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Voting America: United States Politics 1840-2008 - University of Richmond

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7 to 12
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Find interactive maps examining the results of elections from 1840 through 2008. With US politics increasingly dominated by election year strategizing, a historical look at how Americans...more
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Find interactive maps examining the results of elections from 1840 through 2008. With US politics increasingly dominated by election year strategizing, a historical look at how Americans have voted in both Presidential and Congressional elections can provide useful context. In a democracy, the power of popular elections to affect the lives of all citizens cannot be understated. In order to understand how changes in population--demography and distribution--have affected popular elections, it's important to see those changes in perspective. On this site, you can look at Presidential elections or Congressional elections, as well as population maps focused on African American and White population changes over the time period. Most of the maps are based on an advancing time line that maps data over time. For Presidential elections, there are also more detailed maps for each separate election.

tag(s): congress (24), elections (63), electoral college (11), maps (240), presidents (113), timelines (55)

In the Classroom

These maps, powerful when projected on an interactive whiteboard (or projector), make the impact of changes in population demographics and distribution visual. The maps might also provide a good resource for students studying a particular President or time period. Challenge students to create a newspaper about what they have learned (about the President or time period). Use a tool such as Zinepal (reviewed here). Click to "Start with a blank e-Book."

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ContextU: Understand Your World - ContextU

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7 to 12
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Although it is still in Beta, ContextU seeks to provide important context to major events in US History. With its American Revolution and Civil War modules up and running, a ...more
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Although it is still in Beta, ContextU seeks to provide important context to major events in US History. With its American Revolution and Civil War modules up and running, a table of contents allows you to select a person, place, event or theme relating to the broader subject. From that starting point, you can easily jump to a map, a brief biography of important characters, a hyperlinked timeline of events, or a flow chart of causes and effects. When so much of traditional instruction on US history consists of looking at discrete events without always understanding the larger framework and connections for these events, ContextU offers an important perspective for learning. Based on the site's table of context, future modules are planned for each of the larger wartime eras in US history.

tag(s): american revolution (67), civil war (131), timelines (55)

In the Classroom

Consider using the ContextU organizing framework as a regular touchpoint for a unit on either the American Revolution or the American Civil War. As you progress through the important events that comprise each era, return to the larger context to help students "see the forest" as well as the trees. ContextU might also be added to your storehouse of bookmarks for each unit so students could access it while doing outside assignments or projects. Find age-appropriate literature to share with your students about Colonial America and the Revolution or The Civil War and Slavery at TeachersFirst's CurriConnects booklists for all ages. Use class discussions or student essays to draw together what they learn from independent reading, this site, and their "regular" curriculum.

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Where We Came From and Where We Went State by State - New York Times

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7 to 12
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The New York Times looks at each state in the US and charts movement both into the state and out of the state since 1900. With immigration in the news, ...more
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The New York Times looks at each state in the US and charts movement both into the state and out of the state since 1900. With immigration in the news, it's sometimes helpful to remember that with a country as large as the United States, there has been a great deal of INTRA-state movement over the country's history. Explore the states via these interactive charts. Mousing over each component of each chart brings additional clarifying information about that state's intra-state migration statistics. The set of charts begins with California, Florida, and Nevada, three states with the most dynamic population changes. The remainder of the charts follow in alphabetical order. Each state's chart also contains a brief narrative explaining significant components.

tag(s): census (20), demographics (14), immigrants (11), immigration (47), migration (53), states (157), transportation (35), westward expansion (19)

In the Classroom

A great introduction to population change and the changing nature of social and physical mobility in the United States, these charts can prompt discussion about why families move. Although the charts begin in 1900, they are still useful in looking at Westward Migration in the US. Also explore such issues as changing job markets, natural resources and industries, movement between high density and low density areas, and the places where non-native born residents are most likely to settle. Invite students to create their own infographics about a certain state or region based on what they discover here. Learn about infographics in the classroom and the tools to make them in TeachersFirst's Now I See!.

