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The Uninsured in America - PBS NewsHour

Grades
6 to 12
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One of the central issues in the 2008 Presidential election was the state of the U.S. health care system. This site from PBS NewsHour pulls together a number of resources ...more
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One of the central issues in the 2008 Presidential election was the state of the U.S. health care system. This site from PBS NewsHour pulls together a number of resources that could be helpful in discussing this issue with students. There are video and MP3 format interviews with Americans talking about how the health care crisis has affected them. Lesson plans are included. There is analysis focused on how President Obama might address the issue. Graphic information shows how many are uninsured in the U.S., how the U.S. compares with other nations, and a timeline of the history of health insurance in this country. One link focuses on special health care programs aimed at children. This site requires Flash and Adobe Acrobat. You can get both from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): medicine (68)

In the Classroom

Many students may not realize that health insurance is a relatively new phenomenon. This site has a rich variety of resources that can set a context for a discussion on how the cost of health care is contributing to today's economic concerns. Assign students to review several of the reports on this site to prepare for a class debate. Use the video content on an interactive whiteboard or projector to spark discussion. Supplement a geography lesson with comparisons of health care systems in other nations. Use this site as one of several current issues topics for students studying government, and have them prepare a policy proposal for their own "cabinet."
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Global Voices Online - Global Voices

Grades
9 to 12
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In just a few short years, blogging has become one of the fastest growing means of Internet communication. This site represents a collection of bloggers whose interests focus on developing...more
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In just a few short years, blogging has become one of the fastest growing means of Internet communication. This site represents a collection of bloggers whose interests focus on developing countries. These international blogs and blogs about international issues give an authentic voice to areas of the world where that voice is often suppressed or unrecognized. The site is a combination of blogs that have been collected and translated and are presented on the site itself and links to offsite blogs. The entries can be searched by region, by country, or by topic. Additionally, there is a cadre of authors sponsored directly by Global Voices itself to comment on and recommend blogs and bloggers from their geographic areas of expertise.

Be aware that many school districts' web filters exclude blogs, but the entries that are posted directly to the site itself may be more accessible. You should monitor student use regularly, however, as blogs represent the opinions and feelings of their writers and may not always be suitable for classroom use. This site requires Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): blogs (89), countries (77)

In the Classroom

Many social studies classes feature long term projects or units on diverse countries, and this site is a goldmine of information about places that can be difficult to research. Share the blog entries on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Why not have students create a video highlighting what they have learned about their country (or other topic). Share the videos on a tool such as SchoolTube (reviewed here).
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Pete's Powerpoint Station - mrdonn and phillip martin

Grades
K to 12
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Need a PowerPoint? Check this site first to find one on a topic you need from the vast array available. The free PowerPoints and interactive activities are easily downloaded. To ...more
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Need a PowerPoint? Check this site first to find one on a topic you need from the vast array available. The free PowerPoints and interactive activities are easily downloaded. To find the FREE PowerPoint presentations, click on the FREE Presentations in PowerPoint Format link found directly under the red train. There are literally hundreds of topics (over 1,200 at the time of this review). Topics are listed in alphabetical order. There are so many topics: Plagiarism, Integers, Interjections, IQ Tests, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Graphic Organizers, Graphs, Gold Rush, the Bible, Economics, Amelia Earhart (and many other heroes), Descriptive Writing, Coral Reefs, Civil Rights Movement, Autism, Ancient Civilizations, Presidents, Louisiana Purchase, Money, Music Instruments, How to Write an Outline, Rosa Parks, Resumes, Terrorism, Vietnam War, and many MANY others. Primary teachers will appreciate simple activities on Dolch words and other sight vocabulary! Pages are arranged in topics such as "Plants and Animals," "World History," "Biology, Chemistry, and Physics," and "Problem Solving." There are many professional topics on exceptionalities, as well. Each page includes a vast array of subtopics. Other links on the page include "Greta's Game Station" and "Hannah's Help" which offers information on researching. Some of the links at "Greta's Game Station" require Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): adhd (28), back to school (58), electricity (91), inventors and inventions (97), literature (275), parts of speech (68), polar (19), speech (92), states (162)

In the Classroom

Use these PowerPoints to provide background information for projects or further inquiry in class. For example, use a PowerPoint on cells to give background information. Create questions for students to answer while viewing the PowerPoint or add your own "lecture" notes while showing to a class. Remember that PowerPoint does not HAVE to be shown on a screen. Students can watch them as tutorials at a center or computer cluster. Learning support teachers will appreciate having an alternate way to present basic concepts to visual learners. Assign students a particular cell part to research more information about the part. Explore professional topics on your own or together with colleagues during inservice time.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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BigDialog.org - eCitizenship Foundation and MIT eCitizenship Program

