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The Emancipation Proclamation - National Archives

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6 to 12
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This site from the National Archives provides images of the original proclamation, along with a brief analysis explaining the various limitations to Lincoln's document that freed the...more
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This site from the National Archives provides images of the original proclamation, along with a brief analysis explaining the various limitations to Lincoln's document that freed the slaves. The analysis sets the effort to free slaves into the political context of the Civil War.

tag(s): africa (179), african american (114), civil war (144), lincoln (86)

In the Classroom

Share the original document on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Have students take turns reading each section aloud to the class. After reading the entire document, have students write a journal entry from the viewpoint of the slaves - what were they thinking, feeling, did they even know this had happened?

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History for Middle School Kids - Kidipede

Grades
4 to 10
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This site, designed especially for middle school students, includes a HUGE amount of social studies topics. Although this site is recommended for middle school students, it is also...more
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This site, designed especially for middle school students, includes a HUGE amount of social studies topics. Although this site is recommended for middle school students, it is also appropriate for high school students studying the subject areas. It is mainly a "text" site, without interactives. However, this is a great resource for explaining complex topics, researching specific topics in social studies, and much more. Some of the general areas of the site include: Mesopotamia, North America, Ancient Africa, Ancient Egypt, Medieval Europe, Islamic Empire, Ancient China, Ancient Rome, and Ancient Greece. Each general area includes countless sub-topics. There is a search box available at the top of the page. There are also links to activities for students, project ideas, and Teacher's Guides. There are two caveats: there are some advertisements, nothing too distracting AND some of the suggested activities include "buying" a book from Amazon. You do NOT need to purchase anything to take advantage of this free resource!

tag(s): europe (75), greece (26), medieval (27), mesopotamia (6)

In the Classroom

Use this site as an anticipatory set in your history classes studying these topics. The information is simple to understand and would be useful for students struggling with a topic. Use the site for research about specific topics. Have teams of students explore each of the "sub-topics" within the main topic and then create an interactive presentation (Powerpoint, video, or blog) to share the information with their class. Why not list this link on your class website, so students can access the page both in and out of the classroom.

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Today in History - Library of Congress

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4 to 12
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The Library of Congress offers this daily look at historical events - mostly American. There is typically more than one event listed per day, and the text integrates cultural, literary,...more
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The Library of Congress offers this daily look at historical events - mostly American. There is typically more than one event listed per day, and the text integrates cultural, literary, and political trends into the daily reporting. This makes this daily nugget far more than just a collection of "factoids."

tag(s): history day (23)

In the Classroom

This site provides excellent historical research! For a classroom-ready activity each day to build understanding of historical events in the context of your students' prior knowledge, also try TeachersFirst's Dates That Matter. Include both links on your teacher web page for instant access by students both in and out of class. Maybe start a class wiki for your own "This Day" collection and assign student groups a day of their own. Add to it from year to year. Or have students write blog responses on class or individual blogs as they choose an event for the day from several sources and react to it.

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On This Day - New York Times

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6 to 12
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The New York Times offers this glimpse back into history in this daily feature. Events may be national or international, and frequently refer to contemporaneous Times coverage. The...more
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The New York Times offers this glimpse back into history in this daily feature. Events may be national or international, and frequently refer to contemporaneous Times coverage. The site also lists "famous" birthdays, copies of previous New York Times, and links to lesson plans (mainly current events).

tag(s): news (261)

In the Classroom

Try this one for a daily "historical current events" sampling. Take advantage of the "ready to go" lesson plans, which include interactive features.

This site also makes for decent research. For a classroom-ready activity each day to build understanding of historical events in the context of your students' prior knowledge, also try TeachersFirst's Dates That Matter. Include both links on your teacher web page for instant access by students both in and out of class. Maybe start a class wiki for your own "This Day" collection and assign student groups a day of their own. Add to it from year to year. Or have students write blog responses on class or individual blogs as they choose an event for the day from several sources and react to it.

