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World Flag Database - Graham Bartram

Grades
3 to 12
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Users can find any flag in the world in this well-updated database. To search for a specific country's flag, simply click on the first letter of the country and thumbprint ...more
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Users can find any flag in the world in this well-updated database. To search for a specific country's flag, simply click on the first letter of the country and thumbprint flags from all countries beginning with that letter come up. Besides coming to a full sized representation of the flag, readers also see important statistics such as religion, currency, and languages as well as important organizations the country belongs to such as the U.N. In one click, a contextual map of the country comes up.

tag(s): flags (22), maps (292), statistics (126)

In the Classroom

This is an easy-to-use fast reference tool for students. The site also sells flags, but you can ignore the sales portion. If your students do country reports, this is a one-stop site for them to find their country's flag. Perhaps they can use these ideas to design a flag for their own mythical country as part of a unit on government.

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Wikipedia: List of Faux Pas

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6 to 12
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Although this site is a wiki and therefore editable by anyone who chooses to change the content, it highlights the differences between cultures and how people interpret behavior. Find...more
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Although this site is a wiki and therefore editable by anyone who chooses to change the content, it highlights the differences between cultures and how people interpret behavior. Find out about what is considered "good" and "bad" etiquette in places all over the world. Perhaps your students would even like to write their own additions? It is worth mentioning to your secondary students that the authorship of wiki content is unknown and would therefore be unacceptable as an "academic" source.

tag(s): cross cultural understanding (122), cultures (111)

In the Classroom

Use this as a discussion-opener in your world language or world cultures class. If you put the Faux Pas wiki up on a projector or allow your students to explore it, assigning each group to find one thing that is perfectly acceptable in your home country but considered offensive in another, you can then discuss the differences one needs to consider in learning the language or history of that country. As a a follow-up in a world cultures class, ask students to write up their own etiquette guide for their school or home town.

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Totem Poles - Pat Kramer

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4 to 8
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Learn the basics and debunk the myths about totem poles using the site created by a "transplant" to the Pacific Northwest. Although the write is also selling a book, ...more
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Learn the basics and debunk the myths about totem poles using the site created by a "transplant" to the Pacific Northwest. Although the write is also selling a book, there is significant information, and the photos are helpful in understanding the iconography of totem poles.

In the Classroom

If you use the site with elementary children, you may want to let them partner-read some of the longer text portions. Use this site as part of a unit on indigenous peoples of the Americas, then have the students create their own totems in an authentic way. Art teachers may want to use this as an inspiration for a totem-like project in clay, wood, or other materials. The connections to oral history are fascinating and can lead to lengthy discussion in a history class about how we "know" what we say happened before written history.

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Collapse: Why Do Civilizations Fail? - Annenberg Media

Grades
6 to 12
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This site looks at the collapse of several ancient civilizations and suggests why these civilizations did not last. The text is easy to read and is highlighted by learning ...more
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This site looks at the collapse of several ancient civilizations and suggests why these civilizations did not last. The text is easy to read and is highlighted by learning activities and games that illustrate the issues under discussion. Featured civilizations include the Maya, Mesopotamia, the Anasazi of North America and the West African societies of Mali and Songhai. The strength of this site is its suggestion that there are commonalities that help us understand the collapse of a society. There are web links to further resources, and a summary featuring Percy Shelley's poem "Ozymandias", a nice literary connection. There are "hands on" activities scattered throughout, many including cross-curricular links to science or literature.

tag(s): gifted (89), mayans (13), mesopotamia (6), nasa (37)

In the Classroom

This site gives good concrete information, but its real power is in the greater consideration of the rise and fall of civilizations through history. This is a VERY thought-provoking collection of resources. Teachers interested in tying this discussion to current events might discuss the future of civilization in Iraq considering the criteria for maintaining a society given in this site. Use this site as a learning center or station during a unit on ancient civilizations' collapse. This site could be specifically tailored to teach about Mesoamerican cultures as three of the 4 ancient civilizations were located in South America. To make that simpler, we recommend creating a guide for students through a website such as Graphic Organizer Maker, (reviewed here). This would be a great resource for a World History classroom! Teachers of gifted could also use this site as the basis for a great social studies unit. If you own the old favorite computer game Civilization, you could put together some scenarios using that, as well.

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Japan In-Depth - Japanese National Tourist Organization

Grades
6 to 12
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This site gives a very clear overview of major components of ancient Japanese culture. The page is separated into a wide variety of subsections including architecture, shrines, religious...more
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This site gives a very clear overview of major components of ancient Japanese culture. The page is separated into a wide variety of subsections including architecture, shrines, religious observations, clothing, art, floral design, theatre and dance. Each section links to simple line-drawings with an explanation of the significance of each cultural component.

tag(s): japan (61)

In the Classroom

The simple explanations and illustrations would be great for use with an interactive whiteboard, and would provide a nice supplement to a study of Japanese culture or while reading Japanese folk tales or Japanese-American literature.

