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American Experience The Gold Rush - PBS

Grades
6 to 12
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From a PBS American Experience episode on the Gold Rush, this site includes a good timeline for the Gold Rush, transcripts of interviews concerning the immigrant contribution to settling...more
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From a PBS American Experience episode on the Gold Rush, this site includes a good timeline for the Gold Rush, transcripts of interviews concerning the immigrant contribution to settling California and pursing gold, lesson plans focused on history, economics, geography and civics. There is a nice Flash-powered simulation game in which students can choose a character to navigate the rigors of the Gold Rush. Characters include a Chinese immigrant and a woman.

tag(s): california (27), civil war (145), gold rush (19), immigration (58), lincoln (86), migration (59)

In the Classroom

The Gold Rush era in American history usually gets folded into a discussion of immigration or western expansion. The timeline helps put the discussion into a broader context that includes the Civil War. The simulation game would be a good extension activity for students who master material more quickly, or for students to do at home.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Fencing in Theatrical Fighting - Daniel Penrose

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8 to 12
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Are you teaching plays that include fencing? Are you students completely unaware of what fencing entails? If you want to teach the basics of fencing to students, even if you ...more
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Are you teaching plays that include fencing? Are you students completely unaware of what fencing entails? If you want to teach the basics of fencing to students, even if you only want to let them know how difficult it is, this is a good site with a lesson plan. It offers direct objectives in 7 75-minute classes (which could be adapted to shorter time periods). You should have access to the 3 different types of fencing equipment (foil, ?p?e, and sabre)and some expertise (or access to some expertise!) in the art. But vastly fascinating for students!

In the Classroom

The lessons are sound and basic. The 3 "further information" links at the bottom of the page no longer work, but it should not be difficult to find similar working URLs on the net for fencing in theater and the movies.

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Native American Nations - Lisa Mitten

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3 to 12
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Find Native American nations' own sites and information in this alphabetical index by tribe(with notes as to most recent updates). ...more
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Find Native American nations' own sites and information in this alphabetical index by tribe(with notes as to most recent updates).

In the Classroom

Use this site as a resource for research papers and projects. Students can search for information about specific tribes or for information that the tribes themselves have put forward. This would be a great resource for a US history class.

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History of the Cherokee - Ken Martin and others

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4 to 12
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This straightforward informational site provides history and images of the Cherokee nation, including important figures, Cherokee law, maps, and events from before European settlers...more
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This straightforward informational site provides history and images of the Cherokee nation, including important figures, Cherokee law, maps, and events from before European settlers until now. The site creator is himself a mixed blood Cherokee.

In the Classroom

Steer clear of the genealogy links. They are either selling something or they do not work. This is a great site for basic background information, such as you could seek with a scavenger hunt.

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Indigenous Peoples Literature - Glenn Welker

Grades
4 to 12
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This site is a wealth of resources on indigenous peoples of the Americas, including both North and South America. You can find poetry, artwork, daily wisdom, information about languages...more
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This site is a wealth of resources on indigenous peoples of the Americas, including both North and South America. You can find poetry, artwork, daily wisdom, information about languages and leaders, and much more. Be sure to scroll down within the frame set or you will miss most of the content. The maps of the native languages are especially interesting if you teach about westward expansion in the U.S. This site would also provide excellent background for reading of any literature about life among the native Americans, such as A Light in the Forest.

In the Classroom

Use this site to build background knowledge and understanding as part of literature, social studies, or art units. Share portions on a projector.There are times when the frame set of the site is annoying. If it gets in your way, go back on click and RIGHT click on the link you want, choosing "open in new window" to escape the box!