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Today In History - Cowles

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6 to 12
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A very good site for the history buff or those struggling to understand historical events. The story links have real depth and are well written for easy comprehension. Pictures make...more
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A very good site for the history buff or those struggling to understand historical events. The story links have real depth and are well written for easy comprehension. Pictures make the history come alive and support the information given. There are links to particular events of the day, a daily quiz, and a picture of the day. Be aware: some dates do not have any information and other dates provide a very brief list of "happenings."

tag(s): expository writing (45), history day (23)

In the Classroom

This site would be ideal for research projects. For a classroom-ready activity each day to build understanding of historical events in the context of your students' prior knowledge, also try TeachersFirst's Dates That Matter. Include both links on your teacher web page for instant access by students both in and out of class. Maybe start a class wiki for your own "This Day" collection and assign student groups a day of their own. Add to it from year to year. Or have students write blog responses on class or individual blogs as they choose an event for the day from several sources and react to it.

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Foreign Languages and Literature - MIT Open Courseware

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8 to 12
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This site offers free comprehensive, interactive language and literature courses developed by MIT staff as part of their open course ware program. All courses include a regular syllabus...more
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This site offers free comprehensive, interactive language and literature courses developed by MIT staff as part of their open course ware program. All courses include a regular syllabus that features assignments, interactive activities, and other resources such as videos and slideshows. There is a wide range of language offerings; the cultural courses complement the language instruction and include topics such as popular culture, history, economics, media , and thinking skills. There are courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels. This site requires Adobe Acrobat. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): chinese (49), french (88), german (64), india (36), japan (61), japanese (42), latin (22), spanish (108)

In the Classroom

AP history, language, and economics students may find MIT's online course materials useful. MIT has committed to putting its entire curriculum on the web, and these early offerings include syllabi, reading materials, and a variety of subject-specific class notes. Before using these pages, students and parents should all be aware of what Open Courseware is and is not. Teachers at smaller schools may welcome the availability of language alternatives. Teachers of gifted who are looking for acceleration options will also find these courses valuable, though you will need to develop a means of doing assessment if your students are to earn credit for them.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Cosmeo Atlas - Discovery education

Grades
6 to 12
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This interactive world map shares information in video format about culture, government, history, or the natural world. To view the information you may either click on the location...more
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This interactive world map shares information in video format about culture, government, history, or the natural world. To view the information you may either click on the location on the map, or use the Select a Location toolbar. This site requires Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): climate (92), countries (77), environment (319)

In the Classroom

Students can be divided into groups and assigned a country. Each student can use the videos to create a snapshot of the country based upon the culture, government, history, and the natural world. Students can create their own videos outlining the information, a blog post to share with others, newsletters, or any other project that makes a comparison between cultures. Offer this as one of several resources for student research. Your learning support and ESL students will find it easier to follow this information in video than to use text-based resources.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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American Heritage Education Foundation, Inc. - The American Heritage Education Foundation

Grades
K to 12
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Social studies, history, and government teachers - be warned - this site may be the best FREE gift you receive this year. To sum it up in one word - ...more
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Social studies, history, and government teachers - be warned - this site may be the best FREE gift you receive this year. To sum it up in one word - WOW! The highlight of this site is ready-to-go lesson plans (with standards) divided by age level (elementary, middle, and high school). These FREE lesson plans are available online via a PDF file or you may order a FREE CD (they say it is a $150 value).

The elementary topics range from Colonial America to U.S. Presidents (with a focus on George Washington) to the History of Thanksgiving to The Pledge of Allegiance and MANY others. The middle school topics include the Declaration of Independence, Our National Documents, The Gettysburg Address, Religious Expression in School, and several others. The high school topics vary from the Mayflower, to Federalists 47, the First Amendment, and more. Each grade level also includes lessons on character education.

In addition to the wonderful lesson plans, the site also highlights the four themes of the foundation: Unity, Progress, Freedom, and Responsibility. There are also links to some fantastic social studies sites and a wealth of research information about America. Some of the lesson plans and printables require Adobe Acrobat. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): colonial america (107), constitution (82), gettysburg (26), gettysburg address (18), presidents (130), thanksgiving (36)

In the Classroom

Obviously, the lesson plans are useful for all grade levels. Take advantage of these free resources. Many include printable activities for your students to try out. Although the site isn't highly interactive, it does have some great ideas to incorporate into your class to bring history alive.

