experience series ...more
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The Carter presidency's tone ranged from the lows of the Iran hostage crisis to the highs of the Camp David peace accords. This site from the PBS American Experience series offers time lines, sound clips, images, and a teacher guide containing lessons based on the issues with which Carter grappled. Curiously, the site takes only passing notice of Carter's numerous activities and achievements since leaving the White House.

tag(s): iran (12), presidents (131)

In the Classroom

Use the Teachers guide to help identify ways to incorporate this site into your classroom, both through lesson plans and classroom activities. This would be a helpful resource for a US government or history class.
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Elie Weisel - First Person Singular - PBS

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6 to 12
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This web site from the PBS program by the same name offers a biography of the author and Nobel Peace Prize winner, as well as a teaching guide linked to ...more
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This web site from the PBS program by the same name offers a biography of the author and Nobel Peace Prize winner, as well as a teaching guide linked to the program itself. History, social studies, or English teachers may find this content useful in a unit on the holocaust or in a discussion of World War II.

tag(s): holocaust (39), jews (20), nazis (10), world war 2 (142)

In the Classroom

This site is a very moving resource for covering WWII and the Jewish Holocaust. Take advantage of the free lesson plans and activities offered in the teaching guide on this site. US and World history teachers will appreciate this one.

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Virtual Talking Machine

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6 to 12
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Music, history, and social studies teachers may enjoy using this one. It's a collection of song recordings from the roughly 1900-1935. The titles are available several different ways,...more
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Music, history, and social studies teachers may enjoy using this one. It's a collection of song recordings from the roughly 1900-1935. The titles are available several different ways, including a streaming "radio station" that plays the songs continuously. Add a little atmosphere to your Roaring Twenties unit with this one.

tag(s): 1920s (16)

In the Classroom

Play the music over classroom speakers to display for students what the music of the 20's was really like. This would also be a cute way to teach the Harlem Renaissance. This would be particularly interesting in a US history course.
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History and Politics Out Loud

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9 to 12
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Here's a small site we hope will grow quickly. There are recordings of famous political speeches - including William Jennings Bryan's "cross of gold" and Churchill's famous "iron curtain"...more
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Here's a small site we hope will grow quickly. There are recordings of famous political speeches - including William Jennings Bryan's "cross of gold" and Churchill's famous "iron curtain" speech. Interestingly, many of these are in their entirety, making for listening sessions of an hour or more. History teachers will find numerous possibilities for this one, especially if the collection continues to grow. You'll need the RealPlayer for the sound files.

tag(s): politics (99), speech (92), speeches (17)

In the Classroom

Use this site to supplement a lecture on Martin Luther King and the impact of his "I have a dream" speech. Browse the results by speaker and select the speech under King's collection. After discussing King's role in civil rights, play the clip or as much of it as you can for students. Use the audio as a writing prompt, in which students respond to the difference in hearing vs reading the speech. Students should also respond to the emotional appeal of the speech, in addition to the overall message presented. This activity would be a great short review at the end of a unit on MLK Jr.
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Circle of Stories - PBS

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4 to 12
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Native American cultures offer wonderful examples of oral traditions and storytelling. This site from PBS provides examples of these, a look at some common story themes, and audio...more
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Native American cultures offer wonderful examples of oral traditions and storytelling. This site from PBS provides examples of these, a look at some common story themes, and audio files with a number of different stories. Try using this one in a study of Native Americans or as part of a unit on stories from different cultures.

tag(s): oral history (12)

In the Classroom

Use the educators guide to find ways to incorporate this site into your classroom, either through lesson plans or classroom activities. This would be a very useful site for a US history or English teacher, studying Native American Culture and story-telling.
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Reclaiming the Everglades - Library of Congress

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6 to 12
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This unit from the Library of Congress could be interesting to secondary students examining the history of Florida in the early twentieth century. It would also provide an interesting...more
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This unit from the Library of Congress could be interesting to secondary students examining the history of Florida in the early twentieth century. It would also provide an interesting assignment in working with primary source materials. In this case, these might be part of an assignment on ecology, history, or management of natural areas. Even secondary students will likely need some guidance at using this one, however.

tag(s): florida (11), states (162)

In the Classroom

Use this site as a point of reference when covering the everglades or a unit on evolving ecosystems. The information offered is text heavy, but the site allows one to search through the collection where teachers can find primary documents and timelines that could be used to compliment lesson plans. Save this site as a favorite on your desktop and refer to it when in need of ideas and material.

