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Democracy in America - C-SPAN

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9 to 12
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This site is devoted to the work of Alexis DeToqueville, whose extensive accounts of American life and character in the 1840's remains a staple for the study of American history. ...more
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This site is devoted to the work of Alexis DeToqueville, whose extensive accounts of American life and character in the 1840's remains a staple for the study of American history. This site offers text, images, background, and additional references. An accompanying set of lesson modules, developed by C-Span, can be found in the TeachersFirst American History lessons.

tag(s): primary sources (86)

In the Classroom

Use the journal entries portion of this site to help students not only learn the content, but to learn to retrieve information from primary sources. Divide students into groups, and assign them each one of the states Tocqueville wrote about. Have students analyze and interpret what was written, with the intentions of presenting their findings to the class. To connect it to the content being studied at the time, have a discussion with students about whether Congress was also concerned or if we see some of the issues he talked about still prevalent today.

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A Biography of America - CPB/Annenberg

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6 to 12
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This American History survey site from the Annenberg Project was created as a companion to the video series of the same name. The chief resource avialable is a collection of ...more
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This American History survey site from the Annenberg Project was created as a companion to the video series of the same name. The chief resource avialable is a collection of transcripts of the programs. There are also timelines, discussion questions, and far fewer images than one would imagine in such a project. This could be a resource for discussion ideas on American history topics or an introductory survey for a student searching for an independent study project.

tag(s): american revolution (86)

In the Classroom

The possibilities for this site are virtually limitless. Open the site on the interactive whiteboard or projector and select one of the many topics that is applicable to your unit. Teachers can play the video for students to review material, use the map to provide something for visual learners can connect to, or use the time-line to guide student learning. This is really an amazing tool for teachers trying to utilize technology in the classroom!

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The Papers of George Washington - University of Virginia

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8 to 12
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This site includes letters written both to and from George Washington. Important papers and letters are singled out, as well as an entire section of selected Revolutionary War documents....more
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This site includes letters written both to and from George Washington. Important papers and letters are singled out, as well as an entire section of selected Revolutionary War documents. This site would be of value to students serious about completing in depth research on the man or his major historical events in his life.

tag(s): presidents (130), primary sources (86), washington (36)

In the Classroom

In a discussion of the Revolutionary War or the Founding Fathers, use the pictures and images to supplement your lecture. Very rarely do students get to see time-period appropriate maps, and those provided on the site can be used to show and diagram major battles. The site also provides some excellent primary sources that complement such a unit. An excellent one to look at is his famed "Farewell Address," which can be used for both a revolutionary unit and any on American Diplomacy. Have students read the address as a class, following it with a discussion on how this speech impacted American foreign relations for the next 200 years. A great site for any resources on Washington!

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Supreme Court Decisions

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9 to 12
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Searchable database of decisions from 1937-1975. ...more
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Searchable database of decisions from 1937-1975.

tag(s): supreme court (22)

In the Classroom

Use this site as a point of reference for finding material for debates in a US history classroom. Teachers can search for materials to base a debate on, or have students use this site to find supportive evidence for their side of the debate.

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U. S. Historical Documents

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7 to 12
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A more extensive collection, helpfully organized. From the University of Oklahoma. ...more
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A more extensive collection, helpfully organized. From the University of Oklahoma.

tag(s): primary sources (86)

In the Classroom

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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Historic Documents of the United States of America - Brigham Young University

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5 to 12
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A simple, complete documents collection. ...more
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A simple, complete documents collection.

tag(s): primary sources (86)

In the Classroom

Use this site as a point of reference for finding important primary sources and government documents, useful for a US government or history classroom. Be sure to save this one as a favorite.

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National Archives: The Digital Classroom - National Archives

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4 to 8
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This site is meant to assist teachers in their use of archival documents when teaching. Choose "Primary Sources and Activities" for reproducible primary documents, photographs, and...more
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This site is meant to assist teachers in their use of archival documents when teaching. Choose "Primary Sources and Activities" for reproducible primary documents, photographs, and lesson plans correlated to the National History Standards, and cross-curricular connections. The site includes interesting activities for use in studying events in U.S. History.

tag(s): primary sources (86)

In the Classroom

This is an excellent site for any history, art history, or civics teacher attempting to put forth something more tangible for students to grasp. Click on "Images of the American Revolution," and open up the pictures on the interactive whiteboard or projector. Question students as to the meaning and context of the illustrations, to help them understand how images were used to convey certain meanings. Ask the students to create their own cartoons about something controversial in their town, or about the unit being studied, and encourage them to use some of the same subtle concepts the original illustrators did.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Colonial Charters - Yale University

