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American Life Histories - Library of Congress

Grades
9 to 12
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Manuscripts from the Federal Writers' Project (1936-40) ...more
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Manuscripts from the Federal Writers' Project (1936-40)

tag(s): biographies (86), primary sources (86)

In the Classroom

Use quotes from the interview page as starters or "do nows" for when your kids first come into your classroom. Select the quote that seems most likely to get students thinking or even communicative and have them respond in writing or verbally their reactions to the quote. Students could be specifically looking at perspective, biases, point of view, context or really just the quote itself in their responses. This kind of a starter is great to open up class with because it focuses students on the topic as well as previews what class that day will be about.

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Al Capone - Chicago Historical Society

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6 to 12
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The Chicago Museum of History created this site to chronicle the life and career of Chicago's most famous gangster. In addition to the narrative, there are photos and other references...more
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The Chicago Museum of History created this site to chronicle the life and career of Chicago's most famous gangster. In addition to the narrative, there are photos and other references to Chicago, the roaring twenties, and the role of the mob in politics during prohibition.

tag(s): 1920s (16), biographies (86)

In the Classroom

Interesting for browsing or student research, this site could also be part of a larger unit on the 1920's.

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The Titanic Sinks: Newspaper Reporting - University of Virginia

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6 to 12
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This site, created by the University of Virginia, examines the role of the press in creating the massive public reaction to the Titanic sinking. The site examines the large number ...more
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This site, created by the University of Virginia, examines the role of the press in creating the massive public reaction to the Titanic sinking. The site examines the large number of erroneous reports, as well as some of the sensationalized coverage of the tragedy. Excellent site for research or discussion-starters.

tag(s): disasters (39), newspapers (94)

In the Classroom

These headlines do a great job of providing a detailed and reliable perspective that students may not consider when thinking about such a colossal human tragedy. Printing these headlines out or sharing them on a projector, students can use the headlines to lead students through the progression of events that led up to the sinking of the ship. This could also lead in to a conversation of media framing, with students comparing and contrasting the different stories coming from the various sources.

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Early Motion Pictures - Library of Congress

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7 to 12
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Download film clips of American Factories, The McKinley Era, New York circa 1900, San Francisco before and after the earthquake, and other indexed historical early films. The clips...more
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Download film clips of American Factories, The McKinley Era, New York circa 1900, San Francisco before and after the earthquake, and other indexed historical early films. The clips are long, so take a few minutes to download, but the results could illustrate a history lesson or a communications study. This site also links to Edison's early motion picture and sound recordings. Students can also use these for primary research for National History Day or other major projects.

tag(s): movies (64)

In the Classroom

Use this site as an anticipatory set or "activator" to introduce a unit or lesson on a projector. Because the clips are long, make sure to preview them to help decide whether to play the whole thing or just portions. This videos would be great to use during a study of Edison, or even the content covered in the videos. It could lead to a very interesting conversation as to the value of videos as resources, and what criteria we should judge them by.

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The Conservation Movement - Library of Congress

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7 to 12
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The Evolution of the Conservation Movement documents the historical formation and cultural foundations of the movement to conserve and protect America's natural heritage. The collection...more
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The Evolution of the Conservation Movement documents the historical formation and cultural foundations of the movement to conserve and protect America's natural heritage. The collection consists of 60 books and pamphlets, 140 Federal statutes and Congressional resolutions, 34 additional legislative documents, excerpts from the Congressional Globe and the Congressional Record, 360 Presidential proclamations, 170 prints and photographs, 2 historic manuscripts, and a two-part motion picture. The chronologies, each with multiple links, are particularly useful for students.

tag(s): conservation (127), ecology (135)

In the Classroom

Use an image from each different period of the conservation movement for a visual discovery activity about the evolution. Select an image that represents each period, choosing the most powerful and moving images. Placing the images on individual slides, allow students 1-2 minutes to observe each image. During that time period, students should be taking notes based on what they observe, predict and infer about each image. The more powerful and detailed the image is, the more information students can take out. After the class has observed all the chosen images, have a class discussion based on the notes students took. This is a great way to introduce content in a way that gets students thinking, as well as avoiding the typical lecture format.

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Make the Dirt Fly - Smithsonian Institution

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6 to 12
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This multimedia site, based on a Smithsonian exhibit, provides in-depth documentation of the Panama Canal's fascinating history. Start with the brief introductory slide show - and be...more
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This multimedia site, based on a Smithsonian exhibit, provides in-depth documentation of the Panama Canal's fascinating history. Start with the brief introductory slide show - and be sure to have your speakers on! Students can discover the purpose behind the construction, how the route was selected, what life in the Canal Zone was like, and many little known facts about the project.

tag(s): south america (39)

In the Classroom

Introduce this site on the interactive whiteboard or projector before allowing students to explore it on their own. Have students go through the exhibit in pairs or cooperative learning groups on classroom computers to learn about the Panama Canal in a non-lecture format. This would be a useful site in a US history course, particularly for the upper reading levels.