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Red Scarf Girl Webquest - Sofie Maurice

Grades
8 to 12
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This webquest is an excellent introduction to the time of the Chinese Cultural Revolution through the eyes of a teenage girl. It is fairly compact yet packed with information not ...more
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This webquest is an excellent introduction to the time of the Chinese Cultural Revolution through the eyes of a teenage girl. It is fairly compact yet packed with information not typically covered in depth in American classrooms. The quest activities vary from mapping to timeline making to writing from a different perspective, and all are grounded in reading the original novel, A Red Scarf Girl.

tag(s): chinese (48), evolution (100)

In the Classroom

Instead of the suggested Apple Works, try using Google Docs during planning and writing phases reviewed here or one of many creative, collaborative web 2.0 tools reviewed in the TeachersFirst Edge. Your students can work collaboratively without even being in the same place, and their projects can be shared easily on the web.

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King Tut Exhibition - The King Tut Exhibition

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6 to 12
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What student doesn't love King Tut? This site is connected with the current tour of some of the King Tut artifacts across the United States. See Exhibition Menu> ...more
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What student doesn't love King Tut? This site is connected with the current tour of some of the King Tut artifacts across the United States. See Exhibition Menu> Preview for a beautiful animated gallery of some of the artifacts. Exhibition Menu > videos offers three informative videos. The King Tut menu includes informative background articles. Although King Tut was really just a minor king in the Egyptian history, the stunning beauty of the items discovered in his tomb is hard to resist. This site may change as the exhibit continues to travel.

tag(s): egypt (67)

In the Classroom

Use this site on a projector to introduce Egyptian history or use it in a scavenger hunt activity along with other Tut resources. Gifted enrichment teachers could create an opportunity for students to explore and compare this and other ancient civilizations.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Conquistadors - PBS

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6 to 12
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PBS site connected to their series on the Spanish Conquistadors Pizarro, Cortes, Orellana and Cabeza de Vaca. There are excellent multi-media presentations, an interactive timeline,...more
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PBS site connected to their series on the Spanish Conquistadors Pizarro, Cortes, Orellana and Cabeza de Vaca. There are excellent multi-media presentations, an interactive timeline, a teaching guide, lesson plans, and PDF worksheets covering each of the American cultures. This site provides good historical background on the conquistadors and would be a great supplement to a unit on early American exploration. While the site certainly suggests that we consider the ethical implications of conquest, it is not heavy handed.

tag(s): aztecs (8), mayans (12)

In the Classroom

The animations would be great for use on an interactive whiteboard.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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WFP FoodForce - World Food Programme

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

tag(s): united nations (8)

In the Classroom

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

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Stockwatch-Catch, Cash and Community - Defra

Grades
9 to 12
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This is an online simulation game focuses on sustainable fishing (NOT the Stock Market as the title might lead one to believe!). Students can manipulate variables (numbers of fishing...more
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This is an online simulation game focuses on sustainable fishing (NOT the Stock Market as the title might lead one to believe!). Students can manipulate variables (numbers of fishing boats, catch quotas) and see how those changes affect both the bottom line and the environment. Each change results in a year's worth of data (up to 15 year's worth), and then reactions from different stakeholders. The game can be played at a basic level and at an advanced level.

tag(s): environment (317), fish (24), resources (112)

In the Classroom

The game could be helpful in showing students that "success" in a business that affects the environment can be measured in a number of ways: cash flow, environmental impact, community support. The game could be played cooperatively by groups of students on an interactive whiteboard, or could be played individually by students. Since it's available on-line, students could be instructed to play the game at home or during study halls and then be prepared to share their individual data in group discussion. Requires FLASH!
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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J8 Teacher Resources - J8 Summit

Grades
9 to 12
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This site includes teacher resources related to the J8 competition, which is a program for students from the G8 countries, and gives winning students the chance to participate in a...more
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This site includes teacher resources related to the J8 competition, which is a program for students from the G8 countries, and gives winning students the chance to participate in a "junior" G8 conference. The resources all relate to issues related to global citizenship, the United Nations, and human rights. There are fact sheets on a number of topics, lesson plans, and links to several on-line simulation games.

