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Play the News Game - Impact Games

Grades
9 to 12
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In this current events activity, students (or all members of your class working together) choose current news events and assume character roles. After viewing the latest hot event in...more
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In this current events activity, students (or all members of your class working together) choose current news events and assume character roles. After viewing the latest hot event in the particular news item and reading some background, students (or your class) assume one of the characters' roles. They must make decisions, consult advisers, hone predictions, and make choices to steer tomorrow's news today. They can come back later to compare their predictions to what happened with the situation in the real news. Thus current events are no longer isolated factoids but become dynamic processes. News topics vary greatly and can include violence and other ugliness happening in the world today. Preview carefully before recommending a game to students, depending on the standards of your school community. Some topics include actual violence occurring in the world. Topics cover world news, U.S. politics, technology, and even entertainment. At one time, there are up to 20 news "games" going on. Players can see what other players have decided. Some games are closed; that is, their decisions are final. Members (your class as a whole?) also gain rank and opinion rating depending on how active they are on the website and how their opinions compare to those of the mainstream. As of this review, this site is still in "beta." This site requires Flash 9 or newer. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

To use many features of the site, you must create a membership (requires email). There are many "social" features within the site that make it a potential safety issue if all students are allowed to use it on their own. See ideas for handling these concerns below.

tag(s): news (264)

In the Classroom

Try this site as a regular part of your secondary discussions on current events or choose selected "games" that connect with your current curriculum topic. For example, explore stories from African nations as you study world cultures in Africa.

Classroom teachers will want to start by conducting this activity using a whole-class account (use your "extra" email account to create a single account, monitored by you). Use the game to facilitate discussion and build students' global citizenship by allowing them to make choices and see the results. Be sure to talk about the line between fantasy and reality: which parts of these games have actually happened and which are part of the "game" hypotheses. Include the link on your teacher web page for students to access both in and out of class if you believe they are ready to handle it on their own. Check your school policies on allowing students to participate in online decision making and sharing, and obtain written parent permission before individual students are allowed to log on. As an alternative for students who may not have permission, you can pose some of the same questions and provide newspaper and news magazine articles for background. But you know which tool your students will prefer!
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Digital Vaults - National Archives

Grades
3 to 12
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This site offers digitized National Archives of the U.S. organized according to general category. You can finally explore and share primary source documents interactively through this...more
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This site offers digitized National Archives of the U.S. organized according to general category. You can finally explore and share primary source documents interactively through this Flash site. Start from eight featured topics. For a more in depth look at each subject and its associated categories, click on What's Interesting. A search feature is also available. An added feature at the bottom of the opening page is the "Pathways" tab. Students can participate in a "challenge" (in different levels) to find links between certain historical items. Students can also create their own pathways, writing about connections they find between certain archived items. In another section, students can create their own historical posters and movies from the archives. You can create a collection of items from the archives to retrieve or look at later, as well. This feature requires a free membership created by email address. There are also extensive lesson ideas and information for teachers at the small link, "Educators and Students," at the bottom of the page. Roll your mouse down to find it against the dark background. Note: the entire site is done in Flash (an HTML version is available from a small link at the bottom of the page). Get Flash from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): inventors and inventions (96), primary sources (93)

In the Classroom

Use this site as an anticipatory set for a unit in history or on inventions. Share a collection of images or invention drawings on a projector or whiteboard and ask what the invention will do. Or use the site as the starting point for individual or group projects. After demonstrating on an interactive whiteboard or projector, have students use laptops or lab computers to "collect" resources related to their assigned inventor, decade, or era in American history. Check your school policy regarding accessing student email. If you plan to have students register individually, you may want to create your own Gmail account with up to 20 subaccounts for each group of students (by code name or number) within your classes. Here is a blog post that tells how to set up GMail subaccounts to use for any online membership service.Students can use their log-ins to collect resources.

Since the documents are in the public domain (are not copyrighted), students may also download and use the files as part of other projects, such as video compilations, Powerpoint presentations, or multimedia of any sort. To access the resources in non-Flash format, click the small link to "research this record in ARC" in the detailed view of the item. You can then view and Save As for use elsewhere. Be sure you teach students about copying the URL and relevant information from this ARC page to cite the source and give credit in any presentation they make. This site is excellent for enrichment or projects for the gifted, as well. Include it on your teacher web page for students to access both in and out of class for students who are working in History Day projects or other assignments for your class.

