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History Engine: Tools for Collaborative Education and Research - The University of Richmond

Grades
8 to 12
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Contribute to ongoing historical research by submitting your own 500-word (or so) "episodes" to the History Engine. Each episode is designed to analyze and examine a particular event...more
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Contribute to ongoing historical research by submitting your own 500-word (or so) "episodes" to the History Engine. Each episode is designed to analyze and examine a particular event or small story, using primary sources and supporting research. The study of history is an ever-evolving process of continuing research and collaboration. While younger students may see history as something that has already been discovered, settled, written down and agreed upon, more advanced learners recognize that history is really much more interpretive and contextual.

The site is designed for use by college professors in designing research projects for individual students or student groups, but there is nothing here that would prevent advanced high school students from using the site or its materials as the basis for a research project. As the site is designed, instructors are to register prior to assigning research so that students can use an authorization code when submitting their research. If you decide to use the resources without submitting student work to the site, no registration is required. It should be noted that the terms of submission make the work the property of the University of Richmond; be sure that's consistent with your goals before you decide to submit.
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tag(s): advanced placement (21), history day (23), local history (13)

In the Classroom

The site and the research it encourages is designed for college students, so secondary school use would need to be either in an upper level or Advanced Placement course, or perhaps for a student doing research for a National History Day project. As an alternative, the site can be used even in less advanced classes simply as a resource to explore the "episodes" already submitted by others.
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Track My T - Anvil Knitwear

Grades
5 to 12
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Learn all about cotton. Type in the unique lot number on a t-shirt and follow your shirt through an amazing interactive journey from its very beginning as a cotton seed ...more
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Learn all about cotton. Type in the unique lot number on a t-shirt and follow your shirt through an amazing interactive journey from its very beginning as a cotton seed on a farm! If you don't have a tracking number, simply click the "choose a random t-shirt" option. Learn about picking cotton, the cotton gin, yarn spinners, textile mills, cut and sew factories, and distribution centers. This is an incredible journey teaching the process that goods go through before ending up in the local store. Each stop on the journey includes video, images, and information about what happens during that part of the t-shirt creation process. In addition, you encounter historical figures such as Eli Whitney. Click on the house at the bottom right-hand side of the screen to download many lesson plans to use with the site. Click the music note in the bottom right to turn music on/off.

tag(s): consumers (21), producers (8)

In the Classroom

Use this activity as a whole class with an interactive whiteboard or projector as you teach about the industrial revolution, basic economics (raw materials, factories, etc.), or even plants/agriculture. Create a center focusing on this activity in the classroom or individually in the computer lab setting. As a follow up activity, have students put placemarks on a Google Earth map (reviewed here) on the location where their t-shirt/pants/shoes were made. This activity could easily be expanded to the geography classroom where students could do additional research about the country where their t-shirt originated from. Extend the activity by having students research and map other products and their origins.
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Beyond Little House - Laura Ingalls Wilder Legacy and Research Association

Grades
2 to 6
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This site was created by a group of expert Laura and Rose enthusiasts as a crossroads for everything you want to know about Laura Ingalls Wilder. Learn about Laura's different ...more
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This site was created by a group of expert Laura and Rose enthusiasts as a crossroads for everything you want to know about Laura Ingalls Wilder. Learn about Laura's different hometowns through links about each city. View videos of participants in Laurapalooza as they chronicle their visit to places mentioned in the Little House book series. Follow the Readalong of "The Golden Years" book as participants summarize each chapter and discuss contents and events taking place. One interesting portion of the site is the "Ask the Experts" section where you can ask about Laura Ingalls Wilder and her books. There are archives of previous question to read and explore.

tag(s): authors (120), book reports (35), literature (275), minnesota (4), prairie (10)

In the Classroom

Use the Readalong portion of The Golden Years as a guide to creating your own summary of a Laura Ingalls Wilder book and share through a class wiki with all comments. Not comfortable with wikis? Have no wiki worries - check out the TeachersFirst Wiki Walk-Through. View videos of the Laurapalooza conference as a class to learn about the Mankato area of Laura's youth and listen to insights from experts.
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Negro Leagues Baseball Museum - Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, Kansas State University

