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Elizabeth I - Class 8C

Grades
5 to 8
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While this is a student-posted site, it contains good, simple information about the life and times of the Elizabethan era in England. It is a good source of info for ...more
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While this is a student-posted site, it contains good, simple information about the life and times of the Elizabethan era in England. It is a good source of info for the basics before studying Shakespeare.

tag(s): renaissance (34), shakespeare (131)

In the Classroom

While the info is good, not all the spelling IS. A good exercise for middle school kids is to have them proofread for spelling as they go through. It is also a good exercise in teaching how good content would be better with NO errors via proofreading. It is, however, too good a simple site to ignore.

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National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS)

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K to 12
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The mission of National Council for the Social Studies is to provide leadership, service, and support for all social studies educators. ...more
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The mission of National Council for the Social Studies is to provide leadership, service, and support for all social studies educators.

In the Classroom

Within the Classroom Resources section of this website to look for free lesson plans and classroom activities. The lessons are organized by grade level, so be sure to pass it along to peers in other grade levels. Save this one as a favorite to allow for easy access and retrieval.

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My Hero - My Hero Project

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K to 12
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Looking for an online project-based interactive website that encourages literacy and cross-cultural communication? Looking for an alternative culminating project or process writing...more
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Looking for an online project-based interactive website that encourages literacy and cross-cultural communication? Looking for an alternative culminating project or process writing project for your secondary classes? Trying to help your high school juniors and seniors create an interesting college "essay" or portfolio piece? Join other adults and children from around the world by adding your essay, artwork or video about a hero on this non-profit, ad-free web site. You and your students can use this site with basic word processing knowledge -- or take it further if you are more technically capable.Site registration is required. Site is available in Spanish. Flash, Acrobat Reader and Quicktime are required. Get them from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): gifted (96), heroes (24), writing (358)

In the Classroom

Be sure to visit the Teacher's Resource section for helpful hints and links. Use any word processing program to type essays, then copy and paste into the My Hero class page. Provide a link to the class page on your teacher web page so students, parents, and relatives can read the essays. As always follow your district policies regarding posting student work on the Internet. It is HIGHLY advisable to get written parent permission for such a project!

Very young students could work together as a class to write their entry. Older students and those with more technology available will definitely want to try the videos! If you know iMovie or Windows Moviemaker, this is a terrific project. It is well-suited for gifted students, as well.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Journey North Mystery Class - Journey North

Grades
2 to 9
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Teach about the earth and seasonal change as you solve a real mystery. This unique international "hide and seek" activity is interactive, easy to use, and free! The challenge ...more
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Teach about the earth and seasonal change as you solve a real mystery. This unique international "hide and seek" activity is interactive, easy to use, and free! The challenge begins the last week of January and continues throughout May. Each week, students are given a clue to try to locate a "Mystery Class" from somewhere around the world. All clues are seasonal and some include sunrise and sunset times. The site includes standards in science, math and geography. The site provides lesson plans, interactive activities, video clips and more. Registration is free for this 11-week adventure or you can use the resources at the website with no registration necessary. Flash is required for some of the activities.

tag(s): data (148), seasons (37), sun (71), time (144), time zones (8)

In the Classroom

Make this "hide and seek" adventure a weekly highlight in your social studies or science class. It is ideal if you are studying geography or seasons. Use an interactive whiteboard or projector to make this a class activity, but be sure to include the link on your teacher web page for students to share at home. Be sure to check out the Teacher info and "Resources and Activities" page to find lesson plans, interactive games, standards and more.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Spice Up Your Life - Sue Swank and Kathy Dorr, Bellingham School District Teachers

Grades
3 to 7
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This unique project is all about spices and the age of exploration and discovery! The students are asked to complete 5 tasks (brochure, flow chart, trade agreement, resume and ...more
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This unique project is all about spices and the age of exploration and discovery! The students are asked to complete 5 tasks (brochure, flow chart, trade agreement, resume and letter). There are links provided for the instructors to find the research information, objectives and assessment tools. This is a unique approach to learning about exploration. The activity was designed for grade 5, but could easiy be used above that. Younger students will need to be in cooperative groups that include a good reader.

tag(s): explorers (61)

In the Classroom

If time does not permit your class to complete all five tasks, allow your students to choose and complete one task to demonstrate their knowledge.

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Flash Earth

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K to 12
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You may be familiar with Google Earth but may not have the ability to install their free software on your computer, either because you are not permitted to or because ...more
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You may be familiar with Google Earth but may not have the ability to install their free software on your computer, either because you are not permitted to or because your computer is not powerful enough to handle it. Try Flash Earth for a simpler tool to explore the earth as you teach geography to any age from kindergarten to seniors. Perhaps you just want to quickly show which way the Conestoga wagons crossed the U.S., or maybe to show where in the world a current events story is taking place. This simple tool, on a projector or interactive whiteboard, is just the trick. Note: You MUST have FLASH on your computer.

tag(s): globe (14), maps (288)

In the Classroom

Use a projector or whiteboard to share a location as art of the background knowledge for a lesson. Be sure to add this link to your teacher web page as a reference tool, as well. Be aware that some world locations have much "fuzzier" satellite images than others. Always preview before your lesson to be sure you can show the features you want students to see. Show elementary students where their "neighborhood" is, perhaps even their streets!

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Maps and Map Skills - Jim Cornish

Grades
K to 12
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This extremely useful website provides links to numerous maps. There are maps of every continent, the world, political maps, physical maps, time zone maps, map activities, suggestions...more
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This extremely useful website provides links to numerous maps. There are maps of every continent, the world, political maps, physical maps, time zone maps, map activities, suggestions for use in the classroom and more! The best feature of this website is the simple descriptions that are provided with most of the links. Some of the activities require Acrobat Reader. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): maps (288), time (144), time zones (8)

In the Classroom

At the bottom of this website, the author includes "map activities for students". All of these activities would be excellent supplemental activities in numerous grade levels.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Trading Card Maker - BigHugeLabs.com

Grades
4 to 12
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Create photo trading cards using images you upload or store on Flickr. Imagine having your students create study aides about famous people using images they draw and scan or photos...more
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Create photo trading cards using images you upload or store on Flickr. Imagine having your students create study aides about famous people using images they draw and scan or photos of themselves impersonating the famous people, such as presidents, explorers, authors, and more. If you celebrate reading by having an "author's tea," why not follow up by asking students to make trading cards for the authors they "met"? Use a similar approach for famous historical figures or even for geometric shapes you photograph with the digital camera. If students write their own "biographies" of the shapes to study from, they will learn for sure! They can even trade each other for favorites.

tag(s): book reports (36), famous people (19), images (265)

In the Classroom

Upload and tag your photo, type information, and print cards. Download finished card to your computer. Use for book reports for literature circles with each student in the group making a card for a different character in the book. This is also an excellent idea for special occasions for special people: mom, dad, grandma, grandpa, school nurse, school secretary, school custodian, favorite aunt, or anyone else! Be sure to print onto cover stock and laminate (if possible). What fabulous (and memorable) gifts. Check out the Big Huge Labs educator account. Easily pre-register students to avoid creating logins, view and download their creations, and view the site advertisement free. You will find information about the Educator Account here.

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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 (21), maps (288), statistics (122)

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

Grades
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 (115), cultures (105)

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 (96), mayans (12), mesopotamia (6), nasa (39)

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 (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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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 (64), news (261)

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.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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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 (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

Grades
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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