Grades
9 to 12
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BigDialog.org has become the premier site for Americans to voice their concerns to President Obama. Your government or civics students will enjoy listening to and reading statements...more
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BigDialog.org has become the premier site for Americans to voice their concerns to President Obama. Your government or civics students will enjoy listening to and reading statements from the citizens of the USA as they relate to current hot topics. Because President Obama's savvy use of the internet during his campaign, this website promises that he will be checking here to take the pulse of America's heart beat. The opinions expressed are genuine and may be inappropriate in the classroom, so preview. As with any site with a public forum, you will need to check your school's Acceptable Use Policy for security reasons. This site requires Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): matter (61)

In the Classroom

Imagine this site as the neighbors next door, who are voicing their concern over civic matters. This site gives a substantial voice of concern and can give your students bountiful ideas for research topics. Share the videos (previewed, of course!) on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Have cooperative learning groups create their own videos voicing their concerns. Send a few of the videos to BigDialog. (Be sure to obtain parental permission first)!
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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You Choose: 2016 Meet the Candidates - PBS

Grades
2 to 5
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Involve your young students in the process of electing our next president. Though designed for grades 3-6, this interactive site could easily be used in part with 7th and 8th ...more
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Involve your young students in the process of electing our next president. Though designed for grades 3-6, this interactive site could easily be used in part with 7th and 8th grades, as well. The three main sections: Meet the Candidates, Trading Cards, Campaign Posters, and Videos, provide opportunities for students to learn about the candidates.

tag(s): elections (75)

In the Classroom

The site is designed for students to explore and participate on their own. Start out with a preview on a projector or interactive whiteboard, then allow students to explore with or without a partner, trying to find answers to specific questions. Challenge students to write down unanswered questions they may have and attempt to research the answers.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Presidential Biographies and Portraits - The White House

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4 to 12
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The "official" biographies of the nation's presidents, as contained on the White House web site. This site is up to date, easy to use, and includes a wealth of information. ...more
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The "official" biographies of the nation's presidents, as contained on the White House web site. This site is up to date, easy to use, and includes a wealth of information. There is an interesting picture slide show of all of the presidents.

tag(s): presidents (130)

In the Classroom

Share the slide show or other information with your class on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Use this site for great research information directly from the White House.

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The Presidents - George Welling

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4 to 12
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This Dutch site is an index of information on the presidents of the United States. Included are speeches, writings, and biographical information. Excellent resource for creating research...more
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This Dutch site is an index of information on the presidents of the United States. Included are speeches, writings, and biographical information. Excellent resource for creating research reports.

tag(s): presidents (130), speech (92), speeches (17)

In the Classroom

Share the inauguration speeches with your students on President's Day.

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Mr. President - Smithsonian Institution

Grades
4 to 12
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The Smithsonian's presidential biographies resource offers basic biographical information and images on all American Presidents, along with highlights of their administrations. Useful...more
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The Smithsonian's presidential biographies resource offers basic biographical information and images on all American Presidents, along with highlights of their administrations. Useful for both its content and its comprehensiveness. The site offers some basic information about all presidents (Washington through Obama).

tag(s): biographies (87), politics (99), presidents (130)

In the Classroom

Use this site as a starting point for research projects. If you are teaching about the presidents, this site would be great on your projector or interactive whiteboard.

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The American Presidency - A Glorious Burden - Smithsonian Institution

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6 to 12
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The Smithsonian has created a nice, technically up-to-date introduction to the presidents which can be useful for middle and high school students. Middle schoolers can work directly...more
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The Smithsonian has created a nice, technically up-to-date introduction to the presidents which can be useful for middle and high school students. Middle schoolers can work directly with the time line and individual biographies, while older students may want to examine the presidents in the context of the historical eras which are also available on the site. Our link starts at the collection of Adobe Acrobat lesson plans that accompany this site; full navigation is available from the menu at the left. If you click on Activities you will find some great interactives. This site requires Flash and Adobe Acrobat. You can get both from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): biographies (87), presidents (130)

In the Classroom

This site is great to use for research projects or to find activity ideas for the entire class! Share the interactives on your projector or interactive whiteboard.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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All of Inflation's Little Parts - The New York Times

Grades
7 to 12
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As the saying goes, "It's the economy, stupid." The US economy continues to be an important talking point. Some report that the country is already slipping into recession, but what...more
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As the saying goes, "It's the economy, stupid." The US economy continues to be an important talking point. Some report that the country is already slipping into recession, but what does that mean? This graphic, designed by the New York Times, is the kind of visual presentation that can really help put this discussion into perspective. Presented as an amped-up version of the traditional pie chart, the chart shows what percentage of the average consumer's spending is devoted to everything from cable TV to gas to fast food to postage. The graphic also shows the relative increase or decrease in that cost over the past year. For example, students may enjoy seeing the comparison between money spent on men's clothing versus that spent on women's clothing, with additional comparative data on shoes, accessories, and children's clothes! This site requires Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