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Tenements of New York's lower east side - PBS

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6 to 12
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History, pictures, and vignettes about the tenements and those who lived there. From WNET. ...more
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History, pictures, and vignettes about the tenements and those who lived there. From WNET.

tag(s): immigration (58), migration (59), new york (26)

In the Classroom

Open this site on the interactive whiteboard or projector to show students what life as an immigrant in the early 20th century may have been like. Teachers can lead students through the virtual tour over the interactive whiteboard to supplement a lecture on the overcrowded cities and the impact of increasing immigration. This would be a great resource for a US history classroom.

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The Haymarket Drama - Chicago Historical Society

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9 to 12
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While this comprehensive site about the Chigago labor unrest of 1886 offers seemingly endless narrative, its most useful feature is probably the collection of archival images, cartoons,...more
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While this comprehensive site about the Chigago labor unrest of 1886 offers seemingly endless narrative, its most useful feature is probably the collection of archival images, cartoons, and photos from the period. These give students a far better feel for the passion of the era. There's also plenty of research information.

tag(s): illinois (9)

In the Classroom

This site would be useful in a comparative study of labor history, or for a lesson on media reporting of news events.

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Hayes vs. Tilden - Harpweek.com

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6 to 12
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Compare the 2000 election controversy to the 1876 presidential election, in which the Electoral College ended up deciding the presidency. This site is especially noteworthy for its...more
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Compare the 2000 election controversy to the 1876 presidential election, in which the Electoral College ended up deciding the presidency. This site is especially noteworthy for its use of historical political cartoons and its day-by-day recounting of the events following the general election. From Harpweek.com, which creates resources from archival editions of Harper's Weekly.

Although this resource was created based on the 2000 election, the background information and historical comparisons are valuable for teaching about elections in general and for comparing elections as part of U.S. history.

tag(s): college (43), electoral college (16)

In the Classroom

Use the political cartoons as starters or introductory activities during a lesson on the controversial election. Find a cartoon that you think would be the best understood boy your students as well as the one that will most likely get them communicating and thinking about the topic on hand. Posting the image on the projector, have students reflect on the image either verbally or in some sort of journal writing. To differentiate it for a higher-level class, have the students respond to a specific component of the image, such as perspective, point of view, bias, intent, various layers, etc.

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Stephen Collins Foster - University of Pittsburgh

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6 to 12
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This site from the University of Pittsburgh traces the life and songwriting career of Pittsburgh native Stephen Foster. Foster's music is seen by many as helping to define American...more
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This site from the University of Pittsburgh traces the life and songwriting career of Pittsburgh native Stephen Foster. Foster's music is seen by many as helping to define American culture during this period. This site offers interesting research material, as well as more detailed content for the advanced student.

tag(s): biographies (86)

In the Classroom

Take advantage of the free lesson plans with the Teacher Resource portion of this site. Great supplements for a unit on the Civil War, just make sure to save this site as a favorite to allow for easy retrieval later on.

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Railway Women in Wartime

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7 to 12
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This is a fascinating archival photo collection describing how important women were to the railroads during World War I and World War II. The site includes some British and European...more
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This is a fascinating archival photo collection describing how important women were to the railroads during World War I and World War II. The site includes some British and European content as well.

tag(s): railroads (10), women (101)

In the Classroom

Use this site to challenge students to apply their knowledge of WWI and WWII knowledge in combination with their creative writing skills. Assign students to cooperative learning groups and have them select an image from the site. Students will narrate the image as a story, using their knowledge of the war in combination with their imaginations. Have students explain who this women is, what is she doing, why is she important, and how the war has affected her. Her personal profile may be made up, but the information concerning the war should be all factual. Have students create a multimedia presentation using UtellStory, reviewed here. This site allows users to narrate a picture.

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Quilts and Quiltmaking in America - Library of Congress

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6 to 12
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Used for more than warmth, quilts frequently told stories and histories. This Library of Congress site explains how and shows examples. ...more
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Used for more than warmth, quilts frequently told stories and histories. This Library of Congress site explains how and shows examples.

tag(s): crafts (40), women (101)

In the Classroom

This site is a great way to show that not all historical sources have to be text. In fact they can include art, oral communication, stories, and even quilts as we see in this site. Show some of the quilts on the projector and have students hypothesize what they're about or what they are trying to portray. Would be a great quick activity to get students thinking outside of the box in concern to sources.

