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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.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Best of History Web Sites

Grades
9 to 12
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Maybe there really can be "too much of a good thing." This site is an immense catalog of resources (ie. other websites, lessons plans, content) for social studies teachers. Due ...more
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Maybe there really can be "too much of a good thing." This site is an immense catalog of resources (ie. other websites, lessons plans, content) for social studies teachers. Due to the sheer volume of material, it would be wise for teachers to have a clear idea of what they are looking for before opening up the site. Casual "grazing" here might easily lead to a becoming lost on the web.

tag(s): europe (75)

In the Classroom

Save this site as a favorite on your classroom desktop and use it as a reference for virtually everything! It's amazing how many resources they have managed to find - incredibly more helpful than a Google search would have been.

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Paul Revere's House

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3 to 6
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A fascinating site! Details the history of Revere's house, the facts behind the legend of his midnight ride, and includes a biography section. Teachers should click on the "Just for...more
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A fascinating site! Details the history of Revere's house, the facts behind the legend of his midnight ride, and includes a biography section. Teachers should click on the "Just for Kids" button for lesson ideas. This site could be used for elementary-level social studies classes.

tag(s): american revolution (86), boston (14), evolution (100), massachusetts (10)

In the Classroom

Use this site as a way to provide more information about one important character in history, Paul Revere. Take advantage of the free activities in the "Just for Kids" section. There is also a biography offered that could easily be read aloud by students from the interactive whiteboard or projector. This would definitely be a great resource for a US history class studying colonial America.

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The Monitor - The Mariner's Museum

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4 to 12
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Here's a site about one of the Civil War's two most famous ironclad fighting ships and the effort to find and restore her. The site includes information on the recovery ...more
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Here's a site about one of the Civil War's two most famous ironclad fighting ships and the effort to find and restore her. The site includes information on the recovery expedition as well as the way in which the ship was used in combat during the war.

tag(s): civil war (145), museums (49), navy (9), virginia (16)

In the Classroom

Divide students into cooperative learning groups to explore the site. Have them go through the interactive tour of the monitor and take notes, with the end result being that they make a poster using an online poster creator, such as Padlet (reviewed here). The site has audio features which will probably be the most beneficial for students, so be sure to include headphones near computers.

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Charters of Freedom - National Archives

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6 to 12
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Though part of a larger site about America's historic documents, this collection of biographies of the delegates to the Constitutional Convention will find plenty of use by itself....more
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Though part of a larger site about America's historic documents, this collection of biographies of the delegates to the Constitutional Convention will find plenty of use by itself. These delegates wrote our Constitution, but today's students know very little about any of them. Find the details of each man's life here!

tag(s): american revolution (86), constitution (79), evolution (100)

In the Classroom

This is a great site to introduce the American Founding Fathers, or for reference around Presidents Day weekend. Introduce the site on the interactive whiteboard or projector, during a lesson on the individual fathers. Have students look at the site, and select one image that they think represents a particular Founding Father. Have students create a multimedia presentation using UtellStory, reviewed here. This site allows users to narrate a picture. Challenge students to find a photo (legally permitted to be reproduced), and then narrate the photo as if it is a news report. To find Creative Commons images for student projects (with credit, of course), try PhotoPin, reviewed here. Have them report a story on the founding fathers as if the issue of the constitution is a current one, and they are informing the public of its happenings.

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Tour the Ship Constitution - U.S. Navy

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4 to 12
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This is the Navy's online tour of the oldest commissioned ship in the fleet - the sailing ship Constitution. Though you can tour the ship in Boston, this site gives ...more
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This is the Navy's online tour of the oldest commissioned ship in the fleet - the sailing ship Constitution. Though you can tour the ship in Boston, this site gives online maps and images showing how the ship was constructed and functioned at sea.

tag(s): american revolution (86), boston (14), evolution (100), massachusetts (10), navy (9)

In the Classroom

This one would be great for a study of the American Reovolution, the navy, or the role of the sea in the formation of the nation.

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Lewis & Clark Bicentennial - Time Magazine

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4 to 12
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By far the richest resource we've found on the topic, Time's treatment includes an interactive map, essays, journal excerpts, and photoessays. There are also maps showing the distribution...more
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By far the richest resource we've found on the topic, Time's treatment includes an interactive map, essays, journal excerpts, and photoessays. There are also maps showing the distribution of Native American tribes, then and now, and a list of recommended reading and web resources.

