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CIS: Kids' Zone - Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth

Grades
2 to 8
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Learn all about the Commonwealth of Massachusetts including it's historic beginnings, fun facts, and the state government at this website just for kids. The site is divided into eight...more
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Learn all about the Commonwealth of Massachusetts including it's historic beginnings, fun facts, and the state government at this website just for kids. The site is divided into eight categories including State House trivia through Reconstruct MA Artifacts. One especially interesting area is The Ladybug Story, the true story of how a second grade class helped to make a new law. Also, be sure to take the Massachusetts history quiz to learn about the early setters of the commonwealth. If you are looking for state facts, there is a section just for this with almost anything you would want to know from symbols all the way through to famous sons and daughters of the state. This information is also available to download as a pdf.

tag(s): american revolution (88), massachusetts (10), states (162)

In the Classroom

Challenge your students to go past PowerPoint and make an online presentation using Animoto (reviewed here) or another reviewed presentation tool from the TeachersFirst Edge. Share the site with students as a resource for state research projects. Use The Ladybug Story with younger students to demonstrate the bill-creation process, then compare with your state's procedures.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Here on Earth - NPR

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5 to 12
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This NPR site offers the weekly schedule and recorded programs in its "Here on Earth" series, offering cultural news from around the world. The programs are often part of a ...more
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This NPR site offers the weekly schedule and recorded programs in its "Here on Earth" series, offering cultural news from around the world. The programs are often part of a larger series, the archives of which are easily accessible as well. Previews for the five weekly programs, Monday through Friday include enticing photographs. Links on the pages of the programs offer opportunities for more information and links to related programs. Students also have the opportunity to see short, related videos and comment on ongoing programs. Programs cover a wide variety of subjects and fields.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): comics and cartoons (74), radio (26), religions (62)

In the Classroom

Teachers may want to preview the upcoming programs for each week to connect their ELL/ESL students with the programs that concern their part of the world. Students could do an introduction to their countries before the class listens to an appropriate program. Ask your students to visit the site, listen, research, and create a multimedia presentation using one of the many TeachersFirst Edge tools reviewed here.

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ArtsEdge - Kennedy Center

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K to 12
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This site, created by the Kennedy Center offers a wealth of interactive lesson plans for grades K-12 dealing with a variety of topics, all with an "arts" spin. Search by ...more
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This site, created by the Kennedy Center offers a wealth of interactive lesson plans for grades K-12 dealing with a variety of topics, all with an "arts" spin. Search by subject, keyword, or grade level (K-4, 5-8, or 9-12). Some examples of topics include Native Americans, Civil War, Shakespeare, myths, melodrama, adjectives, baseball, and countless others! There are many interactive lessons: some with video, audio, or slideshows. The lessons provide an estimate of time required and complete, step-by-step instructions. There are printables included with some of the lessons.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): african american (114), baseball (36), civil war (144), comics and cartoons (74), dance (28), folktales (65), greece (26), habitats (85), immigration (57), literature (275), mexico (34), musical instruments (47), myths and legends (25), native americans (78), painting (66), surrealism (4)

In the Classroom

Search this site for a topic that you are teaching in your class. Share the lesson on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Better yet, make the video or slideshow a learning station for students to do themselves in small groups.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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ConneCT Kids - State of Connecticut

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2 to 6
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The State of Connecticut offers this informative site just for kids loaded with information and facts in an easy to use format. Follow links on the home page to learn ...more
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The State of Connecticut offers this informative site just for kids loaded with information and facts in an easy to use format. Follow links on the home page to learn about Connecticut history, state symbols, and the state government. Other links lead to puzzles and games such as picture puzzles of Connecticut symbols such as the state flower and bird, word searches with state words, and coloring pages with everything from aquariums to zoos. Follow the Connecticut government link to take a pictorial tour of the state capitol filled with facts and history of the building.

tag(s): branches of government (48), connecticut (4), states (162)

In the Classroom

Have students create a simple online posters using PicLits (reviewed here) as an alternative to a traditional written report of the state. Share the site on your interactive whiteboard (or projector) then allow students to explore on their own.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Democracy Kids - Center on Congress