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ESL Podcasts - Internet TESL Journal

Grades
5 to 12
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This site offers a continually updated variety of podcasts on news subjects at a level appropriate for ESL and ELL students. A short description tells the subject of the podcast ...more
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This site offers a continually updated variety of podcasts on news subjects at a level appropriate for ESL and ELL students. A short description tells the subject of the podcast as well as other extras like quizzes, speakers, and creators or originators. Students and teachers can listen from the Internet or download to an MP3 player or local computer. A "Read the Web Page" link takes viewers to the news article or other special feature mentioned in the broadcast. Be certain to preview the podcasts that you plan to use in your class. Some are not appropriate for elementary students and young adolescents. This website requires Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): listening (92), podcasts (55), stars (65), vocabulary (325), vocabulary development (125)

In the Classroom

Use this page to listen to current events news in simple English. Play them on your speakers for an entire class or provide headphones for individual listening. Have the students try to write the main points of the podcast they listen to and then check their listening against the webpage with the original article. Special education teachers may want to use this resource as an adapted way for students to read and submit weekly current events articles. Mark this site as a favorite on your classroom computer so students can use it during their free time with headphones. Share the link on your teacher web pages for parents and students to access quickly from home, but be sure to suggest that parents of younger students monitor the topics for appropriateness.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Presidential Election Interactive Map and History of the Electoral College - 270 to win

Grades
6 to 12
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If it's a college, why doesn't it have a football team? Unfortunately, that's about the level of understanding about the Electoral College among many students. Once student learn that...more
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If it's a college, why doesn't it have a football team? Unfortunately, that's about the level of understanding about the Electoral College among many students. Once student learn that we don't really elect presidents by popular vote, many are also quick to condemn the Electoral College as "stupid" or "unfair." This site might help teachers put the Electoral College and the process we use to determine our president into sharper focus. The interactive map is fairly simple, but can be adapted to show the peculiar way that "all or nothing" Electoral College voting state by state can affect the outcome of an election. We need look no further than the most recent 2008 election to see its impact in real terms. You can highlight a particular state and get a historical view of electoral votes for the republican or democratic candidate in past presidential elections. Although the site will have usefulness beyond the 2012 election, it is currently featuring the progress of that race through the straw polls, then primaries and beyond with polling data.

Be aware: during election season, this site opens slowly. But it is well worth the wait.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): college (48), elections (78), electoral college (17)

In the Classroom

Use the site on an interactive whiteboard to illustrate the impact of Electoral College voting on the election of the US President, both today and in the past. Perhaps we will finally raise a generation who completely understands the Electoral College and how it works!
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ZIPskinny - ZIPskinny

Grades
6 to 12
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A useful little site for research or idle curiosity, this site offers some basic demographic data about the communities that make up each U.S. ZIP code. The ZIP code, first ...more
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A useful little site for research or idle curiosity, this site offers some basic demographic data about the communities that make up each U.S. ZIP code. The ZIP code, first developed in 1963 to assist the U.S. Postal Service with automated mail delivery, has become a powerful demographic symbol and is frequently used by researchers to compare U.S. communities. This site, which ties its data to information gathered in the 2000 census, offers no commentary--just the facts ma'am--and includes statistics on education, income, population, race, gender, and marital status. There is a utility for comparing any ZIP code with up to 20 other ZIP codes. Students may be interested in the specific data provided for each public school within a given ZIP code. Our reviewers did notice that some ZIP codes are not included at this time. Serious researchers are cautioned, the data comes from the 2000 census, and may be outdated. This historical census data may provide a good comparison with other, more recent years or for students to make predictions for an upcoming census based on past trends. There is a lot of advertising on the site, although the majority of it is in the form of text links rather than annoying pictures or dancing silhouettes.

tag(s): census (19), demographics (19)

In the Classroom

Teachers or students seeking some basic demographic data about their own town or city, or wishing to compare it with another location, will find this site useful. Civics, government, or economics lessons could be enriched with local data which might be compared to the more general information offered by textbooks in answer to the question "How do we compare to this?" Math teachers and reading teachers who teach graphical data analysis might get some mileage out of using the graphs and tables from their own towns or communities for computations rather than using generic information from a textbook. Project the graphs on a whiteboard and have students manipulate to explain the meaning of changes in the visuals. Think of the higher level thinking questions you could generate during a political year! Of course, the terminally curious can probably waste a good hour or two just noodling with the data.