In the Classroom

Whether students participate in the actual competition or not, there is a lot of good information on this site related to current issues of global citizenship and human rights. Students may find the international focus of the site interesting... there are links to Italian, Canadian, British, French, German, and Japanese curriculum overviews.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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The Holocaust Lesson Plan - Vanderbilt University, University of Texas-Austin

Grades
6 to 12
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This comprehensive approach to studying the Holocaust has students reading, viewing the film Devil's Arithmetic, and doing research about a real person who was involved in the Holocaust....more
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This comprehensive approach to studying the Holocaust has students reading, viewing the film Devil's Arithmetic, and doing research about a real person who was involved in the Holocaust. The lesson plans include videos of the different phases of the plan for teachers who would like to see it modeled. The questioning encourages the development of higher order thinking skills, and presents a well-considered approach to the study of the Holocaust, providing students with a template for future historical study. Student final presentations include students preparing their own PowerPoint or Hyperstudio presentations, an appropriate use of technology to express their own observations and research findings. Detailed student outcomes are available to instructors who wish to use this plan. Examples of student projects as well as links to other sites about the Holocaust complete the site offerings.

tag(s): hitler (10), holocaust (39)

In the Classroom

Video files of the model lesson are large and take a long time to download (use Quicktime). You will also need to find a copy of the film licensed for school use. Teachers may want to use these lesson ideas and products as a springboard, picking and choosing from the activities.

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BBC Learning English - BBC (British Broadcasting Company)

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

tag(s): news (261)

In the Classroom

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

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Dates That Matter - TeachersFirst

Grades
5 to 12
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Dates That Matter provides a new perspective on history by placing each day-in-history event in broader context and explaining its long-term impact. History is a fabric woven of many...more
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Dates That Matter provides a new perspective on history by placing each day-in-history event in broader context and explaining its long-term impact. History is a fabric woven of many events, and Dates That Matter helps students see the full tapestry. The dates display on a projector-ready screen: A single sentence reveals something about the date. You then click to see a sequence of thought-provoking questions to guide students to a greater understanding of interrelationships as they try to guess the actual event. When the historical event finally shows on screen, a further explanation, Why does it matter?, fills in the remaining context and offers reviewed links to learn more. Teachers who work with low readers might try using these daily clues to teach the reading strategy of connecting what you read with prior knowledge to place new learning in context. A full, annotated version of each dte is availabel from the Teacher page at the end so you can plan for student responses and have hints for guiding the discussion. You can also preview upcoming dates to choose those you may want to put in your weekly plans.

tag(s): substitutes (21)

In the Classroom

Begin your social studies class once or twice a week by sharing a Date That Matters on a projector or interactive whiteboard to foster broader understanding of the connections that form world history. Or use the links at the end as an extra credit or enrichment opportunity or for gifted students to investigate more. Focus class attention as everyone enters by projecting the date and starting sentence. Make this one a link on your teacher web page for students (and parents)to access outside of school. Substitutes will also appreciate this meaningful and engaging way to connect today with students' prior history knowledge for more than isolated factoid. It's a lesson ready to go!
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

Comments

This is a terrific site for daily writing and "Do Nows" for my ELA classes. In addition, the site can be used for Morning Meeting/Advisory. Patricia, NJ, Grades: 6 - 12

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Where in the World and What in the World is Money? - International Monetary Fund

Grades
6 to 12
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A brief, fairly simplistic game that illustrates the different forms that money can take: gold, paper money, items of value, a promise to pay in the future. The ...more
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A brief, fairly simplistic game that illustrates the different forms that money can take: gold, paper money, items of value, a promise to pay in the future. The game involves a trip through time in which the player needs to choose various objects to use as currency. Wrong answers re-direct the user back to the list of choices. Right answers advance the user through the game.

tag(s): currency (20), money (193)

In the Classroom

This might make a nice kick off activity (10 minutes)to a unit on money--from an economic perspective rather than a counting perspective--or a unit about a country or society that uses a different form of currency.

