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The Vietnam War - Peter Leuhusen

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9 to 12
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A photo essay slide show covering the Vietnam War. There are also timelines, maps, and a brief discussion of the war in general.The focus of this site is its ...more
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A photo essay slide show covering the Vietnam War. There are also timelines, maps, and a brief discussion of the war in general.The focus of this site is its outstanding images, most which have accompanying text, explaining and setting the context.

tag(s): vietnam (36)

In the Classroom

Because it is in a slide show format, this would be effective on a projector or interactive whiteboard. There is a soundtrack that accompanies the slide shows. Teachers should exercise caution, however, as some of the images might be upsetting or difficult for less mature students.

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Meltdown at Three Mile Island - PBS The American Experience

Grades
9 to 12
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PBS site associated with an American Experience episode on the 1979 Three Mile Island nuclear power accident in Pennsylvania. There is a Shockwave animation showing how the meltdown...more
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PBS site associated with an American Experience episode on the 1979 Three Mile Island nuclear power accident in Pennsylvania. There is a Shockwave animation showing how the meltdown happened, a chronology of events, maps and teacher resources.

In the Classroom

While the site uses the "watch the video and discuss" model, the questions listed in the teacher resources section would be appropriate for a more general discussion on nuclear power. There is a nice map showing the location of nuclear power plants in the United States. The Shockwave animation explaining the meltdown might be useful in a science class discussion on nuclear energy, and would display well on an interactive whiteboard.

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Multicultural Theatre in Music - Iris R. Davis

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4 to 6
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This curriculum unit is designed to help fourth and fifth grade students acquire musical and dramatic skills and knowledge. The lessons can be taught in the regular enrichment class...more
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This curriculum unit is designed to help fourth and fifth grade students acquire musical and dramatic skills and knowledge. The lessons can be taught in the regular enrichment class and can be completed in less than 30 minutes. It will take approximately nine weeks to complete the entire unit. While this is geared to a music class, it is adaptable to literature, history, art, or drama. The history of the theater will help students to understand that personal beliefs and societal values influence art forms and styles. Identifying significant works of drama will allow students to understand the diversity of cultures and styles. Students will be able to recognize the aesthetic qualities of the arts and they will learn to act, analyze and respond to performances, evaluate the quality of performances, and demonstrate performance disciplines.

tag(s): diversity (36)

In the Classroom

The joy of units offered like this is being able to use them in their entirety or pick, choose, and adapt to your own classroom needs. If your language arts series includes a theme on creativity or drama, this is a natural extension of that theme.

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NFL Play 60 Challenge - American Heart Association

Grades
4 to 9
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Attention Middle School Teachers! Get your students physically active! Be sure to check out NFL Play 60, a program from the American Heart Association and the NFL, designed to ...more
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Attention Middle School Teachers! Get your students physically active! Be sure to check out NFL Play 60, a program from the American Heart Association and the NFL, designed to get kids active in ALL areas of their life. This site (provides lesson plans in language arts, math, physical education, science and social studies. The lesson plans are very detailed, involve "getting moving", are easy to follow, and are correlated with standards.

In the Classroom

Join the site (free) and work together with your teaching colleagues or school administration to find activities and get kids moving and healthy. Even test scores rise when kids are healthy and active!
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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The Costumer's Manifesto - Tara Maginnis, Ph.D

Grades
7 to 12
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This is an amazing site for kids who ask, "But what did they WEAR?" In today's fashion-conscious society, looking at the past is often quite amusing, eye-opening, and insightful. A...more
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This is an amazing site for kids who ask, "But what did they WEAR?" In today's fashion-conscious society, looking at the past is often quite amusing, eye-opening, and insightful. A worthwhile site for teachers of theater, history, English, and even family and consumer science -- since the site even includes some patterns. Clicking on any of the options in the opening menu will take you to specific areas of that subject through history. The "Costume History sorted by Period" is truly fascinating as it offers drawings, patterns, and rationale for clothing of different time periods, including materials used and practical reasons for everything from codpieces to headdresses.

tag(s): costumes (6)

In the Classroom

This is a HUGE site worth dipping into for everything from history of clothing to wedding rituals and ceremonies of all kinds. As you introduce the setting of a new piece of literature or study of a new historical period, share this site to make another time "real" to your fashion-conscious teens. Include this site for fashion, costuming, or customs as one of the student research topics for a time period or lit study.

Note: The site is not terribly attractive as a set of links. It also has advertising and links to "outside" topics. Give precise directions for where students should go.