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

In the Classroom

Use the interactive map as a supplemental resource during a lesson on the two explorers. Share the map on the interactive whiteboard or projector to show students the route the explorers took, as well as some of the terrain that hindered their travels. Great for a US history class!
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Lewis & Clark and the Revealing of America - Library of Congress

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6 to 12
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This online exhibition site offers a glimpse of some of the many documents associated with the Lewis and Clark expedition, ranging from maps drawn by the explorers to Thomas Jefferson's...more
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This online exhibition site offers a glimpse of some of the many documents associated with the Lewis and Clark expedition, ranging from maps drawn by the explorers to Thomas Jefferson's secret cipher for sending coded messages. The text includes excerpts from the journals the explorers kept.

tag(s): jefferson (19), lewis and clark (15)

In the Classroom

Use this site as a learning center or station during a lesson on Lewis and Clark and their travels. Introduce the site on the interactive whiteboard before allowing students to explore the site in cooperative learning groups on classroom computers. Have cooperative learning groups create podcasts demonstrating their understanding of one of the concepts. Use a site such as PodOmatic (reviewed here).Students can summarize their entire journey, or focus on one specific aspect, such as the explorers interactions with Native Americans. American history teachers will definitely be able to incorporate this one into their classroom.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Rediscovering George Washington - Claremont Institute

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6 to 12
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This companion site for the PBS program of the same name offers well-written text about Washington's life and times. The content is nicely divided between information on Washington,...more
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This companion site for the PBS program of the same name offers well-written text about Washington's life and times. The content is nicely divided between information on Washington, the man, and Washington, the public figure. The absence of images and effects is noticeable, but the content shines through.

tag(s): american revolution (86), evolution (100), presidents (130), washington (36)

In the Classroom

Use the timeline on the interactive whiteboard or projector to provide perspective about Washington's life for students. Use the timeline to provide some context for the period - it is a great way to highlight the important events before you yourself provide more details on each one.

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Lessons from Rediscovering George Washington - Claremont Institute

Grades
6 to 12
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Here is a very thoroughly prepared, standards-correlated set of lessons about Washington and the formation of the United States. History teachers working with AP or advanced students...more
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Here is a very thoroughly prepared, standards-correlated set of lessons about Washington and the formation of the United States. History teachers working with AP or advanced students will appreciate the variety of opportunities these lessons offer for open discussion. Those working with younger students will find great ideas that they can use in a less intense fashion

tag(s): american revolution (86), evolution (100), presidents (130), washington (36)

In the Classroom

Take advantage of these free and incredibly detailed lesson plans about George Washington and the Revolutionary Period. There is an amazing of information within these, so be sure to browse all of them before selecting the right one for your classroom.

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How Air Force One Works - Howstuffworks

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4 to 12
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For the fans of Presidential gadgets, Air Force One is the ultimate. Here's a site that really does explain how the president's jet functions and what it looks like on ...more
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For the fans of Presidential gadgets, Air Force One is the ultimate. Here's a site that really does explain how the president's jet functions and what it looks like on the inside. Lots of text, images, and animations will make this one attractive for curious airplane fans.

tag(s): air (163), aircraft (24), flight (36), presidents (130)

In the Classroom

Use this site as a starting point for students working on research projects or papers concerning the President and one of the many services surrounding him. This site has a lot of great information and would be a great springboard for further research. Make sure to include this site on any resource sheets concerning their research!
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Historical Alaska Images - Fish and Wildlife Service

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4 to 12
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This is a collection of copyright-free, downloadable historical images of wildlife in Alaska. Image quality is adequate for either web or most publication use. The search feature -...more
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This is a collection of copyright-free, downloadable historical images of wildlife in Alaska. Image quality is adequate for either web or most publication use. The search feature - the only way to access images - finds species easily, but doesn't do as well with place names.

tag(s): air (163), alaska (25), states (163)

In the Classroom

If you're looking for photos of early Alaska, this is a great resource.

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Untold Stories of D-Day - National Geographic

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7 to 12
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National Geographic covers a wealth of topic areas in this elegant presentation about the Normandy invasion. While primarily a teaser for a print project, this site offers images, a...more
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National Geographic covers a wealth of topic areas in this elegant presentation about the Normandy invasion. While primarily a teaser for a print project, this site offers images, a downloadable map, a good variety of D-day trivia, and a 10-minute movie suitable for those with high-speed connections. There is also an extensive bibliography and listing of other web resources.

tag(s): d day (8), world war 2 (142)

In the Classroom

Use this article as an introductory activity for a lesson on the Normandy invasion. Teachers can share just the article, or incorporate some of the images and maps in their lecture or classroom discussion. If reading the article, be sure help your weaker readers and ESL students by sharing the vocabulary words prior to reading, either on a handout or by projecting on an interactive whiteboard and highlighting them in the text as you come to them.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Smithsonian Jazz - Smithonian Institution

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6 to 12
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Designed to both inspire and teach, the Smithsonian's Jazz site offers several online instructional modules that do a nice job of introducing the history and structural elements of...more
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Designed to both inspire and teach, the Smithsonian's Jazz site offers several online instructional modules that do a nice job of introducing the history and structural elements of jazz. Students can learn about particular composers and performers, and how their work built on the experiences of other jazz musicians. You'll want a fast connection and the Flash player to use this one effectively.

