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The Myth of the Melting Pot - Washington Post

Grades
9 to 12
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A site which takes a new twist on immigration, suggesting that cultures meld into the American tapestry differently than they once did. Pictures, readings, and suggestions for further...more
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A site which takes a new twist on immigration, suggesting that cultures meld into the American tapestry differently than they once did. Pictures, readings, and suggestions for further discussion.

tag(s): cultures (105), immigration (58), migration (59)

In the Classroom

Teachers looking for another perspective to add to a class discussion on assimilation or immigration should add this article to their curriculum. Have students read the article as homework or as an in-class activity, via individual classroom computers. Students should read quietly and then respond or reflect in some manner. Teachers can do this via classroom discussion, or can have students work on this via blogpost on your class wiki. Not comfortable with wikis? Have no wiki worries - check out the TeachersFirst's Wiki Walk-Through.

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Ellis Island - Original Images

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4 to 12
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This site from the California Museum of Photography uses original stereo photos of Ellis Island to give students a first-hand look at the largest entry point to America. Though the...more
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This site from the California Museum of Photography uses original stereo photos of Ellis Island to give students a first-hand look at the largest entry point to America. Though the quality of the images is uneven, some of the faces make wonderful starting points for a discussion of, "What's going on here..." or "How would you feel if..." If you're creative, this is nice raw material.

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

In the Classroom

Use the images on this site to create a "picture walk" in your classroom, introducing the topic of immigration in the 19th and 20th century. Select 10-15 of the more powerful and diverse images, hanging them up in different locations around your classroom. Have students rotate around the classroom every 30-45 seconds, jotting down what they observe and infer about each image until the entire class has completed the circuit. After the class is back in their seats, have a class discussion based on what they observed and what this says about the immigration experience. A great way to get students thinking about the content in a way that's more personal and lecture-less!

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Immigration Simulation - Ellis Island

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6 to 12
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On its surface, this site appears to be simply a "virtual tour" of Ellis Island. However, the Teacher's section contains a good deal of information on how to create an ...more
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On its surface, this site appears to be simply a "virtual tour" of Ellis Island. However, the Teacher's section contains a good deal of information on how to create an on-site, interdisciplinary immigration experience for students. There are tips on content, involving parents, and other aspects of the project. Well worth a look if you're studying this time period.

tag(s): ellis island (9), immigration (58), migration (59)

In the Classroom

Take advantage of the free lesson plans and classroom activities hosted on this site! Make sure to save this one as a favorite to allow for easier retrieval later on.

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Immigrant Wall of Honor

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6 to 12
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Information on immigration, Ellis Island, ethnic migrations. ...more
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Information on immigration, Ellis Island, ethnic migrations.

tag(s): ellis island (9), immigration (58), migration (59), new york (26)

In the Classroom

Use the "search names" option to allow students to search for their ancestors who came through Ellis Island, or even to see if they can find anyone with a like-name. The activity could be a great writing prompt, with students writing a diary entry of the person they found, detailing what it must have been like the pass through Ellis Island. There would have to be additional resources available about Ellis Island, but it could make for a great activity!

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The Ellis Island Museum

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5 to 12
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This site is maintained by the Ellis Island Museum, and it spends most of its space describing museum programs and publications. Still, there are bits of history scattered throughout,...more
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This site is maintained by the Ellis Island Museum, and it spends most of its space describing museum programs and publications. Still, there are bits of history scattered throughout, but web surfers will need several additional sources to create an adequate picture of the importance of this little island in the history of American immigration.

tag(s): ellis island (9), immigration (58), migration (59), new york (26)

In the Classroom

One of the more interesting details of this site is the timeline of Ellis Island that is showcased in the section entitled "Ellis Island." The background information is interesting and provides reason for Ellis Island's symbolic value. Introduce this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Then have students explore this site independently or in small groups. To show what they have learned from this site, challenge students to create an online graphic to share using Tabblo reviewed here. Have students pick a detail from the timeline such as most interesting, most important or most symbolic.

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Ellis Island - Through America's Gateway

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9 to 12
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Good content, but sometimes difficult to navigate. ...more
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Good content, but sometimes difficult to navigate.

tag(s): ellis island (9), immigration (58), migration (59), new york (26)

In the Classroom

Over the interactive whiteboard, use this site to introduce a unit on Ellis Island or Immigration in the 19th and 20th century. Explore the site with students, noting in particular the images and the sections concerning requirements and exams. The images and text are short and to the point, doing an excellent job of summarizing what students need to know. Very useful site for the US history teacher!

