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Life in a Coal Mining Town

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4 to 12
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The January, 2006, mine tragedy in West Virginia is a reminder that the dangers of mining coal have changed very little in the last 150 years. American dependence on this ...more
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The January, 2006, mine tragedy in West Virginia is a reminder that the dangers of mining coal have changed very little in the last 150 years. American dependence on this fuel remains high, despite moves by other industrialized nations to other fuels. This site chronicles the life and memories of miners in a Pennsylvania coal town in the early 20th century. It offers a personalized look at a hard life.

tag(s): coal (14), energy (203)

In the Classroom

Use the "McIntyre" portion of this site as a learning center or station during a lesson on coal's predominance in the 20th century and what the life of a miner was like. Assign cooperative learning groups different portions of the site, with the intentions of summarizing the main points to teach their peers about their separate sections. Have students use a mapping tool such as Zeemaps, reviewed here, to create a map of local landforms (with audio stories and pictures included)!

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Quiz Tree - Sierra Vista Software

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1 to 12
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You'll find a huge collection of interactive quizzes on this site, testing student comprehension in many subject areas, including elementary math, foreign language (Spanish, French,...more
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You'll find a huge collection of interactive quizzes on this site, testing student comprehension in many subject areas, including elementary math, foreign language (Spanish, French, Italian), SAT content, science, history, and economics. Some quizzes are multiple choice, others drag-and-drop, but all offer immediate feedback with sound effects. Some quizzes use FLASH. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): quiz (88), quizzes (100)

In the Classroom

A great resource for reviewing content or investigating new information. Headphones highly recommended.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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A Concrete Curtain - Deutsches Historisches Museum

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8 to 12
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This site examines the "Cold War" events that led to the construction of the Berlin Wall, life behind the Iron Curtain, stories of escapes, the political changes that brought about...more
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This site examines the "Cold War" events that led to the construction of the Berlin Wall, life behind the Iron Curtain, stories of escapes, the political changes that brought about the wall's demise, and what life is now like for those who no longer live behind the Curtain. Includes period photographs and a gallery of art work from the East side. Also available in German and French.

tag(s): cold war (28), communism (4), german (67), germany (28)

In the Classroom

Use this site as a learning center or station during a unit on the cold war in a history or government class. To show what they have learned, have students pick one of the topics and create a digital map summarizing what happened. Have students use a tool such as Woices (beta) (reviewed here). This site allows students to create audio recordings AND choose a location (on a map) where the story takes place.

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Civil War for Kids - Pocantico Hills Central School

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3 to 5
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This site, created for students, by students, provides kid-friendly information about the Civil War - including a timeline of significant events, bar graphs containing data about the...more
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This site, created for students, by students, provides kid-friendly information about the Civil War - including a timeline of significant events, bar graphs containing data about the North and South, easy-to-read maps, depictions of Union and Confederate flags, and much more. Includes biographies of important Civil War-era personalities, links to related sites, and activity sheets.

tag(s): biographies (91), civil war (144), flags (22), lincoln (86)

In the Classroom

Use this site as a learning center or station to supplement a classroom unit on the Civil War. Have students look at all the aspects of the site, as some of the visuals are unique and provide something more tangible to bookwork and lectures.

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Bound for Glory: America in Color - Library of Congress

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8 to 12
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This online exhibition from the Library of Congress features more than 70 color photographs - taken between 1939 and 1943 - that vividly capture the effects of the Great Depression...more
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This online exhibition from the Library of Congress features more than 70 color photographs - taken between 1939 and 1943 - that vividly capture the effects of the Great Depression on rural and small-town America and highlight the economic growth that preceded World War II. This is great visual resource for a 20th century American history class. Photography students can use the site to examine how the "Kodachrome" era changed the way we view our collective past.

tag(s): great depression (26), photography (161)

In the Classroom

It's interesting how viewing the images in color makes the viewer feel as though the Great Depression was something far more recent - perhaps due to the dated feeling of black and white images. In a discussion of the Great Depression, spend some time comparing these images and the traditional black and white images seen on the interactive whiteboard or projector. Ask students about the differences and if one is more revealing or not. This can also lead into a discussion on the reliability of primary sources and the effects of seeing something rather than reading it.