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Highlighting Our History: American Revolution Read-alouds PLUS for the Common Core - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 6
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This "Read-alouds PLUS" article will show you how you can infuse social studies content, specifically the Revolutionary Period, using the power of daily read-alouds. Practice Common...more
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This "Read-alouds PLUS" article will show you how you can infuse social studies content, specifically the Revolutionary Period, using the power of daily read-alouds. Practice Common Core Standards for the English Language Arts while helping your students understand our history and heritage. If you fear that social studies has taken a back seat to tested content, be sure to share this collection with your students. The article includes book suggestions as well as discussion questions and writing activities connected to CCSS Standards. Don't miss our other articles on implementing Common Core in elementary. Some of the book selections may not be ones that your students can read on their own, but they will work well as read-alouds in your social students curriculum.

tag(s): american revolution (67), book lists (102), commoncore (50), writing prompts (84)

In the Classroom

Mark this article in your Favorites and take the book suggestions with you to the school library (or search for interlibrary loans). Consider using this as part of a "Then and Now" or "Past and Present" focus in kindergarten or first grade, or with middle elementary students as part of a unit related to the Revolutionary War. Take a look at the suggestions for connecting the read-alouds to CCSS-aligned writing prompts or for short, focused research projects to include as follow-up.

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Interactives: Historical Thinking Skills - Annenburg Media

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5 to 12
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Become a historical thinker by competing a series of educational interactives. Each interactive models a specific skill or set of skills, such as analyzing historical artifacts or using...more
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Become a historical thinker by competing a series of educational interactives. Each interactive models a specific skill or set of skills, such as analyzing historical artifacts or using primary sources to develop a thesis. Several interactives include classroom extensions with hints for teaching the skills in the classroom. At the time of this review, the topics included Placing Artifacts in Time, Analyzing Artifacts, Reading Maps, Evaluating Evidence, Curating an Exhibit, and Balancing Sources.

tag(s): evaluating sources (7), maps (240), primary sources (73)

In the Classroom

Create a link on classroom computers for students to complete interactives on their own or display on an interactive whiteboard or projector to view as a class. Most interactives take 20-30 minutes to complete so may need to be split into two class sessions. Assign the interactives as homework (flipping the classroom) to allow time for in-class discussion. Create a mind map using a tool such as Mindmeister, reviewed here, to display ideas upon completion of an interactive.

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The Civil War - Teaching American History

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5 to 12
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This engaging Civil War site features interactive maps detailing many aspects of life during the time of the Civil War. Choose from tabs at the bottom of the main page ...more
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This engaging Civil War site features interactive maps detailing many aspects of life during the time of the Civil War. Choose from tabs at the bottom of the main page to explore railroads, slavery, cotton production, and more as it looked during the time. Each map includes a legend demonstrating statistics by date for all states and territories at the time.

tag(s): agriculture (45), civil rights (92), civil war (131), gettysburg (29), industrial revolution (22), railroads (9), slavery (63)

In the Classroom

Share this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector to explore and understand different components of life during the Civil War period. Challenge students to create a presentation using Prezi, reviewed here, with information from this site. Use an online tool such as Interactive Two Circle Venn Diagram, reviewed here, to compare two states during Civil War times or to compare one state during the Civil War era to that state today. During your Civil War study, don't miss TeachersFirst's Gettysburg By the Numbers for more questions and data to use in your discussions.
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Stuff You Missed in History Class - Tracy Wilson and Holly Frey

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7 to 12
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Explore interesting history tidbits and background information about world events including topics from Atlantis to Vikings. Scroll through the list of topics and find links to various...more
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Explore interesting history tidbits and background information about world events including topics from Atlantis to Vikings. Scroll through the list of topics and find links to various podcast episodes with archives going back to 2008. Click to play the episodes or download any episode in mp3 format using the download link. Episodes are approximately 30 minutes in length. You can also search for specific topics using the search tool.
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tag(s): archeology (24), black history (50), civil rights (92), civil war (131), cross cultural understanding (87), mental health (18), native americans (65), podcasts (42), religions (49), vikings (6), world war 1 (38), world war 2 (136)

In the Classroom

Use podcasts from Stuff You Missed in History to enrich current lessons or lure students into thinking history can actually be "cool." Provide a link on class computers or your class website for students use. Have students use a mapping tool such as Mapskip (reviewed here) to create a map of one of these events (with audio stories and pictures included)! Have students use Fakebook (reviewed here) to create a "fake" page similar in style to Facebook about one of the people in these lesser known historic events.