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Honor Roll of Notable Women

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7 to 12
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The site offers a small collection of links dealing with women's history and famous women. ...more
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The site offers a small collection of links dealing with women's history and famous women.

tag(s): women (101)

In the Classroom

Introduce this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Then have students explore this site independently or in small groups. Have each group select one of the notable women, making sure that they fully study and research her biography. Have cooperative learning groups create podcasts demonstrating their understanding of their selected person, narrating it as though it were a news report commemorating her life. Use a site such as PodOmatic (reviewed here).

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History of Women's Suffrage - University of Rochester

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6 to 12
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Overview of the Suffrage movement from the mid 1800s forward. From the University of Rochester. ...more
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Overview of the Suffrage movement from the mid 1800s forward. From the University of Rochester.

tag(s): biographies (86), women (101), womens suffrage (26)

In the Classroom

Use the biographies on this site of influential suffragists to help students understand that the process was about more than the few mentioned in textbooks, it was really a large movement. Introduce the site on the interactive whiteboard or projector before allowing students to explore on their own. Have students work on classroom computers to research some of the other suffragists, with the intentions of creating a paper-poster or a digital one to print and hang around the classroom. If using an online poster creator, such as Padlet (reviewed here).

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Duke University's Collection on Women in the Civil War - Duke University

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6 to 12
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Includes original source documents, scanned images, and transcriptions from women in the Civil war era detailing their lives and times. This site would be of interest to students studying...more
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Includes original source documents, scanned images, and transcriptions from women in the Civil war era detailing their lives and times. This site would be of interest to students studying the history of Women as well as US History.

tag(s): women (101)

In the Classroom

Use this site on a projector or interactive whiteboard to discuss and informally assess prior knowledge as you start your study of the Civil War. Examine the journals and diaries online as a way to prompt an activity where students will write their own "authentic" diary entry. Pick an event in the unit you are studying and have students write a journal entry as though they just participated in the event. The activity will get them thinking about what kinds of information we can find in journals and diaries and what it might have been like to experience the events in person.

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Duke University's Collection on African-American Women - Duke University

Grades
6 to 12
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This site includes original source documents, scanned images, and transcriptions from African-American women detailing their lives and times. This site would be of interest to students...more
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This site includes original source documents, scanned images, and transcriptions from African-American women detailing their lives and times. This site would be of interest to students studying the history of women as well as US History.

tag(s): african american (113), women (101)

In the Classroom

Use these letters to shed more light on what slave-life was like in the Antebellum south. Print out some of the letters and distribute them to students while they are in cooperative learning groups. Have each group analyze the letters and report back to the class what they were able to learn about the slave authors. Use this to steer students into a discussion to the differences between chattel slavery and that seen in the Caribbeans. This can cover topics of the economic impact of slavery and some of the restrictions that existed, such as literacy laws and the significance of finding slave letters to begin with. A very interesting collection!

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Distinguished Women

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6 to 12
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This site contains a listing of women (American and otherwise) who are famous in their particular fields. It includes biographies of some of the women listed. This site could be ...more
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This site contains a listing of women (American and otherwise) who are famous in their particular fields. It includes biographies of some of the women listed. This site could be used to aid in researching famous women of the past. Text-heavy and a little dated, the content is there nonetheless. Privately published.

tag(s): women (101)

In the Classroom

Use the reading list published on this site to search for new reading materials for your classroom during Women's history month, or for an addition of women's history into your every day curriculum. The reading list however would be great for book talks or papers!

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Women in Biology

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9 to 12
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Here's a "labor-of-love" site designed for women scientists. It offers some interesting demographic information on women in science, as well as "from the trenches" commentary on some...more
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Here's a "labor-of-love" site designed for women scientists. It offers some interesting demographic information on women in science, as well as "from the trenches" commentary on some of the issues confronting talented women trying to build careers.

tag(s): scientists (68), women (101)

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American Women in Uniform

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6 to 12
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Here's a site - with an attitude - about women in the military. There's plenty of information on the roles of women from the 18th century to the present, with ...more
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Here's a site - with an attitude - about women in the military. There's plenty of information on the roles of women from the 18th century to the present, with an emphasis on the extent of women's accomplishments. Nice source for some information that's hard to find elsewhere.

tag(s): air (163), navy (9), women (101)

In the Classroom

Although the current events may be a few years behind, the facts that this site has on women of earlier wars is really interesting quality information. Incorporate this information into a women's history month special, or simply into your every day curriculum. Especially interesting is the information offered about the Revolutionary and Civil War - students will be interested to hear about these important characters who are typically ignored in their textbooks.

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African American Women Writers - New York Public Library

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6 to 12
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This site from the New York Public Libarary lets users access texts of writings by 19th century African American women. The titles and topics vary, but the site offers an ...more
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This site from the New York Public Libarary lets users access texts of writings by 19th century African American women. The titles and topics vary, but the site offers an interesting exposure to primary sources that might not otherwise be available.

tag(s): african american (113), women (101), writing (358)

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