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Ask the White House - White House and government officials

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8 to 12
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Got a question regarding the economy? Energy efficiency? The military? Trade revenue? Anything? This site, launched in 2003, allows anyone to post a question and ...more
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Got a question regarding the economy? Energy efficiency? The military? Trade revenue? Anything? This site, launched in 2003, allows anyone to post a question and government officials thoroughly and expertly responds. Also, archives of chat discussions can be found through this address. What other place can the average American citizen discuss politics or economics or education or any number of topics with high-ranking officials?

tag(s): news (260), white house (14)

In the Classroom

Civics teachers may want to post key questions from the class and ask students to predict what the response might be. Teachers may ask students to research any of many subjects introduced through the "Ask the White House" questions. Students doing research on civics or economic topics will appreciate the authentic expertise offered by the officials at this site. Of course, some discussion of "netiquette" on phrasing questions would be a good idea! A great follow-up would be a letter-writing activity to government officials, especially to prompt juniors and seniors to become active citizens.

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Common Sense Media - Common Sense Media Inc.

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1 to 12
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This site has current movie reviews from the parents' point of view: What current movies are appropriate? What ages are they appropriate for? In addition to current films, there ...more
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This site has current movie reviews from the parents' point of view: What current movies are appropriate? What ages are they appropriate for? In addition to current films, there are reviews of TV programs, new DVD's, games, websites, books, music, etc. The site uses its own rating system: "Appropriate for age," "Know your kid," and "Not appropriate for age." Along with written reviews and Q/A approaches, there are video clips and tips. Each category of entertainment has several recommended and reviewed items with age ranges. There is also a newsletter and in-depth articles on subjects of concern to kids and parents.

tag(s): internet safety (102), movies (66), parents (56), safety (89)

In the Classroom

Let your students' parents know about this site via your teacher web page or class newsletter. You may also want to share it with your school PTO or PTA.

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American Experience: New Orleans - PBS

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6 to 12
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The tragedy of Hurricane Katrina and the subsequent efforts to rebuild the city of New Orleans have brought attention to this distinctive city. This site provides resources for helping...more
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The tragedy of Hurricane Katrina and the subsequent efforts to rebuild the city of New Orleans have brought attention to this distinctive city. This site provides resources for helping students understand its unique history from historical and cultural perspectives.

There are several great interactive resources provided including audio clips and commentary about New Orleans' great musical tradition, and a flash-enabled map showing the growth of the city over time. Whether you're interested in teaching music, particularly American Jazz, or the history of New Orleans' diverse melting pot of cultures or the politics of race in the Katrina recovery process, you will find good content here. Teacher resources include lesson plans on history, civics, music and geography.

tag(s): jazz (15)

In the Classroom

Share the interactive portions on projector and speakers or laptops, as you ask your students to propose a better way for government agencies to prepare for and respond to disasters. Using this site and many others, they can gather evidence to support their proposals. Don't miss the accounts by the Superintendent of the St. Bernard Schools as another source.
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Feedback on Educational Technology to the U.S. Dept of Education - US DOE

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K to 12
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If you have opinions on educational technology and its effectiveness, you should take the time to provide feedback from the trenches on the role technology plays in your students' success...more
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If you have opinions on educational technology and its effectiveness, you should take the time to provide feedback from the trenches on the role technology plays in your students' success and global competitiveness. You can also state your opinion on the Federal government's role in educational technology. Whether you have experienced blazing success or tentative competence using technology as part of your teaching repertoire, this feedback form gives you a chance to speak up. The form was posted May 4, 2007, and no specific deadline is listed, but a timely response would be more likely to make it "onto the radar screen."

tag(s): spelling (169)

In the Classroom

Share this link with your teaching colleagues, parents, and students on your teacher web page. What a great challenge for a writing prompt!

Comments

I shared this with my grade 11 English class as an option for persuasive writing. The length limits really forced them to be economical with their words! Thinking, PA, Grades: 5 - 10

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Newz Crew - Global Kids, Inc.

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9 to 12
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This site serves as a launching pad for "newz crews": on line discussion groups focused on current events. The discussion groups (which students can join individually or as ...more
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This site serves as a launching pad for "newz crews": on line discussion groups focused on current events. The discussion groups (which students can join individually or as a class group with teacher oversight) are facilitated by a group of high school students with regular prompts to read a current events article and discuss its implications.