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100 Leaders in World History - National History Day

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7 to 12
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National History Day has developed this gallery of 100 "significant" leaders in world history. You can browse the leaders individually or search by type (political, military, scientific),...more
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National History Day has developed this gallery of 100 "significant" leaders in world history. You can browse the leaders individually or search by type (political, military, scientific), sphere of geographic influence, or time period. Each leader's entry includes some brief biographical information, characteristics as a leader, and links to further information. Rather than providing extensive information about each person on the site, the gallery provides a context for considering and comparing individual leaders. A separate section provides extensive classroom resources for discussing leadership and using the site to illustrate the traits of leaders. There are downloadable posters for each leader as well as a poster that includes all 100 that can be printed for classroom use. There are, of course, lots of connections to the National History Day competition, but there is plenty of good content here regardless of whether students intend to enter.

tag(s): art history (53), black history (50), famous people (15), native americans (65)

In the Classroom

It goes without saying that this is a great resource for students thinking about a National History Day project. However, any course or lesson involving leadership will find lots of good supporting content here. Consider categories of leaders across time, for example. Do political leaders exhibit similar traits regardless of the time period in which they lived? Are there differences between male and female leaders? Are there different kinds of leaders? Are leaders always good? Share this site during Women's History Month, Black History Month, and other observances that highlight "significant" leaders.
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40 Maps That Explain World War I - Vox

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7 to 12
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It is hard to believe that World War I began over 100 years ago. Explore "The War to End All Wars" through a series of maps, both contemporary and historical. ...more
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It is hard to believe that World War I began over 100 years ago. Explore "The War to End All Wars" through a series of maps, both contemporary and historical. The collection provides extensive insight into the causes, progress, and impact of World War I. Each map is accompanied by a brief explanation of what it illustrated. Each map can then be opened as an image alone in another tab/window and is then zoomable. Some of the historic maps are static; others have interactive features. The maps are organized into categories: Background, War Breaks Out, Major European Battles, the War Outside Europe, Technology, Allied Victory, and Consequences of the War. There are hyperlinks to further information embedded in the explanatory material with each map.

tag(s): europe (65), map skills (73), maps (240), world war 1 (38)

In the Classroom

These maps are perfect for use on an interactive whiteboard. If you are teaching World War I, these maps need to be among your "go to" bookmarks for illustrating important highlights about the War. Consider also providing a link to the maps as part of materials students can access to learn more, as extra challenge, or for independent or group projects. The maps illustrating important technology first used in World War I will fascinate students who enjoy learning how things work. Have students create a multimedia project about the aspects of WWI that fascinate them most.

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Huzzaz Music - huzzaz.com

Grades
6 to 12
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Bring the world of music videos into your classroom with this extensive collection of music videos hosted on YouTube but sorted and indexed by Huzzaz. Although the site offers ...more
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Bring the world of music videos into your classroom with this extensive collection of music videos hosted on YouTube but sorted and indexed by Huzzaz. Although the site offers a large range of current music in many genres, find the best part of the collection, for classroom use, in the Throwback Machine. Follow that link to find videos set to the top 100 songs from every year back to 1960. Click on any thumbnail to hear the original recording artist and view videos. Some video links contain song lyrics and background information on the song or artist. Hover your mouse over each thumbnail to find these. If your district blocks YouTube, they may not be viewable. You could always view the videos at home and bring them to class "on a stick" to share. Use a tool such as KeepVid, reviewed here, to download the videos from YouTube.
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tag(s): 1960s (28), 1970s (9), 1980s (7), 20th century (33), video (182)

In the Classroom

Include the Throwback Machine as part of modern history lessons to help students understand the culture of the period. Have students use ClipNabber, reviewed here, to grab favorite clips from online video sources such as Huzzaz (click to their YouTube page to get direct links) and other YouTube sources to include in multimedia projects. Challenge students to create a presentation using Prezi, reviewed here, and include videos discovered on this site. Have students create timelines (with music, photos, videos, and more) using Capzles, reviewed here. Have students make a multimedia presentation using one of the many TeachersFirst Edge tools, reviewed here. Embed a video from this site onto your webpage or blog, and ask students to explore other events and famous people from a time period.