Make the lesson plans more "technologically advanced" by having students create a wiki or blog entry. Have your high school students complete the lesson on the First Amendment and then have them have a virtual debate about the First Amendment via a class wiki. Have your elementary students complete the lesson on U.S. Presidents and then have each student write a blog entry pretending to be one of the presidents (a great mini-research project). Have your middle school students complete the lesson on the Gettysburg Address and then try to create their own "Address" to talk about the current state of our nation. Have them share their "Address" on a video using YouTube or or TeacherTube (explained here).
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Wanderlust: GOOD traces the most famous trips in history - GOOD magazine

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5 to 12
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Visually interesting, this site offers brief (3--5 stop) illustrated trips reflecting a combination of real-life and fictional journeys, including those by Amelia Earhart, Captain Ahab,...more
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Visually interesting, this site offers brief (3--5 stop) illustrated trips reflecting a combination of real-life and fictional journeys, including those by Amelia Earhart, Captain Ahab, Magellan, Marco Polo, Jack Kerouac, Pizarro, and Phileas Fogg. The site opens with a world map with each of the journeys traced and keyed to the name of the journey. Clicking on a journey brings up photographs, literary illustrations, or drawings from the time period showing highlights of the trip. This site requires Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): columbus day (10), explorers (63), lewis and clark (15), literature (275), marco polo (5)

In the Classroom

The individual journeys are brief, but would provide a nice accompaniment to a lesson, either in literature or history. When introduce Hudson the explorer, share his voyage as an anticipatory set or activator for the lesson. They would be particularly effective on an interactive whiteboard or projector. As your students read other literature or study other events in history, challenge them to create similar "maps" of the journeys in Google Earth.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Real American Stories - Fox News Network

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5 to 12
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American stories, from celebrities or the neighbor next door, abound. Fox News Network collects 'our' stories at this website for all to hear and see. History teachers will appreciate...more
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American stories, from celebrities or the neighbor next door, abound. Fox News Network collects 'our' stories at this website for all to hear and see. History teachers will appreciate the authentic video stories from WWII heroes or from those whose ancestors came to America through Ellis Island. Stories that encourage the human spirit, and stories that motivate us to become all we can be, will certainly be a bonus to your educational program. Click on the Inspiration link to read the statements, view videos, or hear authentic recordings from our founding fathers and other notable Americans (like Walt Whitman and Susan B. Anthony).

You are also able to input your own "American Story." Directions are found under the Your Story link. Uploading your own story requires personal information to be included (i.e. name, state, email, phone, etc.). Be sure to check your school's Acceptable Use Policy (and check with parents) BEFORE uploading ANY student information. Audio and video plug ins are necessary and can be obtained here: TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): heroes (24)

In the Classroom

Through your TV circuit, your school could start each week with a Real American Story. Share the video clips on an interactive whiteboard or projector. History teachers will enjoy perusing the site to find stories that would aid content learning. As an English teacher, your students can write their own American story. Employ the photography teacher in a joint project to video the 'best' American story and submit it to the site. (Be sure to see warning: noted in the description). Classroom teachers, make a bulletin board of your students' "real American stories." Have students create a wiki about their own personal heroes (well-known or unknown). The stories on this site would also serve as primary sources to inspire History Day and other research projects. For a longer-range project, plan to document local history by interviewing local residents about major events that made your town what it is today. You might even get your local service clubs and organizations to help fund the project.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Quiz School: Create a Quiz Online - Proprofs QuizSchool

Grades
1 to 12
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The site calls itself the "YouTube of Quizzes." This site allows you to create ONLINE quizzes. You MUST register to use this site. Registration does require an email address, user ...more
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The site calls itself the "YouTube of Quizzes." This site allows you to create ONLINE quizzes. You MUST register to use this site. Registration does require an email address, user name, and password. Registration takes less than ten seconds, and is very simple.

Once registered, you click to create a quiz. Then you are asked to choose between a personality quiz or a scored quiz. This site offers extraordinary details. At the scored quiz, you are able to provide a title, tags, description, and choose the type of questions (multiple choice, essay, or fill in the blank). It is simple to insert images, change font styles, insert links, and even score the online quiz. You can create a pass/fail quiz, a graded quiz (with YOU determining what qualifies as an A, B, etc..). You are also able to set a time limit, issue a certificate of achievement, and fill in the possible total score.

