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NewsHour Extra Lesson Plan: Immigration Reform - PBS

Grades
6 to 12
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A site affiliated with the PBS NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, this lesson plan provides a framework for discussing immigration from multiple points of view. There are links to a ...more
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A site affiliated with the PBS NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, this lesson plan provides a framework for discussing immigration from multiple points of view. There are links to a partial transcript of a NewsHour segment that features the voices of immigrants from different countries. There is a good set of essential questions for discussion related to the issue of immigration. The focus of the lesson is that life experiences shape attitudes toward immigration, and that there are many points of view. Students are encouraged to role play a point of view different from their own. Finally, there is a quick quiz (and Key) that could be used to establish prior knowledge about immigration. On a topic that can be highly emotional, this lesson simply lays out the viewpoints, rather than taking sides.

tag(s): immigration (57), migration (58)

In the Classroom

The essential questions (labeled "My Point of View, parts 2-3") are a nice guide for helping students see this issue from multiple backgrounds.
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Awesome Stories - Awesome Stories Internet Productions

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3 to 8
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A great source of primary documents covering many topics of interest to grade school children including the real stories some of the people killed on Sept. 11. Although this ...more
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A great source of primary documents covering many topics of interest to grade school children including the real stories some of the people killed on Sept. 11. Although this is usually a pay site ($9.95/yr), free membership is available for educators, schools, and libraries. Each feature article is divided into "Story Chapter Links" and highlighted vocabulary clicks to photographs, maps, artifacts, documents, audio-visual clips, and articles with more information about the word. Topics offered include history, culture, literature, disasters, and media. You can find passages on topics related to almost any student's interests and use the resources to teacher reading skills. In December, 2006, Awesome Stories announced free accounts for individuals, as well, but for a "limited time." If you would like your students to be abe to use it at home, consider setting up accounts for students, as well, while they are free.

tag(s): dinosaurs (58), disasters (39), literature (275), movies (70), space (215)

In the Classroom

This is a great jumping off point for beginning researchers. You will find a wonderful compilation of photographs and other realia about the topics. Teach comprehension skills by using the first four chapters and asking students to predict or write aht they think would come next. Bring up the stories on an interactive whiteboard to highlight important terms and access the links that help students build connections to content. Maybe let students select the next topic to help engage reluctant readers.

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Helping Your Child Series - US Department of Education

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K to 8
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Encourage parents to become involved with their children's education using these helpful, downloadable booklets on helping your child with science, history, math, reading, homework,...more
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Encourage parents to become involved with their children's education using these helpful, downloadable booklets on helping your child with science, history, math, reading, homework, early adolescence, preschool, general success in school, and being a responsible citizen. Some are geared for elementary only and others extend through middle school. Most are also available in Spanish version. Download as a pdf (Acrobat file) or Word document. You can order copies, but it may be easier and faster to simply print your own. Remember that you need Acrobat Reader to open pdf files. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): adolescence (11), homework (46)

In the Classroom

Hand these booklets out at back to school night, open house, or conferences. Encourage parents to become involved supportively.
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Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections - Dave Leip

Grades
6 to 12
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This site has many interactive ways to learn about the history of U.S. elections: interactive maps, discussion boards, predictions, polling data, and much more. Some of the tools may...more
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This site has many interactive ways to learn about the history of U.S. elections: interactive maps, discussion boards, predictions, polling data, and much more. Some of the tools may invite less mature students to enter into discussion boards inappropriately. Even so, it is an interesting and useful resource for students studying the history of U.S. elections or political parties.

tag(s): elections (75), politics (99)

In the Classroom

Use some of the interactive maps on a projector or interactive whiteboard or enter into the discussion boards as a class with ONE shared posting and watch the responses as a group.
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Election Map 2006 - NPR

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6 to 12
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Although this resource was created for the 2006 midterm election, it is valuable for teaching about elections in general and for comparing elections as part of U.S. history. Compare...more
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Although this resource was created for the 2006 midterm election, it is valuable for teaching about elections in general and for comparing elections as part of U.S. history. Compare predictions between different new media or simply choose one to see the latest data on the 2006 midterm elections, including house and senate races and gubernatorial elections. Read related articles and download podcasts of analysis. In higher level classes, compare the spin on NPR with that on other new sources.

tag(s): elections (75), politics (99)

In the Classroom

Share the interactive maps on a projector or interactive whiteboard, and check back often to watch changing predictions. Collect these and other news articles with differing slants on your bulletin boards as the elections approach.

