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LEGO Education Activities - LEGO Education

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K to 12
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Lego Education Activities are designed to be rich, fun-filled, creative learning experiences. They offer educators a means to use LEGO sets as essential tools that engage students while...more
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Lego Education Activities are designed to be rich, fun-filled, creative learning experiences. They offer educators a means to use LEGO sets as essential tools that engage students while challenging their creativity and enhancing their knowledge and comprehension. As a thinking teacher, you only need to look on the Teachersfirst Editor's Blog here to realize what a hot topic teaching creativity is and how it fits into the classroom. From role-playing and meeting the needs of early childhood development to theme-based sets for older students, LEGO Activities offer a multi-disciplinary approach to teaching. There are also specific sets designed to cover specific subject areas, including technology curriculum. As you browse the activities, you will find obvious connections to curriculum in simple machines and other science topics, as well. Stay current and find a lot more stimulating ideas by checking out the LEGO Education and LEGO Smart Blogs available from theLego Education Activities page.

tag(s): creativity (109), critical thinking (108), logic (235), problem solving (272)

In the Classroom

Expose your students to different levels of the learning spiral by challenging them to use problem-solving skills for increasingly difficult obstacles. Students can work in small groups to foster cooperation and teamwork as they sort, graph, follow and give directions, and discuss ideas. Of course you will need some LEGOs, so you might try raiding your own children's toy boxes, include a request in your classroom newsletter for donations, look around for LEGO kits collecting dust on classroom shelves, or put it on your school's PTA wish list. Be sure to have cooperative learning groups video their activities to share with the rest of the class using a site such as SchoolTube (reviewed here).
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Poet at Work: Walt Whitman Notebooks 1850s-1860s - Library of Congress

Grades
8 to 12
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This rare collection offers digital access to the Walt Whitman Notebooks and cardboard butterfly that were donated to the Library of Congress by Thomas Harned, all of which have been...more
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This rare collection offers digital access to the Walt Whitman Notebooks and cardboard butterfly that were donated to the Library of Congress by Thomas Harned, all of which have been conserved through a delicate scanning process. The notebook pages appear just as Whitman wrote them, with no table of contents or index. You are able to browse the notebooks page by page; however, because there is no subject index for the collection, a page turner function has been added to help. The Learn More About It documents will assist you in conducting a quicker search by providing links to specific passages, such as Whitman's extensive historical details on the life and death of President Abraham Lincoln, who symbolized for him the best in the American national character and inspired some of his greatest poetry. There is also a feature to save or print the Collection Connections.

tag(s): civil war (145), lincoln (86), literature (275)

In the Classroom

Use this online exhibit for an in-depth study of Walt Whitman. Have cooperative learning groups investigate one of the notebooks available at this site and create a multimedia presentation to share their findings. Have students create podcasts using a site such as PodOmatic (reviewed here). Or create a class wiki dedicated to the poetry of Walt Whitman. Not comfortable with wikis? Have no wiki worries - check out the TeachersFirst's Wiki Walk-Through .
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Thought Audio - thoughtaudio.com

Grades
K to 12
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This free audio book site offers classical literature and philosophy books in the public domain for download at no charge. In addition to typical classics, it offers recordings of the...more
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This free audio book site offers classical literature and philosophy books in the public domain for download at no charge. In addition to typical classics, it offers recordings of the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution, some Mark Twain, and a few Christmas recordings for children including "Twas the Night Before Christmas," "The Gift of the Magi," and "Scrooge: A Christmas Carol."

In the Classroom

Make a shortcut to this site on classroom computers as a reference. Suggest it to students as something they can use on their mp3 players. Share this link on your class website for students and parents to access at home. Learning support teachers may want to use selections from this site as alternatives to reading print literature selections. Play a story on your computer speakers as a listening activity in younger grades.

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China Past and Present - Mrdonn.org

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1 to 12
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This site from "Mr.Donn," hosts lesson plans, interactives, and other resources to supplement a unit on Ancient or Modern China. The resources are grouped by historical period, touching...more
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This site from "Mr.Donn," hosts lesson plans, interactives, and other resources to supplement a unit on Ancient or Modern China. The resources are grouped by historical period, touching upon topics such as the Song Dynasty, Marco Polo, and the Communist Revolution. Though TeachersFirst does not usually recommend lists of resources, this site has so many it made the exception!

tag(s): china (66), evolution (100)

In the Classroom

Save this site as a favorite and use it as a resource to find supplementary materials or lesson plans for a lesson or unit on China. Several of the activities would make great learning centers or stations as a review tool before an assessment or after immediate instruction. Be sure to save the sites as favorite on classroom computers, making it easier for students to navigate there.