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6 to 12
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This collection from the Avalon Project at Yale University offers a collection of primary documents dealing with all the American colonies except Virginia and Vermont. The page includes...more
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This collection from the Avalon Project at Yale University offers a collection of primary documents dealing with all the American colonies except Virginia and Vermont. The page includes a search engine as well as links to specific documents. Good resource for exploring the various motives in colonizing the new world.

tag(s): colonial america (107)

In the Classroom

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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The Avalon Project - Yale University

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6 to 12
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Developed by the Law School at Yale University, the Avalon Project is a compilation of primary source documents of American History from the 15th century onward. The resources are available...more
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Developed by the Law School at Yale University, the Avalon Project is a compilation of primary source documents of American History from the 15th century onward. The resources are available by time period, and there is also a search feature. Users searching for a more linear presentation may want to use the Project's American History Timeline. The collection is a great research for research projects or any study of American history.

tag(s): primary sources (86)

In the Classroom

Save this site as a favorite and reference it for primary sources for history units. The timespan covered spans virtually all that would be covered in any US history course, and also offers many documents that would also apply to World or European history courses. Teachers can also refer students to this site for research projects or papers.

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Statistical Abstract of the United States - US Government

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6 to 12
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The government's concise presentation of statistical information on hundreds of aspects of life in the United States. Although this site only goes up to 2000 (at the time of this ...more
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The government's concise presentation of statistical information on hundreds of aspects of life in the United States. Although this site only goes up to 2000 (at the time of this review), it could be very useful in comparing historical data. Make sure to reference back for new stats after the 2010 census is done!

tag(s): demographics (19), population (60), statistics (122)

In the Classroom

Use this site as a point of reference for any and all statistical information about the US population. Teachers can use this to find voter and state information, which would be useful in a discussion about apportion of state delegates in the House of Representatives.

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Understanding Hispanic/Latino Culture and History Through the Use of Children - Yale University

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3 to 5
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Examine folk tales, use role-play, learn about holidays and food, and study culture in this integrated unit. ...more
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Examine folk tales, use role-play, learn about holidays and food, and study culture in this integrated unit.

tag(s): cultures (105), hispanic (18), latin (22)

In the Classroom

Take advantage of the free lesson plans on this site! This would be a great resource for a social studies or Language arts classroom.

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Pocahontas, From Fiction to Fact: Using Disney's Film to Teach the - Yale University

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4 to 6
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This unit uses the Disney movie and two other versions to discover the truth about Pocahontas, the Powhatans, their encounters with the English in 1607, and the geography and climate...more
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This unit uses the Disney movie and two other versions to discover the truth about Pocahontas, the Powhatans, their encounters with the English in 1607, and the geography and climate of Virginia.

tag(s): jamestown (11), virginia (16)

In the Classroom

Take advantage of the free lesson plans and classroom activities on this page! Great for an English classroom, plus the activities work on creating critical thinking in students. Be sure to save the site as a favorite to allow for easy reference later on.

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Immigration History Firsthand - Library of Congress

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4 to 8
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This unit is designed to help elementary students learn to use the Internet for research, as well as broaden their understanding of history. In the first lesson, students gather and...more
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This unit is designed to help elementary students learn to use the Internet for research, as well as broaden their understanding of history. In the first lesson, students gather and discuss personal artifacts to gain an understanding of what makes a "collection." During the second lesson, students use their local archives to discover how collections are organized, then try organizing some documents themselves. In the final lesson, students transition to a national topic and research the archives online. The gradual steps of the lesson help make it easier to search through the immense amount of material available online.

tag(s): local history (13)

In the Classroom

Take advantage of the free lesson plans and activities offered by the Library of Congress! The lessons all come equipped with corresponding standards, so teachers can rest assured this is all valid information that will help satisfy their requirements.