Once students have taken the quiz, immediate feedback is provided (including a scale of all participants, the correct answers, final score, and grade). This is a fantastic tool to use to create online quizzes!

Caution: this site does include some minor advertisements. At the time of this review, all advertisements were appropriate. But it would be wise to advise students NOT to click off of the quiz onto any of the advertisements or links.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): quiz (87)

In the Classroom

Use this site to create online quizzes. Create a quiz as a review to share on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Have students take the quiz independently or in cooperative learning groups. Have students create their own quizzes to use for review or as a final project. Embed your quiz (or provide a link to it) on your class website.

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After the Deluge - Smith Magazine

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6 to 12
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This issue of Smith Magazine features an online graphic novel of the events of Hurricane Katrina and its effects on New Orleans and related communities. Since there are very few ...more
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This issue of Smith Magazine features an online graphic novel of the events of Hurricane Katrina and its effects on New Orleans and related communities. Since there are very few words, it's perfect for students of all ages and English ability levels. The drawings are in chronological order and include weather pictures and before and after pictures, as well as specific events of the hurricane.

Warning: Be sure to PREVIEW each section before you show it to the class since there is some profanity in the speech of some characters.

tag(s): graphic novels (7), hurricanes (38), novels (24)

In the Classroom

In light of the increase of hurricane activity, this is a wonderful resource to introduce this weather topic. Use it also in art class, graphic design, and with ESL and ELL students learning to tell stories. Use this site to introduce the world of graphic novels to students who are reluctant readers. Have your class make their own graphic novel about another catastrophic or historical event, either in groups or individually. Check with your administration to be sure it's OK to use this site at student computers since there are spaces for students to respond and also to submit their own work. If that's a problem, use it with your classroom computer and project the novel on the whiteboard (avoiding scenes with questionable vocabulary). Extend the lesson by having students create their own collaborative graphic account of a local history event or fictional tale in small groups.

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Brief Timeline of American Literature and Events - D. Campbell

Grades
8 to 12
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Are you looking for a way to connect literature to cultural and historical elements? Making connections between the arts and humanities and the social atmosphere that spawns them is...more
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Are you looking for a way to connect literature to cultural and historical elements? Making connections between the arts and humanities and the social atmosphere that spawns them is invaluable and this site will help students see how it all "fits." The site offers a great interactive timeline from 1500-1920's. Clicking on a year lines up the political and social history next to the literature of the time. Beginning with the 1890's you can match literature with music and movies as well. This is a great tool for use with the whole class or as a resource for individual students.

tag(s): 1600s (12), 1700s (26), 1800s (47), authors (121)

In the Classroom

Students could use this as a starter for more specific comparisons, including specific regions or states. Use this site as an example for students to create a similar timeline for literature and art from other countries or other cultural areas, such as dance or theatre.

Be sure to share the music and sounds from the time periods. Have students analyze what they think is the meaning behind the songs. What historical names do they hear? Then have students create their own songs or video clips about the literature and/or culture of that time period. Record and share the video clips on TeacherTube (explained here).

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Web Poster Wizard - 4Teachers.org

Grades
K to 12
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Use this terrific online tool for your students to create posters or short reports in a poster format. Create lessons, worksheets, or class pages and instantly publish them online using...more
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Use this terrific online tool for your students to create posters or short reports in a poster format. Create lessons, worksheets, or class pages and instantly publish them online using this free Web Poster Wizard. The teacher sets up an account (for free), and follows simple directions so students can upload images and write about their project or pictures. The site even includes management tools so you can keep separate classes of students and see their work by class.

Plan to spend some time reading through the directions and trying out this tool before you assign it to students. Teachers and students must register and login each time they use this tool. Students can share the URL for their posters with grandparents or parents to show off their good work!