In the Classroom

This relatively simple graphic has a very wide variety of possible applications. If you teach personal finance and budgeting, students can use this chart to compare the average American's spending with their own. If you teach economics, the fact that the items that have increased the most in the past year are gasoline, fuel oil, firewood, and eggs (OK, eggs?) will bear out the impact of the rise in the cost of crude oil and the chaos in the middle east. If you teach civics or government, you can show how the changes in the economy affect what citizens want from their politicians. If you teach math, the graphic's real-life data could be used as a basis for computation and problem solving. Because it's Flash-enabled, the "mouse over" effects and the ability to zoom in and out to see greater detail (how much does the average American spends on ham versus turkey? It's on there!). This site would work well on an interactive whiteboard or projector.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Smog City 2 - U.S. EPA and Sacramento Air Quality Management District

Grades
5 to 12
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Use this interactive air pollution simulation to learn about the effects of particulates, ozone, and individual choices on air pollution. The Create Your Own section allows you...more
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Use this interactive air pollution simulation to learn about the effects of particulates, ozone, and individual choices on air pollution. The Create Your Own section allows you to test cause and effect of different factors in a controlled setting. Although the option to download the simulator is offered, it runs just fine in its online version. The site's disclaimer explains that the complex relationships between environmental factors have been simplified for this simulator, but the processes are still representative of the "real world" factors. This is a MUST for Earth Day!

This site is powerful and therefore may take some extra time to load - so prepare ahead! This site requires Flash. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): air (163), earth (231), earth day (111), environment (319), pollution (67)

In the Classroom

Younger students would benefit from a teacher-centered introduction on the simulator (using your interactive whiteboard or projector), followed by directed explorations to find specific answers to teacher questions. Older students can determine the most important factors in air pollution and explore means to solve the problem as part of a health, social studies, science, or government class. Have your students present their finding on an interactive whiteboard or projector.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Like Father, Like Son: Presidential Families - National Endowment for the Humanities

Grades
K to 2
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This lesson plan examines America's only two father-and-son presidents - John Adams and John Quincy Adams, and George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush. Students investigate the role and...more
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This lesson plan examines America's only two father-and-son presidents - John Adams and John Quincy Adams, and George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush. Students investigate the role and responsibilities of the presidency while comparing and contrasting each father-son pair. Includes suggested activities and links to online material about the presidents. The lesson plan is aligned to standards.

tag(s): presidents (130)

In the Classroom

Take advantage of this "ready to go" lesson plan, perfect for a President's Day celebration.

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If you were President - Scholastic

Grades
5 to 8
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Students can have a taste of what it's like to occupy the highest office in the land with this clever, interactive activity. The site guides them through the process of ...more
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Students can have a taste of what it's like to occupy the highest office in the land with this clever, interactive activity. The site guides them through the process of selecting a cabinet, balancing a budget, responding to questions from the press, and reading reactions in the daily papers! A very thought provoking and enlightening site for helping kids understand the complex issues faced by America's presidents. This site requires Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): presidents (130)

In the Classroom

Have students work on individual computers and try out being the president. Can they balance the budget? Choose the ideal cabinet members?
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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George Washington - American Presidents - University of Virginia

Grades
6 to 12
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This George Washington page includes a quick fact sheet, a short biography, and links to additional information on Washington's advisors, administration, and accomplishments. It is...more
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This George Washington page includes a quick fact sheet, a short biography, and links to additional information on Washington's advisors, administration, and accomplishments. It is part of a very complete collection of presidential resources that could be a staple of an American history curriculum. Some of the activities require Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): presidents (130), washington (36)

In the Classroom

Use this site for research projects about the United States first president! Share this site on an interactive whiteboard or projector as an introduction to this unit or as review. On the site are copies of some of Washington's speeches that the Miller Center has put in transcript form. One that would be especially useful is the "Farewell Address," that came to influence US Foreign Policy through WWI. Share the speech on the interactive whiteboard or projector, and have students either read it aloud in pieces or individually. Even parts of the address incorporated into a lecture would help illustrate to students US isolationism and the resonating effect of the speech in other areas of Foreign Policy.
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Biographies of the Presidents - The White House

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4 to 12
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The White House web site includes short biographies of all the American presidents, suitable for introductory use or to compare presidencies. There are also a few facts about the presidents,...more
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The White House web site includes short biographies of all the American presidents, suitable for introductory use or to compare presidencies. There are also a few facts about the presidents, presidential "firsts," and the various administration. The site includes several video clips, some require Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): presidents (130), white house (14)

In the Classroom

Share the historical video clips on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Use this site for research projects on the U.S. Presidents. This site is a perfect addition to your Presidents' Day celebration!
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Presidential Inauguration

Grades
2 to 12
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Here is an excellent site for students to explore to discover what life will be like in Washington, D.C. during Inauguration Day (and probably the entire week). Don't miss the ...more
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Here is an excellent site for students to explore to discover what life will be like in Washington, D.C. during Inauguration Day (and probably the entire week). Don't miss the link to the Fun Facts! There are also links to information about Obama, Biden, an events calendar, various maps (mostly by Google Maps), emergency information, photo gallery, and more!

tag(s): inauguration (11)

In the Classroom

Share this site (and the impact on life in DC during inauguration day). Challenge students to write a mock ad to rent out their apartment for the inauguration or to plan a mock trip to the inauguration (including plans for what they will do while DC). Or have students describe the events of the day (after the fact) in a letter to their future grandchildren.

