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Thomas Jefferson's Monticello

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6 to 12
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This site, based on Jefferson's Virginia estate, provides good history and an even better, highly detailed description of what Jefferson's daily life was like while at home on his plantation....more
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This site, based on Jefferson's Virginia estate, provides good history and an even better, highly detailed description of what Jefferson's daily life was like while at home on his plantation. Good site for background on 18th century lifestyles, as well as the specifics of one of our greatest historical figures. We've bookmarked the lesson plans; explore from there!

tag(s): jefferson (19)

In the Classroom

Take advantage of the free lesson plans and activities on this site! This would be a great resource for a unit studying the Founding Fathers, Jefferson in particular.

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Spy Letters of the American Revolution - University of Michigan

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4 to 12
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This site offers a collection of resources dealing with spies and espionage during the American Revolution. In addition to copies of actual letters, there are stories about famous spies...more
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This site offers a collection of resources dealing with spies and espionage during the American Revolution. In addition to copies of actual letters, there are stories about famous spies and their impact on the conflict. There are also several neat "experiments" showing how to create secret codes, invisible ink, and other spy tricks. From the University of Michigan.

tag(s): american revolution (86)

In the Classroom

In the "Teachers Lounge" section of this website there are resources for study questions, classroom activities, themes and projects concerning primary sources. This site is an excellent way to get students interested in a time period of which they may think they know everything already. Teachers can also tie the information they learn here into a classroom discussion of espionage and its use in our world today. Definitely check this site out if looking for some fresh ideas on the American Revolution.

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The American Revolution

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9 to 12
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Developed with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities in conjunction with the PBS series Liberty! Extensive links, discussion groups, primary sources, and historical...more
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Developed with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities in conjunction with the PBS series Liberty! Extensive links, discussion groups, primary sources, and historical essays.

tag(s): american revolution (86), evolution (100)

In the Classroom

Be forewarned, some of the links on this site are slightly out of date and may be dead. However, under the resources section of this site are some excellent links for classroom activities and lesson plans to compliment a unit on the American Revolution. If looking for some fresh ideas and lesson plans, refer to this site and check out some of their resources and references.

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Who Wrote the Constitution? - National Archives

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6 to 12
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Here's a collection of biographies of the people who were responsible for writing our Constitution. The delegates to the Constitutional Convention were an interesting group, and this...more
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Here's a collection of biographies of the people who were responsible for writing our Constitution. The delegates to the Constitutional Convention were an interesting group, and this site from the National Archives lets you learn more about them.

tag(s): biographies (87), constitution (79)

In the Classroom

Use the biographies on this site as a starting point working on a research project, or for research material for historical heads. Historical heads allows students to illustrate important events in a character's life, inside of the blank outline of a human head. Students write up elsewhere the significance of every event pictured, but drawing tends to help students organize the material - useful tool for review!

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Ben Franklin - Franklin Institute

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4 to 12
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Ben Franklin is one of America's most colorful patriots. As this site from the Franklin Institute shows, his accomplishments as legislator, diplomat, and scientist were recognized as...more
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Ben Franklin is one of America's most colorful patriots. As this site from the Franklin Institute shows, his accomplishments as legislator, diplomat, and scientist were recognized as extraordinary even in his own day.

tag(s): american revolution (86), evolution (100), franklin (12)

In the Classroom

Within the "learn more" section are k12 resources that list several lesson plans and interactive exhibits and games that could easily be used as learning centers or stations. Have students work on them in the beginnings and ends of a unit, having the material serve as both introduction and review. Great resource for a teacher working on a unit about the Founding Fathers.

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Drums Along the Mowhawk

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6 to 12
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The title has nothing to do with the book by the same name, but this page offers lots of detail about people and places involved in the American revolution in ...more
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The title has nothing to do with the book by the same name, but this page offers lots of detail about people and places involved in the American revolution in New York state. Developed as a labor of love by a TV producer and web designer, there's a lot of primary source content and surprisingly detailed graphics. Well worth a visit.

tag(s): american revolution (86), evolution (100)

In the Classroom

Primary sources could be used to teach both the content and historical thinking skills in your classroom. Divide students into 5-6 groups, with each group assigned a different primary source to read and evaluate. (Sources should come from various perspectives to make the game more interesting, but should have the same general topic) Have the groups present quick summaries of their source to the class, making sure to mention who the author is and whether or not there could be bias. After all have presented, have each team pick a representative to argue in front of the class as to why their source is the most reliable and valid. After all have made their argument, have the class vote off the least reliable "survivor style" until you are left with just one!

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An American Revolution Chronology - The History Place

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4 to 12
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Dates and events from the first settlers through 1800, along with links to biographies and related documents. ...more
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Dates and events from the first settlers through 1800, along with links to biographies and related documents.

tag(s): american revolution (86), colonial america (107)

In the Classroom

Use the timelines on this site to guide students through the events of Colonial America. Open this site on the interactive whiteboard or projector as a semi-agenda for the days activities. This would be a useful site for a US history classroom.

