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Lincoln Goes to War - National Endowment for the Humanities

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7 to 12
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Get inside of the mind of our sixteenth president with this thoughtful lesson plan that analyzes the complex factors that led to the Civil War. Using primary source documents, students...more
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Get inside of the mind of our sixteenth president with this thoughtful lesson plan that analyzes the complex factors that led to the Civil War. Using primary source documents, students become part of the decision-making process as they consider the critical issues that faced the nation as Lincoln came into office, debate the risks and benefits of withdrawing Union troops from Fort Sumter, and investigate the Confederate reaction to Lincoln's ultimate decision. Students take on the roles of Secessionists, Non-Secessionists, Unionists, Abolitionists, or Compromise Proponents. This lesson is aligned to National Standards.

tag(s): civil war (144), debate (44), lincoln (86), slavery (72), states (164)

In the Classroom

This lesson plan is ready to go and offers step by step instructions! Divide your class into five groups (based on the roles listed above). Allow them time to research and prepare for the debate. Consider having students tape the debate using YouTube or TeacherTube (explained here). Why not have each group (or student) write a blog defending their position (role).

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Held accountable - New York Times

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6 to 12
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The lesson plans are frequently updated; include McRel standards, links to more information, and lots of detail! ...more
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The lesson plans are frequently updated; include McRel standards, links to more information, and lots of detail!

tag(s): africa (176), black history (61), civil war (144), lincoln (86), slavery (72)

In the Classroom

Teachers can pick and choose easily from among several strands of thought among these lesson plans, either to supplement a unit on the Civil War, for use during Black History observations, or in an English class focused on story telling and personal voice. It could also provide interesting materials for reading comprehension practice using content area materials. All the plans follow a pretty regular format: link to the Times article, read it and discuss, but this kind of break from the use of a standard textbook can be refreshing. Many plans include a vocabulary list, ideas for extension activities and focus on making the lesson as interdisciplinary as possible. As you celebrate Presidents Day (especially Lincoln's 200th birthday in 2009), check out this site for Lincoln resources!

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Abraham Lincoln - American President - University of Virginia

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6 to 12
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This Lincoln page includes a quick fact sheet, a short biography, and links to additional information on Lincoln's advisors, administration, and accomplishments. It is part of a very...more
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This Lincoln page includes a quick fact sheet, a short biography, and links to additional information on Lincoln's advisors, administration, and accomplishments. It is part of a very complete collection of presidential resources that could be a staple of an American history curriculum.

At the bottom of the page you will find links to read Lincoln's most famous speeches. You have to scroll to his name. The list includes all presidents (up to G.W. Bush). You can also click to hear podcasts that are focused on Lincoln and the Civil War. The podcasts require Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): lincoln (86), presidents (132)

In the Classroom

Use this site for basic research about Lincoln, to read his speeches, and to even learn more about the former president by listening to the podcasts. Share the podcasts and photos on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Have students write a fictitious blog entry through the eyes of Lincoln after reading one of his four famous speeches listed at this site.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Civil War Traveler - civilwartraveler.com

Grades
4 to 12
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This site offers information for touring regional Civil War historical sites, from Virginia through Pennsylvania. Lists events, reenactments, new openings, and self-guided tours. Also...more
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This site offers information for touring regional Civil War historical sites, from Virginia through Pennsylvania. Lists events, reenactments, new openings, and self-guided tours. Also includes a timeline and links. This site is frequently updated and now features several podcasts - don't miss them! Check back frequently for more updates. The podcasts require Windows Media Player. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): civil war (144), lincoln (86), pennsylvania (6), virginia (16)

In the Classroom

Use this fabulous resource for research. Turn your students into virtual "Civil War Travelers" by sharing the Podcasts and pictures on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Have students complete interactive research projects about these famous locations. Have students create a news broadcast, wiki, blog, or PowerPoint presentation. If you want to video the broadcast try YouTube or another tool such as SchoolTube (reviewed here).