Grades
6 to 12
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This site has strong content focused on the historical importance of the Negro Leagues Baseball teams. It also has a very rich assortment of lesson plans for teaching about the ...more
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This site has strong content focused on the historical importance of the Negro Leagues Baseball teams. It also has a very rich assortment of lesson plans for teaching about the Negro Leagues. There is an introductory video for a good overview of the Leagues themselves, the offerings of the NLB Museum, and a searchable archive of photographs and multimedia resources that can be used either in conjunction with the lesson plans (which include national standards benchmarks), or independently.

tag(s): baseball (36), black history (59), civil rights (117), sports (97)

In the Classroom

This is a great resource for "hooking" students who are interested in sports into the study of the Civil Rights Movement or modern US History. Consider including the resources here in your recognition of Black History Month as well. Share the introductory video on your projector or interactive whiteboard. Challenge cooperative learning groups to explore a specific part of this site and create an online poster on paper or do it together as a class using a tool such as Web Poster Wizard (reviewed here) or PicLits (reviewed here.
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With Liberty and Justice for All - The Henry Ford Museum

Grades
4 to 12
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With Liberty and Justice for All is a special exhibit at the Henry Ford Museum in Michigan. The focus is on the American quest for equal rights, with a special ...more
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With Liberty and Justice for All is a special exhibit at the Henry Ford Museum in Michigan. The focus is on the American quest for equal rights, with a special emphasis on the Women's Suffrage Movement and the Civil Rights Movement. The site includes a video tour of the exhibit and lesson plans with standards for grade levels between fourth grade and twelfth grade. The lesson plans presume a visit to the museum, but could be adapted fairly easily for groups who are unable to visit the museum itself.

tag(s): branches of government (48), civil rights (117), constitution (79), freedom of speech (10), womens suffrage (26)

In the Classroom

While the site is focused on preparing students for a visit to the Henry Ford Museum, the site provides good resources and lesson plans for the study of both the Women's Suffrage Movement and the Civil Rights Movement. The video tour of the exhibit also provides a "virtual field trip" experience.
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Comments

This is a virtual field trip that groups resources for 6-8 grades and will be extremely useful at all levels towards a discussion of justice through evidence evaluation, pro and con using various issues from our history. Patricia, NJ, Grades: 6 - 12

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American Indian/Alaskan Native Book List - Talk Story

Grades
K to 12
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Search this list for children's books about American Indians and Alaskans. Choose from a wide range of selections: Picture Books, Elementary School Books, Middle School Books, Young...more
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Search this list for children's books about American Indians and Alaskans. Choose from a wide range of selections: Picture Books, Elementary School Books, Middle School Books, Young Adult Books, and Additional Resources. Learn tips about how to select the best books for your needs. If you are interested in similar book lists, TeachersFirst's CurriConnects found here offers several other curriculum-related, leveled booklists.

tag(s): alaska (25), cross cultural understanding (115), independent reading (128), native americans (78)

In the Classroom

Encourage students to select books about a culture that interests them. Include this list during a multicultural unit. Have students create an online book of images and captions about their target culture using bookr (reviewed here). (Bookr uses Flickr images, so you must first upload or find the images on Flickr reviewed here.)
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Critical Past Stock Footage Archive - Jim and Andy Erickson

Grades
6 to 12
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Critical Past offers a collection of more than 57,000 historical videos and more than 7 million historical photos. All of the photos and videos are royalty free, archival stock footage....more
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Critical Past offers a collection of more than 57,000 historical videos and more than 7 million historical photos. All of the photos and videos are royalty free, archival stock footage. The site is in the business of selling these images and clips. "Royalty free" means that purchasing an image/clip will not require additional fees to the photographer, but it does NOT mean that the images/clips are "free" to download and use at will. Most of the footage comes from U.S. Government Agency sources. All of the videos and photos can be viewed for free online and shared with others via url, Twitter, or Facebook. Search the site either by decade, topic, or keyword. Along the right side bar of Critical Past, you will find "related videos" that correlate to the current search.
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tag(s): 20th century (51), afghanistan (7), africa (180), american revolution (86), china (66), europe (75), north america (19), south america (39), video (254)

