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National First Ladies' Library - National First Ladies' Library

Grades
6 to 12
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The wives of U.S. Presidents have often served a crucial, but unofficial and sometimes unrecognized, role in U.S. History. Hillary Clinton's recent run for the White House even prompted...more
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The wives of U.S. Presidents have often served a crucial, but unofficial and sometimes unrecognized, role in U.S. History. Hillary Clinton's recent run for the White House even prompted a spirited discussion of what her husband might be referred to if she became the first woman president.

The National First Ladies' Library, located in Canton, Ohio, is dedicated to teaching others about the contributions of the First Ladies of the United States, as well as other notable women in U.S. History. In fact, the library is housed in the former home of Ida Saxton McKinley, the wife of President William McKinley. The Library is both a physical resource, but also a comprehensive virtual library of information. The site contains biographies of US First Ladies, lesson plans, and a searchable timeline. There is an online catalog of the many resources available in the library itself; those who do not live nearby could still use the catalog to identify resources associated with former First Ladies. This site requires Adobe Acrobat. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): biographies (87), first ladies (2), presidents (131), women (101)

In the Classroom

These resources might be useful to those doing First Lady biographies for Women's History Month or other famous Americans reports. Students doing more in-depth research for History Day projects will find the online catalog helpful. Check out the link to facts and trivia for a good First Ladies Trivia page.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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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 (97), primary sources (86)

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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Showing Evidence: Analyzing and Evaluating Information - Intel Education

Grades
3 to 12
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Give your students the skills to analyze and evaluate information with Intel's free "Showing Evidence tool." "Showing Evidence" provides a visual framework to help students learn how...more
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Give your students the skills to analyze and evaluate information with Intel's free "Showing Evidence tool." "Showing Evidence" provides a visual framework to help students learn how to construct well-reasoned arguments and prove their case with credible evidence. Students are prompted to consider the quality of the evidence and the strength of the evidence to support their claim. When an argument is complicated, the components of the tool help students think through justifying a claim.

This web-based tool is accompanied by detailed lesson plans designed for elementary, middle, and high school students. A variety of subject areas and projects are ready to adapt for the classroom or implement as-is. Explore the project ideas, instructional strategies, assessment tips, and research to help you plan a project of your own. Registration is free and creates a teacher workspace in which to build the class project. The password-protected workspace is accessed through the internet where students log on with the teacher-created ID, team ID, and password. Students can access the project workspace from home or though other Internet access points such as the public library.

Be sure to disable your popup blocker, as the site needs to show popup windows during the project. This site requires Flash and Adobe Acrobat Reader. Get these tools from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): debate (41), folktales (65), shakespeare (131), thinking skills (17)

In the Classroom

Teachers can use the comprehensive tutorial to learn the features of the tool and use the workspace to practice with the tool. Take advantage of the detailed unit plans that provide usable handouts and student work samples. Or just browse through several shorter project descriptions for project ideas that suit your classroom.

Make a shortcut to this site on your desktop and student computer desktops for easy access. Use the "Showing Evidence "tool to explore themes such as why do we explore, what happens next, is everything we read true, and what is freedom? Have student teams stage debates using their visual diagrams to show their thinking processes to the class using an interactive whiteboard or projector.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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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 (91), podcasts (52), stars (61), vocabulary (323), 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 (43), elections (75), electoral college (16)

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!
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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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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Images of American Political History - Dr. William J. Ball

Grades
5 to 12
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Bring two centuries of American history and politics to life with these high-quality, black and white photographs of people and events. Beyond showing the faces of politicians and the...more
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Bring two centuries of American history and politics to life with these high-quality, black and white photographs of people and events. Beyond showing the faces of politicians and the famous, this collection chronicles average people who quietly contributed to the times. The collection's greatest strengths lie in the World War II, Cold War, and Civil Rights eras. The photographs are drawn from government sources and are in the Public Domain, which means they are copyright-free. Images can be browsed by keyword, topic or era.

tag(s): air (163), civil rights (117), cold war (29), images (266), photography (160), politics (99)

In the Classroom

Have students use these images for illustrated timelines on women's rights, civil rights, World War II, and American presidents. Use any of the images of war workers to spark discussions on how conflict affects the non-combatants, the economy, and industrialization.

Download the images, insert them into a Word document, print and photocopy a page to give to each student. Ask students to write a few questions they have about the person, people, or events in the photograph. Or share the images on your blog or a class wiki for students to respond. Use these questions to further the research and discussions into the era of choice.

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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 (75), 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.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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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 (132), cultures (105)

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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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 (180), diversity (36)

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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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 (148), 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.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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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 (147), maps (287), presidents (131), renaissance (34), timelines (62)

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 (55), climate (92), environment (317), geology (81), maps (287)

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.
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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 (261)

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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American Experience: New Orleans - PBS

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

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

tag(s): jazz (15)

In the Classroom

Share the interactive portions on projector and speakers or laptops, as you ask your students to propose a better way for government agencies to prepare for and respond to disasters. Using this site and many others, they can gather evidence to support their proposals. Don't miss the accounts by the Superintendent of the St. Bernard Schools as another source.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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NOVA--World in the Balance - PBS

Grades
6 to 12
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This is a companion site to a PBS series on the forces world wide that are affecting global population. There is a wealth of information here on historical trends ...more
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This is a companion site to a PBS series on the forces world wide that are affecting global population. There is a wealth of information here on historical trends in population growth, the impact of population on the environment, and the continuing imbalance between the rich and the poor in the world. There are flash-enabled slide shows illustrating global population growth over history, and the impact of that growth on the environment. Don't miss the population counter that starts when you load the home page. It shows how many babies are born in the world since the page first loaded, and the impact is startling! A teacher's guide gives further information about using the resources in the classroom.

tag(s): demographics (19), environment (317), population (60)

In the Classroom

Several excellent interactives might make a strong visual impact if used on an interactive whiteboard. There is an interactive quiz that might be a good discussion starter, and matching "game" that shows demographic trends in four contrasting countries: the US, Japan, Kenya and India. These interactives give impact to discussions of the global economy, world wide environmental changes and the balance of power between "developing" and "developed" countries. Put the population counter up on a projector as student enter the room to activate prior knowledge or provide an anticipatory set.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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When the Personal Becomes Presidential - New York Times Learning Network

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

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

tag(s): elections (75), presidents (131)

In the Classroom

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

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

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Iraq - BBC

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

tag(s): iraq (32)

In the Classroom

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

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Independence Day - TeacherVision

Grades
2 to 8
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Although this site does have annoying advertising, there is also a lot of good stuff for use in the classroom. This site offers numerous printables, online interactive quizzes, Social...more
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Although this site does have annoying advertising, there is also a lot of good stuff for use in the classroom. This site offers numerous printables, online interactive quizzes, Social Studies, Language Arts, Arts and Crafts, and Reference activities. Some of the activities are for "members only", but most of the fun is open to everyone! This site requires Adobe Acrobat. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): july 4th (9)

In the Classroom

Get an interactive whiteboard and test your students' knowledge of Independence Day with the online quizzes.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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