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Mrs. President: From Martha to Laura - Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum

Grades
K to 12
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This downloadable PDF file offers very detailed lesson plans and classroom activities about the first ladies of America. There are lesson plans for grades K-3, 3-6, 6-12, and 9-12....more
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This downloadable PDF file offers very detailed lesson plans and classroom activities about the first ladies of America. There are lesson plans for grades K-3, 3-6, 6-12, and 9-12. The lesson plans all include Illinois standards, objectives, thinking questions, and explicit instructions. Some of the lessons include Dining Like a President, First Kids, Design a First Lady, How do they Compare, & First Ladies and the Media: Public Image and Private Influence. The site requires Adobe Acrobat. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): white house (14)

In the Classroom

Use these lessons during February as you celebrate President's Day. Have students complete research on the topic of the lesson (for example, the "Design a First Lady"). Then challenge students to create a multimedia presentation, a blog entry from the first lady whom the student researched, or a fictitious audio or video discussion between the current first lady and the "designed" first lady. Have a class discussion on what Mary Todd Lincoln would write if she could email (or text) Michelle Obama.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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The American Civil War Homepage - Dr. George H. Hoemann and Mary E. Myers

Grades
K to 12
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Although TeachersFirst doesn't usually highlight a "hotlist," this one definitely deserves a mention! This set of links (all about the Civil War) includes songs from the 1800s, lots...more
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Although TeachersFirst doesn't usually highlight a "hotlist," this one definitely deserves a mention! This set of links (all about the Civil War) includes songs from the 1800s, lots of general resource sites about the Civil War and the general time period, information about the battles, and much more. The list is huge, so be prepared! Thankfully they have the material divided into logical categories, and the site is simple to use. This site is updated frequently and includes everything from basic research to interactive videos to letters from a soldier in the Civil War. Some of the sites require Flash, Media Player, RealPlayer, and Adobe Acrobat. You can get them all from the a href="/tools.cfm">TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): civil war (144), lincoln (86), songs (53)

In the Classroom

Music teachers, why not share some music from the Civil War times. Students may be surprised that they already know some of these famous songs. All grade levels will find something here to share with their class, but you will need to spend some time searching through this list. Share the letters from the soldiers with your students. Have students write fictitious letters (or blog entries) taking on the persona of a soldier.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Presidency of the United States of America - Encyclopedia Britannica

Grades
5 to 12
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This site provides concise information about the men who have held the nation's highest office, their first ladies, and the complex job of the American president. Historical election...more
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This site provides concise information about the men who have held the nation's highest office, their first ladies, and the complex job of the American president. Historical election results, descriptions of political parties, and a gallery of documents related to the presidency are also included. Investigate the audio and video features - where you'll find some true gems! Watch a video of Nixon discussing Watergate, see JFK deliver his NASA speech, view Ronald Reagan's Berlin Wall Speech, and see many animated videos from Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, and more!!

There is also a link about the famous 2008 Election. Learn about the candidates and election results. Some of the videos, animations, and audio require Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): elections (78), lincoln (86), presidents (132)

In the Classroom

Use this site to research candidates in the upcoming elections, and presidents of the past. Have students create a wiki to discuss the candidates viewpoints and if the students agree or disagree. Challenge students to create a political "blog" as a mock candidate. Have a "mock" presidential race in your class (using the mock candidates created by your students). Have the "candidates" go on the campaign trail, research the issues, and provide their solutions to America's problems.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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The Emancipation Proclamation - National Archives

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6 to 12
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This site from the National Archives provides images of the original proclamation, along with a brief analysis explaining the various limitations to Lincoln's document that freed the...more
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This site from the National Archives provides images of the original proclamation, along with a brief analysis explaining the various limitations to Lincoln's document that freed the slaves. The analysis sets the effort to free slaves into the political context of the Civil War.

tag(s): africa (176), african american (114), civil war (144), lincoln (86)

In the Classroom

Share the original document on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Have students take turns reading each section aloud to the class. After reading the entire document, have students write a journal entry from the viewpoint of the slaves - what were they thinking, feeling, did they even know this had happened?

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History for Middle School Kids - Kidipede

Grades
4 to 10
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This site, designed especially for middle school students, includes a HUGE amount of social studies topics. Although this site is recommended for middle school students, it is also...more
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This site, designed especially for middle school students, includes a HUGE amount of social studies topics. Although this site is recommended for middle school students, it is also appropriate for high school students studying the subject areas. It is mainly a "text" site, without interactives. However, this is a great resource for explaining complex topics, researching specific topics in social studies, and much more. Some of the general areas of the site include: Mesopotamia, North America, Ancient Africa, Ancient Egypt, Medieval Europe, Islamic Empire, Ancient China, Ancient Rome, and Ancient Greece. Each general area includes countless sub-topics. There is a search box available at the top of the page. There are also links to activities for students, project ideas, and Teacher's Guides. There are two caveats: there are some advertisements, nothing too distracting AND some of the suggested activities include "buying" a book from Amazon. You do NOT need to purchase anything to take advantage of this free resource!

tag(s): europe (74), greece (26), medieval (27), mesopotamia (6)

In the Classroom

Use this site as an anticipatory set in your history classes studying these topics. The information is simple to understand and would be useful for students struggling with a topic. Use the site for research about specific topics. Have teams of students explore each of the "sub-topics" within the main topic and then create an interactive presentation (Powerpoint, video, or blog) to share the information with their class. Why not list this link on your class website, so students can access the page both in and out of the classroom.