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My America Field Trip - Tramline

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4 to 7
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Step through this virtual field trip to "visit" some of America's most treasured national symbols - including the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Mount Rushmore, Ft. McHenry, and much...more
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Step through this virtual field trip to "visit" some of America's most treasured national symbols - including the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Mount Rushmore, Ft. McHenry, and much more . Includes a list of vocabulary words that may be encountered along the journey and some rather interesting "side trips." This is a "ready to go" activity, but you may wish to add a scavenger hunt component to focus your students as they explore.

tag(s): landmarks (27), symbols (19)

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American Women Through Time - Ken Middleton

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8 to 12
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Learn about specific time periods in America's past through the lens of women's history. This site provides a chronology of women's contributions in the United States from the nation's...more
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Learn about specific time periods in America's past through the lens of women's history. This site provides a chronology of women's contributions in the United States from the nation's infancy through the twentieth century. Students can "read more about it" by following links to relevant web sites for each event, or explore helpful research sources (census data, newspapers, diaries, etc.) for each specified area.

tag(s): women (92)

In the Classroom

This is an excellent resource for piecing together American history by examining primary source documents. Have cooperative learning groups investigate women's contributions in various decades and create a video. Share the videos using a site such as SchoolTube reviewed here.

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The Arts of the 1940s - John F. Kennedy Center

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8 to 12
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Click on the "Learn More About the '40s" link on this Kennedy Center site to experience an interactive tour of this pivotal decade. The focus is not just on national ...more
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Click on the "Learn More About the '40s" link on this Kennedy Center site to experience an interactive tour of this pivotal decade. The focus is not just on national and world events, but on the cultural components that defined the era. Get a glimpse of the fashion, music, dance, and theater that emerged as World War II drew to a close and the Cold War dawned.

tag(s): 1940s (13), world war 2 (142)

In the Classroom

Use this site as an in-class activity that teaches about the culture of the 1940's in a non-lecture format. Placing students in cooperative learning groups, have the groups research different aspects of the presentation with the intentions of summarizing their findings with the intentions of teaching their peers. Have cooperative learning groups create podcasts demonstrating their understanding of one of the concepts. Use a site such as PodOmatic (reviewed here). This would be a fun way to incorporate technology and content for a US history classroom!

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Intelligent Design in American Classrooms - NPR

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8 to 12
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The debate over the teaching of intelligent design in the public school classroom is explored in this informational Web site that focuses on the recent controversy in Kansas and Pennsylvania....more
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The debate over the teaching of intelligent design in the public school classroom is explored in this informational Web site that focuses on the recent controversy in Kansas and Pennsylvania. Links to relevant news articles and audio clips of National Public Radio broadcasts are provided.

tag(s): darwin (11), design (84), evolution (102)

In the Classroom

If willing to deal with the possible religious discussion, this article would be a great starting point for a class debate on the costs and benefits of teaching intelligent design in the classroom. Based on what the article has written, begin a class discussion as to whether or not some of the actions taken by states have crossed any constitutional boundaries? Where would that boundary lie? (etc) This could lead to a heated discussion, but is a great way to get students discussing the importance of the establishment clause and its' practical application in society.

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History of Thanksgiving - History Channel

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3 to 6
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Find out what was on the menu for the first Thanksgiving, debunk some common holiday myths, and listen to pilgrim interviews. This informational multi-media site also features a beautifully...more
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Find out what was on the menu for the first Thanksgiving, debunk some common holiday myths, and listen to pilgrim interviews. This informational multi-media site also features a beautifully designed video that details the history of this American institution - perfect for individual viewing. Note: this site "pauses" before opening. Be patient.

tag(s): holidays (151), pilgrims (17), thanksgiving (37)

In the Classroom

Use this site as a way to introduce the Thanksgiving holidays in a way that is both educational and fun for students. Share the site with students on the interactive whiteboard or projector. Examine the interesting facts for interesting and little known information, or bring up the document entitled "a Thanksgiving proclamation." Have students read the document aloud, in turns or by volunteers. The document will help students understand the actual v. the myth of Thanksgiving. The site can also be saved as a favorite on classroom computers to be used as a learning center if that method is more appropriate for your classroom.