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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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The Big Wide World Webquest - The Museum of Television & Radio

Grades
2 to 6
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This site pulls together understanding of environment, geography, the earth and its setting in space, cultures, animals, and more. It forms a "core" for what social studies (and science)is...more
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This site pulls together understanding of environment, geography, the earth and its setting in space, cultures, animals, and more. It forms a "core" for what social studies (and science)is all about. To figure out how the "Big Wide World" works, students will work with partners to investigate one area of the world (globe, plants, people, cultures, language, animals) and come up with rules about how this area works. The individual areas join with other areas and determine how the areas relate to each other. A teacher guide included. Active X is required on some website links.

tag(s): animals (276), cultures (105), environment (317)

In the Classroom

Use this Webquest to introduce the connections between major social studies and science concepts. After students work in groups to investigate the different areas, bring the class together to share. Guide a class discussion to show how the different areas are linked and work together. Use the Relationship Wheel (see Teacher Guide) as a bulletin board to support understanding. The site information says it can be used in grades K-4, but non-readers cannot do the tasks without a reader! For independent workers, it is better suited (and quite applicable)for grades 2-6.

If you do this at the start of the school year, you can revisit the overarching connections as you begin study of each sub-area so you are connecting to prior knowledge every time. Teachers in later grades could even recall the overarching questions as they continue with the study of these topics. Be SURE to put the link on your teacher web page for students to revisit throughout the year.

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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 (359)

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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Road Trip Through Washington - Bellingham Public Schools

Grades
3 to 5
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This interactive investigation involves planning a road trip through the state of Washington. This web activity provides an enormous amount of information. The steps of the project...more
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This interactive investigation involves planning a road trip through the state of Washington. This web activity provides an enormous amount of information. The steps of the project are detailed step-by-step. Students need to complete research and then create a brochure to persuade their parents to take this road trip.

tag(s): washington (36)

In the Classroom

This site provides a "Teacher Tips" page with details, lesson schedule, rubrics and more! You could use this as a model for similar investigations of other states, as well.

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ReadyKids - U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Grades
2 to 6
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This unique site is all about being prepared for emergencies and was created by the Department of Homeland Security. The information is presented in a "Kid Friendly", non-scary manner....more
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This unique site is all about being prepared for emergencies and was created by the Department of Homeland Security. The information is presented in a "Kid Friendly", non-scary manner. Topics include "Creating a Kit", "Making a Plan", "Knowing the Facts", and a "Graduate" quiz. There are also interactive games and resources for students, teacher and parents. Specific emergency situations include tornadoes, hurricanes, tsunamis, fires, floods and terrorism. Some of the activities require FLASH.

tag(s): fire (25), fire safety (11), floods (6), safety (92), sun (71), terrorism (49)

In the Classroom

Get an interactive whiteboard and help your class prepare for severe weather, terrorism and more. Most activities are interactive, educational and fun! Check out the "Parents and Teachers" link for lesson plans, standards, activities and more.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Dramatizing History in Arthur Miller's The Crucible - National Endowment for the Humanities

Grades
9 to 12
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This is a another wonderful site for the NEH that encompasses both history and literature in a study of the Salem witchcraft trials with Arthur Miller's play, The Crucible. It ...more
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This is a another wonderful site for the NEH that encompasses both history and literature in a study of the Salem witchcraft trials with Arthur Miller's play, The Crucible. It has a complete lesson plan for 10-12 days with included activities and final projects as well as lesson extensions, all in a printable format. This one is a real bonus for either English or history teachers!

tag(s): salem (6)

In the Classroom

While this site includes lesson plans for 10-12 days, it is easy to dip in and out of the activities, molding them to whatever it is you want to teach and the approach you want to take. It deals culturally with why Miller's plan "outdoes the historians" when making this history come alive as well as show the lessons in history as well as literature.

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How the Understanding of US History Changes - National Public Radio

Grades
9 to 12
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This site provides an audio file of an NPR interview with author Kyle Ward ("History in the Making") about the changing interpretation of the Mexican-American War as reflected in history...more
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This site provides an audio file of an NPR interview with author Kyle Ward ("History in the Making") about the changing interpretation of the Mexican-American War as reflected in history text books beginning just after the War up until the present. This discussion illustrates that "history" is often a reflection of the historical context in which it is written. There are also links to three more interviews on the same general topic.

Students are fascinated with the concept that their history text books might be wrong, or biased. Although the interview doesn't mention it, this discussion was also well illustrated in James Loewen's "Lies My Teacher Told Me." The seven minute interview might be quite useful in helping advanced students understand that history isn't static, and that any account of a historical "fact" should be considered in light of its context and the political perspective of the times.