In the Classroom

Use photos or videos on Critical Past to help illustrate what students are learning in history. Ask students to be "eyewitnesses" of history and watch a video before they have context for it. Students can write or blog about what they think they are witnessing. Afterward they can research the event in more depth and write a follow-up reflection on what was actually happening in the clip. Challenge your students to use a site such as Timetoast reviewed here to create timelines of topics researched on the site. Use images from public domain sites, such as the collections reviewed here, to illustrate the events.
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101 Questions - Dan Myer

Grades
2 to 12
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At 101 Questions, look at the image or video, and then write a question for the picture. The question can only be 140 characters total. You can also click to ...more
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At 101 Questions, look at the image or video, and then write a question for the picture. The question can only be 140 characters total. You can also click to skip a picture. Submit your own picture or video, and get points for the perplexity it inspires, or even join the top 10 lists. Save images to your favorites and classify by tags using your membership. Note that the public can participate so some responses may not be appropriate for younger viewers. Preview and monitor or have an adult operate the site together.

tag(s): creative writing (166), creativity (109), images (266), writing prompts (92)

In the Classroom

Creative fluency begins here! Set up a whole class account. Use this site in language arts: discover main idea, details, cause and effect, or even an inspirational writing prompt. Find ways to group images together based on characteristics or attributes. Use in gifted or enrichment situations, for inspiration for problem-based learning. Sequence the images to find ways to form a logical plot. Find ways to make Perplexors out of the given image. In math, write short word problems to accompany images or videos. Find ways to illustrate vocabulary definitions with examples and non-examples. As a morning work challenge, find questions, details, or even other questions. As a writing challenge, look for the image that conveys the mood or feeling you are trying to convey. In science, submit examples to illustrate scientific concepts. Use to generate scientific method style questions based on the given image. In social studies, find images to convey feelings represented by the time being studied. Challenge students to make a historical statement or political statement by finding and adding to an appropriate image. ESL/ELL students can use this site to help acquire conversation/questioning skills. In world language class, have students generate questions in their new language, even if they do not post them. In art, find mood, theme, style, or self expression images. Be sure to monitor the blog content. Put similar content on your own classroom blog. Challenge students to create their own 101 question images or videos to share on your class blog, inviting viewers to respond with questions in the comments.

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Oh Freedom! Teaching African American Civil Rights Through American Art at the Smithsonian - Smithsonian American Art Museum

Grades
5 to 12
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Oh Freedom! is an introduction to the Civil Rights movement through the art of the Smithsonian. The site provides educators with new ways to teach about the Civil Rights movement ...more
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Oh Freedom! is an introduction to the Civil Rights movement through the art of the Smithsonian. The site provides educators with new ways to teach about the Civil Rights movement visually. Through interactive timelines, artists, and lesson plans, students will learn in different ways.

tag(s): african american (113), art history (70), artists (75), civil rights (117)

In the Classroom

This site is a must for any Art, Art History, or Social Studies classroom. The site really lends itself to discussion. Visit the Artists area, choose an artist, and project the artwork on an interactive whiteboard. Using the "looking questions" have a class discussion. Assign groups and give each group a different picture. Let them discuss using the questions and then jigsaw them so they can share with each other.
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Picturing US History - American Social History Project at CUNY

Grades
6 to 12
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This art based site uses "lessons in looking" as a way to view artwork to better understand U.S. History. Guided questions help walk students through the images. Topics include ...more
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This art based site uses "lessons in looking" as a way to view artwork to better understand U.S. History. Guided questions help walk students through the images. Topics include race, Colonial America, Civil War, and more.

tag(s): african american (113), civil war (145), colonial america (107), slavery (72)

In the Classroom

The site offers several "lessons in looking." Project the site on an interactive whiteboard and use the discussion questions to guide students through a look at history. The site provides a way for you to zoom into the artwork so students can get up and personal as if they were in a museum. Use the zoom tool to assist you with your classroom discussion.
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Book TV - National Cable Satellite Corporation & C-SPAN