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Perilous Fight - Timeline - PBS

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8 to 12
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Supplement a unit on World War II with this impressive interactive timeline. The pivotal events that occurred between 1933 and 1945 are represented against stunning photographic backdrops....more
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Supplement a unit on World War II with this impressive interactive timeline. The pivotal events that occurred between 1933 and 1945 are represented against stunning photographic backdrops. Links to more detailed descriptions are provided.

tag(s): timelines (64), world war 2 (142)

In the Classroom

Use the interactive timeline on the projector as a way to introduce battlefront events during a unit on WWII. This could be used to accompany a lecture, or again at the end of the unit as a means for students to review the main events of the war. This is a great resource for a US or World history classroom.

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Rosa Parks - NPR

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8 to 12
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This NPR article provides an overview of the life and influences of "the mother of the civil rights movement." Click on the links to hear excerpts and full length ...more
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This NPR article provides an overview of the life and influences of "the mother of the civil rights movement." Click on the links to hear excerpts and full length interviews in which Parks recounts the events of that historic day in 1955 when she refused to relinquish her bus seat to a white man. A compelling resource to add to a discussion of civil rights in America.

tag(s): africa (175), african american (113), civil rights (121), rosa parks (6), segregation (15)

In the Classroom

The most intriguing part of this site are the audio portions where Parks recounts her story. Open the site on the interactive whiteboard or projector and play the portions during and within a lecture on Parks. Hearing Parks tell her story will add a different element than pictures and lecture provide.

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Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute

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8 to 12
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This is the site for the foundation created by Rosa Parks to assist children in learning about the civil rights struggle. The site also includes biographical information on Rosa Parks...more
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This is the site for the foundation created by Rosa Parks to assist children in learning about the civil rights struggle. The site also includes biographical information on Rosa Parks and her achievements.

tag(s): africa (175), african american (113), civil rights (121), rosa parks (6), segregation (15)

In the Classroom

Refer students working on research projects or papers on Rosa Parks to this site. There is a very text-heavy biography, but the information is all useful and reliable.

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Remembering Rosa Parks - Academy of Achievement

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6 to 12
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Rosa Parks' confrontation on a Birmingham, AL, bus helped spark the American civil rights movement. Her death in October, 2005, offered an opportunity to remember that contribution...more
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Rosa Parks' confrontation on a Birmingham, AL, bus helped spark the American civil rights movement. Her death in October, 2005, offered an opportunity to remember that contribution to American society. This site's biography offers background on the story that could be used in a number of instructional settings.

tag(s): africa (175), african american (113), civil rights (121), rosa parks (6)

In the Classroom

Within the site is an interview with Parks, in which she accounts segregation in her childhood as well as the bus boycott that made her so famous. Play this for students during a unit on the Civil Rights movement in place of a lecture, or afterwards to review the content.

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History of Halloween - History Channel

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5 to 8
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Turn Halloween into a history lesson with this History Channel site that traces its origin from an ancient Celtic festival to the modern-day practices of trick-or-treating and Jack-o'-lantern...more
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Turn Halloween into a history lesson with this History Channel site that traces its origin from an ancient Celtic festival to the modern-day practices of trick-or-treating and Jack-o'-lantern carving. Includes some hauntingly intriguing video clips (some with specific ties to American history), ghost stories, and recipes.

tag(s): halloween (39), holidays (151)

In the Classroom

This is a great site to show students how history can impact their everyday! One good project would be to use this site as an introduction to Halloween activities. Introduce the site on the interactive whiteboard or projector. There are several different "histories" on the site, such as the history of the Jack o'Lantern, or the origins of Halloween, or the origins of several ghost stories. Have students look at the site in pairs, and create a poster of what they thought were the most interesting facts. We recommend a site such as Padlet (reviewed here). Have students display their posters, and then use the free craft ideas offered to celebrate the holiday in your class!