In the Classroom

This site would be helpful to students preparing to do research for your class or for National History Day projects which must be developed using primary documents: to illustrate that even primary documents are subject to interpretation and cannot always be accepted at face value!

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43 Folders Cornell Notes - 43 Folders

Grades
6 to 12
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Looking for a simple way to teach note-taking skills? This wiki web site provides a template and simple instructions for taking notes Cornell style. The template contains a ...more
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Looking for a simple way to teach note-taking skills? This wiki web site provides a template and simple instructions for taking notes Cornell style. The template contains a 4 section layout that includes a section for demographics such as name and topic, a section for simple, bullet-style notes, a section for review questions based on the notes and lastly, a section for a summary. Simple and easy - a tool every student can benefit from utilizing.

tag(s): note taking (32)

In the Classroom

Special Ed teachers will find this system quite helpful for their struggling students. Consider teaming up with content-area teachers to require it of ALL students! Teachers may want to use the template in their own graduate coursework, as well.

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Create your own R.A.F.T.S. Prompts for Social Studies - Northern Nevada Writing Project

Grades
4 to 12
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Looking for writing prompts that are fun and geared toward social studies? Trying to reinforce content knowledge using writing? Look no further! This web site offers a great ...more
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Looking for writing prompts that are fun and geared toward social studies? Trying to reinforce content knowledge using writing? Look no further! This web site offers a great way to create writing prompts simply by clicking on an icon and receiving the luck of the draw. The teacher chooses the subject and by random selection, the web site chooses the Role, Audience, Format, Topic and Strong Verb. Students can also create their own, though it may be tricky for lower grades (might require several walk-throughs). Great for students who struggle with brainstorming writing topics.

tag(s): writing (359), writing prompts (92)

In the Classroom

Use this for literature contracts or guided reading assignments. It is also helpful for teachers who are having writer's block! Great way to tie social studies to language arts.

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Flash Earth

Grades
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 (287)

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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Autobiography Time line - National Geographic

Grades
2 to 8
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Autobiography Time Line is a back-to-basics tool for creating simple time lines. With the user-friendly format for entering information, this site could be a great method by which...more
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Autobiography Time Line is a back-to-basics tool for creating simple time lines. With the user-friendly format for entering information, this site could be a great method by which to begin time line introduction lessons as well as for organizing and writing informational pieces. The time line capability could be utilized for either autobiographies or biographies. Be prepared for the simplicity of this site. It does not contain a variety of editing options.

tag(s): time (144)

In the Classroom

Perfect for an interactive white board demonstration of time lines. A great add-on to informational pieces as an appendix, supplemental material or visual explanation. Include the time line activity as part of a social studies unit on family history or as part of research projects on authors or famous people.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Virtual Seminars for Teaching English - P. Groves and S. D. Lee

Grades
8 to 12
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This ia a very interesting site for teaching the literature and humanities areas of WWI. You can follow interactive "paths" or create your own path. It highlights several lesser known...more
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This ia a very interesting site for teaching the literature and humanities areas of WWI. You can follow interactive "paths" or create your own path. It highlights several lesser known British poets and photographers from that time period and contains some things found nowhere else on the 'net. Some of the archives include media components, such as video. History teachers may want to use some of these materials to familiarize students with the culture of the times.

tag(s): literature (275), poetry (228)

In the Classroom

This could be used very easily as part of a webquestor web scavenger hunt. You could also use it in the classroom on a projector or whiteboard to show different elements or types of war poetry. Make sure you have the correct plug-ins if you are using video portions.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and 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 (35), famous people (19), images (266)

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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Salem: Witchcraft Hysteria - National Geographic

Grades
7 to 12
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This visually beautiful (though dark) tour through the background and events of the Salem witch trials explains the major figures of Tituba and others. It places you, the viewer, as...more
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This visually beautiful (though dark) tour through the background and events of the Salem witch trials explains the major figures of Tituba and others. It places you, the viewer, as a member of the community and portrays the feelings people had as part of the witch "hysteria."

tag(s): salem (6)

In the Classroom

This site is ideally suited for a projector, if you are taking a quick visit as an introduction to the time period in a history or literature class. Those studying The Crucible may want to build a lesson around having students explore the site to build their background knowledge of the historical events. A web scavenger hunt would work well, as would assigning this as one of a few sources for students to create a wiki page or blog about the trials. Be sure to preview the various navigational tools, such as links,scroll bars, and pulldowns, to find all the "hidden" parts of the site. It is easy to miss some of it.

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Totem Poles - Pat Kramer

Grades
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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