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Interactives: Historical and Cultural Contexts - Annenberg Media

Grades
6 to 12
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This website teaches students to recognize different kinds of primary documents, interpret them by using context clues, and apply what they've learned to better understand the past....more
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This website teaches students to recognize different kinds of primary documents, interpret them by using context clues, and apply what they've learned to better understand the past. Professional historians rely heavily on primary documents in their research. The world wide web has opened up a wealth of primary documents for use by a broader audience, and students can gain valuable insight into the past by understanding and analyzing them. Advanced classes, particularly AP-level, emphasize the importance of primary documents. What is particularly good about this site is that it is written at a level accessible to younger students. This allows teachers to begin using primary documents much sooner. The Speed Round requires FLASH. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): primary sources (86)

In the Classroom

The site would work well on an interactive whiteboard (or projector) as a classroom activity. With the teacher leading and clarifying, the class might walk through several simple document analyses to gain an understanding of primary documents and their uses. If you do History Day competition, this activity would be a good starter early in the process. Alternatively, students could be instructed to complete the activity independently as an introduction to a more complex discussion of primary documents or to prepare for the dreaded DBQs ("document-based questions") in AP History classes.
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Biographical Dictionary - s9.com

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3 to 12
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This Wikipedia-type dictionary includes more than 33,000 biographies on men and women from ancient times to today. Search by birth or death dates, professions, achievements, name or...more
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This Wikipedia-type dictionary includes more than 33,000 biographies on men and women from ancient times to today. Search by birth or death dates, professions, achievements, name or other keywords. Anyone can register to edit or add to a biography. If you do recommend this site as a source for research, be sure to have the discussion about its unknown authorship and usefulness as a general information tool but not as a "scholarly" resource.

tag(s): critical thinking (108)

In the Classroom

This site could be a terrific way to publish student research projects to the real world. When you assign research projects on a famous scientist, author, famous American, musician, etc., have students create their written projects in a format that will fit into this online dictionary, including providing links and references for their information. Younger students could write an entry together as a class (perhaps on an author whose book you have just read). Challenge middle and high school students to find articles in your research area that contain possible inaccuracies or bias (and the research to prove it) and present both the original and their proposed changes to the class before putting them online. What a critical thinking challenge!

Be sure to follow your district's acceptable use policy if you are allowing students to contribute to this site. Make sure you have written parent permission to post student work online.

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The History of Jim Crow - NYLife/PBS

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6 to 12
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This website presents a comprehensive look at Jim Crow and the history of segregation in the United States. It is full of direct information as well as links to related ...more
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This website presents a comprehensive look at Jim Crow and the history of segregation in the United States. It is full of direct information as well as links to related sites. Subtopics include television, geography, history, American literature, and teacher resources. The teacher resources include lesson plans (with standards), activities, and other resources. The literature connections provided are the "icing on the cake." Note: some additional information about the site -- and sales of videos -- appears in a pop-up. You may want to temporarily allow pop-ups to see if this information is helpful.

tag(s): segregation (15)

In the Classroom

There are countless ways that secondary teachers could incorporate this website. The lesson plans are ready to go and simple to use (see Teacher Resources). Why not work together with your teaching team to offer an interdisciplinary unit on segregation, relating the history to literature? Use the books, To Kill a Mockingbird, Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, or numerous others to help your students visualize the time period and make connections about the history and the literature. This website is also a great opportunity for collaborative work. Have your students read different historical fiction books from this time period, and then share the various similarities that they find. As an extension, have students write fictional blog entries from people they read about.
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National Museum of African American History and Culture - Smithsonian

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6 to 12
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Currently, the National Museum of African American History and Culture exists only virtually; it is not slated to be a physical location until 2015. Therefore, the creators of this...more
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Currently, the National Museum of African American History and Culture exists only virtually; it is not slated to be a physical location until 2015. Therefore, the creators of this website have to do much more than showcase a traditional museum and its artifacts and provide driving directions. The centerpiece of the site is its interactive web, which appears just below the "masthead" of the site. Enlarge it (which requires a "pop up"), and you can see a visual representation of the complex connections among issues, historical figures and cultural icons related to African American History. Click on any link on the web to be taken to further information. There are also traditional lesson plans (under the education link) and a great interactive timeline. This is a rich resource for Black History Month or an African American perspective on many historical topics.

tag(s): africa (180), african american (113), black history (59)

In the Classroom

A great tool for individual research, add this site to your teacher web page so students can access it from home. Use the "threads" web on an interactive whiteboard to illustrate how culture, history and issues are related in complex and unexpected ways. Use the resources you can access through the "web" to illustrate lessons.
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Ultimate rollercoasters.com - ultimaterollercoaster.com