Grades
2 to 8
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This site provides introductory information for both young and middle school-aged students about some facets of democracy and our legislators. The main topics addressed include the...more
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This site provides introductory information for both young and middle school-aged students about some facets of democracy and our legislators. The main topics addressed include the idea of democracy, who the legislators are, how to be a responsible citizen and how compromise affects the passing of our laws. Students can select any of the topics and read about them and, in some cases, see an animated video on the topic. Of special interest to students are the sections that show the daily activities and schedule of the legislators and the animated map of a community that shows the impact of the government in many areas. There are numerous interactives to incorporate into a unit on the United States government.

tag(s): branches of government (48), congress (33), democracy (12)

In the Classroom

Use this site as an introduction to social studies lessons on the Houses of Congress and the judicial and executive branches. Encourage your students to write letters to senators or representatives after learning about their accessibility here. Students can fill out a survey of interest to legislators with their parents here. Assign students specific government officials to research and prepare a multimedia presentation to share with the class. Have students create a Thinglink, reviewed here. This site allows users to narrate a picture. Have students create a simple online posters using PicLits (reviewed here). Rather than a traditional report, challenge students (independently or collaboratively) to create an online book using a site such as Mixbook (reviewed here).
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Our Documents - National Archives

Grades
6 to 12
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This site, a collaborative effort among the National Archives, National History Day and USA Freedom Corps, highlights the most important documents in US history. Each of these "milestone"...more
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This site, a collaborative effort among the National Archives, National History Day and USA Freedom Corps, highlights the most important documents in US history. Each of these "milestone" documents is detailed and photographed on a separate page; the photo can be enlarged for presentation on an interactive whiteboard. What is most helpful for teachers, however, is the link to tools for educators: a downloadable sourcebook, suggestions for using the documents to meet specific national social studies, economics, English, arts, civics, history, geography and technology standards, and lesson plans. This site was clearly designed with teachers in mind!

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

In the Classroom

The use of primary sources in teaching has been greatly increased by our digital access to documents like these. Peruse the list of "milestone" documents, and commit to using the photographs on an interactive whiteboard (or projector) when the document comes up in a lesson or discussion. For teachers who are supporting student projects for National History Day, this site also has a link to specific tips, although it appears the site has not been kept up to date with current information on individual competitions. Challenge cooperative learning groups to investigate one of the documents and create a multimedia project of their choice. Looking for some inspiration? How about having groups create a podcast using PodOmatic (reviewed here). Or have students create online posters on paper or do it together as a class using a tool such as Web Poster Wizard (reviewed here) or PicLits (reviewed here). Have students narrate a photo of the document (using a FREE and LEGAL photo) using a site such as Thinglink, reviewed here.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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2000 Census Data On-line - US Government

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K to 12
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This provides the 2000 U.S. census information. There are links to news, data tools, a message from the President (Obama, at the time of this review), employment information, fact sheets,...more
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This provides the 2000 U.S. census information. There are links to news, data tools, a message from the President (Obama, at the time of this review), employment information, fact sheets, and more. General categories include "People & Households," "Business & Industry," "Geography," "Newsroom," and "Special Topics." Each category has several topics. This historical census data is ideal for comparison with other, more recent years or for students to make predictions for an upcoming census based on past trends.

tag(s): census (19), data (148), states (162)

In the Classroom

This data would be great material for a US government or history class. Teachers can find all sorts of demograhic information for use during lessons on the political make-up of the country as well as representative numbers, migration trends, etc. There is a LOT here so be sure to give yourself time to search through it all for what you need. Have students use this site to research specific topics and create multimedia projects with a partner. Have cooperative learning groups create online books using a tool such as Bookemon, reviewed here. Challenge groups to create online posters on paper or do it together as a class using a tool such as Web Poster Wizard (reviewed here) or PicLits (reviewed here).

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Americans and the Environment - National Humanities Center

Grades
4 to 12
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Created by the National Humanities Center, this collection of scholarly essays on Americans' relationship with the environment may be over the heads of most students. BUT teachers and...more
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Created by the National Humanities Center, this collection of scholarly essays on Americans' relationship with the environment may be over the heads of most students. BUT teachers and parents will find the subject matter fits nicely with most American History curricula, and the "guiding discussion" sections provide some new strategies and insights for teaching material that may have become too routine for students. If history (at any level) is your field, this one is worth a visit.

tag(s): conservation (128), ecology (135), environment (319)

In the Classroom

While this site is a little text-heavy, it is truly an excellent site for exploring the way the North American environment has been impacted by recent history. Select the time period that is appropriate to your unit, and introduce the site on the interactive whiteboard or projector. Have students explore the rest of the site on classroom computers. To ensure that they're doing more than skimming the text, Have students create online posters on paper or do it together as a class using a tool such as Web Poster Wizard (reviewed here) or PicLits (reviewed here).

