Grades9 to 12
In the ClassroomDespite 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?
Grades8 to 12
In the ClassroomHave 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!
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomThis site is a must bookmark for any American history teacher! This is also a great way to hook students on the power of maps. Share different types of maps during a unit on map skills and types of maps. View The Atlas on your interactive whiteboard (or projector) throughout the year to visualize changes in the United States such as population growth, distribution of wealth, and political changes over time. Use this site as a learning station or center. Challenge cooperative learning groups to explore a specific historical topic and create a timeline (with music and more) using Capzles (reviewed here).
Grades7 to 12
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tag(s): advanced placement (15), animals (222), artists (55), biographies (38), drugs and alcohol (7), environment (287), evolution (100), hiv/aids (17), humor (12), media literacy (43), mental health (17), money (173), politics (83), psychology (49), religions (47), sports (78), vietnam (31)
In the ClassroomUse this site to find videos in a wide range of topics to share on your interactive whiteboard, on a projector, or as a link on your class web page. Use videos to demonstrate different points of view. Then use an online tool such as Interactive Two Circle Venn Diagram (reviewed here) to compare and contrast information. Have students create a word cloud of the important terms they learn from any film using a tool such as Wordle (reviewed here). Want to engage students WHILE they watch a video? Why not set up a backchannel chat using Todaysmeet, reviewed here. Be sure to ask your class if there could have been any bias in the video you watch together. What film techniques influence our thinking?
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomMake geography come to life by gamifying it! Create (or have students create) landform games (what do these locations have in common), culture games, travel collections, etc. Use this tool to explore world cultures (or languages), geography, historical locations, famous battle locations, and more. Demonstrate how to create a game, then have students create and play games of their own. Pair this activity with What Was There (reviewed here) and have students use an online tool such as Interactive Two Circle Venn Diagram (reviewed here) to compare and contrast changes over time.
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomStrike an interest in your school and community by finding out where you rank. Investigate college choices. After short quizzes, have a daily comparison of your students to see how they compare in civics, economics, geography, history, mathematics, and science at multiple grade levels. Inspire students to collect data and make their own graphs about school wide topics. Have students create an online graph using Amblegraph (reviewed here). Dig into probability problems to discover the odds.
GradesK to 12
tag(s): commoncore (94)
In the ClassroomBookmark this site for professional development. Find the self evaluation tools to use before your evaluation by administrators. Start a Common Core study group, and explore and share together. Ready made parent materials make parent involvement easy. Learn ways to become involved with the Common Core movement. And of course, don't miss the fabulous "ready to go" lessons!
Grades5 to 12
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tag(s): 20th century (32), american revolution (65), anthropology (10), civil rights (88), civil war (127), disasters (36), explorers (52), heroes (20), hispanic (16), labor day (4), native americans (63), natural disasters (18), natural resources (47), vietnam (31), war of 1812 (12), world war 1 (33), world war 2 (134)
In the ClassroomUse the Historical Marker Database to find information and locations of important events near your hometown or relating to any area of study. For example, choose the Civil Rights link to find markers noting important events related to Civil Rights. Then have students create a simple infographic sharing their findings using Easel.ly, reviewed here or Venngage reviewed here. Have students create maps using Animaps (reviewed here). Students can add text, images, and location stops! Have students create timelines of historic events near your school (with music, photos, videos, and more) using Capzles (reviewed here).
Grades8 to 12
In the ClassroomTake your class on a virtual field trip to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum to get a first-hand look at the effects of an atomic bomb. Display on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Provide students time to explore on their own. Have students use Fakebook (reviewed here) to create a "fake" page similar in style to Facebook about a survivor of the bomb. Have students create a timeline using Xtimeline (reviewed here) of events leading up to the bombing and following. Be sure to include a look at the museum during your World War II unit. This site would also provide good research material for a class debate about nuclear weapons.
GradesK to 6
In the ClassroomMark this article in your Favorites and take the book suggestions with you to the library (or search for interlibrary loans) to help "fit" social studies into your read-alouds, making every minute count! Consider using them 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 early settlements or the thirteen colonies. Be sure to 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.
Grades9 to 12
tag(s): native americans (63)
In the ClassroomWe have come a long way from the study of Native Americans as a single generic group. Careful use of the images and narratives from Curtis' work can help illustrate that outdated mindset and provide a contrast to today's understanding of the contributions indigenous Americans have made to US history and culture. Share these images on your interactive whiteboard or projector as part of a guided discussion.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomAside from its obvious usefulness to an art history class, consider choosing an image from an era under study in a history course --or from the time period of a piece of American literature --and incorporating a look at the time through the eyes of an artist. How did events from that time influence the artist's vision of the world? What was America like to that artist? How is that different today? These are great "plug and play" resources that can be used to design an entire unit around using one of the themes or can be as short as an activating activity at the beginning of a class. Ask: When do you think this was painted? What tells you that? What is the artist trying to tell us about his or her view of America? The only limitation here is that it's difficult to view the images in full screen; you will need to use your browser's zoom function to use the images effectively on an interactive whiteboard (or projector).
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomTeens are fascinated with cars. Why not give them the opportunity to research the design and features of cars from a historical era being studied in a history class, or that match the time period with that of literary work. What did the cars look like when the Joad family made its way to California? What did Jay Gatsby drive? What was the "hottest ride" during the Vietnam War? As you try to communicate the culture of an era, consider using an image or two on the whiteboard (or projector) from the appropriate year to help students envision the world of that time. Cars and the way they are advertised also speak volumes about trends in graphic design and advertising. How does automobile advertising today differ from that in the 1950s? What emotions and needs were marketers appealing to? This resource would also be great as a springboard for a National History Day project comparing car design (or advertisements) across the 20th century and linking it to events of that time period. Teacher-librarians will love this resource to teach about primary sources and actually have students be interested!