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The Journey of Christopher Columbus - McGraw-Hill

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5 to 7
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Follow Christopher Columbus on his 1492 journey to the new world with this informational site that reveals details of his life before the voyage, excerpts from his journals, a timeline,...more
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Follow Christopher Columbus on his 1492 journey to the new world with this informational site that reveals details of his life before the voyage, excerpts from his journals, a timeline, descriptions of the native people he encountered, and his activities after his return. Nice resource for a unit on explorers.

tag(s): explorers (65)

In the Classroom

Use this site as a learning center or station during a unit on the famous explorer. Because of the large amount of information, this activity would work best with a guide to highlight for students what is most important. For help creating such graphic organizers, we recommend using Graphic Organizer Maker, (reviewed here). This would be a useful resource within a US history classroom.

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Learning About Research and Writing using the American Revolution - NCTE/IRA

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3 to 5
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This lesson creates a wonderful interdisciplinary connection between creative writing and American history. After using a variety of resources to learn more about the American Revolution,...more
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This lesson creates a wonderful interdisciplinary connection between creative writing and American history. After using a variety of resources to learn more about the American Revolution, students select an historical figure from that era, and compose an acrostic poem describing that individual's contributions. Aligned to National Standards.

tag(s): creative writing (170), writing (367)

In the Classroom

Take advantage of this free lesson plan as a way to study the American Revolution from an interdisciplinary standpoint. This lesson plan mixes creative writing and poetry with history as a way to relate different concepts concerning the American Revolution.

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State and Regional Folk Tales - S.E. Schlosser

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5 to 7
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This repository of folk tales from throughout the United States, organized by state and region, provides students with a great literary tapestry of American culture. Add to a unit on...more
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This repository of folk tales from throughout the United States, organized by state and region, provides students with a great literary tapestry of American culture. Add to a unit on your state's history, or use to supplement your reading curriculum. You MUST have Flash to see this site. Requires Internet Explorer 5 or higher, or you can use the most current version of other browsers (see HELP link at the bottom of the Art 21 page for more information).

tag(s): states (165)

In the Classroom

Introduce this site on the interactive whiteboard or projector, before allowing students to explore the site independently. Use the stories as a writing prompt - after students have explored for a set amount of time, have them write their own ghost stories about areas in the state. To tie it into history, teachers can make them time-pieces, with the stories required to be related to a certain unit or period of time.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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1492 - An Ongoing Voyage - Library of Congress

Grades
9 to 12
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This site from the Library of Congress takes a detailed look at the variety of peoples and civilizations that were thriving on the American continents before they were "discovered"...more
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This site from the Library of Congress takes a detailed look at the variety of peoples and civilizations that were thriving on the American continents before they were "discovered" by the Europeans. The content includes native peoples of the Caribbean, Mexico, South America, and North America. Try this one as a counterpoint to a traditional explorers unit, or as part of a study of the Maya, Inca, or other native cultures.

tag(s): explorers (65), native americans (77)

In the Classroom

Use the images on this site to create a picture walk activity in your classroom. Select 10-15 of the more descriptive images, preferably with different subjects. Assign students to stand at specific images, rotating every 30-45 seconds. In that time, students should quickly jot down what they observe, infer and predict about each. After the walk is done, have a class discussion based on the notes that students have taken. This is a great way to introduce the beginnings of the New World in a non-lecture format.

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Edison Invents - Smithsonian

Grades
3 to 8
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The National Museum of American History created this concentration-based game to help students learn more about Thomas Edison and the impact of his inventions. While most students know...more
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The National Museum of American History created this concentration-based game to help students learn more about Thomas Edison and the impact of his inventions. While most students know about the light bulb and the phonograph, this site peers into the full repertoire of Edison's invention inventory, giving the story of how one man became a sort of national invention hero.

tag(s): inventors and inventions (96)

In the Classroom

This site requires FLASH. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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