Students will need to know how to locate and upload a file for an image (such as a digital picture) to place it in their poster. If you allow them to use images from the web, the tool asks them to give information on their image source, as well (hooray for ethical use of the Internet!). If you use digital pictures of students, be SURE that you do NOT use full names on the site. You should get parent permission for uploading any student images, even if anonymous.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): posters (36)

In the Classroom

Some uses for this simple tool: book reports (take a digital photo of the book cover), biographical posters of famous people (images from the web), "all about me" posters, posters about community members such as veterans of World War II whom students interview and photograph, author posters, fictitious character studies, science posters on processes or terms with accompanying digital pictures to illustrate, etc. The possibilities are endless. Once students know the tool, they can use it over and over.

Teachers, make sure you select the archive option to keep student projects live online for more than a month. Use the Teacher Feature option to create one web page of your class' archived projects. You will want to put your created web page link prominently on your class homepage.

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Picasso - Maryland Electronic Fieldtrips - Thinkport

Grades
3 to 12
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If you are teaching your students about Picasso, visit this website for some new ideas. This site focuses on the years of 1892-1906. There are links to learn more about ...more
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If you are teaching your students about Picasso, visit this website for some new ideas. This site focuses on the years of 1892-1906. There are links to learn more about point of view, reflection, focus, and more. The site includes a timeline of Picasso's life. Teachers, be sure to visit the "for educators" link to find math, social studies, and language arts activities to coincide with teaching about this amazing artist. Several of the paintings allow you to zoom in on certain features of the painting. Be aware, at the time of this review, the forums were closed to additional comments.

tag(s): picasso (6), point of view (9)

In the Classroom

Start out at the "for educators" link for some great ideas to create an interdisciplinary lesson using Picasso in art, social studies, language arts, or math class. Use this site for research projects. In art class, use your interactive whiteboard or projector to show students an up close look at several of Picasso's paintings. Analyze and notate the paintings' composition using the whiteboard tools!

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Food Fight - Tourist Pictures

Grades
9 to 12
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Food Fight is a five minute film illustrating the history of American warfare from World War II until the present. Using stop-action photography, the film uses food products emblematic...more
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Food Fight is a five minute film illustrating the history of American warfare from World War II until the present. Using stop-action photography, the film uses food products emblematic of each culture to represent the conflict. For example, the U.S. is represented by hamburgers and french fries; the Germans by pretzels and bratwurst. Quite simply, the effect is brilliant, albeit a little gross. Included is a separate "cheat sheet" revealing which countries or cultures are being represented by which food product and an overview of the conflicts portrayed.

tag(s): world war 2 (141)

In the Classroom

The film is embedded in the site as a link to YouTube, so systems that block YouTube access may not be able to access this without a work-around. If your school blocks YouTube, consider accessing this site and previewing the video at home, using a tool such as KeepVid reviewed here to bring it in for class use.

While there is no real content to this site other than the film itself, it would be a great addition to a modern U.S. history course or a discussion of current world politics. However, teachers will need to set the context carefully and provide discussion questions afterwards. Watching pretzels and bratwurst mow down a line of matzo, or hamburgers flattening a hundred sushi will spark laughter; it is our responsibility to translate that into a discussion of the Holocaust or the use of atomic weapons. Younger students will just giggle, but older students, with prodding, will find the film thought provoking. You might want to use it mid-unit after mastering the basic facts of WWII so you can raise the level of discussion to a more nuanced approach.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Google Lit Trips - Google Earth

Grades
3 to 12
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Google Lit Trips collects annotated maps on Google Earth to illustrate the travels found in great works of literature. The site presents the work of teachers and others and continues...more
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Google Lit Trips collects annotated maps on Google Earth to illustrate the travels found in great works of literature. The site presents the work of teachers and others and continues to add maps and content. Literary works are divided by grade level. Each map also provides links to other online material related to the work illustrated, and some trips are accompanied by related podcasts.