Grades
4 to 12
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Although this website doesn't have a lot of "bells and whistles." It is very useful to learn more about the physics behind thrill rides, the history of the roller coaster, ...more
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Although this website doesn't have a lot of "bells and whistles." It is very useful to learn more about the physics behind thrill rides, the history of the roller coaster, and more. The site provides statistical information, historical information, construction information, and more about various thrill rides (mainly roller coasters). Did you ever wonder what the tallest steel roller coaster was in the world? This website provides a "record book" with a wide variety of statistical information about what roller coasters can claim to be the tallest, longest, fastest, and more.

tag(s): roller coasters (3)

In the Classroom

This website could also be used for various research projects (either researching actual roller coasters - their history, structure, speed, etc..), or even researching different time periods and the types of rides that were available during that time. If you study laws of motion, assign students to find "real world" examples of the laws in action using research on this site. Ignore the annoying pop-ups!

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Timeless Ideas for Teaching - Concord Monitor Publishing

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6 to 12
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Posted by the New Hampshire Concord Monitor Newspaper in the Classroom program, this website offers many interactive ideas that students can use either with a physical newspaper...more
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Posted by the New Hampshire Concord Monitor Newspaper in the Classroom program, this website offers many interactive ideas that students can use either with a physical newspaper in front of them, with an online news service such as CNN, or with online editions of newspapers that you find here. The examples used all refer to the New Hampshire newspaper, but are easily adaptable to whatever topic you want the students to deal with. This site includes such varied activities as creating a database and writing recipes. It covers every section of a newspaper. Students could create their own classroom newspaper using some of these activities or simply create journalistic articles based on whatever topic you are currently teaching. This is adaptable to almost any grade level and subject area.

tag(s): local history (13), news (261), newspapers (94)

In the Classroom

Whether you use hard-copy papers or electronic editions, many of these ideas will work even better using technology: word processing, wikis, blogs (for editorials), graphic organizer tools, digital cameras, etc. Use today's tools to study this powerful medium as it goes through transition into an electronic world. Consider asking students to compare electronic vs. hard-copy newspapers and their pros/cons, as well.

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The Online Guide to Traditional Games - James Masters

Grades
8 to 12
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Clearly, students love playing games of all kinds. This website takes a look at the history of games from board games to lawn games. It both describes the pieces, the ...more
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Clearly, students love playing games of all kinds. This website takes a look at the history of games from board games to lawn games. It both describes the pieces, the boards, the rules, and the history. Since many of the games are from other places around the world, this site affords the opportunity to investigate how game playing relates to life in different times and places. This is a great site to get kids involved in history, games, and creativity. Not only can they learn about games from the Renaissance and before; they will laugh at names like "Toad in the Hole" and "Ringing the Bull." While many of these games will show the origins of games they play today, it will give students ideas on how to create their own games.

In the Classroom

Have students design gameboards or cards, game pieces, and rules to play variations of the games on the site. In your world cultures class, have students play and compare games from different cultures. Use game-creation as the culminating project at the end of a content or research unit or simply as a way to teach writing: both informational (directions) and creative. Have students role-play characters who might play original or historic games by writing character sketches and then performing them. Let the games begin!

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CommonCensus Map Project - Michael Baldwin

Grades
9 to 12
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Today's world is increasingly mobile, and deep-seated regional identity may be fading into the background. This project seeks to redraw the map of the United States using responders'...more
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Today's world is increasingly mobile, and deep-seated regional identity may be fading into the background. This project seeks to redraw the map of the United States using responders' self-reported regional "identity" rather than political or geographic borders. For example, the city or US region you most closely identify with may be different from your mailing address. Aside from being a new way of thinking about the question "Where are you from?" this concept has enormous political implications as candidates focus on the regional issues that matter to voters. There are also important issues relative to immigration, national identity, and the ever-shrinking global economy reflected in this data.

tag(s): demographics (19)

In the Classroom

The website is a work in progress and depends upon users to respond to a brief questionnaire. It might be interesting to have students participate after a discussion of concepts of regional identification or the importance of political involvement. (The form does require the user to enter a home address, but no other identifying information). Your students could also invite their parents to participate or conduct a local drive to add data to the project and see what happens to the map. The information gathered from this site might also be helpful in talking about regional and local political representation during election years. The opportuniites for critical thinking abound with this site.