In the Classroom

While you could certainly pass along information about this site to your students to use individually, it would also serve as a great class project. Each discussion "crew" is slated to last only about a month, so there is no long term commitment. Teachers who register their own class groups can monitor the discussions their students are having as a way to ensure participation. While students may prefer their own social networking sites, this site can incorporate that technology into an educationally relevant activity. This site may be particularly helpful for getting more introverted students "talking."

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CNN.com - Audio and Video Podcasts - Cable News Network

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6 to 12
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This interactive website offers daily video -- and podcasts -- for students. Look in the left column for the "CNN Student News" link. At the "CNN Student News" link ...more
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This interactive website offers daily video -- and podcasts -- for students. Look in the left column for the "CNN Student News" link. At the "CNN Student News" link you are able to click to "watch" or click to "iTunes". Detailed directions lead you through using the daily news either on your computer or downloaded to your iPod. You can also subscribe to the feed so you can play them in your classroom daily or play selections weekly.

tag(s): news (260)

In the Classroom

Use this free site to keep your students up to date on current events. Play the podcasts on an interactive whtboard/projector and speakers. If you assign students to find and report current events stories, include this link on your teacher web page as a possible source. Of course you will want to ask high school students to compare the coverage of different sources for "spin."
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Cogito - Johns Hopkins University Center for Talented Youth

Grades
7 to 12
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This powerful site will challenge your brightest students and get everyone thinking. Designed to spark interest of young scientists and thinkers in real world issues, this site is run...more
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This powerful site will challenge your brightest students and get everyone thinking. Designed to spark interest of young scientists and thinkers in real world issues, this site is run by Johns Hopkins' famous program for gifted youth. Find feature articles on current research, Nobel laureates, and hot topics such as global warming. Explore the links for MANY outstanding sites not specifically for "education" as much as for real-world investigation and learning.

tag(s): careers (132), energy (199), gifted (96), summer (13)

In the Classroom

Teachers with high level, AP, or gifted students will want to explore this site during the summer months for inspiration and resources to use throughout the year. If your gifted program requires individual projects, send your students here to find ideas and to get energized! Even "regular" teachers, especially in the sciences, will want to share some of the current research topics and interviews that fit their curriculum. If you are looking for ways students and environmental clubs can get involved, check out the "Get Involved" section in the Sites and Tools menu.

One simple way to use the Interviews in a regular science classroom would be to have students research and act out an interview with a "mock" scientist, explaining what he/she does in order to expose students to the many fields included in the sciences.

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When the Personal Becomes Presidential - New York Times Learning Network

Grades
6 to 12
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This is a New York Times lesson plan focused on a recent article about the personal lives of Presidential candidates. The lesson plan asks students to look at the ...more
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This is a New York Times lesson plan focused on a recent article about the personal lives of Presidential candidates. The lesson plan asks students to look at the extent to which candidates and their personal pasts will influence voters' willingness to support them, and focuses on the fact that several candidates have had messy divorces.

The lesson plan starts with the familiar "read the story and discuss" format, but there are a number of good essential questions and extension activities provided that could be tailored into a strong classroom plan. The lesson plans have cross-curricular suggestions, and are tied to standards.

tag(s): elections (75), presidents (130)

In the Classroom

Be sure help your weaker readers and ELL students by sharing the listed vocabulary words prior to reading, either on a handout or by projecting on an interactive whiteboard and highlighting them in the text as you come to them.

Use this lesson to discuss current events in politics (which changes daily). Have students discuss and debate the current issues. Have the students write a wiki about a current event in politics (for example, Governor Palin being the first woman VP on the GOP ticket).

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In Search of Safety - BBC

Grades
6 to 12
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This website is all about Sudan. Visitors to this website will find a wealth of information including quizzes, interactive videos, diaries written by students, authentic pictures,...more
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This website is all about Sudan. Visitors to this website will find a wealth of information including quizzes, interactive videos, diaries written by students, authentic pictures, a guide to what it means to be a refugee, information on Darfur and more. Many of the activities require Flash. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

In the Classroom

Use a projector or interactive whiteboard to "tour" Sudan as part of a study of the African continent or world trouble spots. Although the topic of genocide is quite difficult, this site could spark discussions of international relations and would be a good accompaniment while studying the U.N., international relations, and current events. Include the link on your tecaher web page and allow students to choose from several world hot spots as they group or individual reports.
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Middle East - BBC