"Lit trips" can be reviewed by users so teachers can see comments left by other users. This site uses Google Earth which must be downloaded first. Find full info on Google Earth in the TeachersFirst review, including the link to download.

tag(s): earth (231), literature (275), maps (289)

In the Classroom

Each "lit trip" is extensively annotated and linked to further content, making this an incredibly rich resource for teachers to use in conjunction with teaching works of literature. Students can see graphically the travels of such characters as the Joads in The Grapes of Wrath , or Odysseus in Homer's Odyssey . Using these lit trips on an interactive whiteboard or projector will greatly enhance a class study of the associated work of literature. Alternatively, students might be encouraged to explore these lit trips independently, at home, or in a computer lab, so they can follow links that are of particular individual interest. As a really ambitious project, make it a class task to create a lit trip for a work of literature you are studying, assigning student groups to choose locations and create the placemarkers, then submit it to the Lit Trips site.

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Ben's Guide to U.S. Government - Government Printing Office

Grades
1 to 12
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Here's an introduction to American government that even the youngest students can appreciate. Divided into four grade levels, the site explains the structure and purpose of American...more
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Here's an introduction to American government that even the youngest students can appreciate. Divided into four grade levels, the site explains the structure and purpose of American government in age-appropriate terms for everyone from Kindergarteners to high school students. For example, there are four interactive games for your primary students (grades k-2)that make learning about our government fun. Have students learn states' locations by placing them on the map. Color the USA flag, help Ben Franklin out of a maze, or find your way around the liberty bell. There are also age-specific activities divided into grades 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12. This site requires Flash. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): constitution (82), franklin (12), states (162)

In the Classroom

With younger grades, use an interactive whiteboard or projector to learn the states' locations with the entire group. This simple site would be great to use in your computer center for individual learning or for some indoor recess enrichment fun. Secondary teachers looking for more than the basics will want to supplement this site with other resources. There is a link for parents and teachers, be sure to take a look!
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Map Collections Home Page - Library of Congress

Grades
6 to 12
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The Library of Congress offers this searchable database of historical maps, which includes a large collection of city maps, maps of military battles and campaigns, maps related to transportation...more
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The Library of Congress offers this searchable database of historical maps, which includes a large collection of city maps, maps of military battles and campaigns, maps related to transportation and communication, and maps focused on exploration and discovery. Within each category, you can search geographically or by time period. Each map accessed can be navigated using a zoom feature for better viewing. Maps cover a wide range of national and international subjects.

tag(s): battles (17), environment (319), maps (289), transportation (41)

In the Classroom

Teachers with interactive whiteboards or projectors will find these maps a natural companion to lessons involving history, geography, and cultural changes. Sometimes seeing a map drawn at the same time as the event under discussion can lend a whole new understanding of the culture of the people being studied. It's far more dramatic to imagine sailing into the unknown on a voyage of discovery while you look at the only maps available to those aboard.

Be sure to have students use the whiteboard tools to draw in their own "corrections" or annotations showing the movement of people or strategies used in battles. Since thee resources are in the public domain, you are allowed to copy them into your whiteboard software and keep the student annotations atop the maps, as well. The maps also make good visuals for "mock" blog entries by historical figures!

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National First Ladies' Library - National First Ladies' Library

Grades
6 to 12
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The wives of U.S. Presidents have often served a crucial, but unofficial and sometimes unrecognized, role in U.S. History. Hillary Clinton's recent run for the White House even prompted...more
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The wives of U.S. Presidents have often served a crucial, but unofficial and sometimes unrecognized, role in U.S. History. Hillary Clinton's recent run for the White House even prompted a spirited discussion of what her husband might be referred to if she became the first woman president.

The National First Ladies' Library, located in Canton, Ohio, is dedicated to teaching others about the contributions of the First Ladies of the United States, as well as other notable women in U.S. History. In fact, the library is housed in the former home of Ida Saxton McKinley, the wife of President William McKinley. The Library is both a physical resource, but also a comprehensive virtual library of information. The site contains biographies of US First Ladies, lesson plans, and a searchable timeline. There is an online catalog of the many resources available in the library itself; those who do not live nearby could still use the catalog to identify resources associated with former First Ladies. This site requires Adobe Acrobat. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): biographies (87), first ladies (2), presidents (130), women (91)

In the Classroom

These resources might be useful to those doing First Lady biographies for Women's History Month or other famous Americans reports. Students doing more in-depth research for History Day projects will find the online catalog helpful. Check out the link to facts and trivia for a good First Ladies Trivia page.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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