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Today in History - Library of Congress

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4 to 12
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The Library of Congress offers this daily look at historical events - mostly American. There is typically more than one event listed per day, and the text integrates cultural, literary,...more
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The Library of Congress offers this daily look at historical events - mostly American. There is typically more than one event listed per day, and the text integrates cultural, literary, and political trends into the daily reporting. This makes this daily nugget far more than just a collection of "factoids."

tag(s): history day (24)

In the Classroom

This site provides excellent historical research! For a classroom-ready activity each day to build understanding of historical events in the context of your students' prior knowledge, also try TeachersFirst's Dates That Matter. Include both links on your teacher web page for instant access by students both in and out of class. Maybe start a class wiki for your own "This Day" collection and assign student groups a day of their own. Add to it from year to year. Or have students write blog responses on class or individual blogs as they choose an event for the day from several sources and react to it.

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On This Day - New York Times

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6 to 12
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The New York Times offers this glimpse back into history in this daily feature. Events may be national or international, and frequently refer to contemporaneous Times coverage. The...more
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The New York Times offers this glimpse back into history in this daily feature. Events may be national or international, and frequently refer to contemporaneous Times coverage. The site also lists "famous" birthdays, copies of previous New York Times, and links to lesson plans (mainly current events).

tag(s): news (265)

In the Classroom

Try this one for a daily "historical current events" sampling. Take advantage of the "ready to go" lesson plans, which include interactive features.

This site also makes for decent research. For a classroom-ready activity each day to build understanding of historical events in the context of your students' prior knowledge, also try TeachersFirst's Dates That Matter. Include both links on your teacher web page for instant access by students both in and out of class. Maybe start a class wiki for your own "This Day" collection and assign student groups a day of their own. Add to it from year to year. Or have students write blog responses on class or individual blogs as they choose an event for the day from several sources and react to it.

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Today In History - Cowles

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6 to 12
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A very good site for the history buff or those struggling to understand historical events. The story links have real depth and are well written for easy comprehension. Pictures make...more
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A very good site for the history buff or those struggling to understand historical events. The story links have real depth and are well written for easy comprehension. Pictures make the history come alive and support the information given. There are links to particular events of the day, a daily quiz, and a picture of the day. Be aware: some dates do not have any information and other dates provide a very brief list of "happenings."

tag(s): expository writing (44), history day (24)

In the Classroom

This site would be ideal for research projects. For a classroom-ready activity each day to build understanding of historical events in the context of your students' prior knowledge, also try TeachersFirst's Dates That Matter. Include both links on your teacher web page for instant access by students both in and out of class. Maybe start a class wiki for your own "This Day" collection and assign student groups a day of their own. Add to it from year to year. Or have students write blog responses on class or individual blogs as they choose an event for the day from several sources and react to it.

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Foreign Languages and Literature - MIT Open Courseware

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8 to 12
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This site offers free comprehensive, interactive language and literature courses developed by MIT staff as part of their open course ware program. All courses include a regular syllabus...more
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This site offers free comprehensive, interactive language and literature courses developed by MIT staff as part of their open course ware program. All courses include a regular syllabus that features assignments, interactive activities, and other resources such as videos and slideshows. There is a wide range of language offerings; the cultural courses complement the language instruction and include topics such as popular culture, history, economics, media , and thinking skills. There are courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels. This site requires Adobe Acrobat. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): chinese (50), french (90), german (65), india (37), japan (61), japanese (43), latin (22), spanish (108)

In the Classroom

AP history, language, and economics students may find MIT's online course materials useful. MIT has committed to putting its entire curriculum on the web, and these early offerings include syllabi, reading materials, and a variety of subject-specific class notes. Before using these pages, students and parents should all be aware of what Open Courseware is and is not. Teachers at smaller schools may welcome the availability of language alternatives. Teachers of gifted who are looking for acceleration options will also find these courses valuable, though you will need to develop a means of doing assessment if your students are to earn credit for them.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Cosmeo Atlas - Discovery education

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6 to 12
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This interactive world map shares information in video format about culture, government, history, or the natural world. To view the information you may either click on the location...more
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This interactive world map shares information in video format about culture, government, history, or the natural world. To view the information you may either click on the location on the map, or use the Select a Location toolbar. This site requires Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): climate (90), countries (77), environment (318)

