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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 (92)

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.
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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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Flash Earth

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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 (288)

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

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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 (21), maps (288), 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

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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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Yahooligans News - Yahoo

Grades
2 to 8
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Children see the latest news stories (Sports, Entertainment, Top Stories, Animals, Science and Nature, and Grab Bag) organized into slide slows so there is minimal reading and a new...more
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Children see the latest news stories (Sports, Entertainment, Top Stories, Animals, Science and Nature, and Grab Bag) organized into slide slows so there is minimal reading and a new photo for each focus item. In addition, there is another link to the most important story, for a recent movie, and an opportunity for children to vote on a news question.

tag(s): movies (64), news (261)

In the Classroom

Share a current events story on a projector or interactive whiteboard as a day-starter while children trickle in from the bus. Note: if you send students to this site on their own, they may be distracted by numerous "fun" offerings from Yahooligans (music videos, celebrity info, etc). You may want to give them specific guidleines about where they are permitted to go.
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WFP FoodForce - World Food Programme

Grades
6 to 12
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This learning-oriented site is sponsored by the UN's World Food Programme and seeks to teach students about world hunger: its causes, its impact, and world-wide efforts to help. ...more
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This learning-oriented site is sponsored by the UN's World Food Programme and seeks to teach students about world hunger: its causes, its impact, and world-wide efforts to help. While the focus of the site is on a downloadable video game, there are a number of other great resources for teachers to use in teaching about world hunger. There is a Flash animated program called Counting the Hungry that gives a good, although pretty grim, overview. There are lesson plans and photo galleries and links to outside resources.

tag(s): united nations (8)

In the Classroom

This site has an enormous amount of information about the subject of world wide hunger. Although the site suggests that it is focused on the middle school age, some of the presentations may be overwhelming to younger children. The game itself, consisting of five different missions, may be way more than most teachers can incorporate into a regular classroom, although it might be useful for a small group of students doing a special long-term project on the issue. There is information about how to help, primarily in the form of ideas of school based fundraising efforts. Although there is much to recommend this site, this "40-something" teacher is a little disturbed by the concept of turning world hunger into a video game, no matter how noble its purpose.
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BBC Learning English - BBC (British Broadcasting Company)

Grades
3 to 12
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BBC offers the news with vocabulary support, exercises, video and audio features with related testing, a serial story with viewer input, a special grammar and vocabulary section, and...more
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BBC offers the news with vocabulary support, exercises, video and audio features with related testing, a serial story with viewer input, a special grammar and vocabulary section, and features just for students (Learner of the Day, a learning English blog, emailed newsletter, and message board.) This is a comprehensive site well worth your time. American speakers will find some "different" vocabulary, but this simply enriches the site. Some activities require Flash. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): news (261)

In the Classroom

For teachers, there is a weekly lesson plan to accompany a selected news feature. The lesson plan includes highlighted vocabulary, a glossary, comprehension questions, a quiz, and links to more information about the subject of the story. This site is useful for far more than just ESL/ELL. Remedial reading teachers who struggle to find interactive comprehension activities will love the variety of reading selections and cloze passages, such as "Get That Job."
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Newsround - BBC News for Kids - BBC

Grades
3 to 8
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This highly-participatory, attractive world news site for kids lets children select all the normal news features like tv/movies, music, weather, sports, animals, sci/tech etc. Students...more
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This highly-participatory, attractive world news site for kids lets children select all the normal news features like tv/movies, music, weather, sports, animals, sci/tech etc. Students can join the Press Pack and submit their own photos and comments. Under Newsroom, kids have the options of submitting a report they've researched and written; it will be displayed on the website! They can also ask for a certain topic to be investigated. Topic suggestions can be found here too. Personal advice columns are totally cyber with one current topic, bullying, available in video webchat format. A message board with current comments runs across the top of the site like a ticker tape. Other interactive features include student voting, blogs, and games. Besides features for students, video clips, quizzes, and educational games comprise some of the offerings for teachers . Requires the RealPlayer G2 Plug in to watch the Newsround videos.

tag(s): news (261), sports (96)

In the Classroom

Note: the site is British, so spelling and topics have a UK slant! Make sure you have parent permission for students to post work to the site, and keep their identities safe by using pseudonyms or initials. Encourage those with Internet access to visit the site with mom and dad to talk about current events together (include the link on your teacher web page). If you are familiar with RSS feeds, this would be a good choice for a first feed.
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CRAYON: Create Your Own Newspaper - David Maher

Grades
7 to 12
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By registering with an email address, you and your students are able to create their own newspaper with a choice of three options, a simple page layout, one with frames, ...more
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By registering with an email address, you and your students are able to create their own newspaper with a choice of three options, a simple page layout, one with frames, or one with two windows which requires Java Script. Creators can also add images and/or links to images and other info. After selecting either "standard" (displays newspaper sections one at a time) or "quick paper" (shows all sections and selects the most popular items for the final paper), students can click to read their personalized news. Options allow students to hear the news also, using RealAudio. They can select news from local, national, or international papers. Instructions on the site are excellent and preparing the personalized newspaper just takes a few moments. Participants receive a link to their newspapers in an email message sent only to them. remember that the audio requires Real Player. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): news (261)

In the Classroom

A great way to get students involved with the news on an intimate basis!! Teachers can also create a classroom newspaper for parents and others to access. Check on your district policy regarding posting student work to the web. It would be a good idea to limit names to initials and to get written parent permission before setting up accounts. Then use YOUR teacher email account for safety reasons.