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Conservation Investigation: Seahorses - Shedd Aquarium and Educational Adventures

Grades
9 to 12
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This interactive website is amazing - both informative and entertaining. Students are sent on a mission as an investigative reporter from a local newspaper. This interactive lesson...more
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This interactive website is amazing - both informative and entertaining. Students are sent on a mission as an investigative reporter from a local newspaper. This interactive lesson takes students up close to the Philippines to observe seahorses. Students also complete their investigations by interviews and library research all pre-created at the Shedd Aquarium. The culminating activity requires students to prepare a persuasive article. This site is extremely well done and students will enjoy the videos, unique activities and the original way that the information is presented. Note: our editors had difficulty accessing some of the interview videos. There's apparently a codec issue with these. That's geek speak for, "They don't work." The rest of the site works fine, however, just be sure to pre-test videos you assign to students.

tag(s): conservation (127)

In the Classroom

Use this investigation to spice up your conservation, marine biology or general science classes. It is multi-disciplinary and very interesting.

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Communicating With Gestures - Everything ESL: Judie Haynes

Grades
2 to 12
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Learn about gestures from other cultures and share the discussion through this lesson plan as part of your language class or as an activity to help students communicate with ESL/ELL...more
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Learn about gestures from other cultures and share the discussion through this lesson plan as part of your language class or as an activity to help students communicate with ESL/ELL peers. Gestures can have VERY differnet meanings in other cultures, so this site is a must before any foreign language trips abroad!

In the Classroom

ELL/ESL teachers will appreciate this free lesson plan hosted by everythingesl.net. Be sure to save it as a favorite on your classroom desktop to allow for easy retrieval later on.

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My Wonderful World - National Geographic and partners

Grades
6 to 12
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After miserable results on a world geography test, National Geographic launched this site as part of a campaign to re-ignite interest and provide resources for students, teachers, and...more
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After miserable results on a world geography test, National Geographic launched this site as part of a campaign to re-ignite interest and provide resources for students, teachers, and parents to learn more about geography. The site is designed blog-style, with many places to comment or join into discussion. There are separate sections for educators (start a geography club, evaluate your school's program, etc.), parents, and kids. Be sure to try the Test Your Global IQ link. There are also many links for further materials and ideas to bolster your instruction in geography.

In the Classroom

Try putting the Global IQ Test up on a projector to "pretest" your class or include it on your teacher web page for extra challenge.

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WorldWise Schools Lesson Plans - Peace Corps

Grades
2 to 12
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This site is a much-expanded remake of the Peace Corps collection of lesson plans and activities for cross-cultural understanding around the world. Teachers can search for lesson plans...more
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This site is a much-expanded remake of the Peace Corps collection of lesson plans and activities for cross-cultural understanding around the world. Teachers can search for lesson plans by topic, region of the world, grade level, or academic subject. All readings and materials are included (many as pdf - Acrobat Reader files). Many lessons include readings that would also work well for teaching reading comprehension, espceially for your less-than-proficient readers. Simply choose the area of the world, subject, and/or grade level for which you want a lesson plan, and you will see quite a list.

tag(s): cultures (105)

In the Classroom

Search for lessons on a specific region as you teach about it or use these selections as general readings for comprehension. They may also be helpful in getting to know students who enter your classroom from other cultures. The lessons would be very helpful in developing background knowledge to understand cross-cultural literature selections in a language arts class.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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NOW for Educators: Global Warming - PBS

Grades
6 to 12
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This site, affliated with the PBS program NOW, offers a lesson plan on global warming. There are a variety of materials available, including a good Venn-diagram style worksheet (requires...more
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This site, affliated with the PBS program NOW, offers a lesson plan on global warming. There are a variety of materials available, including a good Venn-diagram style worksheet (requires Acrobat Reader) that helps students organize the arguments for and against global warming, a list of possible projects which illustrate both sides of the argument. There is a link to transcripts of a NOW segment on global warming and discussion questions, or you can purchase a tape of the program.

tag(s): climate (92), environment (317)

In the Classroom

The site includes a link to a great slide show with Flash animation that explains the science of global warming, suitable for middle school students, which would make a good stand-alone mini lesson for teachers with a SmartBoard or projector.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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