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Campfire Stories with George Catlin - Smithsonian

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7 to 12
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Art, artifacts, and primary source documents frame this exploration of American Indians during the early 19th century. Through the eyes of artist, ethnologist, and showman George Catlin,...more
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Art, artifacts, and primary source documents frame this exploration of American Indians during the early 19th century. Through the eyes of artist, ethnologist, and showman George Catlin, students can take a virtual journey through time to meet American Indians of the 1830s. Contemporary experts provide commentary that raises provocative questions regarding the intersection of Native American and European. This searchable, award-winning site also includes lesson plans with cross-curricular connections and links to relevant standards. Created by the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Quicktime required.

tag(s): painting (66)

In the Classroom

History, social studies, and art teachers will find this site useful, but it will take some planning to use effectively.
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An Uncommon Mission - PacBell

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4 to 12
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Art and History teachers will appreciate this site devoted to unique artistic interpretations of California's many missions. Those in California may wish to add this one to the list...more
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Art and History teachers will appreciate this site devoted to unique artistic interpretations of California's many missions. Those in California may wish to add this one to the list of resources for California history. The site would also work well as a sample of one artist's conception of reality, since there are many other mission sites to use as comparisons.

tag(s): california (27)

In the Classroom

This site has a TON of activities and lessons planned for a unit based on the art of Father Jerome Tupa! Save the site as a favorite on your classroom computer and browse their large list for activities that will work in your classroom.

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Mark Twain House

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4 to 12
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Students reading Twain's books may be surprised to know that he lived in Hartford, not along the Mississippi. This site from the restored home offers a virtual tour, a kids' ...more
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Students reading Twain's books may be surprised to know that he lived in Hartford, not along the Mississippi. This site from the restored home offers a virtual tour, a kids' section with a word search, and some very basic information about the house. This one's worth a look for those interested in late 19th century architecture.

tag(s): architecture (83), mark twain (10)

In the Classroom

Teachers wanting to introduce some of Twain's personal life before or after reading one of his books can do just that with this site. Share the site with students on the interactive whiteboard, watching the virtual tour or examining the exhibits. There may not be a ton of information, but this is a great way to get students started on understanding just a little bit more about the famous author.

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Civil War Classroom Activities - PBS

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6 to 12
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Based on the Ken Burns PBS production that aired in 1990, this collection of lesson plans is complete, thought-provoking, and covers a wide range of topics whose relevance extends well...more
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Based on the Ken Burns PBS production that aired in 1990, this collection of lesson plans is complete, thought-provoking, and covers a wide range of topics whose relevance extends well beyond the war itself. Designed for use in grades 7-12, these one- and two-period lessons are well-annotated, include lots of web links, and come complete with downloadable PDF files. Students will find these an interesting set of source ideas for reports and the like, and teachers will be able to take this content in many different directions. Well worth a look!

tag(s): civil war (145), lincoln (86), slavery (72)

In the Classroom

Take advantage of the free lesson plans and classroom activities offered in this site! The majority are somehow tied into the video, but there are some that also are broad enough that showing the video is not necessary.
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Star Spangled Banner - Smithsonian

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6 to 12
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Learn about the flag that inspired the National Anthem at this Smithsonian site. The site includes a quiz, a teacher section, and descriptive information about the flag, the War of...more
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Learn about the flag that inspired the National Anthem at this Smithsonian site. The site includes a quiz, a teacher section, and descriptive information about the flag, the War of 1812, and the battle at Fort McHenry that inspired Francis Scott Key's poem.

tag(s): national anthem (4), war of 1812 (14)

In the Classroom

Use this site as an introductory activity for a lesson on the Flag's creating during a unit on the American Revolutionary War. Introduce the site on the interactive whiteboard before allowing students to explore it in cooperative learning groups on classroom computers. Have the students search the site with, answering specific questions on a follow-along (created by you) that encourages them to explore the site in depth. For help with making that follow-along, we recommend using Graphic Organizer Maker, (reviewed here). Afterward, have a class discussion or some sort of reflection piece to allow students to vocalize questions and opinions about the information presented.

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American History Timeline Links - Smithsonian

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4 to 12
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The Smithsonian's timeline links are a sort of chronological trip through the Smithsonian's attic. Each presents an exhibit, artifact, or other piece of history from a particular period....more
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The Smithsonian's timeline links are a sort of chronological trip through the Smithsonian's attic. Each presents an exhibit, artifact, or other piece of history from a particular period. Part of the attractiveness of this site is the eclectic nature of the results that you get from the various links. If you're interested in teaching history from different angles, there are lots of resources here.

In the Classroom

For virtually every topic in history, there is a corresponding site and activity here! Every topic has a variety of resources, from webquests to free lesson plans. Look at the time-line for your corresponding unit, and take advantage of the free resources the Smithsonian has put together! An excellent resource for any Social Studies teacher.

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Lost in the Grand Canyon - PBS

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9 to 12
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This companion site from the PBS American Experience series offers a profile of John Wesley Powell's first exploration of the Grand Canyon. While the teacher's section is closely linked...more
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This companion site from the PBS American Experience series offers a profile of John Wesley Powell's first exploration of the Grand Canyon. While the teacher's section is closely linked to the film itself, the site offers interactive maps, biographies, and background information on the discovery of one of America's natural wonders.

tag(s): explorers (61), rivers (21)

In the Classroom

Try this one as a "compare and contrast" with Lewis and Clark's expedition or today's adventurers.