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Ancient China Online Games and Activities

Grades
1 to 12
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Though we don't often recommend "lists" of links, this site hosts 19 links to games about or related to Ancient China. The games vary in age level and topic, ranging ...more
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Though we don't often recommend "lists" of links, this site hosts 19 links to games about or related to Ancient China. The games vary in age level and topic, ranging from Tangram squares, to review games and Calligraphy how-to's.

tag(s): china (66)

In the Classroom

Browse through this site to find activities to fit your specific class during a unit on Ancient China. After you've found games that can work, save them as favorites on classroom computers and use them as learning centers or stations. This would be a great way to review before an assessment or immediately after a lecture introducing the topic.

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The gate of Heavenly Peace - PBS Frontline

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7 to 12
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This site from PBS is an accompaniment to the documentary by the same name. There are several clips of the movie available by clicking "The Film" link. You may want ...more
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This site from PBS is an accompaniment to the documentary by the same name. There are several clips of the movie available by clicking "The Film" link. You may want to preview the film clips before sharing them with younger students, as some are rather graphic. In addition to information on the film there are also maps, essays, and primary sources from Tiananmen Square and the following Beijing Massacre. For teachers using the film, there is additional information about people in the film, transcripts, and behind the scenes information. For those not using the film, there is plenty of supplemental material that could benefit a lesson on Tiananmen Square.

tag(s): china (66), communism (4)

In the Classroom

Use the interactive tour of Tiananmen Square (or share the videos) on your interactive whiteboard or projector during a lesson on Tiananmen. After learning about the events from books, this is a great way to give students something tangible to hold on to. After viewing the site and film, have students complete a multimedia presentation to share what they have learned. Create a class wiki to discuss the events shared at this site. Check out the TeachersFirst's Wiki Walk-Through.
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The Tank Man - PBS Frontline

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9 to 12
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This site from PBS provides in-depth information about the events of Tiananmen Square. There is a 90 minute documentary on the site, accompanied by timelines, witness interviews and...more
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This site from PBS provides in-depth information about the events of Tiananmen Square. There is a 90 minute documentary on the site, accompanied by timelines, witness interviews and discussion of how Tiananmen has impacted present-day China. There is also a teachers guide on the site, providing teachers with 4 lesson plans, utilizing the information on the site.

tag(s): china (66), communism (4)

In the Classroom

Use the documentary on this site as an in-class activity during a lesson or unit on Modern China. Introduce the circumstances of Tiananmen Square to the class before playing the video on the interactive whiteboard or projector. Make sure to give students sufficient contextual information before playing the video. After the video, have a class discussion about the video, using your own prompts or those derived from the teachers guide! Challenge students to create fictitious blog posts from those living near the area, or from family members living far away.

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China's Economy - PBS NewsHour

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9 to 12
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This lesson plan from PBS Newshour focuses on the economic relationship between China and the United States. The lesson specifically looks at the differing economic policies between...more
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This lesson plan from PBS Newshour focuses on the economic relationship between China and the United States. The lesson specifically looks at the differing economic policies between the two countries, and how those policies have affected their economies thus far. Great lesson plan for a government, economics, or world history classroom.

tag(s): china (66)

In the Classroom

Take advantage of the free lesson plans on this site! Even if you don't have time for the entire lesson plan, be sure to check it out to see what can be included in your classroom. Be sure to save the site as a favorite to allow for easy reference later on.

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China From the Inside - PBS

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9 to 12
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This site from PBS takes a look at Modern China, and the issues facing it regarding government, women's rights, the environment, and political freedom. This site accompanies a documentary,...more
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This site from PBS takes a look at Modern China, and the issues facing it regarding government, women's rights, the environment, and political freedom. This site accompanies a documentary, and has short clips on the site as well as lesson plans, an interactive map, and a U.S.-China quiz.

tag(s): china (66)

In the Classroom

Take advantage of the free lesson plans in the "Educators" section! The lesson plans connect the content to geography and economics, and are aligned with national standards. The U.S. China quiz may be a bit challenging, but teachers can easily use it as a formative assessment to see what students already know about modern China before entering a new lesson or unit on it. Make sure to save the site as a favorite to allow for easy reference later on!
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Smilebox - Smilebox, Inc.