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World War I Document Archive - Brigham Young University

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9 to 12
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Collection of primary sources from Brigham Young University. This site contains extensive, contemporary accounts of World War I events broken out both by theme and chronologically....more
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Collection of primary sources from Brigham Young University. This site contains extensive, contemporary accounts of World War I events broken out both by theme and chronologically. For students interested in working with primary sources, this site is an ideal starting point. Endless research possibilities.

tag(s): world war 1 (54)

In the Classroom

Use this site as a resource for finding invaluable treaties and documents concerning the First World War, which can be used to discuss causes or even the ending of the war. Although it may take some time to go through all of the information, history teachers will appreciate having all of that information in one place.

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World War I

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6 to 12
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We're not partial to "lists of lists," but this Canadian site's thematic organization of scores of web resources provides an effective interdisciplinary framework for a study of the...more
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We're not partial to "lists of lists," but this Canadian site's thematic organization of scores of web resources provides an effective interdisciplinary framework for a study of the Great War and its effects on Europe and the world. The section on participation by country helps show that it wasn't just the French, Germans, British, and Americans who were involved.

tag(s): world war 1 (54)

In the Classroom

This would be a good site for lesson planning or general research.

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The Aerodrome: Aces & Aircraft of World War I

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6 to 12
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Lots of facts, sound effects, and historical information on World War I aviators and their activities. The kids will love this one. ...more
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Lots of facts, sound effects, and historical information on World War I aviators and their activities. The kids will love this one.

tag(s): aviation (38), world war 1 (54)

In the Classroom

Use this site on a projector or interactive whiteboard to discuss and informally assess prior knowledge as you start your study of aircraft in WWI. One of the more interesting tidbits is a count of the "victories" each Ace had, distinguished by how many enemy targets they destroyed.

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The Great War - PBS

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6 to 12
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Web site based on the PBS series of the same name. ...more
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Web site based on the PBS series of the same name.

tag(s): world war 1 (54)

In the Classroom

This site is divided into different phases of the war, providing images, background, timelines and video for each. The video clips are relatively short, making them appropriate to play in your classroom during a unit on World War I. Find a video applicable to your topic and use it to supplement the information found in the textbook. Be sure to search the site to determine whether any of the other resources would benefit your classroom. This is definitely one that should be saved as a favorite on the teacher's computer.

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First Hand Accounts

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6 to 12
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Here is a collection of first-hand accounts of selected battles and other events during World War I, from the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand onward. They're a great introduction...more
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Here is a collection of first-hand accounts of selected battles and other events during World War I, from the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand onward. They're a great introduction to the use of primary sources in studying historical events. Students may be particularly interested in comparing first-hand accounts of an event with the way in which those same events are presented today.

tag(s): world war 1 (54)

In the Classroom

Separate students into cooperative learning groups of 4-5 students, and have them look at an assigned firsthand account from the website. (Be sure to save the site as a favorite on classroom computers so students can access it quickly and without trouble.) Have students read their accounts with the end goal being that they should be able to teach their other classmates what the account says, and it's significance. These accounts do provide far more graphic information than the textbook does, so it would be interesting for students to also compare the account as to what they had learned previously. A good way to show this would be through the use of a Venn Diagram which students could present to the class after the fact. We recommend using a site such as Interactive Two Circle Venn Diagram (reviewed here).

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The Battle of Gettysburg

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6 to 12
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This site from Militaryhistoryonline.com offers a complete military historian's resource for understanding the three days of the Gettysburg battle. This details in this site will be...more
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This site from Militaryhistoryonline.com offers a complete military historian's resource for understanding the three days of the Gettysburg battle. This details in this site will be overkill for all but the most enthusiastic civil war buffs, but it provides an excellent overview of the events of the battle. If a field trip to Gettysburg is in your schedule, this site would be a great starting point for either teachers or students.

tag(s): civil war (145), gettysburg (26)

In the Classroom

Use this site to supplement a lecture on the battle of Gettysburg. The site offers a lot of battle layouts and images that would be useful if pulled up on the interactive whiteboard or projector. Before the lecture pull up the images needed on the interactive whiteboard to have them ready for class. The images are mostly battle lay-outs and diagrams, but are helpful to to portray the events of that battle.

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A Time Remembered - University of Rochester

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6 to 12
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Treasured moments from the 1850s are relived in the archived collection of Godey's Lady's Book, the periodical that many scholars say changed the role of the American woman. Each book...more
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Treasured moments from the 1850s are relived in the archived collection of Godey's Lady's Book, the periodical that many scholars say changed the role of the American woman. Each book is full of poetry, sketches and articles by well-known authors of the time. From the University of Rochester.

tag(s): women (101), womens suffrage (26)

In the Classroom

One interesting feature of these books are the articles considering etiquette. During a unit on suffrage or the Women's rights movement, pass out this article or have it projected on to the board as students are coming in to your classroom. Direct students to immediately read the article and respond in some way, whether or be verbal or written in some sort of journal. This is a great comparison to make to the expectations of the suffragettes, and the rules that most in society thought were appropriate. An interesting point would be if someone said this today - are they still right? Why or why not? What things have changed that makes this statement inapplicable now? A great way to connect past and present while getting students connected to the content!