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NewsHour Extra Lesson Plan: Checks and Balances in Supreme Court Nominations - PBS

Grades
7 to 12
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This site is affiliated with the PBS NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, and presents a lesson plan focused on Supreme Court nominations and the ongoing balance of power in the US ...more
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This site is affiliated with the PBS NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, and presents a lesson plan focused on Supreme Court nominations and the ongoing balance of power in the US government. There are excellent discussion guides, a link to streaming video from the NewsHour, with an accompanying transcript that can be distributed, and a PDF version of a Chicago Tribune article on the issue. There is a nice vocabulary list. There is a good handout on the process of nominating a Supreme Court judge and a worksheet that accompanies it.

tag(s): supreme court (22)

In the Classroom

There is a really nice "balance of powers" exercise that goes way beyond a simple discussion of the Supreme Court. Students look at all three branches of government and determine which branch has power in a variety of contemporary situations. This lesson plan is good as a stand-alone, but also provides a lot of jumping off places for further discussion and adaptation. Use a projector, as the plan suggests, to share the short video clips, available in several formats.
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Foreign War and Domestic Freedom: A Delicate Balance - PBS

Grades
9 to 12
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This site, connected with the PBS show NOW, provides a lesson plan on civil liberties. The lesson plan is largely centered around the viewing of a segment on NOW, ...more
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This site, connected with the PBS show NOW, provides a lesson plan on civil liberties. The lesson plan is largely centered around the viewing of a segment on NOW, and provides worksheets for summarizing the panel discussion contained in the segment. However, there are links to some other nice resources: a brief PowerPoint presentation on civil liberties, a nice animated clip (produced by Libertarians) illustrating how civil liberties denied during difficult times can threaten society, an overview of historical periods in the US when civil liberties were restricted, and a timeline of restrictions since September 11.

In the Classroom

The links to resources on this site are probably of more value than the lesson plan itself. Each of them would serve as a good introduction or illustration in a more general discussion of civil liberties in a high school civics, history or government course. There are also two very nifty on-line quizzes that evaluate your general political ideology after answering a few questions about your views on government.
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NewsHour Extra Lesson Plan: The United Nations and Reform - PBS

Grades
9 to 12
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This site, connected to the PBS NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, looks at efforts and rationale for reform at the United Nations. There is an overview of the history of ...more
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This site, connected to the PBS NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, looks at efforts and rationale for reform at the United Nations. There is an overview of the history of the United Nations, including a nice PDF handout for students. The second part focuses on some of the organizational challenges faced by the UN and asks whether the UN is addressing the issues it was designed for.

tag(s): united nations (8)

In the Classroom

The information provided is fairly dense, and the issues and discussion of reform are probably beyond the scope of a general history class. However, the historical information would be useful for a more general audience, and the questions related to reform would be suitable for an upper level class on civics, government or modern US history.
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Be A Historian - Industrialization - Silos and Smokestacks National Heritage Area

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5 to 10
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This teacher friendly site has it all - thinking questions, facts, research activities and more! This site is designed for grades 6-8, but could be useful in grades 5-10. ...more
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This teacher friendly site has it all - thinking questions, facts, research activities and more! This site is designed for grades 6-8, but could be useful in grades 5-10. The students are taken back to the late 1800s by authentic pictures and creative learning activities. Topics include working women, railroads and other forms of transportation and mass production.

tag(s): industrialization (14)

In the Classroom

Use the interactive graphic organizers for students to complete individual or guided learning experiences. These would also work well on an interactive whiteboard.
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Be A Historian - Immigration - Silos and Smokestacks National Heritage Area

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4 to 10
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This website is a virtual time-travel experience for students in grades 4-10. The students travel back to the late 1800s in Waterloo, Iowa and see immigration to America. ...more
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This website is a virtual time-travel experience for students in grades 4-10. The students travel back to the late 1800s in Waterloo, Iowa and see immigration to America. Although the site talks about Iowa, the information is applicable to American immigration in general. This website provides 10 different activities (many interactive and open-ended). The activities could also easily be used for differentiating instruction for various levels of ability. The website provides summaries, answer keys, standards and extension activities for the teachers.

tag(s): ellis island (9), immigration (57), iowa (4), migration (58)

In the Classroom

This activity would be great for cooperative learning groups, whole class projects, or independent assignments. The ten activities provided are all very diverse and cover language arts, research, mathematics, history and more!

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American Writers - C-Span

Grades
6 to 12
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This beautifully crafted site provides students with in-depth information on American writers and their works. Students can use the site's search feature to zero in on an era in American...more
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This beautifully crafted site provides students with in-depth information on American writers and their works. Students can use the site's search feature to zero in on an era in American history, a specific author, or a book title. The site features many video clips from the companion C-SPAN series. A high-speed connection is a must.

tag(s): authors (121), poetry (225)

In the Classroom

You can pick and choose not only which author you want, but what information you want to use. You can choose short video clips shown on a projector either as a lesson in themselves (using the suggested questions or ones of your own); you can create a webquest using a combination of both this site and other sites linked from it; or you can use this as a straightforward internet lesson, using the material presented on the site itself. It is easily expandable to history and you can watch the video, a video clip, or read the transcript. Video requires Real Player.