Grades
5 to 12
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This resource allows you to create slide shows, greetings, scrapbooks, invitations, collages, and more. The download is free, but there are paid upgrades available if desired. For educational...more
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This resource allows you to create slide shows, greetings, scrapbooks, invitations, collages, and more. The download is free, but there are paid upgrades available if desired. For educational purposes, the upgrades are not needed. Photos, videos, and music can all be added to your creations. A Smilebox template must be used to make your creations. Products made with this program can be shared to web pages and blogs, social networking sites, emailed, saved, or printed for free. All themes are free. This is a free download, so make sure you have computers that have the capability to download before creating a lesson with this tool. See the reviewer's sample here.

tag(s): blogs (88), images (266), movies (65), photography (160), slides (63)

In the Classroom

You will need to be able to download this program, and you will need 4 MB of space on your computer to do so. The program will automatically pull some photos from Windows Media or iPhoto depending on what your computer uses for photos. You can save web images or use screen shots, as well, to be used in your creations. Watch copyright! Check out the review of Jing reviewed here for details and a down-loadable screen shot taker. (It is what our reviewer used to capture extra images for the sample!) From here, it is easy to simply click and follow the on screen instructions. The program is simple to navigate and very user friendly for those who are accustomed to web tools.

With the variety of formats, this program has a wide variety of applications in any type of classroom! Use in history class to have students create collages of different periods of time such as the American Civil War. Create topics such as the Lincoln's Election, the Gettysburg Address, Battle of Antietam, Emancipation Proclamation, Battle of Gettysburg, and Lee's Surrender. Have pairs or groups of three select topics at random, and then have them create a collage or "scrapbook" of the event. Try having students choose a role from which to create their assignment such as a Rebel soldier, a Union Soldier, a volunteer nurse, a mother or father of children fighting on different sides of the war, etc. Have students collect copyright free images online for their use or create their own by reenacting and creating visuals to take pictures for their productions. Unleash student creativity by showing them this tool as resource in creating presentations and projects for your class and others. What a fabulous tool to use on the first day of school (as a welcome), beginning of a new unit, or back to school night with the parents! Elementary classes could create whole-class scrapbooks of curriculum projects, such as their science garden or Colonial Days celebration.

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Teachinghistory.org - National History Education Clearinghouse

Grades
6 to 12
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This is another incredibly rich site, so much so that it's difficult to know where to start in describing it. Designed to be a resource to those teaching history, the ...more
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This is another incredibly rich site, so much so that it's difficult to know where to start in describing it. Designed to be a resource to those teaching history, the site is divided into three main areas: teaching materials, history content, and best practices. The teaching materials section includes reviewed lesson plans, teaching guides, and a searchable index of state standards. The history content includes website reviews, multimedia resources, links to museums and historical sites and other resources. The best practices section looks at how one thinks as a historian, advice on using primary sources, and tips for those teaching history. There are brief video introductions to the site focused on different instructional levels (elementary, middle school, and high school). Tucked in the corners is a weekly history quiz, video interviews with historians, and an NHEC blog.

tag(s): history day (23), primary sources (86)

In the Classroom

While the "history content" section of this website contains resources that might be directly usable in the classroom, there is much more here for the teacher to use in preparing lessons, learning more about topics of interest and in infusing the teaching of history with more primary documentation and historical thinking that has been past practice in a traditional social studies classroom. There is also a focus on the limitations of mass produced text books, and guidance on helping students begin to question what they find in those text books as historians. On this site there are interactive posters to use with your students to get them to start thinking like a historian. You can see the review for the elementary poster here,. Altogether, this is a very rich resource and should be in regular rotation among your "go to" bookmarked favorites.
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A Very Old Place - N Bosch

Grades
6 to 12
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Created by a former elementary gifted education teacher, this is a blog that focuses on primary source documents and websites. Because it's a blog, the site has a series of ...more
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Created by a former elementary gifted education teacher, this is a blog that focuses on primary source documents and websites. Because it's a blog, the site has a series of keywords down the right margin, and features dated entries about various topics. Like other "old places," it's made to explore, noodle around in, and generally lose yourself. While the site might not necessarily be a great resource to students themselves, teachers will find it fascinating and possibly inspiring for teaching ideas and student projects, all using primary sources. Inspire a love of history with the "things" that bring it to life.

tag(s): primary sources (86), resources (112)

In the Classroom

Add this site to your Favorites and use it for an ongoing source of ideas and interesting websites to bring into the classroom and to explore. Challenge students to make a digital collection of "primary source" materials about your school or local community as they come to appreciate the value of such documents and artifacts through a historical eye.