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Within These Walls - Smithsonian Institution

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6 to 12
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The Smithsonian Museum of American History created this site to document the history of life in a 250+ year old Massachusetts house. Owned by six families through the centuries, the...more
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The Smithsonian Museum of American History created this site to document the history of life in a 250+ year old Massachusetts house. Owned by six families through the centuries, the site shows how life in the house, and the people who lived there, have changed over the years. This site could be a great starting point for a "What's different? What's the same?" discussion about history.

tag(s): family (59), massachusetts (10)

In the Classroom

The "Go Back in time" activity would be a quick and interesting way for students to review primary evidences and determine what time period they would be from. This can be done as a class on the interactive whiteboard. Complete the activity, and afterwards let it lead into a class discussion of what sources are and how historians determine validity. This would be a great way to review the information before a big research project or paper, when students will be collecting their own sources.

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Religion and the Founding of the American Republic

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6 to 12
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This site from the Library of Congress traces the role of religion in the founding of both individual colonies and the American federal government using primary sources and documents....more
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This site from the Library of Congress traces the role of religion in the founding of both individual colonies and the American federal government using primary sources and documents. It would be useful for introducing students to primary research, or for any exploration of the different purposes for which Europeans came to America.

tag(s): colonial america (107), primary sources (86)

In the Classroom

Use the images on this site to create a "picture walk" in your classroom, introducing the topic of religion in US politics and government. Select 10-15 of the more powerful and diverse images, hanging them up in different locations around your classroom. Have students rotate around the classroom every 30-45 seconds, jotting down what they observe and infer about each image until the entire class has completed the circuit. After the class is back in their seats, have a class discussion based on what they observed and what this says about the people's desire for an establishment clause. A great way to get students thinking about the content in a way that's more personal and lecture-less!

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Picturing the Century - National Archives

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4 to 12
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The National Archives does it again... This on-line exhibit offers more than 100 images of Americans during the past century. While each is part of a major theme in its ...more
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The National Archives does it again... This on-line exhibit offers more than 100 images of Americans during the past century. While each is part of a major theme in its own right, these images are a perfect way to get students thinking about what people were doing and thinking at the time.

tag(s): images (266)

In the Classroom

History and social studies teachers should see this one.

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Divining America - Lilly Endowment

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9 to 12
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This project, funded by the Lilly Endowment, presents an overview of the role of religion in defining the American character from 17th to the 20th century. Created especially for use...more
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This project, funded by the Lilly Endowment, presents an overview of the role of religion in defining the American character from 17th to the 20th century. Created especially for use in schools, the site examines the relationships between religious, political, and social movements in American history.

tag(s): politics (99)

In the Classroom

This is an excellent site for examining religion throughout American history! A great use for this site would be to review for a unit soon to close on religion. Introduce the site on the interactive whiteboard or projector, and allow cooperative learning groups to pick the topic that most interests them. Insuring that each group has a different topic, allow them to explore the remainder of the site on classroom computers. Have groups show what they learned using a tool such as an online poster creator, like Padlet (reviewed here). Allow students to present their posters on the interactive whiteboard or projector, thereby helping their peers review the subject matter!

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Living History Farms

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4 to 12
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Living History Farms is an Iowa-based recreation of agricultural communities from three different time periods in American history. Located on adjoining properties, these three sites...more
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Living History Farms is an Iowa-based recreation of agricultural communities from three different time periods in American history. Located on adjoining properties, these three sites afford an opportunity to compare and contrast farming and life styles at three different points in our nation's development. The web site offers pictures, text, and descriptions for each of the three periods, permitting students to take a virtual tour of life at three points in American history.

tag(s): agriculture (55)

In the Classroom

Each farm section has limited information offered, so this activity would best be used as an quick introduction to a unit rather than a major activity. Open the site on the interactive whiteboard or projector, and examine each farm with the class. Pull out important characteristics offered, and compare and contrast the farms. We recommend a Venn diagram tool such as Interactive Two Circle Venn Diagram (reviewed here).This would be a useful activity to discuss the differences in habitats, and different ways people have subsisted on the same land.

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At Home in the Heartland

Grades
4 to 12
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A project from the University of Illinois describing how life has changed throughout American development. Materials and lesson plans for all age levels. ...more
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A project from the University of Illinois describing how life has changed throughout American development. Materials and lesson plans for all age levels.

tag(s): 20th century (51), cultures (105)

In the Classroom

Use this site as a learning center or station to accompany US history curriculum. Find the time period that's most appropriate for the unit being studied, with students working in pairs to explore the site. This would be a better tool to help review since not all the material is need to know for National standards, but serves as great supplementary information that students can connect the content to.