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Time of Remembrance - Elk Grove Unified School District

Grades
9 to 12
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An admirable effort by a California school district to honor Japanese Americans who were discriminated against and sent to internment camps during World War II, this site contains a...more
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An admirable effort by a California school district to honor Japanese Americans who were discriminated against and sent to internment camps during World War II, this site contains a wealth of information for those doing research on this difficult chapter of American history. Although this site would be most useful for either teachers or students doing in-depth research on the topic, there are some more generally helpful gems here. Along with the wonderful interviews with people who were directly affected by discrimination, there are video clips and photographs that would be helpful in illustrating this time to students.

tag(s): california (27), japan (61), japanese (42), world war 2 (142)

In the Classroom

There are lesson plans (tied to California standards) and good resource lists for students and teachers. Skip the "guided tour" of the website, however, unless you are very new at using the Internet. Share this resource as one of several when studying civil rights, discrimination, and the U.S. Constitution in theory and practice. Have students create products to compare the internment camps to similar acts in history or create a presentation on the constitutional violations of such camps. Or include this as part of a study of the decades of the twentieth century.

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Powerpoint Palooza - Susan M. Pojer

Grades
9 to 12
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Sometimes you oversleep. Sometimes you just need to add a little extra "punch" to a tried-and-true lesson. Maybe you just got an interactive whiteboard and haven't had time ...more
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Sometimes you oversleep. Sometimes you just need to add a little extra "punch" to a tried-and-true lesson. Maybe you just got an interactive whiteboard and haven't had time to create a lot of visual resources to use with it. Maybe you just want a fresh perspective. This site contains nearly 200 PowerPoint slide shows focused on history lessons, particularly at the upper levels or Advanced Placement level.

In the Classroom

Download a PowerPoint presentation relevant to an upcoming set of lessons and use it as a starting point for your own version, or use the presentation as-is. The teacher who has created most of these, Susan M. Pojer, grants full permission to use these resources as long as she is credited as the original author. Some of the lessons have sound files, and they all have the usual PowerPoint bells and whistles. Of course, we don't want to commit "assault with a deadly bullet point" day after day, but these presentations may be just what you need in a pinch, or may give you a new way of looking at a stale lesson plan. Ready, set, download!

An alternative would be to give the PowerPoint file to your students (in small groups) and ask them to transform it into an interactive learning tool for their peers: add questions, feedback, more images, etc. so the show becomes a student-created tutorial on the topic of your lesson or unit. Of course, students will be graded on the accuracy of their information as well as their creativity. Think of it as inverse teaching. Prepare a rubric before you start or use our http://www.teachersfirst.com Rubrics to the Rescue to find one that shares your expectations with the class.

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National Women's History Museum - National Women's History Museum

Grades
7 to 12
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The National Women's History Museum site includes a rich collection of resources. Although the collection is certainly deep on issues related to women's suffrage, there is also information...more
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The National Women's History Museum site includes a rich collection of resources. Although the collection is certainly deep on issues related to women's suffrage, there is also information on women in World War II, women and education, women and the Progressive movement, and women spies. There are good photographs of artifacts from the women's movement, and a nice collection of lesson plans, grouped by grade level.

tag(s): jamestown (11), women (101), womens suffrage (26), world war 2 (142)

In the Classroom

Of course, the site would be useful to students doing research on the women's movement in general, or on the role of women during several important historical eras. In the "educational resources" section, there is a collection of quotations from women that would be great for creating displays for women's history month. There is also a group of quizzes that could be adapted for classroom use. The section focused on the women of Jamestown includes the stories of Native American women as well as the role of early European settler women and could supplement the usual Thanksgiving lessons on the new American colonies. There are also free lesson plans and classroom activities that teachers should take advantage of!

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Echoes of War: Stories from the Big Red One - Ball State University

Grades
8 to 12
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"The War," the PBS series by Ken Burns on World War II, has provided teachers with a fabulous new resource for teaching this time period. This site focuses on ...more
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"The War," the PBS series by Ken Burns on World War II, has provided teachers with a fabulous new resource for teaching this time period. This site focuses on one component--the 1st Infantry Division, or "The Big Red One,"-- and its role during that war. The site includes close-ups of artifacts, interviews with soldiers, a Flash-enabled video gallery featuring historical footage, and a great Q & A style quiz on tactics and weapons.

tag(s): veterans (19), world war 2 (142)