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Langston Hughes: Artist and Historian - Yale University

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6 to 8
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This lesson explores Langston Hughes' poetry, setting it as a "vehicle by which students are exposed to the African-American experience in the United States of the 1920s through the...more
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This lesson explores Langston Hughes' poetry, setting it as a "vehicle by which students are exposed to the African-American experience in the United States of the 1920s through the 1960s."

tag(s): poetry (227)

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Using Film and Literature to Examine Uncle Remus: A Comparison and Analysis - Yale University

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6 to 8
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Through the use of films, recorded books, and literary readings, this unit exposes students to the oral tradition of storytelling, provides facts about African American contributions...more
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Through the use of films, recorded books, and literary readings, this unit exposes students to the oral tradition of storytelling, provides facts about African American contributions to this tradition, and offers a comprehensive approach to understanding African American folklore.

tag(s): folktales (65)

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Social Studies Web Sites and Resources

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1 to 12
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Here's a treasure-trove of lessons, materials, ideas, units and resources. Lots and lots of great material here from sources as various as the academy Curriculum Exchange, Houghton...more
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Here's a treasure-trove of lessons, materials, ideas, units and resources. Lots and lots of great material here from sources as various as the academy Curriculum Exchange, Houghton Mifflin, Addison Wesley, AskERIC, Encarta and the Peace Corps. Print 'em out and turn 'em loose on the kids! This is definitely worth a browse!

tag(s): black history (59), oral history (12)

In the Classroom

Save this site as a favorite it and browse it whenever in need of new lesson plans and materials within a social studies classroom. This is a great resource for new teachers, or for someone just looking for fresh ideas on how to cover a topic.

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Submarines! - Smithsonian Institution

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6 to 12
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The Smithsonian presents a very complete look at the historical role of nuclear subs as peacekeepers. ...more
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The Smithsonian presents a very complete look at the historical role of nuclear subs as peacekeepers.

tag(s): navy (9)

In the Classroom

This site is a little text heavy, so be sure to use this with caution! If using as a learning center, pair lower & higher level readers together - allowing your lower level readers to get some help along the way. Because there is a lot of information here, only use if you have a guide or follow-along to help highlight for students what's most important off the site. For help creating easy graphic organizers, we recommend using Graphic Organizer Maker, (reviewed here).

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National World War II Museum - National World War II Museum: Learn

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5 to 12
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Visit the New Orleans-based museum all about World War II via the web site and its various interactive components. While some areas (videoconferences) are fee-based, and some feature...more
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Visit the New Orleans-based museum all about World War II via the web site and its various interactive components. While some areas (videoconferences) are fee-based, and some feature information about visiting the actual museum, there is a rich collection of information and multimedia experiences to make world war II history meaningful. Find lesson plans at the left under "Teachers." Click WWII History button at the right to find many pages of information and a timeline. Don't miss many choices under Student Projects. The See and Hear menu (up top) offers more interactive options, such as a newly re-launched Science and Technology of World War II interactive with additional lesson plans included.

tag(s): d day (8), veterans (19), world war 2 (142)

In the Classroom

This site could be the focal point for an extensive unit on World War II, with different student groups investigating aspects of the war. Or feature this site during a single lesson on D-Day. Ask students to decide which technology depicted in the science and technology interactive was the most important factor in the outcome of the war. Share videos on your projector or interactive whiteboard, or assign students to create their own online posters about different facets of World War II using GlogsterEDU reviewed here.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Presidential Debates Information

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4 to 12
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This site provides video and written coverage of the 1960 Presidential Debates. ...more
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This site provides video and written coverage of the 1960 Presidential Debates.

tag(s): debate (41), presidents (130)

In the Classroom

If teaching about the historic 1960 television debates, use the videos and transcripts to provide students with something more tangible than the summary in their textbook. Click on the debate history section of the site, selecting the year 1960. There are multiple transcripts and videos that can easily be printed or viewed on the interactive whiteboard. To show the impact of technology, have students listen to the debate before watching - and also select a winner. After, have students repeat the activity; this time through watching the video. Have a class discussion on how seeing the candidates affected their opinions, and whether a similar effect occurred in 1960. Great for a US government classroom!

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Visit a Refugee Camp

Grades
9 to 12
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This on-line tour of the issues and remedies associated with war, displacement, and refugees will make students think twice about their own lives. Visually engaging, well-written, with...more
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This on-line tour of the issues and remedies associated with war, displacement, and refugees will make students think twice about their own lives. Visually engaging, well-written, with sound clips and interviews that students can hear. Any study of armed conflict should include a visit here.

tag(s): conflict resolution (8)

In the Classroom

Use the "About Refugees and IDP's" section to provide students with some basic knowledge about refugees before beginning a class discussion on the effects of war. This would be a great way to answer questions, and ensure that students are coming into your classroom with the same background knowledge.

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