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Michigan Kids! - Michigan.gov

Grades
2 to 6
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Find facts, play games, and learn about Michigan at this kid-friendly site. At first glance there doesn't appear to be much to the site, however; there is a great deal ...more
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Find facts, play games, and learn about Michigan at this kid-friendly site. At first glance there doesn't appear to be much to the site, however; there is a great deal of information found by exploring the links on the left-hand side of the home page. Games and internet safety information are available through the links on the main portion of the home page. The history link on the left includes many interesting and unique resources such as Tweets from "A Boy at Fort Mackinac: Diary of Harold Dunbar Corbusier 1883-1884" recounts adventures of a 10-year-old boy on Mackinac Island. Follow him on Twitter to learn what it was like to grow up on the island in the late 1800's. State symbols and facts are also available through a link on the left portion of the home page. Some information, such as the Getting to Know Michigan booklet, is available for easy printing in pdf format.

tag(s): michigan (3), states (162)

In the Classroom

Use an online tool such as Interactive Two Circle Venn Diagram (reviewed here) to create a visual comparison of life in the late 1800's vs life today. Share the site with students to use as a resource for state research projects. Read how a bill becomes a law in Michigan and compare it to the law-making process in your state.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Indiana Info for Kids - State of Indiana

Grades
4 to 8
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This site offers facts and information about the Hoosier State for kids. Learn about Indiana's current governor, Mitch Daniels, such as his favorite flavor of ice cream. The Fun Facts...more
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This site offers facts and information about the Hoosier State for kids. Learn about Indiana's current governor, Mitch Daniels, such as his favorite flavor of ice cream. The Fun Facts portion includes trivia such as the official stone, river, and poem of Indiana. The state symbol's portion is the most comprehensive portion of the site offering answers to questions such as "What is the meaning behind the Indiana State Flag" and "What is the Indiana State Bird?"

tag(s): states (162)

In the Classroom

Have students create a simple online posters instead of traditional state reports using PicLits (reviewed here. Share this site with students to use when finding information for state research projects.

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About Illinois - State of Illinois

Grades
4 to 8
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If you are looking for facts and figures about the state of Illinois, then this is the site for you! Each set of links from this page takes the user ...more
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If you are looking for facts and figures about the state of Illinois, then this is the site for you! Each set of links from this page takes the user to specific categories of information such as agriculture, history, and economy. Most useful for teachers and students will be the History & Culture and State Symbols links. The History & Culture page includes a historical timeline of the state beginning in 1673 with the arrival of Louis Jolliet and Father Marquette in the state all the way through to the 2005 World Series win of the Chicago White Sox. Learn about state symbols such as the official state snack food and state amphibian while exploring the State Symbols portion of the site.

tag(s): chicago (5), illinois (9)

In the Classroom

Challenge your students to create a web exhibit collection about Illinois using a tool such as Bag The Web (reviewed here) to share all of the important links, information, and even brief descriptions. Share the site on your interactive whiteboard with your students to help them find portions useful for research, then allow them to explore on their own. Create a scavenger hunt for students to search the site to find facts about the state.

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Maryland Kids Page - Maryland Secretary of State

Grades
3 to 8
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Learn about the state of Maryland and its' laws, history, symbols, and more at this site presented by the Secretary of State of Maryland. The site is divided into sections ...more
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Learn about the state of Maryland and its' laws, history, symbols, and more at this site presented by the Secretary of State of Maryland. The site is divided into sections with sub-categories included on the home page. The history portion includes a great deal of information including a timeline of Maryland, women's history, Native American history, and African-American history, plus famous Marylanders. The government portion of site includes a very nice graphic demonstrating the bill-creation process. Learn all the state symbols such as the state song, bird, and even the state dog in the state symbols portion of the site. Be sure to visit the geography links and choose fun stuff to find lots of fun facts and state trivia.

tag(s): biographies (87), maryland (8), states (162)

In the Classroom

Challenge your students to go past PowerPoint and make an online presentation using Animoto (reviewed here) or another reviewed presentation tool from the TeachersFirst Edge. Share the page with the bill-creation process on your interactive whiteboard (or projector) with students and have them compare with other states' processes. Create a scavenger hunt including information from the site and have students explore the pages to find answers. Share the site with students as a resource for state research or famous American projects.