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Volcano World - Department of Geosciences at Oregon State University

Grades
4 to 10
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For everything everyone wants to know about volcanoes, look at this webpage which includes data on current eruptions, startling photos, links to videos of volcanic activity, links to...more
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For everything everyone wants to know about volcanoes, look at this webpage which includes data on current eruptions, startling photos, links to videos of volcanic activity, links to lesson plans, volcano FAQ's, and a glossary. Video links require the Quicktime plugin. The Kids Door takes you to portins appropriate for younger students and virtual field trips to volcanoes suitable for any age.

tag(s): disasters (39), volcanoes (61)

In the Classroom

Use a projector to take a virtual field trip as you start the study of volcanoes, then include this site as a link on your teacher web page for students to research different volcanoes and current activity.
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NewsHour Extra Lesson Plan: Immigration Reform - PBS

Grades
6 to 12
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A site affiliated with the PBS NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, this lesson plan provides a framework for discussing immigration from multiple points of view. There are links to a ...more
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A site affiliated with the PBS NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, this lesson plan provides a framework for discussing immigration from multiple points of view. There are links to a partial transcript of a NewsHour segment that features the voices of immigrants from different countries. There is a good set of essential questions for discussion related to the issue of immigration. The focus of the lesson is that life experiences shape attitudes toward immigration, and that there are many points of view. Students are encouraged to role play a point of view different from their own. Finally, there is a quick quiz (and Key) that could be used to establish prior knowledge about immigration. On a topic that can be highly emotional, this lesson simply lays out the viewpoints, rather than taking sides.

tag(s): immigration (58), migration (59)

In the Classroom

The essential questions (labeled "My Point of View, parts 2-3") are a nice guide for helping students see this issue from multiple backgrounds.
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Awesome Stories - Awesome Stories Internet Productions

Grades
3 to 8
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A great source of primary documents covering many topics of interest to grade school children including the real stories some of the people killed on Sept. 11. Although this ...more
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A great source of primary documents covering many topics of interest to grade school children including the real stories some of the people killed on Sept. 11. Although this is usually a pay site ($9.95/yr), free membership is available for educators, schools, and libraries. Each feature article is divided into "Story Chapter Links" and highlighted vocabulary clicks to photographs, maps, artifacts, documents, audio-visual clips, and articles with more information about the word. Topics offered include history, culture, literature, disasters, and media. You can find passages on topics related to almost any student's interests and use the resources to teacher reading skills. In December, 2006, Awesome Stories announced free accounts for individuals, as well, but for a "limited time." If you would like your students to be abe to use it at home, consider setting up accounts for students, as well, while they are free.

tag(s): dinosaurs (57), disasters (39), literature (275), movies (64), space (205)

In the Classroom

This is a great jumping off point for beginning researchers. You will find a wonderful compilation of photographs and other realia about the topics. Teach comprehension skills by using the first four chapters and asking students to predict or write aht they think would come next. Bring up the stories on an interactive whiteboard to highlight important terms and access the links that help students build connections to content. Maybe let students select the next topic to help engage reluctant readers.

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IOU--An Introduction to the National Debt - PBS The Democracy Project

Grades
6 to 12
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This site presents a lesson plan introducing students to the concept of the National Debt. Students are challenged to compare the National Debt with a personal or family debt ...more
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This site presents a lesson plan introducing students to the concept of the National Debt. Students are challenged to compare the National Debt with a personal or family debt and to apply principles of budgeting to a discussion of governmental budgeting. There is a link to the (constantly) updated National Debt Clock, a nifty game asking students to estimate what portion of the US budget goes to what categories of expenditures, and a similar, but more elegant simulation game that challenges students to make decisions about budget allocations from UC-Berkley. The two budget exercises would be extremely useful in a general discussion of the US government and its responsibilities. Students too often say "We should spend more money on XXX" without understanding the complexities of budgeting.