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Census in Schools - U.S. Census Bureau

Grades
4 to 10
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This site, created especially for students who need to understand information collected during the census (up to, and including the year 2000), offers five main areas: State Facts for...more
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This site, created especially for students who need to understand information collected during the census (up to, and including the year 2000), offers five main areas: State Facts for Students, Program Overview, Teaching Materials (K-adult), Reference Materials, and Highlights. The state pages include a generalized lesson plan and pertinent information for each state. The City map section under reference materials is especially interesting as it shows city growth from 1790 to 2000. The teaching materials section includes activities and downloadable, printable census kits for classroom use from kindergarten students to adults.

tag(s): census (19), maps (289), states (162)

In the Classroom

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. Use this page when studying various states; students can make a quick comparison between targeted states with the facts ready to read all on one or two pages. If you teach data analysis and graphing in your math class, this data provides real world information for students to use in math exercises, spreadsheets, and graphs. You could even use it in Google Docs spreadsheets (reviewed here). If you have ESL and ELL students, check out the special ESL pages found under the teaching materials section. The easy to read materials include glossaries, exercises, and excellent maps, perfect for geography lessons.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Daryl Cagle's Professional Cartoonists Index - MSNBC

Grades
6 to 12
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We know that today's students are far more accustomed to learning through images than students of the past. This site is a collection of the work of dozens of political ...more
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We know that today's students are far more accustomed to learning through images than students of the past. This site is a collection of the work of dozens of political cartoonists and is constantly updated to provide fresh content tied to the news of the day. The site is surprisingly deep, however, and has cartoon galleries that go back at least five years.

Teachers should be aware of several cautions however: Preview the cartoons collections for age-appropriateness; understand that the site does contain advertisements; and recognize that the images are copyright protected. Teachers are advised to post links to specific cartoons rather than trying to "cut and paste" the cartoons into websites or other documents.

tag(s): comics and cartoons (73), politics (99)

In the Classroom

Use the political cartoons on this site to introduce a class discussion on current events, civics, or government. Try using a cartoon as a writing prompt either for individual students or for collaborative work. Post a link to a particular cartoon or cartoon series on your classroom blog for discussion. Have students try to create a cartoon (either drawing or using computer generated images) depicting current events in the news.

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Lincoln 200 Years - C-Span

Grades
6 to 12
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This site, created by C-Span, examines numerous areas of Abraham Lincoln's life and legacy. Main areas of this site include Schedule, Timeline, Videos, In His Own Words, & Gallery....more
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This site, created by C-Span, examines numerous areas of Abraham Lincoln's life and legacy. Main areas of this site include Schedule, Timeline, Videos, In His Own Words, & Gallery. The highlight of this site is the video link. Click and find video clips (some reenactments, others lectures) about the Lincoln-Douglas Debates, Gettysburg Address, Pre-Presidency, and his Assassination. This site also highlights the release of four new pennies in February 2009.

Be aware: the links in the left sidebar will take you to the parent site (C-Span), not the Lincoln information. The right sidebar provides a list of recommended websites about Lincoln. This site requires Real Player, you can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): civil war (144), emancipation proclamation (12), lincoln (86), slavery (71)

In the Classroom

If you are planning for the 200th birthday of Lincoln or any study of the Lincoln era, check out this site! This is a phenomenal site for any secondary class. Use this site for research projects. Share the videos on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Have students create their own videos of reenactments based on their research. Share the videos on TeacherTube (explained here).

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Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum

Grades
3 to 12
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This simple site offers several "Classroom Connections" to use in conjunction with a field trip to the museum. However, many of these ideas could easily be adapted into research projects...more
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This simple site offers several "Classroom Connections" to use in conjunction with a field trip to the museum. However, many of these ideas could easily be adapted into research projects or writing assignments for students in social studies or history class without a museum visit. All topics relate to Abraham Lincoln, the Civil War, or 19th Century Kids.

tag(s): civil war (144), lincoln (86), presidents (130)

In the Classroom

Use this site as a starting point for projects about our 16th president. Although most relate to exhibits found at the museum, similar research can be found online. Have students choose one of the several topics to research further.

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