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Democracy in America - C-SPAN

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9 to 12
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This site is devoted to the work of Alexis DeToqueville, whose extensive accounts of American life and character in the 1840's remains a staple for the study of American history. ...more
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This site is devoted to the work of Alexis DeToqueville, whose extensive accounts of American life and character in the 1840's remains a staple for the study of American history. This site offers text, images, background, and additional references. An accompanying set of lesson modules, developed by C-Span, can be found in the TeachersFirst American History lessons.

tag(s): primary sources (86)

In the Classroom

Use the journal entries portion of this site to help students not only learn the content, but to learn to retrieve information from primary sources. Divide students into groups, and assign them each one of the states Tocqueville wrote about. Have students analyze and interpret what was written, with the intentions of presenting their findings to the class. To connect it to the content being studied at the time, have a discussion with students about whether Congress was also concerned or if we see some of the issues he talked about still prevalent today.

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A Biography of America - CPB/Annenberg

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6 to 12
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This American History survey site from the Annenberg Project was created as a companion to the video series of the same name. The chief resource avialable is a collection of ...more
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This American History survey site from the Annenberg Project was created as a companion to the video series of the same name. The chief resource avialable is a collection of transcripts of the programs. There are also timelines, discussion questions, and far fewer images than one would imagine in such a project. This could be a resource for discussion ideas on American history topics or an introductory survey for a student searching for an independent study project.

tag(s): american revolution (86)

In the Classroom

The possibilities for this site are virtually limitless. Open the site on the interactive whiteboard or projector and select one of the many topics that is applicable to your unit. Teachers can play the video for students to review material, use the map to provide something for visual learners can connect to, or use the time-line to guide student learning. This is really an amazing tool for teachers trying to utilize technology in the classroom!

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The Papers of George Washington - University of Virginia

Grades
8 to 12
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This site includes letters written both to and from George Washington. Important papers and letters are singled out, as well as an entire section of selected Revolutionary War documents....more
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This site includes letters written both to and from George Washington. Important papers and letters are singled out, as well as an entire section of selected Revolutionary War documents. This site would be of value to students serious about completing in depth research on the man or his major historical events in his life.

tag(s): presidents (131), primary sources (86), washington (36)

In the Classroom

In a discussion of the Revolutionary War or the Founding Fathers, use the pictures and images to supplement your lecture. Very rarely do students get to see time-period appropriate maps, and those provided on the site can be used to show and diagram major battles. The site also provides some excellent primary sources that complement such a unit. An excellent one to look at is his famed "Farewell Address," which can be used for both a revolutionary unit and any on American Diplomacy. Have students read the address as a class, following it with a discussion on how this speech impacted American foreign relations for the next 200 years. A great site for any resources on Washington!

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Supreme Court Decisions

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9 to 12
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Searchable database of decisions from 1937-1975. ...more
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Searchable database of decisions from 1937-1975.

tag(s): supreme court (22)

In the Classroom

Use this site as a point of reference for finding material for debates in a US history classroom. Teachers can search for materials to base a debate on, or have students use this site to find supportive evidence for their side of the debate.

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U. S. Historical Documents

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7 to 12
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A more extensive collection, helpfully organized. From the University of Oklahoma. ...more
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A more extensive collection, helpfully organized. From the University of Oklahoma.

tag(s): primary sources (86)

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) 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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Historic Documents of the United States of America - Brigham Young University

Grades
5 to 12
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A simple, complete documents collection. ...more
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A simple, complete documents collection.

tag(s): primary sources (86)

In the Classroom

Use this site as a point of reference for finding important primary sources and government documents, useful for a US government or history classroom. Be sure to save this one as a favorite.

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Colonial Charters - Yale University

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6 to 12
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This collection from the Avalon Project at Yale University offers a collection of primary documents dealing with all the American colonies except Virginia and Vermont. The page includes...more
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This collection from the Avalon Project at Yale University offers a collection of primary documents dealing with all the American colonies except Virginia and Vermont. The page includes a search engine as well as links to specific documents. Good resource for exploring the various motives in colonizing the new world.

tag(s): colonial america (107)

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) 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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The Avalon Project - Yale University

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6 to 12
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Developed by the Law School at Yale University, the Avalon Project is a compilation of primary source documents of American History from the 15th century onward. The resources are available...more
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Developed by the Law School at Yale University, the Avalon Project is a compilation of primary source documents of American History from the 15th century onward. The resources are available by time period, and there is also a search feature. Users searching for a more linear presentation may want to use the Project's American History Timeline. The collection is a great research for research projects or any study of American history.

tag(s): primary sources (86)

In the Classroom

Save this site as a favorite and reference it for primary sources for history units. The timespan covered spans virtually all that would be covered in any US history course, and also offers many documents that would also apply to World or European history courses. Teachers can also refer students to this site for research projects or papers.

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