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BBC iWonder - BBC

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5 to 12
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See fascinating questions answered via videos and other media. Find questions in several categories about History, Science, Religion & Ethics, WebWise, Nature, Arts, Food, and Consumer....more
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See fascinating questions answered via videos and other media. Find questions in several categories about History, Science, Religion & Ethics, WebWise, Nature, Arts, Food, and Consumer. Of special interest is the History of World War I. Find videos and slideshows on topics like medicine and trench warfare during the war. There is a comprehensive, interactive section. Find just about anything you want to know about World War I in this iWonder section. Explore all of the diverse topics to learn deeply.

tag(s): consumers (18), earth (208), ethics (17), human body (89), inquiry (33), news (169), nutrition (138), religions (49), reptiles (11), robotics (18), space (170), water (110), world war 1 (38)

In the Classroom

Use iWonder to help build students' background knowledge or spark interest in many topics. Share the site on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Put a bookmark for this site on class computers for students to investigate at a learning station or when they finish other work early. If teaching World War I, use the interactives in that section as student learning stations, but be sure to load them ahead of time since the buffering process takes some time. An alternative is to assign the interactives for students to complete at home and discuss the next day in class (a flipped classroom idea). Teachers of gifted can offer iWonder explorations to inspire individual projects from middle elementary and up.

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JFK American Experience - PBS American Experience

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7 to 12
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This site accompanies an episode of the PBS production American Experience, taking a new look at the life and legacy of John F. Kennedy. It was created in remembrance of ...more
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This site accompanies an episode of the PBS production American Experience, taking a new look at the life and legacy of John F. Kennedy. It was created in remembrance of the 50th anniversary of his assassination. The site combines primary sources with more scholarly articles examining the political context of his presidency and the policies and events we associate with that presidency. The primary source collection is rich and diverse, and there is also a nice contextual timeline of world events between 1961 and 1963. The teacher reference guide is designed primarily to be used in conjunction with viewing the American Experience episode itself, but includes important questions for discussion that are appropriate even for students who have not watched the full film.
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tag(s): 1960s (28), civil rights (92), kennedy (26), presidents (113)

In the Classroom

The 50th anniversary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy provides an opportunity to refresh students' knowledge of JFK as a man and a President. What important policy innovations can we attribute to his Presidency? How might the remainder of the turbulent decade of the 1960s have been different had he lived? And from a different perspective, while we all want to romanticize the legacy of "Camelot" and the glamour of the Kennedy family, what were his failings? This site provides some rich primary sources to include in a discussion of the Kennedy Presidency, as well as a brief preview of the American Experience film itself. Whether you choose to view the episode with your class or not, you are certain to obtain excellent information at this site.
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A Moment in Time - New York Times

Grades
6 to 12
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What just happened here? The New York Times offers hundreds of user-submitted photographs from all over the world, each capturing "a moment in time" on a Sunday in May, 2010. ...more
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What just happened here? The New York Times offers hundreds of user-submitted photographs from all over the world, each capturing "a moment in time" on a Sunday in May, 2010. Search by theme, and then give the virtual globe a spin to select a location from which to view your moment in time. Repeat. You won't want to stop. See the world in images from all over the world, all on the same day.

tag(s): creative writing (136), cross cultural understanding (87), debate (34), expository writing (32)

In the Classroom

Each of the "moment in time" photographs provides a wonderful thinking/writing/discussion prompt. What Just Happened Here? If it happened somewhere far away from me, how is it different from what happens in my backyard? What do I have in common with what is pictured? What don't I understand? Use this site to generate ideas for writing, for art, for debate. Use this as an avenue to open discussion about different cultures. Imagine a "moment in time" from another date, such as June 6, 1944, Sept 11, 2001, or an ordinary day in 2014. Challenge students to imagine and create their own moments in time to share.
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Big History Project - Big History Project LLC