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Dangerously Irrelevant: Internet Democracy - Scott McLeod

Grades
9 to 12
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"Dangerously Irrelevant" is the blog of education professor Scott McLeod from Iowa State University. He is interested in the interplay between technology and education, and his blog...more
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"Dangerously Irrelevant" is the blog of education professor Scott McLeod from Iowa State University. He is interested in the interplay between technology and education, and his blog brings together a number issues and ideas that teachers ought to be thinking about. This section of the blog provides resources for social studies teachers who are including content related to the upcoming Presidential elections. Organized by candidate, McLeod provides links to YouTube videos about each candidate. He also provides instructions for downloading YouTube videos through a secondary program so they can be emailed and accessed by teachers whose school districts block access to YouTube. Social studies teachers need to teach students how to critically assess the huge volume of information on the internet about candidates for political office. Campaign strategists spend enormous amounts of energy and money trying to "market" voters, and if students are to be informed voters in the near future, they need to recognize these tactics and learn to access concrete information.

tag(s): elections (78), politics (99)

In the Classroom

Teachers can use these videos to demonstrate political tactics and help students navigate election promises and propaganda. Because these videos come from YouTube, which does little to monitor its content, content should be carefully previewed before using. Share the site or specific videos on a projector or interactive whiteboard as part of class discussion. If your network permits it, provide a local copy of specific videos for students to critique and compare. They could embed the videos in a wiki and write the critique as a collaborative project with small groups. Or have them present a video to the class as if they were on a campaign staff analyzing the opponent's tactics for a campaign staff meeting.

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NPR: Election 2008 - National Public Radio

Grades
6 to 12
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Sifting through the volume of information on the 2008 Presidential elections could be a full-time job! If you want a handful of sites that give you current, unbiased (as much ...more
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Sifting through the volume of information on the 2008 Presidential elections could be a full-time job! If you want a handful of sites that give you current, unbiased (as much as any political information can be!) data about the election, consider using this NPR site. It starts with a flash-enabled US map that is currently reflecting the status of primaries and caucuses. You can link to a nice side-by-side comparison of candidates' views on central issues like Iraq, the economy, health care, and climate change. There is a helpful primary calendar that keeps you posted on where we are in the process. Finally, there is updated news and commentary about the campaign season. This site requires FLASH, get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): elections (78), politics (99)

In the Classroom

Of course, civics and government teachers focus on Presidential elections past and present and will find this site quite useful. Other teachers who regularly do "current events" discussions can also find simple, direct, and up-to-date information that can be used to inform, debate, or share on an interactive whiteboard. Make this site a Favorite and share it on your teacher web page for students to use for research on individual candidate platforms. Encourage students to check the site regularly for updates. Use it to help students stage a mock debate or mock election.
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Kidlink - Kidlink

Grades
3 to 12
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This website provides an online connection to students from various areas of the world. There are links provided for students, families, and teachers. The website is available in various...more
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This website provides an online connection to students from various areas of the world. There are links provided for students, families, and teachers. The website is available in various languages - English, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, and Portuguese. Students can share stories, artwork, and more. The educational content includes life planning skills (careers), social studies (geography, government, history, etc.), writing, and many other academic areas. Free registration is required for each student and teacher. All content is monitored by volunteer moderators. What a fabulous resource to use in geography or language arts class. This website doesn't just teach students about countries throughout the world, but also allows students to interact with students of various cultures as they write and respond to each other in this safe environment.

tag(s): careers (140), cultures (110)

In the Classroom

Students need not have their own email to use this site. Kidlink explains that they are permitted to use the teacher's email address (which allows you to monitor their activities, as well). You might want to use your "extra" email account. Set up accounts for your students to communicate in your world language class or as part of your study of other continents. With younger students, you may want to communicate as a whole-class activity, composing on a projector or interactive whiteboard.

If your school policies limit your ability to use such a site, see the FAQ information and ready-to-go presentation explaining Kidlink. Share it with your principal and parents. ALWAYS get written parent permission when sharing student work/ideas online.