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World Mapper - Various Professors from University of Sheffield & Michigan

Grades
5 to 12
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Worldmapper is a collection of world maps, where territories are re-sized on each map according to the subject of interest. There are nearly 700 maps. Maps 1-366 are also available...more
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Worldmapper is a collection of world maps, where territories are re-sized on each map according to the subject of interest. There are nearly 700 maps. Maps 1-366 are also available as PDF posters. Use the menu bar at the top to find a map of interest. There is also a series of maps on the visualization of the world's population using a new mapping technique: Worldmapper Population Atlas. Be aware: parts of this site open slowly.

tag(s): maps (287), politics (99)

In the Classroom

Geography and history teachers will enjoy this site. Use this site as a learning center during a unit on maps, or a unit on something like poverty or religions (there are many more categories), or a specific time period mentioned within your studies. Many of the maps within categories have pie graphs. Challenge groups of students to use the maps for research projects and create multimedia presentations such as a video using a site such as SchoolTube (reviewed here).
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Dipity - Underlying, Inc.

Grades
3 to 12
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Dipity is an online timeline creator that allows you to create, view, and share timelines in several different ways. When viewing timelines the default mode is the classic timeline...more
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Dipity is an online timeline creator that allows you to create, view, and share timelines in several different ways. When viewing timelines the default mode is the classic timeline display. With just a click the same information can be shown as a flipbook, map, and list. Sharing is simple through widgets that can be embedded on blogs or websites as well as quick links to common networking sites.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): timelines (62)

In the Classroom

Click on "add an event" and complete as much information as you can about the event. Types of information that are provided include: title, date, description, picture, link, location, and video Url. If you do not have a complete set of information, the event will still look good in the timeline! Also, please note that you cannot create imaginary locations. The site does verify the place entered as location is a real place.

Use a created, identifiable to the outside world team name to preserve student internet security. This way, students do not need to create their own accounts. Be careful when having students enter locations, if it is historical project, real dates and times are safe to use. However, if students are creating personal type timelines, use general locations like city and country or even just country. You can control who can see the timelines, and who can edit the timeline. Use caution here!

Create a timeline of classroom events throughout the school year. During a unit on inventions, having different students add each invention to the timeline along with pertinent information to create a very visual display of the chronology of the introduction of each item (great for review!). Use for an author study to compare and contrast lives of authors and add historical events to put each author's works into perspective. In science class, have students create a timeline of scientific discoveries or the life of a plant, animal, or scientist. Challenge students to create cross-disciplinary timelines showing historic, scientific, and artistic events during the same time period, such as the Renaissance or a decade during the 20th century, so they can see trends. Make timelines of environmental concerns, such as the Gulf Oil Spill--or a history of environmental disasters. Create timelines for historic events -- local or global. Make family histories in world language classes using vocabulary and grammar skills to describe family members in the new language. Create a class timeline to add to your classroom wiki and have students add information as the year advances so that they can look back on all that they have accomplished.

Need a challenge for your gifted students? as the study history or a scientific discovery, have them make a timeline that shows other events happening in the world at the same time. Have them create a "family tree" for endangered species using this timeline tool. Add pictures, locations, and names of related species and causes for the threat to that animal. Have them map out the steps leading to a war or civil rights event, adding the more subtle causes and people not included in the regular curriculum.

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Spy Letters of the American Revolution - Clements Library, University of Michigan

Grades
4 to 12
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This fascinating site is based on an exhibit of American Revolutionary spy letters from the William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan. The Gallery of...more
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This fascinating site is based on an exhibit of American Revolutionary spy letters from the William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan. The Gallery of Letters provides a brief description of each letter and links to more information about the stories of the spies in the letter or the secret methods used to make the letter. This site is rich with primary sources, taking students back in time!

tag(s): evolution (100), primary sources (86)

In the Classroom

The use of spy letters shows students a different perspective of the Revolutionary War. Have your students use the information about the spies and write a biography. Add a little mystery to your classroom and have students write spy letters from the perspective of people on each side of the war. Have students use the images and information from the site and create a poster using Glogster reviewed here. Post the letters on an interactive whiteboard or projector and use the letters in an English class to discuss letter writing, grammar, and sentence structure. The whiteboard tools can be used to highlight and annotate. Several more examples of fun activities including writing with disappearing ink can be found in the Teacher's Lounge.

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Argument Wars - iCivics Inc.