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Maine Secretary of State Kids' Page - Maine Secretary of State

Grades
3 to 8
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Learn all about Maine (for kids) without having to leave the room! The "All About Maine" portion of the site includes information about the state including famous people, a history...more
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Learn all about Maine (for kids) without having to leave the room! The "All About Maine" portion of the site includes information about the state including famous people, a history timeline, maps, state symbols, and more. Be sure to check out the "Tree of Facts" that includes information outlined in the image of a tree. Another useful link takes you to a list of children's books about Maine. The "Fun and Games" section includes several activities for kids including a symbols matching game, recipes, a coloring book, and more.

tag(s): maine (4), states (162)

In the Classroom

Challenge your students to go past PowerPoint and make an online presentation using Animoto (reviewed here) or another reviewed presentation tool from the TeachersFirst Edge. Review the list of books about Maine to use as resources for Guided Reading or class read-alouds. Share the site with students when preparing state research projects. Demonstrate the Tree of Facts and challenge students to create their own Tree of Facts for the state they are researching.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Louisiana Kids Page - Louisiana House of Representatives

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3 to 6
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This easy to navigate site includes basic information for kids about the state of Louisiana. Click on each of the icons to go to a different place on the site ...more
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This easy to navigate site includes basic information for kids about the state of Louisiana. Click on each of the icons to go to a different place on the site such as state symbols, learning about how a bill becomes a law, activity and coloring books/pages, and a quiz on state facts. Note: completing the quiz online requires entering your institution (school) name and email address before answers can be submitted. Rather than using your personal or professional email, create a FREE gmail account. Activity book pages can all be easily printed by using the print portion of your toolbar.

tag(s): branches of government (48), louisiana (11), states (162)

In the Classroom

Share the portion of the site on How a Bill Becomes a Law on your interactive whiteboard and compare to your state's law-making procedures. Have your students create an online "scrapbook" on states using Smilebox (reviewed here). Allow students to explore the site to gather information for state research projects.

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Just For Kids - Idaho - State of Idaho

Grades
3 to 6
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Learn a Little and Have Some Fun! Idaho's government website for kids offers facts, information, and history about the state. Capital Building Trivia offers an extensive history...more
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Learn a Little and Have Some Fun! Idaho's government website for kids offers facts, information, and history about the state. Capital Building Trivia offers an extensive history about their capital building including construction dates, materials used (four types of marble among them), and estimated replacement cost in today's dollars. The School Report Resources section contains all the vital state information such as the state seal, motto, flag, population statistics, and more. Be sure to check out all of the information about the famous Idaho state potatoes included in this section. At the time of this review, one of the links on the "Student Links" page, was no longer active.

tag(s): states (162)

In the Classroom

Have students use a tool such as Padlet (reviewed here) to create an online bulletin board to use to display information they learn about Idaho. Share this site with students on your interactive whiteboard (or projector). Then allow students to explore on their own when researching state information.

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Hawaii School Reports - Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau

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3 to 6
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Find basic facts about the state of Hawaii for school reports at this site. Links within the site lead you to pages with the state symbols including the flag, seal, ...more
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Find basic facts about the state of Hawaii for school reports at this site. Links within the site lead you to pages with the state symbols including the flag, seal, motto, and more. Especially helpful is the information included about the state's weather including water and surf information. Be sure to explore the state history link which includes in-depth information about the state's rich history beginning with the early Polynesian explorers up to present day statehood.

tag(s): hawaii (7), pearl harbor (12), states (162), volcanoes (64), weather (194)

In the Classroom

Brainstorm with Edistorm (reviewed here), having students add sticky notes of things they learn - or questions-- on the online shared whiteboard. Use this site when your class is researching for state reports to gather information.