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Statistics - Cast Your Vote! - Annenberg Media

Grades
8 to 12
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This timely website follows a year in a fictitious election campaign. The website is set-up like a news report (via radio) that takes an inside look at the mathematics behind ...more
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This timely website follows a year in a fictitious election campaign. The website is set-up like a news report (via radio) that takes an inside look at the mathematics behind the polls, and the political news and updates that you hear everyday. The introduction asks students to complete a short poll (which is not affiliated with any political party; it is all fictitious). Once the poll is completed, you are taken to the main website. The specific topics include - How Random is Random, +/-5%, Being Confident, What Can Go Wrong, In Daily Life, and Related Resources.

tag(s): critical thinking (112), elections (78), politics (99), statistics (126)

In the Classroom

What a fabulous way to integrate math, government, and current events! Use this activity as an anticipatory set to an election unit or a statistics lesson. Once the lesson is completed, extend the activities by looking at current polls on elections in your area (or national elections). Have students work in small groups to analyze and find possible "loopholes" in the meaning and "spin" of poll data.
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Exploring Africa - Michigan State University

Grades
6 to 12
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Wow, this website is amazing! Exploring Africa brings Africa into your classroom through numerous interdisciplinary lessons. There are 20 modules (within 4 general units of study)....more
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Wow, this website is amazing! Exploring Africa brings Africa into your classroom through numerous interdisciplinary lessons. There are 20 modules (within 4 general units of study). The general units include "Why Study Africa", "Studying Africa Through the Social Studies", "Studying Africa Through the Humanities", and "Regional Perspectives". Each module contains a teacher version that includes objectives, focus questions, activities, background information, and more. These teaching and learning activities all follow the "5 E's" format: Engage, Explore, Explain, Expand, and Evaluate. The website also provides links for specific country information and current events.

tag(s): africa (175), diversity (33)

In the Classroom

This website is literally a textbook online. The information is ready to go and easy to use. It may not be possible to cover all of the information included in this extensive website. Pick and choose the modules that will be useful in your own classroom. Modules can easily be used independently and include detailed teacher notes, evaluations, printable pages, and more. Many of the a ctivities will work well using technology, though the plans do not specify this. For example: Share some of the maps on your interactive whiteboard or have students draw some of their "preconceived notions" about Africa on the whiteboard as part of the introductory image activities.

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Powerpoint Palooza - Susan M. Pojer

Grades
9 to 12
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Sometimes you oversleep. Sometimes you just need to add a little extra "punch" to a tried-and-true lesson. Maybe you just got an interactive whiteboard and haven't had time ...more
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Sometimes you oversleep. Sometimes you just need to add a little extra "punch" to a tried-and-true lesson. Maybe you just got an interactive whiteboard and haven't had time to create a lot of visual resources to use with it. Maybe you just want a fresh perspective. This site contains nearly 200 PowerPoint slide shows focused on history lessons, particularly at the upper levels or Advanced Placement level.

In the Classroom

Download a PowerPoint presentation relevant to an upcoming set of lessons and use it as a starting point for your own version, or use the presentation as-is. The teacher who has created most of these, Susan M. Pojer, grants full permission to use these resources as long as she is credited as the original author. Some of the lessons have sound files, and they all have the usual PowerPoint bells and whistles. Of course, we don't want to commit "assault with a deadly bullet point" day after day, but these presentations may be just what you need in a pinch, or may give you a new way of looking at a stale lesson plan. Ready, set, download!

An alternative would be to give the PowerPoint file to your students (in small groups) and ask them to transform it into an interactive learning tool for their peers: add questions, feedback, more images, etc. so the show becomes a student-created tutorial on the topic of your lesson or unit. Of course, students will be graded on the accuracy of their information as well as their creativity. Think of it as inverse teaching. Prepare a rubric before you start or use our http://www.teachersfirst.com Rubrics to the Rescue to find one that shares your expectations with the class.

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in Our Own Backyard: The Hidden Problem of Child Farmworkers - AFT

Grades
8 to 12
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This site presents facts, video, activities, and thoughtful questions about the treatment of migrant children today in the U.S. Help students learn first hand about social problems,...more
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This site presents facts, video, activities, and thoughtful questions about the treatment of migrant children today in the U.S. Help students learn first hand about social problems, the possibility of social change, the role of legislation, critical thinking, and the power of original documents.