In the Classroom

This site will be useful on a number of "fronts." Provide a link to this site for students who are doing research on World War II. Use the documentary footage to introduce a lesson or to provide visual impact. Use the highlighted artifacts (projected on a screen or whiteboard) to give a cultural or anthropological slant to a discussion of the war. The soldiers' stories might provide inspiration for students to interview local veterans (perhaps from WWII, but more likely from Vietnam or more recent Middle East conflicts), or could prepare a class for a guest speaker.
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The Object of History - Smithsonian National Museum of American History

Grades
5 to 12
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The National Museum of American History contains some of the most beloved artifacts from US cultural and political history. This site highlights a handful of these artifacts, and uses...more
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The National Museum of American History contains some of the most beloved artifacts from US cultural and political history. This site highlights a handful of these artifacts, and uses them to teach students of history (both those in the desks and those at the front of the class) the power of artifacts to educate. For each of five artifacts, there is a Quick Time 360-degree look at the piece, and a number of context-setting resources associated with it. However, the most important aspect of this site is the section providing tips to teachers for how to use artifacts to add impact to a lesson.

tag(s): museums (49)

In the Classroom

Use this site as a mini lesson for yourself in the use of artifacts in the classroom. We are often called to make education more "hands on," and this is a prime example of how to do this effectively with history. Use the specific artifacts featured on this site (and project the 360 views on an interactive white board or screen for maximum punch), but consider how you could also bring artifacts into the classroom using the suggestions provided. They need not be priceless museum pieces; in fact, an academic discussion of the cultural impact of a familiar object like the iPod or the cell phone could be quite effective. Extend the activity by having students in small groups create an artifact collection on a wiki using digital pictures they take themselves. Document a local landmark, an era in your school, or even today's teen lifestyle through artifacts.

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HistoryBuff.com - R. J. Brown

Grades
5 to 12
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This is a fascinating website begun by a man who was fascinated by first-person accounts of history. It is a newspaper-based site and offers something unique to the visitor. There ...more
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This is a fascinating website begun by a man who was fascinated by first-person accounts of history. It is a newspaper-based site and offers something unique to the visitor. There are such diverse things as the "Nameplate Hall of Fame," featuring interesting newspaper titles and primary source material for those who are doing serious research or who are just interested in the perspective of the time. Panoramas, which show pictures of a variety of historical characters and their backgrounds as well as interactive quizzes will get students enthused about the reality of history. The transcripts from actual newspapers on Jack the Ripper, Bonnie and Clyde, and the Louisiana Purchase were particularly fascinating. Note: the interactive newspaper archive requires Flash.

tag(s): news (261), newspapers (94), primary sources (86)

In the Classroom

This is a great site for sparking the imagination! Share a shot of a newspaper on a projector as an anticipatory set to a history lesson. SHOW the parts of a newspaper when you study this and have students annotated them on your interactive whiteboard. Opportunities for writing prompts also abound. After reading through some of the transcripts, students can post their own responses or letters to the editor as a blog. They can make their own podcasts after listening to some of the speeches or they can make their own newspapers after searching through some of the interesting nameplates and articles about actual historical events. The sky's the limit after perusing this innovative and complete site.

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in Our Own Backyard: The Hidden Problem of Child Farmworkers - AFT

Grades
8 to 12
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This site presents facts, video, activities, and thoughtful questions about the treatment of migrant children today in the U.S. Help students learn first hand about social problems,...more
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This site presents facts, video, activities, and thoughtful questions about the treatment of migrant children today in the U.S. Help students learn first hand about social problems, the possibility of social change, the role of legislation, critical thinking, and the power of original documents.

tag(s): immigration (58), migration (59)

In the Classroom

Use this site as a launch point for debates, class discussion, or student projects on the history of labor, the contributions of minorities in American life, and the hot current events discussions of border control. Consider this topic for possible social action projects or political letter-writing and more. Examples of projects other classrooms have created are available on the website as well as teacher testimonials on teaching about child labor.
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HippoCampus - Monterey Institute for Technology and Education

Grades
9 to 12
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Find multimedia content and lessons ready to go, and customizable by your preferences on this incredible, free, online learning site. Whether you need a comprehensive curriculum for...more
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Find multimedia content and lessons ready to go, and customizable by your preferences on this incredible, free, online learning site. Whether you need a comprehensive curriculum for selected high school courses, a way to differentiate instruction, or materials to reinforce challenging topics, this site has it. The current subjects include Algebra, American Government, Biology, Calculus, Environmental Science, Physics, Religion, and U.S. History. The subjects extend through high school and into AP and college level material. Open a course at the left and browse the topics, especially the multimedia offerings. A free instructor account allows you to select the modules you want your students to see and share them via a unique URL for assignments or at-home review. Since the content is offered collaboratively from multiple sources, the courses each have their own "look." The ones our review team explored all included audio-- a real plus for ESL/ELL or low level readers. Requires Flash and Quicktime. Get them from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): environment (317)