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Chocolate and Culture - Field Museum

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6 to 12
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Who wouldn't love a series of lessons about chocolate? Chicago's Field Museum offers this site with extensive educational materials in PDF format. The lessons begin in the rainforest...more
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Who wouldn't love a series of lessons about chocolate? Chicago's Field Museum offers this site with extensive educational materials in PDF format. The lessons begin in the rainforest and move on to the introduction and production of refined chocolate products. Along the way there are many topics to discuss and ponder.

tag(s): chocolate (7), south america (39)

In the Classroom

Try this one for a tasty addition to a unit on rainforests, American industry, or related topics.
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Jazz in America - Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz

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6 to 12
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At first glance, the web site from the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz would appear to offer only a high school curriculum. But click on the Jazz Resource Library and ...more
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At first glance, the web site from the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz would appear to offer only a high school curriculum. But click on the Jazz Resource Library and you'll discover a rich collection of biographies, background information, musicology, and other jazz-related information. The content includes some really in-depth analysis of different jazz musical styles. Both music and social studies teachers will find plenty of material here.

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

In the Classroom

Take advantage of the free lesson plans offered on this site! The lesson plans are meant to be taught in American history classes, so search and see how this site can benefit your classroom. Make sure and save this one as a favorite to allow for easy retrieval later on.

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Thoreau Home Page - Walden.org

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9 to 12
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The folks at Walden.org offer this collection of Thoreau's writings (full texts), photos of the areas through which he traveled, and background on the author's life and times. There's...more
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The folks at Walden.org offer this collection of Thoreau's writings (full texts), photos of the areas through which he traveled, and background on the author's life and times. There's great content for an author study in this one, though we cannot comment on the quality of the literary criticism.

tag(s): literature (275), thoreau (5)

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Alaska and the Yukon - Quest Connect

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4 to 12
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Quest Connect's exploration of Alaska - specifically for students - offers a well-written introduction to the history, native people, and present-day aspects of our northernmost state....more
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Quest Connect's exploration of Alaska - specifically for students - offers a well-written introduction to the history, native people, and present-day aspects of our northernmost state. There are plenty of photos, but they're kept separate from the narrative so some prowling around is in order here.

tag(s): alaska (25), gold rush (19)

In the Classroom

There is also an accompanying set of lesson plans. If your students can't catch the next flight to Anchorage, this might be the best alternative.

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Lewis and Clark - In Their Footsteps - Sierra Club

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4 to 12
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The Sierra Club's treatment of the Lewis and Clark expedition concentrates on the wilderness areas the explorers found, what they thought of them, and what those same areas are like...more
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The Sierra Club's treatment of the Lewis and Clark expedition concentrates on the wilderness areas the explorers found, what they thought of them, and what those same areas are like today. You can read from the explorer journals, visit a selection of sites, and learn how to protect the wilderness areas that still exist. The site does a good job with both the historical content and the naturalist's perspective.

tag(s): jefferson (19), lewis and clark (15), louisiana (11), louisiana purchase (7)

In the Classroom

Use this site as a learning center during a unit on Lewis and Clark and their exploration of the West. Because there is a lot of information on this site, we recommend providing students with a graphic organizer to guide them through and highlight what is most important. For help creating graphic organizers, try - Mindomo, (reviewed here).

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Who2

Grades
4 to 12
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This site wins mention for breadth, not depth. It offers hundreds of very brief biographical sketches on famous people, past and present. More importantly, it also provides links -...more
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This site wins mention for breadth, not depth. It offers hundreds of very brief biographical sketches on famous people, past and present. More importantly, it also provides links - many surprisingly good, to more detailed information on the personalities listed. Students could use this one as a starting point for wider web research on a particular personality.

tag(s): biographies (87)

In the Classroom

Use this site as a starting point for students working on research projects about a famous historical character. Though the bios are brief, they offer some solid information that could help students in the beginning phases of their research.

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Berlin Wall - The Newseum

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6 to 12
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The Berlin Wall and the Press is a short video (just over 14 minutes) that presents life on both sides of the Berlin Wall including escapes and protests. Find three ...more
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The Berlin Wall and the Press is a short video (just over 14 minutes) that presents life on both sides of the Berlin Wall including escapes and protests. Find three activities (downloadable in PDF format) to prepare students to analyze the impact of the Berlin Wall. The video is a fascinating presentation with primary sources about the origins of the wall from both western and Soviet perspectives. There are also nine Optional Extension Activities; these cover everything from graffiti art on the wall, to writing personal journals as one of the residents of East Berlin, to researching the unification of Berlin after the wall came down, and even more. Two of the activities help increase student awareness of political unrest in other parts of the world (China's Tiananmen Square Nov. 1989; Tehran, Iran June 2009; Tunis, Tunisia Jan. 2011; and Cairo, Egypt Jan. 2011), asking students to research challenges and criticisms of the press while trying to report on them.

tag(s): china (66), cold war (29), egypt (67), german (64), germany (28), iran (12), politics (99)

In the Classroom

Teachers should plan on spending ample time previewing the site before using it in class. Initially view the video as a class and have a discussion. You might want to use a backchannel tool like TodaysMeet, reviewed here, for the discussion. The advantage of a backchannel chat is that every student has a voice, no matter how shy. Have small groups choose which of the extension activities they would like to investigate. Allow students to create a final project other than an essay to share their findings and present to the class. Suggest something like an online poster using Checkthis, reviewed here, or a simple infographic using Easel.ly, reviewed here.
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