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The Making of America - University of Micigan

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9 to 12
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Journal and periodical articles from antebellum period through reconstruction. Most articles are images of the actual publication. From the University of Michigan. ...more
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Journal and periodical articles from antebellum period through reconstruction. Most articles are images of the actual publication. From the University of Michigan.

tag(s): civil war (145)

In the Classroom

Teachers can either use this site to refer students who are working on research project and are in need of primary sources, or they can use it to search for sources for their own classroom. The sources are primarily from the 19th century, so it would be perfect for studying the Civil War, the Industrial Revolution, or the "Gilded Age."

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The Mexican American War - PBS

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9 to 12
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Here's a site from the PBS station in Dallas that examines the reasons behind the Mexican American War (1846-1848). This is one of the nation's least-studied conflicts, so this resource...more
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Here's a site from the PBS station in Dallas that examines the reasons behind the Mexican American War (1846-1848). This is one of the nation's least-studied conflicts, so this resource could be particularly helpful to students or American History teachers.

tag(s): mexico (34)

In the Classroom

Take advantage of the free lesson plans and activities on this site! There is also a great interactive timeline on this site that could be used on the interactive whiteboard or projector to display for students how political boundaries were changed due to the war. This is an excellent resource for a US history classroom.

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The Star Spangled Banner - Smithsonian Institution

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6 to 12
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This site from the Smithsonian documents the historic importance of the flag that flew over Fort McHenry when Francis Scott Key wrote the song that has become our national anthem. ...more
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This site from the Smithsonian documents the historic importance of the flag that flew over Fort McHenry when Francis Scott Key wrote the song that has become our national anthem.

tag(s): war of 1812 (14)

In the Classroom

The site, apparently still under construction, includes a resource page for teachers.

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War of 1812 - Fort Erie Home Page

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9 to 12
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Information and links about the War of 1812. ...more
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Information and links about the War of 1812.

tag(s): war of 1812 (14)

In the Classroom

Use the letters from soldiers about Fort Erie to teach the content in a less direct way. Divide students into 5-6 groups, with each group assigned a different primary source to read and evaluate. Have the groups present quick summaries of their source to the class, making sure to mention who the author is and whether or not there could be bias. After all have presented, have each team pick a representative to argue in front of the class as to why their source is the most reliable and valid. After all have made their argument, have the class vote off the least reliable "survivor style" until you are left with just one! Once students are done, they are not only left with a method of critiquing sources, but the content seen in all 6 letters. A great way to indirectly teach two lessons at once in a social studies classroom!

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The Making of America - Cornell University

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6 to 12
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Cornell University created this site based on a collection of magazines and other printed materials covering the period from roughly 1840 - 1890. The listings show images of the actual...more
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Cornell University created this site based on a collection of magazines and other printed materials covering the period from roughly 1840 - 1890. The listings show images of the actual pages from the journals, so students can see images and text as they originally appeared. This makes the site a great way for students to understand just what people of the period were seeing and reading.

tag(s): journals (21)

In the Classroom

Use this site as a resource to find primary sources, whether it be for in class activities or for students working on research projects & papers. If using for classroom activities, consider having the pictures serve as prompts, introductory activities, wrap-ups or even as an analytical activity. Students can analyze whats in the picture or primary source for a variety of purposes. If using as a resource for research projects, make sure to include the site on any handouts as well as post on your class wiki or web page.

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Lawmaking for a New Nation - Library of Congress

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9 to 12
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Early Congressional Journals - From the Library of Congress. This site offers access to journals of the first U.S. Congresses. These journals were the precursor to today's Congressional...more
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Early Congressional Journals - From the Library of Congress. This site offers access to journals of the first U.S. Congresses. These journals were the precursor to today's Congressional Record. Primary source material for study of the Federalist period.

tag(s): congress (33), constitution (79)

In the Classroom

Use this site as a resource for finding primary sources that can be used in your classroom. One great way way to do so is through visual discovery, introducing the topic of the Continental Congress. Select 3-5 images from this site, choosing the most powerful and moving images. Placing the images on individual slides, allow students 1-2 minutes to observe each image. During that time period, students should be taking notes based on what they observe, predict and infer about each image. The more powerful and detailed the image is, the more information students can take out. After the class has observed all the chosen images, have a class discussion based on the notes students took. This is a great way to introduce content in a way that gets students thinking, as well as avoiding the typical lecture format.

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