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Klondike Gold Rush - Seattle Unit National Historic Park - National Park Service

Grades
3 to 12
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The National Park Service's overview of Seattle's Klondike Gold Rush Visitor Center contains links to some extremely comprehensive educational materials. Included is a integrated curriculum...more
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The National Park Service's overview of Seattle's Klondike Gold Rush Visitor Center contains links to some extremely comprehensive educational materials. Included is a integrated curriculum design for grades 3-6 consisting of 19 lessons blending history, language arts (writing and journaling), and geography. One of the lessons requires the use of the PBS film "Gold!" and one of the lessons involves a field trip to the Visitor Center. There are links to PDF versions of lesson documents, many hands-on project overviews, and comprehensive materials lists. The lessons would be easily adapted to students in higher grade levels.

tag(s): gold rush (19), westward expansion (29)

In the Classroom

Teachers in upper grades could easily pick and choose from these lessons to flesh out a unit on the Gold Rush. The link to "History and Culture" takes you to a Washington State data base of photographs and newspaper clippings that could provide good primary source material for classroom use or for History Day projects on the Gold Rush.
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Camp Silos - From Native Prairie to Present, Our Agricultural Heritage - Silos and Smokestacks National Heritage Area

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K to 12
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This site provides teachers with ready-to-use agricultural lessons that are both interactive and interesting to students of all ages. The site is geared towards grades 4-8, however...more
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This site provides teachers with ready-to-use agricultural lessons that are both interactive and interesting to students of all ages. The site is geared towards grades 4-8, however there are activities for students in grades K-12. Students will enjoy the interactive "corn" scavenger hunt, witnessing the birth of pigs, seeing the Iowa of 150 years ago, virtual field trips and more. The web site is interdisciplinary and teacher-friendly.It includes numerous lesson plans (most interactive) and lots of new approaches to teaching subject matter. Requires QUICKTIME for video.

tag(s): agriculture (56), air (163), iowa (4), prairie (10)

In the Classroom

This web site is perfect for combining students' love of technology with standards in science, history, technology, information literacy and language arts. Especially unique are the interactive scavenger hunts and virtual field trips that allow students to step "out of the classroom." Partner students on computers for the scavenger hunt or take a virtual field trip together on a projector.

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Adventures in the Past- Virtual Site Visits - US Bureau of Land Management

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3 to 12
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"Archaeological, historic, and fossil sites are unique portals to the past," declares this site as it invites you to visit locations around the U.S. as ways to learn about archelogical...more
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"Archaeological, historic, and fossil sites are unique portals to the past," declares this site as it invites you to visit locations around the U.S. as ways to learn about archelogical finds, natural formations, and historical preservation sites that teach about the early U.S. and its Native American predecessors. Many of the virtual visits are created by BLM, and those that are not warn you before you leave the site. The locations included spread across most of the western U.S. and Alaska.

tag(s): archeology (32), fossils (46)

In the Classroom

Take your class on a "field trip" without leaving the classroom. Give them a list of things to find out as they explore a location on their own computers or "travel" together on a projector. Younger students will need help with text passages.

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Explore Pennsylvania History

Grades
4 to 12
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Learn about Pennsylvania history, see and learn about historical sites within Pennsylvania, and find lesson plans for elementary through high school on this site. There are three different...more
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Learn about Pennsylvania history, see and learn about historical sites within Pennsylvania, and find lesson plans for elementary through high school on this site. There are three different avenues into the site, including the link to lesson plans (Teach PA History). Standards correlation is to Pennsylvania standards, but the content is appropriate for any history class studying the many events that occurred in Pennsylvania as part of U.S. history. Reading levels may be challenging for younger students.

tag(s): colonial america (107), pennsylvania (6)

In the Classroom

Follow a lesson ready-made plan or design your own web treasure hunt for students to read, see, and learn about history by navigating this site. You could also feature a "historical marker a day" as an anticipatory set on a projector during your units on PA history in Pennsylvania classrooms.
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Black Wings: African American Pioneer Aviators - Smithsonian- National Air and Space Museum