Grades1 to 12
This tool can be used as a basic bookmarking tool, simply allowing YOU to save, sort, and access your own bookmarks from ANY computer or mobile device (once you are logged in). You have the choice whether your bookmarks are public or private. You can gradually ease into more advanced and interactive features: highlight parts of sites and save or share those annotations, add sticky notes to parts of websites, pictures, screen-shots, documents, audio, and more. Do group collaborative research. Organize your bookmarks by tags. Unlike sorting bookmarks into file folders, adding tags permits you to put multiple tags or "labels" on one site. The same site you tag for book reports could also be tagged for biographies, for example. Aditional Diigo features include groups (a way to share and exchange bookmarks with a certain group of Diigo users), messaging, and search features. You can search all the public bookmarks made by others and discover other people with similar interests, already bookmarked and ready for you to mark as your own. There are many groups you can join, such as those with a specific teaching interest or hobby. See "Tools" for many helpful options, including bookmarklets to make bookmarking instant on multiple devices. Bookmarklets drag directly to the toolbars on your computer and are well worth it. It goes beyond simple bookmarking and adds options like highlight, capture, send, read later, comment, search bar and Diigo message options. You decide your own level of use and desired tools to be shown on the bar. If choosing not to install the toolbar, then there is an applet called Diigolet that will be used in its place. It is not as strong a tool as the toolbar, but will work well if the toolbar installation is not possible. Check our sample group. You can also install a widget on your blog (or class web page) that will show your bookmarks there.
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In the ClassroomTeachers even in very early grades can use Diigo simply to share links with students and parents. To get more ideas on the potential education uses of this site, see this SlideShare powerpoint here. Use this tool easily in your Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) classroom since all students will be able to access it for free, no matter what device they have.
Assign students a research topic and allow them to use Diigo collaboratively to collect and share resources. Share teacher-selected options (complete with comments or directions) easily using Diigo. The research and conversations created through highlighting and annotating what they read can greatly enhance both their research skills and their online interaction on academic level skills. Or use Diigo to post discussion assignments on specific articles or even parts of articles using the highlighting tool. Find a relevant article for your subject, highlight the part that you want students to read. (If students are younger, keep it short to reduce the intimidating reality of too much information for kids.) Attach a sticky note with a discussion question for the students. Have them comment on the link in a "class discussion" as a homework assignment. If you are fortunate enough to have all students with computer access in your class and at home, such as in one to one laptop program schools, you can organize many assignments using Diigo. Use this site to help all of your students stay organized. Share this resource with your (not so organized) gifted students to help them manage projects and not "lose" the information they "found somewhere." Post assignments, readings, online interactive labs, and more. The site even allows students to submit responses by adding a comment. Of course others will see what they said, so you may not want the comments to be the only thing they do! If you assign gifted students to do projects beyond the regular curriculum, consider having them curate and annotate a collection of resources on a higher level topic. For example, extend your study of World War II by having them collect web-based primary sources showing the propaganda leading up to the war, political cartoons during the war, and advertisements from the time. Have them annotate the collection explaining each artifact and how it reflects the sentiments and biases of certain groups. That same collection could provide other students a class opportunity to interact with "objects" from the time. If you have contact with other teachers of gifted students, they could collaborate across different schools or classrooms.
Includes an education-only area for teachers and students
Parent permission advised before posting student work created using this tool
Includes social features, such as "friends," comments, ratings by others
Requires registration/log-in (WITH email)
Products can be embedded
Products can be shared by URL
Multiple users can collaborate on the same project
Includes teacher tools for registering and/or monitoring students
Grades9 to 12
In the ClassroomWhile much of what you find here will be useful for your own lesson planning, the photograph archive will be useful for images related to the Cold War era. Some of the documents could be printed and used for small group discussions or analysis. Consider referring students who are doing research for a National History Day project to this resource. Challenge students to research the information shared at this site and create blogs as Cold War personalities using a site such as Throwww ( here). This tool allows you to create "quick and easy" blogs to be used one time only.
Grades2 to 8
In the ClassroomBookmark this site and combine it with TeachersFirst's CurriConnects leveled reading list forColonial America and the Revolution and Frontier Forts on the American Revolution for multiple offerings and angles on the Colonial and Revolutionary time period. Create a link to various activities, quizzes, and downloadables for students to explore on classroom computers. Include crafts and recipes from the site during your unit. Have students create an annotated image about Colonial times including text boxes and related links using a tool such as Thinglink, reviewed here to demonstrate concepts learned when making crafts or recipes. Use an online tool such as Interactive Two Circle Venn Diagram (reviewed here) to compare Colonial life to present day. 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 student their age living in Colonial America.
Grades2 to 7
In the ClassroomBe sure to include Meet the Daggetts with your Colonial America unit. View together on your interactive whiteboard or projector or have students explore independently on classroom computers. Have students create an online or printed comic depicting a day in the life of the Daggett family using one of the tools and ideas included in this collection. Use an online tool such as Interactive Two Circle Venn Diagram (reviewed here) to compare Colonial to modern times. Have students use Fakebook (reviewed here) to create a "fake" page similar in style to Facebook about a Daggett family member.
Grades4 to 12
tag(s): 1900s (21), aircraft (19), american flag (12), american revolution (65), artists (55), bill of rights (24), civil rights (88), civil war (127), colonial america (103), flags (19), industrial revolution (21), kennedy (25), lincoln (79), martin luther king (33), native americans (63), pearl harbor (10), railroads (7), slavery (63), space (168), thanksgiving (28), underground railroad (11), war of 1812 (12), world war 1 (33), world war 2 (134)