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

In the Classroom

Use this site as a launch point for debates, class discussion, or student projects on the history of labor, the contributions of minorities in American life, and the hot current events discussions of border control. Consider this topic for possible social action projects or political letter-writing and more. Examples of projects other classrooms have created are available on the website as well as teacher testimonials on teaching about child labor.
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Opensecrets.org - Open Secrets

Grades
9 to 12
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A compilation of data about fund-raising and the financing of political candidates in the United States, this site contains a massive amount of information. You can drill down to the...more
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A compilation of data about fund-raising and the financing of political candidates in the United States, this site contains a massive amount of information. You can drill down to the zip code level and find out who in your local area is donating how much to which political candidates and parties. You can search by politician or by candidates and see where their financial support comes from. You can track particular issues or take a historical look at campaign and political finance.

tag(s): elections (78), politics (99)

In the Classroom

Put this site on your TeachersFirst favorites list or teacher web page so students can use it for research on political candidates and issues. Civics teachers will find it useful in demonstrating the importance of lobbying and campaign finance in the political arena. Economics teachers can use these data to illustrate the connection between wealth and political power. Teachers doing lessons focused on the upcoming elections can track current Presidential candidates and their major contributors.
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Gapminder - Gapminder

Grades
7 to 12
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Gapminder is an interactive site designed to present world demographic information in a highly visual way. Using either a world map, or a chart with "bubbles" sized according to ...more
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Gapminder is an interactive site designed to present world demographic information in a highly visual way. Using either a world map, or a chart with "bubbles" sized according to each country's population, users can track 30 years of change in a wide variety of economic and social indicators (for example, population size, percentage of GNP dedicated to military spending, proportion of girls in school, infant mortality). Math teachers can use the site to demonstrate data analysis skills with meaningful data. This site requires Flash. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): data (153), demographics (19)

In the Classroom

The site would be best used on an interactive whiteboard, although computer-savvy students could access it individually. The world data presented might supplement lessons in economics, civics, world cultures, current events or modern history. Teachers should plan to spend a chunk of time previewing the site before using, however, as the interface is not entirely intuitive. There is a tutorial, but it will take some experimentation to discover the various ways to manipulate the data and present it graphically. There is also this page of ideas specifically for teachers. You can compare individual countries, or zoom into geographic regions. "Mature" teachers who learned bar graphs and pie charts may find the choices a little overwhelming, but with a little noodling around, will be able to graphically illustrate concepts in ways never before possible.br br Challenge your students to retrieve and use some of the data in support of an essay thesis, oral presentation, or debate.
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firstfind.info - Westchester Library System

Grades
3 to 8
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This site offers a quick way to find basic information on many topics written in very simple English. There are 9 major topic areas which users can choose from ...more
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This site offers a quick way to find basic information on many topics written in very simple English. There are 9 major topic areas which users can choose from and each area has a variety of inside divisions. Of particular interest to K-12 students would be Government, History, Travel (includes maps), and Health. Especially useful for ESL students are the online magazines written in simplified language and the dictionary link.

In the Classroom

Suggest this site to your students from other countries when they are assigned a research project. Keep this one in Favorites on your teacher web page or classroom computers for ESL students to use the Dictionary or find simplified information on your government, history and health lessons. Special Ed teachers with students of low reading ability can also find adapted resources here.

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Social Studies for Kids

Grades
1 to 8
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This is a general "go-to" website all about social studies. There is information about current events, culture, holidays, languages, religion, economics, geography, maps, government,...more
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This is a general "go-to" website all about social studies. There is information about current events, culture, holidays, languages, religion, economics, geography, maps, government, U.S. presidents, timelines, and many other social studies topics. The highlight of this website is the Current Events segment. This is an easy way to incorporate age-appropriate current events in your classroom.
Note: an annoying audio ad plays when you first enter the site. Turn OFF your sound!

tag(s): holidays (151), maps (293), presidents (132), renaissance (34), timelines (64)

In the Classroom

Use the current events segment as weekly discussion starter or assignment in your social studies class. Share this link on your teacher web page for students to access outside of class. To really build a stronger sense of current events, start a class year-long current events "log" on a wiki and have a differnet student write a "week in review" each week throughout the year, based on the current events provided here or others he/she may know about. Reading teachers may also want to use the articles on this site to teach informational text reading skills on an interactive whiteboard. Reading levels are challenging for grades 1-3. Teachers will need to provide help by reading aloud or partnering readers.