Grades
8 to 12
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Big History Project is a free, online social studies course designed for secondary students tracing from the Big Bang through the history of humanity. This course takes a VERY broad...more
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Big History Project is a free, online social studies course designed for secondary students tracing from the Big Bang through the history of humanity. This course takes a VERY broad view of the "big picture" to provide greater perspective in how we see history. View course information in 2 sections with 10 units covering a time span of 13.7 billion years. Each unit contains between 20-30 modules including projects, discussion topics, and assessments. All are aligned to Common Core Standards. Other course offerings include Project Based Learning activities, videos, animations, infographics, and much more. A simpler, shorter version of the course for the general public is available under "Not an educator?. Click on "Check out our public course."

tag(s): agriculture (45), geologic time (8), industrialization (12), solar system (105)

In the Classroom

Use Big History Project as a complete year-long course in your high school. Adapt portions of the project for use within current classroom content. Share videos or use lessons or animations as part of any unit. If you employ Project Based Learning activities, use the three PBL learning activities embedded within the project. Be sure to read through the FAQ provided on the site for guidance on using the Big History Project in your classroom.

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Teaching Literacy Through History - Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History

Grades
K to 12
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Meet your ELA standards as you teach history! Explore over 40 free lesson plans aligned to the Common Core Standards. Browse all lesson plans or use the search feature to ...more
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Meet your ELA standards as you teach history! Explore over 40 free lesson plans aligned to the Common Core Standards. Browse all lesson plans or use the search feature to find lessons by keywords or grade level. Every lesson contains all materials and procedures needed. Sign up for a free subscription using your school email address to access all information.

tag(s): american revolution (67), bill of rights (26), black history (50), civil rights (92), columbus day (11), constitution (69), elections (63), electoral college (11), franklin (10), gettysburg (29), lincoln (80), roosevelt (9), symbols (17), terrorism (44), thanksgiving (29), washington (30), world war 1 (38), world war 2 (136)

In the Classroom

Use ideas from the lesson plans to supplement your current teaching materials. Have students create a simple infographic sharing their learning from the notes they took during the lesson. Use Easel.ly, reviewed here, or Venngage, reviewed here. Challenge students to find a photo that represents a part of the lesson taught. Have students create a simple multimedia presentation using Yodio, reviewed here.. This site allows users to narrate a picture. Use Creative Commons images (with credit, of course). Try Compfight, reviewed here.
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Smarty Pins - Google

Grades
6 to 12
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Smarty Pins is an online game combining Google Maps with historical trivia questions. Start a game, and a trivia question pops up requiring an answer that can be mapped. The ...more
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Smarty Pins is an online game combining Google Maps with historical trivia questions. Start a game, and a trivia question pops up requiring an answer that can be mapped. The game gets you started in the right general location, but you have to drop a pin in the right spot to answer the question. Your score depends upon how close you are. Starting with 1000 points, you lose a point for every cumulative mile you are away from the target(s). The questions come from broad categories like science, history, current events and entertainment, and it's possible to narrow your questions to just one of the categories.

tag(s): DAT device agnostic tool (78), map skills (73), maps (240), trivia (15)

In the Classroom

Smarty Pins would be great as a reward for students who finish work promptly, for advanced students who have completed an assignment before other students, or as a way to focus student attention quickly at the beginning of class. It can be used collaboratively from an interactive white board, or it launches from both the Android and the iOS Google map app or from a desktop. Challenge your students to design their own geography quizzes using Mapskip, reviewed here, adding their own "stories" with questions.

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Created Equal - National Endowment for the Humanities

Grades
9 to 12
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Four documentary films related to the Civil Rights Movement, available to stream either in part or in their entirety, form the centerpiece of this effort from the National Endowment...more
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Four documentary films related to the Civil Rights Movement, available to stream either in part or in their entirety, form the centerpiece of this effort from the National Endowment for the Humanities. The films cover time periods beginning with the Abolitionist Movement and continuing through the Freedom Marches and the turbulent 1960s. Explore the meaning of freedom and equality in the United States with relevance still today. There are teacher resources, lesson plans, and suggestions for aligning lessons to the Common Core.

tag(s): bill of rights (26), black history (50), civil rights (92), civil war (131), emancipation proclamation (11), segregation (15)