Grades
6 to 12
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Watch and listen as popular authors talk about their nonfiction books on this C-SPAN companion website. Book TV features 48 continuous hours of nonfiction books every weekend....more
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Watch and listen as popular authors talk about their nonfiction books on this C-SPAN companion website. Book TV features 48 continuous hours of nonfiction books every weekend. You can easily explore the archived programs, video library, or books and topics by searching the title, author, category, keyword, or browsing all of the listings. Watch the online videos or listen to podcasts of interviews with the authors from Book TV's After Words. There is a lot here to explore, and it appears to be ever-growing! You can find past telecast videos on YouTube, as well, in case you want to be able to download them to use offline. Click the YouTube menu. If your district blocks YouTube, then 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): biographies (87), independent reading (128), interviews (16), politics (99)

In the Classroom

Use the online resources from this website to accompany your nonfiction literature. This collection is particularly useful when reading about historical figures. Make books and authors come alive for your students by accessing and projecting videos on your interactive whiteboard and sharing "Book Notes," biographies, and more. Lure students into independent reading by allowing them to explore the videos and find a book they might enjoy reading. After viewing a program or reading a book, have students share their opinions in a multimedia presentation using one of the many TeachersFirst Edge tools reviewed here.
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TED - TED staff

Grades
6 to 12
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TED is the home of the award-winning TEDTalks video site, a small nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. In the beginning, the TEDTalks mission was to bring together people from...more
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TED is the home of the award-winning TEDTalks video site, a small nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. In the beginning, the TEDTalks mission was to bring together people from three worlds: Technology, Entertainment, and Design. However, its scope has broadened to challenge the world's most fascinating thinkers and doers to give the talk of their lives (in approximately 18 minutes or less). At the time of this review, TED.com has more than 1,100 of the best talks and performances by speakers with powerful ideas from around the world. The talks are free and the collection continues to grow. The goal of the foundation is to foster the spread of great ideas, thus it aims to provide a platform for the world's smartest thinkers, greatest visionaries, and most-inspiring teachers, so that millions of people can gain a better understanding of the biggest issues faced by the world, and a desire to help create a better future. Easily search the site by topics, disciplines, newest releases, or most favorite. TEDTalks offers subtitles in various languages which enhances the accessibility for the hearing-impaired, and for those who speak English as a second language.

tag(s): cultures (105), politics (99)

In the Classroom

If you are looking for a clearinghouse that offers free inspiration from the world's most inspired thinkers, this ever-evolving site is perfect for engaging your students with digital videos of the global issues facing our world today. Use your projector or interactive whiteboard to project videos. Watch your students' enthusiastic reactions in science, social studies, or English classrooms as they view a TED video and then follow-up with a debate on the future or the impact of technology on society, or use them as a springboard for interesting writing prompts or to spark a discussion connected with a unit of study. Challenge students to do a compare/contrast activity using an online Venn Diagram tool (reviewed here). Most of the videos are less than twenty minutes, which makes it real doable to embed in a one-period class lesson.
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Using Primary Sources in the Classroom: World War I Unit - Alabama Department of Archives and History

Grades
6 to 12
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This museum site provides five different lessons plans about World War I. It offers learning objectives, activities, and links to primary documents. Though the site focuses on Alabama...more
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This museum site provides five different lessons plans about World War I. It offers learning objectives, activities, and links to primary documents. Though the site focuses on Alabama history, it is a good way to show multiple perspectives about the war. The site itself is no visual treat, but the activity ideas can bring a hundred-year old era to life.

tag(s): primary sources (86), world war 1 (54)

In the Classroom

Use the activities to help your students better understand World War I. Be sure to check out the activity in the Selective Service lesson. The activity has each student being assigned to a role. The students write a letter to Senator Bankhead which would explain their positions concerning conscription prior to the declaration of war. To extend the activity, have your students dress as their character and read their letters to the class. Or have students create blogs using Throwww (reviewed here). This site allows you to create "quick and easy" blogs to be used one time only. There is no registration necessary!