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National Atlas - United States Department of the Interior

Grades
2 to 12
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This all-encompassing atlas site provides a broad variety of information and activities. The subject areas include agriculture, biology, boundaries, climate, environment, geology, government,...more
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This all-encompassing atlas site provides a broad variety of information and activities. The subject areas include agriculture, biology, boundaries, climate, environment, geology, government, history, mapping, transportation, people, and water. All of the subjects incorporate the United States (for example, the agriculture pages discuss the agriculture of the USA). The map features are phenomenal and include both printable maps and "dynamic maps" which are interactive and awesome! Some of interactive maps include topics such as relief and elevation, West Nile virus, volcanoes and more. This site is a perfect addition to any science class that is studying volcanoes, climate, biology and more. It is also useful in a geography class studying the various uses and types of maps. Some of the activities at this site require Flash, get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): agriculture (58), climate (91), environment (319), geology (81), maps (293)

In the Classroom

Have your students work in cooperative learning groups to investigate the "dynamic maps". Assign each group a topic to explore (there are 7). Have the students research the information using the maps and then report their findings to the class, perhaps displaying examples on a projector or interactive whiteboard. In teaching any of the related subjects, using a projector to share a map will make the content more "real," such as displaying the butterfly layer in the map maker so students can see how the butterfly population their home state compares with other locations.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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World News - WN Network

Grades
4 to 12
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This is a wonderful compilation site of news from all over the world. Users can read the home page or search news of a specific geographic region. An ...more
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This is a wonderful compilation site of news from all over the world. Users can read the home page or search news of a specific geographic region. An excellent plus here is the ability to choose to read the news in a variety of languages. World Photos today, multimedia, global weather, and sports are just a few of the many attractive sections that add to this site's appeal.

tag(s): news (264)

In the Classroom

Share this site with your school's foreign language teachers. Have students do comparisons between English and foreign language versions of the news. If you teach writing, you can find controversial topics as writing prompts for persuasive writing among the articles, as well, and have students find facts to support their positions. Make this site available from your teacher web page for current events assignments. Reading teachers will want to use the articles on an interactive whiteboard to teach main idea and summarizing: highlight key words to use in a main idea or summary sentence you write together below the article.

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Essay Exchange Unit - George Cassutto

Grades
9 to 12
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This unit plan gives students the opportunity to get feedback on their writing from a totally impartial source. Students research and write position papers on a variety of topics, working...more
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This unit plan gives students the opportunity to get feedback on their writing from a totally impartial source. Students research and write position papers on a variety of topics, working step by step from to thesis statement to writing. The students then email their papers via e-mail to other schools and students for feedback. The students' final papers are posted to the school's web site for global access.

While this site does give a template of lessons for students to follow as a guide, teachers have a wide range of flexibility with it. Topics can be about anything of your choosing; the length of time given to the lesson and the type and amount of feedback is controlled. While this project started within the subject of Social Studies, this unit can be used in conjunction with any subject.

tag(s): writing (367)

In the Classroom

Teachers can adapt the assignment to use other genres of expression to evaluate student performance. All subject area teachers can integrate the procedures listed to develop on-line projects for their students. The ideal places to post papers for feedback and final publication would be on a blog (for comments) or wiki (for collaborative editing and additions).

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U.S. Presidential Speeches Tag Cloud - Chirag Mehta

Grades
9 to 12
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SHOW your students the changes in U.S. presidential politics and policy over time using this "tag cloud" of word frequencies from presidential speeches (and a few before we even HAD...more
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SHOW your students the changes in U.S. presidential politics and policy over time using this "tag cloud" of word frequencies from presidential speeches (and a few before we even HAD a president) 1776-2007. If you have never seen a tag cloud, it is simply a way of using the relative size of words to show the frequency with which that word appears. Slide the slider across the timeline at the top of the tag cloud to see words appear, shrink, disappear, etc from the language of U.S. leaders over time. Note the introduction of new terms (terrorism) and when they appear. What a marvelous way to build perspective on history and awareness of the importance of rhetoric in the role of a leader.

tag(s): debate (44), elections (78), politics (99), speech (94), speeches (18)

In the Classroom

Share the tag cloud on a projector-- or ideally interactive whiteboard-- as you ask students to hypothesize about the words that appear at key times: the start of a war, after Sept 11, etc. Then include the link on your teacher web page so you can assign them (in or out of class) to write an essay or prepare a visual presentation explaining why certain terms were vital in the political and policy landscape of the times. Using primary sources from the Library of Congress American Memory Collection, students can create multimedia (PowerPoint or video) shows "portraying" a year, decade, or era and the importance of its tagged words (Word art would make a great way to show the words on screen).

With the 2008 presidential election quickly approaching, have students analyze presidential speeches and create their own Speech Tag Clouds about the message. Or have students create a "mock" candidate and then design a "tag cloud" about the candidate.

Note that this tag cloud site DOES identify its sources-- something you want to be sure to highlight to your students. Then ask if students think the choice of sources is the best possible--should it include others?

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