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4 to 12
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This site provides an eclectic mix of information about the Middle East. The BBC has created this up-to-date website that includes information guides, interviews, message boards, pictures,...more
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This site provides an eclectic mix of information about the Middle East. The BBC has created this up-to-date website that includes information guides, interviews, message boards, pictures, quizzes and more. The message boards pose some interesting discussion questions for students. This is an excellent, student-friendly source for current events and debate background. It also provides short, non-fiction texts for comprehension practice with remedial readers.

tag(s): iran (12), iraq (32), israel (17), middle east (30)

In the Classroom

Include this link on your teacher page for middle and high school students to use as a reference and build better understanding of this tumultuous region. It will help even younger students understand the region, but parts of this website are not appropriate for elementary students. Preview before you take your elementary class on a virtual field trip to the Middle East.

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Iraq - BBC

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4 to 12
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This site provides information about Iraq and the war. There are information guides, quizzes, pictures and more. The BBC keeps this page very up-to-date. This site does a ...more
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This site provides information about Iraq and the war. There are information guides, quizzes, pictures and more. The BBC keeps this page very up-to-date. This site does a good job explaining the war and views of the war to children. Remember this site was created in Britain, so the comments and language are not American. This may surprise younger students at first but will provide a new angle.

tag(s): iraq (32)

In the Classroom

If you do current events study or have students with family members in Iraq, be sure to include this site as a link from your teacher web page. As the 2008 U.S. elections approach, you may want to begin a "current events" collection of resources for students to use to develop better understanding of election issues.
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Islam - BBC

Grades
4 to 12
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This site introduces students to the religion of Islam. There is a 26-minute video, which includes questions and answers submitted by students. There are also informative guides,...more
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This site introduces students to the religion of Islam. There is a 26-minute video, which includes questions and answers submitted by students. There are also informative guides, chats, quizzes, pictures, interviews and much, much more. Some of the activities require FLASH.

tag(s): middle east (30)

In the Classroom

If you are teaching your students about the religion of Islam or trying to introduce world cultures, this is one resource that you simply cannot do without. Include it as a resource for students trying to understand currenet events in a broader context.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Children of Iraq - BBC

Grades
3 to 8
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This website introduces students to the children of Iraq and Iraq as a country. Highlights of this website include an interactive video clip (which requires FLASH), informational guides,...more
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This website introduces students to the children of Iraq and Iraq as a country. Highlights of this website include an interactive video clip (which requires FLASH), informational guides, pictures and many other resources. If you have students whose parents are serving in the military, this topic may be emotional, but it will also highlight what children all over the world have in common.

tag(s): iraq (32)

In the Classroom

Use an interactive whiteboard to introduce your students to the children of Iraq, share the video, and take the quiz to find out what your students know about Iraq.
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Drought In Africa - BBC

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4 to 10
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This site (created by BBC) includes a wealth of information on the drought in Africa and the continent of Africa. There are videos, music clips from each country, demographic ...more
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This site (created by BBC) includes a wealth of information on the drought in Africa and the continent of Africa. There are videos, music clips from each country, demographic information, authentic pictures and diary entries, interactive maps and numerous articles on specific topics relating to Africa. Some of the interactive learning requires FLASH. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): africa (180), climate (92), climate change (64)

In the Classroom

Use an interactive whiteboard or projector to take your students on an African visit. The main topic of this website is the drought in Africa, however there is a great deal of information on many African subjects. Include this on your teacher web page as one of several links on different continents as you study world geography, cultures, or climate change.
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Investigates Arson - BBC

Grades
7 to 12
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This site has factual information about arson. It includes video footage, authentic cases of arson, surveys, what to do to help, and more. Take advantage of this website, created especially...more
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This site has factual information about arson. It includes video footage, authentic cases of arson, surveys, what to do to help, and more. Take advantage of this website, created especially for pre-teens and teenagers, as one of many current issues topics when studying current events or safety. Flash is required for some of the activities. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): fire (25), fire safety (11), safety (89)

In the Classroom

Share this link as one of several project topics for health, current events, or a criminal justice elective. It could also be a good source for background information in a debate class or club.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Antarctica - BBC