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Mugeda - mugeda.com

Grades
4 to 12
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Try this high interest animation tool without expensive programs, downloads, or installations. Mugeda is a free, cloud-based HTML5 animation platform, where you can create, share, and...more
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Try this high interest animation tool without expensive programs, downloads, or installations. Mugeda is a free, cloud-based HTML5 animation platform, where you can create, share, and publish HTML5 animation. Basic tutorials guide you to create content with easy to follow instructions. Animation applications include; games, ads, cartoons, tutorials, or persuasive commercials. Use tablets, PCs, smartphones, or tablets. Note that HTML5 works on iPads and iTouches, where most Flash-based sites do not.

tag(s): animation (63), comics and cartoons (74), DAT device agnostic tool (199)

In the Classroom

Bring along Mugeda in your bag of tricks to capture and intrigue all of your students. Use Mugeda to illustrate class content, support debate, persuade, and entertain. The possibilities are endless! Add the creations to your website to share with your community. Use on school news programs to add student content without cost, and make information available for all levels of student abilities. Create commercials for your content or to convey information. In history classes go back in time to envision popular opinion that made history happen. Use during campaigns to promote your side of the debate. Science fairs will never be the same. Highlight projects to create anticipation. Send messages to students using the embedded tool. This programming tool has applications in all subject areas. Gifted students, ELL/ESL students, and remedial students will be captivated by this high interest way of expressing themselves.

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ChronoZoom - Microsoft Research

Grades
8 to 12
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Ready to think big? How about an interactive timeline that covers all of time from the Big Bang to today? Chronozoom is an ambitious project, just launched (at the time ...more
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Ready to think big? How about an interactive timeline that covers all of time from the Big Bang to today? Chronozoom is an ambitious project, just launched (at the time of this review), that seeks to create zoomable, interactive timelines for the entire history of time. At present, the site is still under construction, but it is visually stunning and a little overwhelming. You will need to set aside some time to watch the video tour and to tinker with the site before presenting it to students. Every move of the mouse, every click, seems to create "explosions" of graphs and timelines; you'll need to be patient and get the hang of navigation.

The site's creators freely admit that they don't really know where the project will lead, and what technologies might emerge that will help them create more content for the site. There are some caveats for using the site. First, the site assumes a particular theory of the creation of the universe, and the timeline of its existence. Second, the site can lend itself to aimless "mousing," or the temptation to simply click and move the mouse to see how the site will react, with no attention to the content at all.

tag(s): charts and graphs (195), evolution (100), timelines (62)

In the Classroom

This is a big idea, still in its early stages. Obviously it has usefulness as a way of visually demonstrating the sheer immensity of time, and the relative insignificance of human existence in comparison. You could use this site as an intro to any history or geology class simply to generate BIG questions that students want to know. Consider asking gifted students, or students interested in technology applications to imagine what the site COULD be. How would they create a visual overview of--forever? How can one prioritize what matters? But on an interactive whiteboard--WOW! If you, as current students seem to be, are comfortable with imagining the world as a series of hyperlinks rather than a linear march, this site has limitless potential.

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How Our Laws Are Made - Mike Wirth

Grades
6 to 12
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Remember "I'm Just a Bill"? This one screen infographic is today's equivalent. The site, which is zoomable, presents a graphic flowchart of how ideas become laws in the United States....more
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Remember "I'm Just a Bill"? This one screen infographic is today's equivalent. The site, which is zoomable, presents a graphic flowchart of how ideas become laws in the United States. A great, high impact, visual aid to understanding the process by which the US government enacts laws.

tag(s): branches of government (48), congress (33)

In the Classroom

Use the graphic as an introduction to a detailed discussion. Share the site on your projector or interactive whiteboard. Use it to reinforce the process once you've taught the lesson. Encourage students to bookmark it to review or test their understanding. Anyone who teaches civics, government or US history will be able to use this graphic on an interactive whiteboard. For that matter, it should be required viewing for citizens and politicians alike!

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CK-12 - CK-12 Foundation

Grades
5 to 12
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CK-12 offers a large variety of lessons and resources in STEM topics mostly geared for sixth grade and higher. Choose to access the site as a student or teacher to ...more
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CK-12 offers a large variety of lessons and resources in STEM topics mostly geared for sixth grade and higher. Choose to access the site as a student or teacher to begin. Search by specific content or to find standards-aligned flexbook textbooks. Download flexbooks in several formats such as PDF or mobi and epub format for use on Kindle and e-readers. Create an account and add flexbooks to your list. Add your own files and resources. Specific topic searches provide links to information from flexbooks as well as available study aids, activities, and assessments.