tag(s): africa (180), african american (113), jazz (15)

In the Classroom

Use the audio on this site to supplement a lecture or class discussion about the Harlem Renaissance and the Jazz era.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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History of Jim Crow - PBS

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6 to 12
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This is the companion site to a PBS program of the same name. It offers an introduction to the Jim Crow laws that effectively institutionalized segregation throughout the South. There...more
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This is the companion site to a PBS program of the same name. It offers an introduction to the Jim Crow laws that effectively institutionalized segregation throughout the South. There are also numerous images of African American life in the South during the early 1900s.This looks like a promising resource, especially as a backgrounder for the study of the civil rights movement of the 1960s.

tag(s): africa (180), african american (113), civil rights (117), segregation (15)

In the Classroom

True to its claim, this is an educator's site; it contains lesson plans, simulations, narratives, and picture galleries and more. The site may be useful for both American History and American Literature classes.

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The Day After Pearl Harbor

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6 to 12
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Here's a collection of audio recordings of interviews with "ordinary Americans" conducted by the Library of Congress on December 8, 1941. Users can hear how people reacted to the Japanese...more
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Here's a collection of audio recordings of interviews with "ordinary Americans" conducted by the Library of Congress on December 8, 1941. Users can hear how people reacted to the Japanese attack, and the thoughts that were foremost in their minds as America went to war. This one could be an interesting sidebar to the study of World War II.

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

In the Classroom

Open the section entitled "Marine Valentines" on the interactive whiteboard or projector, and play a few minutes of it for the class. Use this as a way to discuss how life may have been for families on the home front and how they were affected by more than rationing. Some of the letters are touching, so be aware if you have quite a few sensitive girls in your class when to stop. But the letters show a different side of the war than normally discussed in class. Teachers can also have students use this as a writing prompt - have students write a letter from the perspective of a soldier on different fronts. Letters can be used to detail the different experiences of soldiers or even how varying locations were subject to more or less warfare. A touching side to war - who would have thought?!

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CensusScope

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6 to 12
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Created by a university consortium, this site offers a wealth of graphs, charts, and data that students can use to analyze America's demographics. There are a number of prefabricated...more
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Created by a university consortium, this site offers a wealth of graphs, charts, and data that students can use to analyze America's demographics. There are a number of prefabricated analyses available, and there is also enough data to create exercises or activities that let students explore on their own. There are a number of possibilities for social studies, math, or statistics in this one.

tag(s): census (19), demographics (19), population (60)

In the Classroom

Share these visuals on your projector or interactive whiteboard. Have students investigate one area of this data and contribute to a class wiki. Not comfortable with wikis? Have no wiki worries - check out the TeachersFirst's Wiki Walk-Through.

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EduTie

Grades
7 to 12
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EduTie is a comprehensive plagiarism security software system that can be installed in school district networks and similar environments. The system has a variety of modules and services...more
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EduTie is a comprehensive plagiarism security software system that can be installed in school district networks and similar environments. The system has a variety of modules and services that can be implemented in a variety of combinations depending on local needs. Teachers involved in school-wide or district-wide approaches to ensuring student honesty could find this site interesting.

tag(s): cheating (3), plagiarism (35)

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Eleanor Roosevelt - National Park Service

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6 to 12
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This National Park Service site documents the life of the first First Lady who really had a career of her own. The site covers Mrs. Roosevelt's life before and after ...more
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This National Park Service site documents the life of the first First Lady who really had a career of her own. The site covers Mrs. Roosevelt's life before and after her time in the White House, and it has a particularly strong collection of artifacts, memorabilia, and other objects from the First Lady's life.

tag(s): new deal (6), roosevelt (16), women (101)

In the Classroom

If looking for a way to introduce Eleanor Roosevelt, try the slideshow of scenes from her life on this site! Eleanor Roosevelt is an interesting character in history as the slides show, and this could be used during a unit on her husband or during Women's history month. Open the site on the interactive whiteboard in order to show your students a brief slideshow representing who she was.

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Woody Guthrie: Bound for Glory - Museum of Musical Instruments

Grades
6 to 12
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The Museum of Music History offers this online exhibition about the songs and life of singer Woody Guthrie. There are lyrics, music samples, and background information on the singer's...more
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The Museum of Music History offers this online exhibition about the songs and life of singer Woody Guthrie. There are lyrics, music samples, and background information on the singer's life and life during the great depression. This one would be a great adjunct to a study of either folk music or the Depression.

tag(s): composers (21), great depression (24), songs (52)

In the Classroom

Use this site to shed some more light on the famous singer who created one of the great patriotic songs in American history. Introduce this site on the interactive whiteboard before allowing them to explore it on their own or in groups on classroom computers. If using a follow-along or graphic organizer, teachers could tailor this lesson to be a focus on the Great Depression and how it affected different types of people. If using a graphic organizer we recommend Graphic Organizer Maker, (reviewed here)

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