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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 (142), gold rush (19), immigration (59), lincoln (85), 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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Native American Nations - Lisa Mitten

Grades
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

Grades
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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Yahooligans News - Yahoo

Grades
2 to 8
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Children see the latest news stories (Sports, Entertainment, Top Stories, Animals, Science and Nature, and Grab Bag) organized into slide slows so there is minimal reading and a new...more
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Children see the latest news stories (Sports, Entertainment, Top Stories, Animals, Science and Nature, and Grab Bag) organized into slide slows so there is minimal reading and a new photo for each focus item. In addition, there is another link to the most important story, for a recent movie, and an opportunity for children to vote on a news question.

tag(s): movies (71), news (263)

In the Classroom

Share a current events story on a projector or interactive whiteboard as a day-starter while children trickle in from the bus. Note: if you send students to this site on their own, they may be distracted by numerous "fun" offerings from Yahooligans (music videos, celebrity info, etc). You may want to give them specific guidleines about where they are permitted to go.
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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 (9), mayans (13)

In the Classroom

The animations would be great for use on an interactive whiteboard.

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King Tut Exhibition - The King Tut Exhibition

Grades
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 (70)

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.
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Kids Activities from A Celebration of Souls: Day of the Dead - Burke Museum

Grades
1 to 8
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Take a multi-cultural approach to Day of the Dead celebrations by trying some of these hands-on activities and crafts from Mexico. These would work well as part of a fall ...more
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Take a multi-cultural approach to Day of the Dead celebrations by trying some of these hands-on activities and crafts from Mexico. These would work well as part of a fall festival, multicultural days, or in a Spanish class. The activities include Making a Paper Marigold, a recipe for Bread of the Dead, art projects, and sugar skulls and papier mache floral skulls.

tag(s): spanish (109)

In the Classroom

Include these activities with your class to promote multicultural understanding. You could also share the ideas with parents to do at home with their children.

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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 (40)

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 (263)

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."
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Newsround - BBC News for Kids - BBC

Grades
3 to 8
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This highly-participatory, attractive world news site for kids lets children select all the normal news features like tv/movies, music, weather, sports, animals, sci/tech etc. Students...more
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This highly-participatory, attractive world news site for kids lets children select all the normal news features like tv/movies, music, weather, sports, animals, sci/tech etc. Students can join the Press Pack and submit their own photos and comments. Under Newsroom, kids have the options of submitting a report they've researched and written; it will be displayed on the website! They can also ask for a certain topic to be investigated. Topic suggestions can be found here too. Personal advice columns are totally cyber with one current topic, bullying, available in video webchat format. A message board with current comments runs across the top of the site like a ticker tape. Other interactive features include student voting, blogs, and games. Besides features for students, video clips, quizzes, and educational games comprise some of the offerings for teachers . Requires the RealPlayer G2 Plug in to watch the Newsround videos.

tag(s): news (263), sports (98)

In the Classroom

Note: the site is British, so spelling and topics have a UK slant! Make sure you have parent permission for students to post work to the site, and keep their identities safe by using pseudonyms or initials. Encourage those with Internet access to visit the site with mom and dad to talk about current events together (include the link on your teacher web page). If you are familiar with RSS feeds, this would be a good choice for a first feed.
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Topics Online Magazine - Sandy and Thomas Peters

Grades
4 to 8
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With the current issue and extensive archives, this online magazine offers colorful articles and a variety of photographs of the countries our new English learners come from. The magazine...more
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With the current issue and extensive archives, this online magazine offers colorful articles and a variety of photographs of the countries our new English learners come from. The magazine includes interesting topics such as food, travel, globalization, international stories, movie reviews from the international perspective, biographies by international students and students of American ethnicities, and shopping tips. This is a great entry way into international culture. The variety of topics and photographs of real students and foreign ports make it interesting to everyone.

tag(s): biographies (91), cooking (34), grammar (210), movies (71)

In the Classroom

Use these articles as part of your study of nations of the world or as models for student writing in your own classroom. With digital pictures, you can create a similar "magazine" format in PowerPoint or on paper, now that your students have a model to explore. Students can research their own ethnic heritage or learn about a culture that is totally unfamiliar.

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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 date is available 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): calendars (46), substitutes (20)

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!
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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 (19), money (182)

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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Brookfield Zoo: In Search of The Ways of Knowing Trail - Brookfield Zoo

Grades
3 to 8
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This animated site is amazing! The entire site is a journey throughout the African forest. Along the way, students have four African children offering advice. Their parents ...more
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This animated site is amazing! The entire site is a journey throughout the African forest. Along the way, students have four African children offering advice. Their parents include a researcher, forest ranger, farmer and more! The African characters' expertise helps the student to choose which way to go next. The site includes a forest fact book, information about African animals and forests. A special asset of this unique site is that it incorporates problem-solving skills. Hints are given, but the student has to choose which option would be best. The site requires FLASH! Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): africa (173), animals (292), environment (322), problem solving (286)

In the Classroom

Your students will need a good 15-30 minutes to complete this activity either as a class or individually. Don't forget to use an interactive whiteboard if you are doing this as a class activity. Students will want to visit again at home, so include the link on your teacher web page, as well.
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