In the Classroom

Explore the curriculum topics for your subject area and select some options for students to use in class or for review. This is also an excellent option for leaving plans for a substitute who may have no expertise in your subject area! Many of the multimedia modules are well-suited for interactive whiteboard or projector (or for students to navigate at an individual pace on laptops). Have gifted students? Allow them to "compact" new content and extend into higher levels using this site. Be sure to share a link from your teacher web page for students who need an alternate presentation of material or for absentees. Share this site at the beginning of the school year for students wanting more of a challenge.
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Opensecrets.org - Open Secrets

Grades
9 to 12
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A compilation of data about fund-raising and the financing of political candidates in the United States, this site contains a massive amount of information. You can drill down to the...more
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A compilation of data about fund-raising and the financing of political candidates in the United States, this site contains a massive amount of information. You can drill down to the zip code level and find out who in your local area is donating how much to which political candidates and parties. You can search by politician or by candidates and see where their financial support comes from. You can track particular issues or take a historical look at campaign and political finance.

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

In the Classroom

Put this site on your TeachersFirst favorites list or teacher web page so students can use it for research on political candidates and issues. Civics teachers will find it useful in demonstrating the importance of lobbying and campaign finance in the political arena. Economics teachers can use these data to illustrate the connection between wealth and political power. Teachers doing lessons focused on the upcoming elections can track current Presidential candidates and their major contributors.
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September 11,2001 documentary project - Library of Congress

Grades
7 to 12
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From the Library of Congress' American Memory project, this site links to a large collection of audio, video, text, and artwork related the events of September 11, 2001. Users ...more
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From the Library of Congress' American Memory project, this site links to a large collection of audio, video, text, and artwork related the events of September 11, 2001. Users can search by media, by topic or by title.

tag(s): new york (26), sept11 (21), terrorism (49)

In the Classroom

This site would be most useful to students doing research on the 9/11 attacks, but also could provide teachers with supplemental material for a lesson on the events of that date. Although teachers will remember the day vividly, most students were young enough when it occurred that their memories will be clouded. Another use for this site is as an example of the power and necessity of primary sources in documenting any event. Compare these resources to accounts we have of Pearl Harbor and other major events as you ask student to conduct an interviewing project of their own, perhaps of local history.

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September 11 Digital Archive - Center for History and New Media

Grades
7 to 12
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A good start for accessing a wealth of information related to the events of September 11, 2001, this site provides links to research databases, first person accounts and photo and ...more
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A good start for accessing a wealth of information related to the events of September 11, 2001, this site provides links to research databases, first person accounts and photo and sound galleries. For most teachers, 9/11 is a very recent event and is fresh in our minds. However, for students, the details of that terrible day may be fuzzy either because they were young when it happened, or because they were shielded from much of the news coverage. This site can help present the account. Among the "Special Collections" is a link to an innovative sound memorial site that provides a montage of voices and sounds recorded on September 11. Although the main site does not, some of the linked sites require Flash. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): new york (26), sept11 (21), terrorism (49)

In the Classroom

Preview carefully for younger students. Use the site in your discussions of current events and terrorism-related topics or share it as a resource for high school students doing research projects. As politicians talk about Sept 11, this site can help fill the gaps in your students' background. You can easily demonstrate primary and secondary sources with these engaging examples.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Alphabet Organizer - Read Write Think (Iron Monkey Interactive)

Grades
K to 12
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This Alphabet Organizer makes learning words and terminology exciting-- and organized. All levels may use this--from primary students learning the alphabet to secondary students learning...more
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This Alphabet Organizer makes learning words and terminology exciting-- and organized. All levels may use this--from primary students learning the alphabet to secondary students learning advanced vocabulary. On the interactive keypad, key in the beginning letter of a word. Key in the rest of the word on the blanks provided. You also have the option of typing in the word's meaning. When your list is entered, you may choose a booklet or a chart format for the presentation of your information. Studying content-area words or vocabulary meanings have never been so easy.

tag(s): alphabet (92), vocabulary (324)

In the Classroom

Think outside the 'box' when considering this application. Teachers may opt to teach the elements of the story through entering character traits, setting, plot events, etc., then printing a chart to teach those concepts. Special Ed or ESL/ELL teachers and teachers will love using this organizer to help students organize new words they must learn. If students use a three-ring notebook, new words can be added over time. Mark this tool as a favorite on your classroom computer for students to access as needed.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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