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3 to 12
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This website (created by BBC) is all about Antarctica. The focus is on research information about Antarctica, animals from Antarctica, Global Warming issues and a student's visit to...more
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This website (created by BBC) is all about Antarctica. The focus is on research information about Antarctica, animals from Antarctica, Global Warming issues and a student's visit to Antarctica. Students will enjoy the pictures and games on this website. The use of a peer (student) visitor sharing information will make this site more appealing to students.

tag(s): antarctica (29), arctic (44)

In the Classroom

With Global Warming issues being discussed frequently, use this website as a simple guide to group discussions on the topic or to introduce the lesser-known continent to your youger students. Don't forget to use a projector or whiteboard to share this authentic footage with your class.

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New York Times Upfront Magazine - New York Times/Scholastic

Grades
8 to 12
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This online version of the NY Times Upfront Magazine for youth offers a selection of current stories, special reports, news and trends of interest to teens, an opinion page written...more
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This online version of the NY Times Upfront Magazine for youth offers a selection of current stories, special reports, news and trends of interest to teens, an opinion page written by NY Times editors, a section called "Debate" in which teens can read about a controversial issue from both sides, and a Q&A section featuring a teen involved in some aspect of the news. Teachers who advise a debate club or need topics for persuasive writing, this site has many options. There are links to Scholastic's lesson plans with more added every month.

In the Classroom

Use this site for both history/world cultures classes and for reading comprehension in the content areas. For your basic and below-basic readers, this site provides current, meaningful reading material for practice with important reading skills. The reading selections could be projected on a screen or interactive whiteboard for students to highlight and practice summarizing, main idea, and more.

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Flash Earth

Grades
K to 12
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You may be familiar with Google Earth but may not have the ability to install their free software on your computer, either because you are not permitted to or because ...more
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You may be familiar with Google Earth but may not have the ability to install their free software on your computer, either because you are not permitted to or because your computer is not powerful enough to handle it. Try Flash Earth for a simpler tool to explore the earth as you teach geography to any age from kindergarten to seniors. Perhaps you just want to quickly show which way the Conestoga wagons crossed the U.S., or maybe to show where in the world a current events story is taking place. This simple tool, on a projector or interactive whiteboard, is just the trick. Note: You MUST have FLASH on your computer.

tag(s): globe (14), maps (289)

In the Classroom

Use a projector or whiteboard to share a location as art of the background knowledge for a lesson. Be sure to add this link to your teacher web page as a reference tool, as well. Be aware that some world locations have much "fuzzier" satellite images than others. Always preview before your lesson to be sure you can show the features you want students to see. Show elementary students where their "neighborhood" is, perhaps even their streets!

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World Flag Database - Graham Bartram

Grades
3 to 12
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Users can find any flag in the world in this well-updated database. To search for a specific country's flag, simply click on the first letter of the country and thumbprint ...more
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Users can find any flag in the world in this well-updated database. To search for a specific country's flag, simply click on the first letter of the country and thumbprint flags from all countries beginning with that letter come up. Besides coming to a full sized representation of the flag, readers also see important statistics such as religion, currency, and languages as well as important organizations the country belongs to such as the U.N. In one click, a contextual map of the country comes up.

tag(s): flags (22), maps (289), statistics (122)

In the Classroom

This is an easy-to-use fast reference tool for students. The site also sells flags, but you can ignore the sales portion. If your students do country reports, this is a one-stop site for them to find their country's flag. Perhaps they can use these ideas to design a flag for their own mythical country as part of a unit on government.

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Student Violence in America's Schools - New York Times

Grades
6 to 12
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The New York Times Learning Network has brought together a number of resources on school violence. Although the site does not include any coverage of the 2006 Amish school ...more
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The New York Times Learning Network has brought together a number of resources on school violence. Although the site does not include any coverage of the 2006 Amish school shooting, there are contemporary Times reports of a number of other high-profile cases of school violence. The reports are coupled with several lesson plans designed to help students talk about these issues, as well as resources to help teachers plan effective discussions on school violence.

tag(s): school violence (12)

In the Classroom

Teachers cannot ignore the issues of school violence, nor hope they can avoid questions from students. The issue is not whether they should talk about it with students, but how they can do it most effectively and honestly. These lesson plans and resources can help teachers feel prepared, either for a planned discussion, or for the spur-of-the-moment question that becomes a teachable moment.

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