In the Classroom

Students can be divided into groups and assigned a country. Each student can use the videos to create a snapshot of the country based upon the culture, government, history, and the natural world. Students can create their own videos outlining the information, a blog post to share with others, newsletters, or any other project that makes a comparison between cultures. Offer this as one of several resources for student research. Your learning support and ESL students will find it easier to follow this information in video than to use text-based resources.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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American Heritage Education Foundation, Inc. - The American Heritage Education Foundation

Grades
K to 12
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Social studies, history, and government teachers - be warned - this site may be the best FREE gift you receive this year. To sum it up in one word - ...more
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Social studies, history, and government teachers - be warned - this site may be the best FREE gift you receive this year. To sum it up in one word - WOW! The highlight of this site is ready-to-go lesson plans (with standards) divided by age level (elementary, middle, and high school). These FREE lesson plans are available online via a PDF file or you may order a FREE CD (they say it is a $150 value).

The elementary topics range from Colonial America to U.S. Presidents (with a focus on George Washington) to the History of Thanksgiving to The Pledge of Allegiance and MANY others. The middle school topics include the Declaration of Independence, Our National Documents, The Gettysburg Address, Religious Expression in School, and several others. The high school topics vary from the Mayflower, to Federalists 47, the First Amendment, and more. Each grade level also includes lessons on character education.

In addition to the wonderful lesson plans, the site also highlights the four themes of the foundation: Unity, Progress, Freedom, and Responsibility. There are also links to some fantastic social studies sites and a wealth of research information about America. Some of the lesson plans and printables require Adobe Acrobat. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): colonial america (108), constitution (87), gettysburg (26), gettysburg address (18), presidents (132), thanksgiving (37)

In the Classroom

Obviously, the lesson plans are useful for all grade levels. Take advantage of these free resources. Many include printable activities for your students to try out. Although the site isn't highly interactive, it does have some great ideas to incorporate into your class to bring history alive.

Make the lesson plans more "technologically advanced" by having students create a wiki or blog entry. Have your high school students complete the lesson on the First Amendment and then have them have a virtual debate about the First Amendment via a class wiki. Have your elementary students complete the lesson on U.S. Presidents and then have each student write a blog entry pretending to be one of the presidents (a great mini-research project). Have your middle school students complete the lesson on the Gettysburg Address and then try to create their own "Address" to talk about the current state of our nation. Have them share their "Address" on a video using YouTube or or TeacherTube (explained here).
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Wanderlust: GOOD traces the most famous trips in history - GOOD magazine

Grades
5 to 12
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Visually interesting, this site offers brief (3--5 stop) illustrated trips reflecting a combination of real-life and fictional journeys, including those by Amelia Earhart, Captain Ahab,...more
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Visually interesting, this site offers brief (3--5 stop) illustrated trips reflecting a combination of real-life and fictional journeys, including those by Amelia Earhart, Captain Ahab, Magellan, Marco Polo, Jack Kerouac, Pizarro, and Phileas Fogg. The site opens with a world map with each of the journeys traced and keyed to the name of the journey. Clicking on a journey brings up photographs, literary illustrations, or drawings from the time period showing highlights of the trip. This site requires Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): columbus day (10), explorers (64), lewis and clark (15), literature (274), marco polo (5)

In the Classroom

The individual journeys are brief, but would provide a nice accompaniment to a lesson, either in literature or history. When introduce Hudson the explorer, share his voyage as an anticipatory set or activator for the lesson. They would be particularly effective on an interactive whiteboard or projector. As your students read other literature or study other events in history, challenge them to create similar "maps" of the journeys in Google Earth.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Quiz School: Create a Quiz Online - Proprofs QuizSchool

Grades
1 to 12
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The site calls itself the "YouTube of Quizzes." This site allows you to create ONLINE quizzes. You MUST register to use this site. Registration does require an email address, user ...more
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The site calls itself the "YouTube of Quizzes." This site allows you to create ONLINE quizzes. You MUST register to use this site. Registration does require an email address, user name, and password. Registration takes less than ten seconds, and is very simple.

Once registered, you click to create a quiz. Then you are asked to choose between a personality quiz or a scored quiz. This site offers extraordinary details. At the scored quiz, you are able to provide a title, tags, description, and choose the type of questions (multiple choice, essay, or fill in the blank). It is simple to insert images, change font styles, insert links, and even score the online quiz. You can create a pass/fail quiz, a graded quiz (with YOU determining what qualifies as an A, B, etc..). You are also able to set a time limit, issue a certificate of achievement, and fill in the possible total score.