In the Classroom

You may want to integrate using a spreadsheet to create a budget as part of this study, as well, especially if you are working with high school students who will soon be on their own.
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NewsHour Extra Lesson Plan: Checks and Balances in Supreme Court Nominations - PBS

Grades
7 to 12
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This site is affiliated with the PBS NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, and presents a lesson plan focused on Supreme Court nominations and the ongoing balance of power in the US ...more
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This site is affiliated with the PBS NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, and presents a lesson plan focused on Supreme Court nominations and the ongoing balance of power in the US government. There are excellent discussion guides, a link to streaming video from the NewsHour, with an accompanying transcript that can be distributed, and a PDF version of a Chicago Tribune article on the issue. There is a nice vocabulary list. There is a good handout on the process of nominating a Supreme Court judge and a worksheet that accompanies it.

tag(s): supreme court (22)

In the Classroom

There is a really nice "balance of powers" exercise that goes way beyond a simple discussion of the Supreme Court. Students look at all three branches of government and determine which branch has power in a variety of contemporary situations. This lesson plan is good as a stand-alone, but also provides a lot of jumping off places for further discussion and adaptation. Use a projector, as the plan suggests, to share the short video clips, available in several formats.
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Get Energized! - US Bureau of Land Management

Grades
5 to 8
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Learn all about energy and conservation using this highly-interactive site with your students. There is a video intro "Energy Snapshot," an interactive look at energy and environment...more
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Learn all about energy and conservation using this highly-interactive site with your students. There is a video intro "Energy Snapshot," an interactive look at energy and environment solutions ("Powering Our Planet"), a "Watt do you Know" game, and a printable (pdf) teacher guide, complete with national standards. The teacher guide includes lesson plans and was orignally designed to accompany a CD-ROM version of the site. All components of the original CD-ROM do appear on the site, however. Your computer MUST have FLASH and either speakers or headphones to run this site!

tag(s): conservation (127), energy (197), environment (317)

In the Classroom

Use the interactive explorations on a projector os interactive whiteboard, then let students explore them individually or in pairs.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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World News in Special English - VOA

Grades
4 to 8
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VOA offers audio and written radio scripts of a wide range of news stories in areas including science, agriculture, culture, health, and education. The language used is simple, and...more
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VOA offers audio and written radio scripts of a wide range of news stories in areas including science, agriculture, culture, health, and education. The language used is simple, and the stories are read more slowly than the average radio broadcast. The site includes its own dictionary ("Word Book") and pronunciation guide, as well as links to many other features. Contains RealAudio and MP3 downloadable audio files. If you have high speed internet, you can also use the streaming option.

tag(s): agriculture (54), news (261)

In the Classroom

Use this simplified news site to help students improve listening skills and vocabulary while learning about current events. This is an easy way to differentiate for students who process information more slowly as English language learners or for other reasons.

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Election 2006 - New York Times

Grades
6 to 12
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Use a clickable national map to analyze the 2006 races for governor, senate, and house in all 50 states. See recent polling data, historical trends, and even predict outcomes to ...more
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Use a clickable national map to analyze the 2006 races for governor, senate, and house in all 50 states. See recent polling data, historical trends, and even predict outcomes to see their impact on Congress as a whole. You can save your "scenarios" for future reference. Note: you must join the New York Times online (FREE), a valuable resource for any classroom. You can make one account, and multiple computers can log in at once. Just don't forget your user name and password!

Although this resource was created for the 2006 election, the background information is valuable for teaching about elections in general and for comparing elections as part of U.S. history.

tag(s): elections (75), politics (99)

In the Classroom

This would be a great site to visit repeatedly throughout the ramp-up to the election. It would be terrific on an interactive whiteboard. You could also assign students to create their own log-ins and generate their own scenarios. based on their own research (encourage ownership!). Then compare their predictions with the actual results. Or role-play groups as they present their scenarios in Republican (or Democratic) National Committee budget meetings and decide strategies.

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Many Things.org Daily - Charles I. Kelly & Lawrence E. Kelly

Grades
4 to 12
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Part of "Interesting Things for ESL Students," this unadorned site changes daily and provides common slang (near the top of the page), idioms, or proverbs and definitions plus daily...more
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Part of "Interesting Things for ESL Students," this unadorned site changes daily and provides common slang (near the top of the page), idioms, or proverbs and definitions plus daily grammar quizzes. It also features an audio broadcast of a simplified news release backed up with archives (Click on links below Listening). Also available is a multilingual translating dictionary and access to three top search engines.

tag(s): grammar (216), idioms (44), news (261), slang (15), verbs (41)

In the Classroom

Use this to beef up vocabulary, to explore culture through idioms and proverbs, and for listening and discussion practice in response to news reports. Great to fill in 5 - 10 minutes at the beginning or end of classes! For the regular classroom teacher, this may provide an alternate way for ESL students to "study" current events. Be sure to mark it in Favorites on your classroom computer for these students to access (or place a shortcut on the desktop). Note: you need speakers for the audio!

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North Korea - CIA FactBook - CIA

Grades
6 to 12
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The CIA's Factbook is pretty dry reading, but this site does provide some of the history of Korea, including the post-World War II division into North and South. There are ...more
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The CIA's Factbook is pretty dry reading, but this site does provide some of the history of Korea, including the post-World War II division into North and South. There are other facts about culture, government, and economy, but North Korea remains one of the world's least-known and least-understood nations. Could be a useful reference for discussion of current events or a research source for projects on countries.

tag(s): korea (15)

In the Classroom

Include this in your supplemental teacher links pages during a unit on Asia or Korea.

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