Grades
5 to 10
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This site offers a creative way to teach landmark Supreme Court cases. The site provides five historical court cases for students to argue. Each case is a separate interactive. In ...more
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This site offers a creative way to teach landmark Supreme Court cases. The site provides five historical court cases for students to argue. Each case is a separate interactive. In each activity, students play a lawyer who represents one side in the case. Using supporting documents, students must choose the best argument for the side they are representing. Students "win" the game and case if they score more points than their computer generated opponent.

tag(s): constitution (79), game based learning (103)

In the Classroom

This site is great way to review the amendments of the US Constitution. Using an interactive whiteboard or projector, complete one case as a whole group so students can see how the interactive should work. Use the provided handouts so students can take notes as you are working through the case. When it is time for students to work independently, make a shortcut to this site on classroom computers and use it as a center. Divide students into cooperative learning groups to explore the site. Afterward have a discussion or have students journal using the provided discussion questions. Why not create a "Argument Wars Wiki" to discuss the cases. Not comfortable with wikis? Have no wiki worries - check out the TeachersFirst's Wiki Walk-Through. This site does not have a save feature so students have to complete the entire activity to see if they've won. For students that need more of a challenge, assign them Gideon v. Wainwright. Students have to examine two arguments which makes it more challenging.
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Do I Have a Right? - iCivics Inc.

Grades
5 to 10
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In this interactive role playing game, students take on the role of a lawyer starting a new business. Students take on cases, hire lawyers and try to grow their business. ...more
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In this interactive role playing game, students take on the role of a lawyer starting a new business. Students take on cases, hire lawyers and try to grow their business. To be successful, they must understand constitutional amendments. Students can earn prestige points by successfully interacting with clients and winning cases. In order to have a thriving law practice, students have to hire lawyers that are familiar with various amendments. Lesson plans and after-activity PowerPoints are provided.

tag(s): constitution (79), game based learning (103)

In the Classroom

This site is great way to review the amendments of the US Constitution. Make a shortcut to this site on classroom computers and use it as a center. Divide students into cooperative learning groups to explore the site. Working in groups have a class competition to see who can win the most cases and achieve the most prestige points. Afterward, have a discussion about the process each group used to build their law firm. This site does not have a save feature so the teacher should set a duration for play. Built in help makes this site useful for students who might need some additional guidance. Use the final score printout to assign your students a grade.

To fully involve students in their "law firm," have them create a firm logo and "shingle" using an online graphics tool such as Supalogo, reviewed here. Print the logos for classroom decorations or have students upload them to law firm pages on on your class wiki.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Youth Leadership Initiative - Center for Politics - University of Virginia

Grades
3 to 12
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This site is a civic education program that encourages students to be involved in the electoral and policy making process of the US government. Through interactive multimedia, the site...more
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This site is a civic education program that encourages students to be involved in the electoral and policy making process of the US government. Through interactive multimedia, the site offers technology-based civic education resources that foster long-term civic engagement. There are parts of this site that are available to non-members, while other features are "member only." Membership requires name of school, email, and address. Teachers and curriculum leaders can sign up for a free account, and approval takes 2 - 3 days. Once approved, you will have access to several multimedia rich content areas.

tag(s): congress (33), elections (75), senate (9)

In the Classroom

Use the site with an interactive whiteboard or projector. Have students work in cooperative groups and take part in the mock congress. They will develop critical thinking and collaboration skills as they research, draft, and pass original legislation. Use the downloadable campaign simulation software (free), and have your students role play and run a senatorial campaign.
br> If you plan to have students register individually, you may want to create your own Gmail account with up to 20 subaccounts for each group of students (by code name or number) within your classes. Here is a blog post that tells how to set up GMail subaccounts to use for any online membership service.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Rubric Gallery - RCampus

Grades
K to 12
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This site contains links to many different sources for rubrics. You can search by grade level, subject, or type making it easier to find an appropriate rubric. ...more
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This site contains links to many different sources for rubrics. You can search by grade level, subject, or type making it easier to find an appropriate rubric.

tag(s): assessment (100)

In the Classroom

Use this site to search for rubrics for any type of assignment or classroom use. Material isn't limited to academic use, it also includes attendance, homework, and other types of rubrics.

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Historical Thinking Matters - Center for History and New Media

Grades
9 to 12
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This site teaches teachers and students to critically view and read historical documents. The site will help students find and view primary sources critically as they decipher the past....more
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This site teaches teachers and students to critically view and read historical documents. The site will help students find and view primary sources critically as they decipher the past. The site is broken down into student investigations and teaching materials and strategies. There are maps, videos, activities, and more.

tag(s): critical thinking (108), primary sources (86)

In the Classroom

This site can be used in several different ways. View the introductory movie from the the site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Then use some of the teaching strategies to prepare students for an upcoming history lesson. Use the student section with individual or pairs of students in a lab or as a center. Have them use their new skills to review historical documents. Break students into four groups and assign them one of the four student investigations to complete. When done have groups share what they learned with the rest of the class. Challenge students to create a video and share using a site such as SchoolTube (reviewed here).
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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