Once students have taken the quiz, immediate feedback is provided (including a scale of all participants, the correct answers, final score, and grade). This is a fantastic tool to use to create online quizzes!

Caution: this site does include some minor advertisements. At the time of this review, all advertisements were appropriate. But it would be wise to advise students NOT to click off of the quiz onto any of the advertisements or links.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): quiz (88)

In the Classroom

Use this site to create online quizzes. Create a quiz as a review to share on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Have students take the quiz independently or in cooperative learning groups. Have students create their own quizzes to use for review or as a final project. Embed your quiz (or provide a link to it) on your class website.

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After the Deluge - Smith Magazine

Grades
6 to 12
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This issue of Smith Magazine features an online graphic novel of the events of Hurricane Katrina and its effects on New Orleans and related communities. Since there are very few ...more
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This issue of Smith Magazine features an online graphic novel of the events of Hurricane Katrina and its effects on New Orleans and related communities. Since there are very few words, it's perfect for students of all ages and English ability levels. The drawings are in chronological order and include weather pictures and before and after pictures, as well as specific events of the hurricane.

Warning: Be sure to PREVIEW each section before you show it to the class since there is some profanity in the speech of some characters.

tag(s): graphic novels (6), hurricanes (40), novels (23)

In the Classroom

In light of the increase of hurricane activity, this is a wonderful resource to introduce this weather topic. Use it also in art class, graphic design, and with ESL and ELL students learning to tell stories. Use this site to introduce the world of graphic novels to students who are reluctant readers. Have your class make their own graphic novel about another catastrophic or historical event, either in groups or individually. Check with your administration to be sure it's OK to use this site at student computers since there are spaces for students to respond and also to submit their own work. If that's a problem, use it with your classroom computer and project the novel on the whiteboard (avoiding scenes with questionable vocabulary). Extend the lesson by having students create their own collaborative graphic account of a local history event or fictional tale in small groups.

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Brief Timeline of American Literature and Events - D. Campbell

Grades
8 to 12
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Are you looking for a way to connect literature to cultural and historical elements? Making connections between the arts and humanities and the social atmosphere that spawns them is...more
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Are you looking for a way to connect literature to cultural and historical elements? Making connections between the arts and humanities and the social atmosphere that spawns them is invaluable and this site will help students see how it all "fits." The site offers a great interactive timeline from 1500-1920's. Clicking on a year lines up the political and social history next to the literature of the time. Beginning with the 1890's you can match literature with music and movies as well. This is a great tool for use with the whole class or as a resource for individual students.

tag(s): 1600s (14), 1700s (29), 1800s (48), authors (121)

In the Classroom

Students could use this as a starter for more specific comparisons, including specific regions or states. Use this site as an example for students to create a similar timeline for literature and art from other countries or other cultural areas, such as dance or theatre.

Be sure to share the music and sounds from the time periods. Have students analyze what they think is the meaning behind the songs. What historical names do they hear? Then have students create their own songs or video clips about the literature and/or culture of that time period. Record and share the video clips on TeacherTube (explained here).

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Web Poster Wizard - 4Teachers.org

Grades
K to 12
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Use this terrific online tool for your students to create posters or short reports in a poster format. Create lessons, worksheets, or class pages and instantly publish them online using...more
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Use this terrific online tool for your students to create posters or short reports in a poster format. Create lessons, worksheets, or class pages and instantly publish them online using this free Web Poster Wizard. The teacher sets up an account (for free), and follows simple directions so students can upload images and write about their project or pictures. The site even includes management tools so you can keep separate classes of students and see their work by class.

Plan to spend some time reading through the directions and trying out this tool before you assign it to students. Teachers and students must register and login each time they use this tool. Students can share the URL for their posters with grandparents or parents to show off their good work!

Students will need to know how to locate and upload a file for an image (such as a digital picture) to place it in their poster. If you allow them to use images from the web, the tool asks them to give information on their image source, as well (hooray for ethical use of the Internet!). If you use digital pictures of students, be SURE that you do NOT use full names on the site. You should get parent permission for uploading any student images, even if anonymous.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): posters (40)

In the Classroom

Some uses for this simple tool: book reports (take a digital photo of the book cover), biographical posters of famous people (images from the web), "all about me" posters, posters about community members such as veterans of World War II whom students interview and photograph, author posters, fictitious character studies, science posters on processes or terms with accompanying digital pictures to illustrate, etc. The possibilities are endless. Once students know the tool, they can use it over and over.

Teachers, make sure you select the archive option to keep student projects live online for more than a month. Use the Teacher Feature option to create one web page of your class' archived projects. You will want to put your created web page link prominently on your class homepage.

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