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Interactive Colorado Map - Colorado.com

Grades
2 to 6
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You can find interesting facts and information about the state of Colorado by visiting this interactive website. Learn about 14er's (no, not 49er's) found in the state, people and places,...more
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You can find interesting facts and information about the state of Colorado by visiting this interactive website. Learn about 14er's (no, not 49er's) found in the state, people and places, and Colorado facts. Be sure to visit the link with Colorado podcasts to view many videos about wildlife found in the state, activities to do such as biking and water rafting, and snowshoeing. Also available for download from the site are puzzles and pictures in pdf format. Many portions of the site containing facts that are also available to print easily.

tag(s): mountains (14), states (162)

In the Classroom

Have students create a simple online posters using PicLits (reviewed here to show information learned from the site. Share the site with students to use when researching for state reports. Create a scavenger hunt with facts from the site for students to explore and find during computer time.
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Maps of War

Grades
9 to 12
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This site offers a collection of Flash presentations that illustrate geopolitical aspects of war and religion. It's an eclectic mix: one animation traces the spread of world religions...more
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This site offers a collection of Flash presentations that illustrate geopolitical aspects of war and religion. It's an eclectic mix: one animation traces the spread of world religions over time and over a world map. Another looks at the American death tolls associated with each U.S. conflict and associates the President and political party associated with each war. A third examines the various political entities that have held territory in the Middle East. Visually, the animations are fabulous, but in order to be more than good looking, they would need to be paired with significant teacher context-setting, which is not presented on the site. For example, what does it mean that there have been more U.S. casualties in wars under Presidents who were Democrats than in wars under Republican Presidents? That factoid is the subject of one of the animations. The creator of the site does not name him/herself, saying only that the animations are intended to be unbiased and factual.

tag(s): iraq (32), middle east (31), religions (62)

In the Classroom

The animations would be stunning on an interactive whiteboard or projector, and teachers doing a unit on world religions or trying to backfill a history of Iraq would find certain presentations very useful. Be sure to click "View Full Screen" to fill your projector or whiteboard screen. American history teachers could use the animation on U.S. wars and casualties as an overview. The animations can be streamed from the site, or the whole package can be downloaded for use locally. On the whole, however, the site still leaves questions: Why these topics? Despite claims to the contrary, is there a political message here somewhere? Be sure to open this discussion with your students, as well. Since the site has "professional looking" glitz, should we believe it without any knowledge of its creator? If not, how can we check its accuracy?
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Mr. Donn's Social Studies - Mr. Donn

Grades
K to 8
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This is a site that contains numerous links to lessons and websites on various social studies and world history subjects. There are numerous subjects: Age of Exploration, Roaring 20s,...more
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This is a site that contains numerous links to lessons and websites on various social studies and world history subjects. There are numerous subjects: Age of Exploration, Roaring 20s, 50 states, World Geography, African Kingdoms, and countless others. There are lesson plans, links, videos, and more.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): 1920s (16), africa (179), archeology (32), china (66), civil rights (119), civil war (144), colonial america (107), egypt (69), great depression (25), greece (26), holidays (148), immigration (57), india (36), industrial revolution (25), japan (61), mayans (12), mesopotamia (6), native americans (78), psychology (64), religions (62), renaissance (34), resources (112), rome (27), slavery (71), westward expansion (29)

In the Classroom

This is the perfect site for Social Studies and History teachers. Use this site for background information when planning lessons. Place this link on your classroom computers to provide students with safe places to research. Several topics have video clips that are perfect for showing on a projector or interactive whiteboard. If using this site for research, challenge students to create a multimedia presentation using one of the many TeachersFirst Edge tools reviewed here.
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Independence Day Around the World - Chartsbin

Grades
2 to 12
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This site offers an interactive world map showing Independence Day dates from around the world. You simply hover the cursor over any country that was formerly a colony to see ...more
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This site offers an interactive world map showing Independence Day dates from around the world. You simply hover the cursor over any country that was formerly a colony to see the date of its independence from that country. All countries that used to be part of Great Britain are the same color; color coding for other former empires indicates the empire's former holdings. Data comes from reliable government and other statistical sources. At the bottom of the page, related charts that may be of interest show: Father's Day around the World, Mother's Day around the World, Halloween Celebrations around the world and more.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): colonial america (107), holidays (148), july 4th (8)

In the Classroom

Keep this site in mind as a reference source when students study world cultures or foreign languages. Challenge students to use this site to create research projects about individual (free) nations around the world. Have individual students or cooperative learning groups create a multimedia presentation using a tool such as Mapskip (reviewed here) to create a map of the country they researched (with audio stories and pictures included)!
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