In the Classroom

The documentaries, or the excerpts presented, are all available to stream from the site. While they may be too lengthy to show in their entirety during one class period, they have also been divided into clips according to themes. For example, Equality is part of the full video about Law and the Strategy of Nonviolence. This makes them more adaptable for classroom use. Share the videos on your interactive whiteboard or projector. The issues raised by these documentaries may be easily incorporated into lessons related to the Civil Rights Movement, modern U.S. history, Black History Month, or civics and government. Use these videos as conversation starters in the classroom.
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Totally History - totallyhistory.com

Grades
4 to 12
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Totally History offers a brief overview on many historical events and topics. Choose from categories including art history, U.S. history, world history, famous history, and the history...more
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Totally History offers a brief overview on many historical events and topics. Choose from categories including art history, U.S. history, world history, famous history, and the history of technology. Within each topic, find facts and a several paragraph overview of the content.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): american revolution (67), art history (53), civil war (131), presidents (113), religions (49), vietnam (32), world war 1 (38), world war 2 (136)

In the Classroom

Totally History offers a starting point to find basic facts and information on many topics. Use material from the site to introduce any topic such as presidents or events in World or American History. Share with students to use as a resource for classroom projects and reports. Have students create timelines (with music, photos, videos, and more) using Capzles, reviewed here. Have students use Fakebook, reviewed here, to create a "fake" page similar in style to Facebook about a president or any person or event in history.

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Legislative Explorer - Center for American Politics and Public Policy

Grades
9 to 12
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With so much data out there, how are we, as citizens, to manage this information to make good choices? The University of Washington's Center for American Politics and Public Policy...more
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With so much data out there, how are we, as citizens, to manage this information to make good choices? The University of Washington's Center for American Politics and Public Policy takes the massive amount of information about US legislative activity from 1973 to the present and helps us visualize the progress of bills through the legislative branch. Color-coded "particles" represent each bill on an interactive field for each two-year legislative session. Set the field in motion and watch bills move through committees and onto the floor of the House or the Senate. Notice how many "particles" (each representing a bill) remain clustered in committees throughout the legislative session and how many actually make it to the President's desk and become law. The animation is much more powerful (and informative) when you select an issue, a state, a legislator, a committee, or a party from the drop down menus, but the "big picture" visuals are also informative.

tag(s): advanced placement (16), branches of government (39), congress (24)

In the Classroom

Despite being fairly wonky (political geeks will LOVE this site!), Legislative Explorer will also help civics and government teachers present the overall picture of how a bill makes its way (or doesn't) through the legislative branch. On an interactive whiteboard (or projector), the visual impact of how many bills are proposed in a session is stunning. Once past that, however, students can research the activities of their local legislators, by name or by state. What issues matter enough to them to result in bill sponsorship? Alternatively, divide students into groups and have each group research a specific committee. What bills come to that committee? How successful is that committee in moving bills to the President's desk? How does the activity in the most recent Congress compare to that from 40 years ago? Have the issues changed?

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Inequality.org - Institute for Policy Studies

Grades
8 to 12
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Inequality.org aspires to be a portal for those seeking information on the impact of inequalities in areas such as income, health, race, and more. Choose the topic of Data and ...more
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Inequality.org aspires to be a portal for those seeking information on the impact of inequalities in areas such as income, health, race, and more. Choose the topic of Data and Statistics to view charts, graphs, and discussions of inequalities and changes over time. For example, you can view several videos with topics such as CEO pay, Tax the Rich Fairy Tale, and Wealth Inequalities. Although this site certainly has a one-sided point of view as its focus, it is one that is sure to get you thinking.

tag(s): inequalities (24), racism (15), statistics (108)

In the Classroom

Have students explore this website then search for alternate points of view. Use this information as a starting point for classroom debate on current events, economics, and more. Have students create maps using Animaps (reviewed here). Students can add text, images, and location stops to "map" the information given on this site. Use an online tool such as Interactive Two Circle Venn Diagram (reviewed here) to compare and contrast different points of view. Don't be surprised if your more news-savvy students (or those whose parents discuss political views openly) have very strong opinions about the ideas on this site. What better way to spark a discussion in a government/civics class? This would be a useful site to share with your gifted or more able students during an election year and have them create a position paper or video for a fictitious candidate on one of the inequity issues. In a math class, use some of the statistics here to work with plotting and interpreting data. The topics are certain to engage student interest!

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