Grades
5 to 12
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Inspire future aviators or encourage students to pursue their dreams with this site that traces African American aviators through the years. There are many images and short passages...more
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Inspire future aviators or encourage students to pursue their dreams with this site that traces African American aviators through the years. There are many images and short passages of text. The reading levels are not for younger students. The site includes three classroom activities. One activity actually guides students through a series of questions they answer on a web page as they learn about a single aviator. Black Wings permits students to download and use images in their reports, as long as they are classroom projects, either printed or electronic, such as in PowerPoint. Images may not be published on web pages or burned to CD. Be sure to visit the What's New section for featured interviews with aviators. What a terrific and interesting primary source!

tag(s): africa (178), african american (113)

In the Classroom

Use this one as part of reading comprehension practice and find that your students are actually interested in what they read. Have students create projects about their favorite aviator or aircraft on a poster, in a PowerPoint presentation, or using Inspiration software.

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Kazan, Miller, and the McCarthy Era - PBS- Anna Chan Rekate

Grades
10 to 12
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PBS provides this comprehensive set of lesson plans, including links and video clips to help your social studies or English students understand about the McCarthy Era and its impact...more
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PBS provides this comprehensive set of lesson plans, including links and video clips to help your social studies or English students understand about the McCarthy Era and its impact on the arts. Whether you are teaching The Crucible or the U.S. in the 1950s, this will help students understand the era in greater depth. Activities include Readers Theatre readings of the Crucible in your English class. The lesson series was written to accompany an episode in the PBS series American Masters, and some lesons include use of the video from this series.

tag(s):

In the Classroom

If you do not have time for all the lessons or do not have access to the fullvideo, there is a wealth of information for you to use as background and valuable links for planning shorter activities.

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Election 2006 - New York Times

Grades
6 to 12
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Use a clickable national map to analyze the 2006 races for governor, senate, and house in all 50 states. See recent polling data, historical trends, and even predict outcomes to ...more
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Use a clickable national map to analyze the 2006 races for governor, senate, and house in all 50 states. See recent polling data, historical trends, and even predict outcomes to see their impact on Congress as a whole. You can save your "scenarios" for future reference. Note: you must join the New York Times online (FREE), a valuable resource for any classroom. You can make one account, and multiple computers can log in at once. Just don't forget your user name and password!

Although this resource was created for the 2006 election, the background information is valuable for teaching about elections in general and for comparing elections as part of U.S. history.

tag(s): elections (75), politics (99)

In the Classroom

This would be a great site to visit repeatedly throughout the ramp-up to the election. It would be terrific on an interactive whiteboard. You could also assign students to create their own log-ins and generate their own scenarios. based on their own research (encourage ownership!). Then compare their predictions with the actual results. Or role-play groups as they present their scenarios in Republican (or Democratic) National Committee budget meetings and decide strategies.

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Calisphere - University of California

Grades
4 to 12
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Find an extensive collections of primary sources, including images and texts, from California history and culture. Many of these topics are part of a US history course, as well: Gold...more
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Find an extensive collections of primary sources, including images and texts, from California history and culture. Many of these topics are part of a US history course, as well: Gold Rush, World War II, etc. Materials are searchable and also organized into thematic collections for teachers.These collections include information on historical context and CA. standards.

tag(s): california (27), cultures (106), gold rush (19), japan (61), japanese (42), primary sources (87)

In the Classroom

Teachers and students have permission to print, or download these collections for classroom use. Make bulletin boards or let students include the images in their PowerPoint or movie presentations. You do not have permission to place these images on a web page or use them for other purposes without specific permission to do so.

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The History of the Supreme Court - PBS and New York Life

Grades
8 to 12
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This site has been designed as a companion to an upcoming public television series on the Supreme Court, but it stands on its own for classroom use. Information on ...more
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This site has been designed as a companion to an upcoming public television series on the Supreme Court, but it stands on its own for classroom use. Information on the site indicates that further content will be added. The site is divided into several main themes: The history of the Supreme Court, the Supreme Court and basic rights, the Supreme Court and gender, the Supreme Court and young people, and the Supreme Court today. Promised further content will cover the Supreme Court and race and the Supreme Court and economics and commerce. Each theme is highlighted with an introductory essay and questions for discussion. Themes also have a set of teacher resources, links to other web sites and lesson plans. Don't miss the interactive time line and comprehensive encyclopedia of terms. The theme on the Supreme Court and gender includes rich resources for Women's History month.

tag(s): bill of rights (29), courts (15), supreme court (22), women (92)

In the Classroom

Use this site or specific themes as the basis for an entire unit on the Supreme Court or for focused lessons: Japanese internment camps, the conflict between the Federalists and the anti-Federalists, child labor laws, and many more. You can assign different students to different sides of issues for research on the site or use it as an overview with a projector in a teacher-centered discussion.

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