tag(s): atoms (56), cells (102), charts and graphs (195), decades (14), energy (198), engineering (125), equations (155), fractions (239), genetics (90), inequalities (29), landforms (45), measurement (159), oceans (148), organisms (21), periodic table (50), probability (130), pythagorean theorem (35), rocks (49), scientific method (64), seasons (37), solar energy (38), solar system (119), statistics (122), STEM (134), test prep (96), variables (22)

In the Classroom

Introduce CK-12 to your students (and parents) on your interactive whiteboard and demonstrate ways to use the site at home. Be sure to create a link to the site on your class website or blog for easy access at any time. Create an account and upload your own resources and activities to create your own flexbooks for use with students. CK-12 is available in many languages. Use this site with your ESL/ELL students as a supplement to classroom resources.
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Mining the Riches of History: Creating Oral Histories - TeachersFirst

Grades
3 to 9
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This installment in the Help I lost my library/media specialist series offers a step by step approach to an oral history research unit, written by an experienced elementary library/media...more
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This installment in the Help I lost my library/media specialist series offers a step by step approach to an oral history research unit, written by an experienced elementary library/media specialist. Although nothing can replace the specialized knowledge of a teacher-librarian, this plan will inspire any teacher to incorporate interviewing skills and oral histories into your teaching. Lesson ideas and resources for interviewing, primary sources, and sharing make this unit especially exciting.

tag(s): interviews (16), local history (13), primary sources (86)

In the Classroom

Mark this in your Favorites as a way to develop information literacy in your classes, even if you no longer have a library/media specialist to help out.

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Exploring Arthurian Legend - National Endowment for the Humanities

Grades
8 to 12
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This site explores the growth and transformations of the stories surrounding King Arthur beginning with the oral tradition in Medieval Europe as they develop to become important literary...more
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This site explores the growth and transformations of the stories surrounding King Arthur beginning with the oral tradition in Medieval Europe as they develop to become important literary works such as Christopher Malory's Le Morte D'Arthur in Renaissance England and Alfred, Lord Tennyson's Idylls of the King in Victorian England, and as we find them today in modern works such as T.H. White's Once and Future King and the musicals Camelot and Spamalot.

tag(s): literature (275), myths and legends (25)

In the Classroom

Written as one lesson to cover 4-7 class periods, this is a great site for showing students how oral history, visual art, writing (both fiction and nonfiction), as well as actual events shape the culture of a society. The stories themselves have a history and in their evolving shape carry the imprint of all the hands though which they have passed. Using the Internet, students can track the growth of a legend like that of King Arthur, from its emergence in the so-called Dark Ages to its arrival on Broadway and the silver screen.

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What's Going On Now - John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

Grades
8 to 12
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Are we living in the worst of times? Or is history simply repeating? This site looks at the tumultuous 1960s and 1970s through the lens of Marvin Gaye's 1971 album ...more
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Are we living in the worst of times? Or is history simply repeating? This site looks at the tumultuous 1960s and 1970s through the lens of Marvin Gaye's 1971 album "What's Going On." But more importantly, the site challenges us to examine the similarities between those days and the world the youth of today has inherited. The French have a saying, "Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose," or the more things change, the more they remain the same. Compare the unrest related to the environment, to social change, to veterans issues. What about drugs, poverty, and faith? How are these issues expressed through popular music? This site presents compelling resources in music, video, and historical commentary, as well as strong teacher guidance to enable you to create powerful, involved lessons based on these questions. Fifty years ago, it was a call for "relevance" in the classroom; today, we search for "authentic" instruction. The more things change, the more they remain the same.

tag(s): 1960s (30), civil rights (117), cross cultural understanding (115), ecology (135), racism (18), veterans (19), vietnam (36)

In the Classroom

History teachers struggle for "coverage," or the ability to teach across all eras. U.S. History teachers often don't get to the Vietnam era, but these resources are a superb reason for pressing forward. Teacher resources include a number of guided investigations and classroom listening guides that can be incorporated in their entirety or adapted to complement lessons on the Vietnam era in a recent U.S. History class, on social change for a Sociology class, or on contemporary music as an agent of political protest for a music class. For independent or gifted learners, this site could provide the basis for sustained small group inquiry as part of curriculum differentiation. Start by asking students to explore the site and write a blog post about their initial impressions.
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