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When the Personal Becomes Presidential - New York Times Learning Network

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6 to 12
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This is a New York Times lesson plan focused on a recent article about the personal lives of Presidential candidates. The lesson plan asks students to look at the ...more
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This is a New York Times lesson plan focused on a recent article about the personal lives of Presidential candidates. The lesson plan asks students to look at the extent to which candidates and their personal pasts will influence voters' willingness to support them, and focuses on the fact that several candidates have had messy divorces.

The lesson plan starts with the familiar "read the story and discuss" format, but there are a number of good essential questions and extension activities provided that could be tailored into a strong classroom plan. The lesson plans have cross-curricular suggestions, and are tied to standards.

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

In the Classroom

Be sure help your weaker readers and ELL students by sharing the listed vocabulary words prior to reading, either on a handout or by projecting on an interactive whiteboard and highlighting them in the text as you come to them.

Use this lesson to discuss current events in politics (which changes daily). Have students discuss and debate the current issues. Have the students write a wiki about a current event in politics (for example, Governor Palin being the first woman VP on the GOP ticket).

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The Pocahontas Myth - The Powhatan Renape Nation

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6 to 12
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The story of the first settlement at Jamestown usually features the brave Indian princess Pocahontas. This site provides a retelling of the Pocahantas story by the people of the ...more
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The story of the first settlement at Jamestown usually features the brave Indian princess Pocahontas. This site provides a retelling of the Pocahantas story by the people of the Powhatan tribe-- a rewriting that questions whether Pocahontas actually saved John Smith at all. The site takes particular exception to the recent Disney movie, Pocahontas. The discussion outlined here would make a very good "counterpoint" lesson on the generally accepted story of the Jamestown settlement.

tag(s): debate (44), jamestown (11)

In the Classroom

Students usually enjoy "debunking" myths of history and learning ways that their teachers or textbooks might be wrong. This site provides another viewpoint in the well-known Pocahontas story. There are also possibilities here for discussions of racial stereotyping and the way Pocahontas is portrayed in the media, particularly in the Walt Disney film. Use this discussion to prompt a persuasive writing assignment or history essay on differeing views of history.

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Independence Day - TeacherVision

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2 to 8
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Although this site does have annoying advertising, there is also a lot of good stuff for use in the classroom. This site offers numerous printables, online interactive quizzes, Social...more
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Although this site does have annoying advertising, there is also a lot of good stuff for use in the classroom. This site offers numerous printables, online interactive quizzes, Social Studies, Language Arts, Arts and Crafts, and Reference activities. Some of the activities are for "members only", but most of the fun is open to everyone! This site requires Adobe Acrobat. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): july 4th (8)

In the Classroom

Get an interactive whiteboard and test your students' knowledge of Independence Day with the online quizzes.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Vincent Voice Library - Michigan State University

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3 to 12
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This amazing library, part of Michigan State's library system, offers information about speeches, recordings, and news broadcasts featuring over 100,000 famous and not so famous personages....more
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This amazing library, part of Michigan State's library system, offers information about speeches, recordings, and news broadcasts featuring over 100,000 famous and not so famous personages. Not all items are digitized, but many are available in MP3 format. Those that can be played on your computer will have the word "Listen" as a link to play the file. The serach tools are a bit cumbersome, but there are terrific primary sources here.

Requires Quick time. Videos require RealPlayer. Get these plug-ins from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): authors (121), news (265), poetry (224), speech (94), speeches (17)

In the Classroom

Play a recording of a famous speech or video relevant to today's lesson as students enter the room (turn up your speakers!). Or have your students create multimedia presentations using these sounds in the background, such as portraits orf a decade, an author study, or a moment in history.

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Celebrate Mother's Day in a New Way - Education World

Grades
K to 12
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This website provides five lesson plans (ranging in grade levels K-12). A brief history of the holiday is provided, followed by five unique lesson plans. How about incorporating math...more
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This website provides five lesson plans (ranging in grade levels K-12). A brief history of the holiday is provided, followed by five unique lesson plans. How about incorporating math with your Mother's Day lessons (see "Motherhood Math: Mothers in the Workforce"). Lesson plans are aligned with national standards and include language arts, math, technology, visual arts, social studies, and more. These lessons are ready to go and easy to use.

tag(s): mothers day (12), sociology (22), statistics (124)

In the Classroom

If you are looking for some new ideas to use in your classroom, check out these lessons. They are ready to go, highly creative topics, and most importantly - FREE.

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Easter Lesson Plans - Teachnology

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K to 12
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This site provides a list and a basic description of over 30 lesson plans. There are lessons and activities for students in elementary, middle and high school. Math, language arts,...more
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This site provides a list and a basic description of over 30 lesson plans. There are lessons and activities for students in elementary, middle and high school. Math, language arts, history, science and more are included.

tag(s): easter (20)

In the Classroom

Use these free lesson plans with your students.

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The Legacy of Ireland - Ireland Now

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2 to 8
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This site provides an overview of Irish myths and legends from Ireland Now. Specific topics include The Shamrock, The Giant Rat, Children of Lir, and several others. There are...more
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This site provides an overview of Irish myths and legends from Ireland Now. Specific topics include The Shamrock, The Giant Rat, Children of Lir, and several others. There are also links to learn more about Ireland: Government, Irish Castles, Symbols & Flags, and more! This site does include some small advertisements.

tag(s): ireland (12), st patricks day (14)

In the Classroom

Use this site for research about St. Patrick's Day or Ireland. Have cooperative learning groups research various topics at this site. Have the groups create a multimedia presentation: PowerPoint, blog, wiki, or video. Share the videos on a tool such as SchoolTube (reviewed here).

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Public Domain Books On-Line - Jeff Kelley

Grades
3 to 12
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This privately done digitized library focuses on books published before 1923, primarily those with magnificent illustrations. Books digitized are in the public domain and are also available...more
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This privately done digitized library focuses on books published before 1923, primarily those with magnificent illustrations. Books digitized are in the public domain and are also available to the large digitization projects going on now with the Google Books project. This site's charm is its ease of use. Users can search by author's last name or by using a list of subject categories. Because the project is fairly small, it's fun to browse through the offerings before deciding on a specific choice. The quality of the digitization is very good and appears to offer complete works. Some books have been reformatted, presumably to allow viewing consistency.

tag(s): air (160)

In the Classroom

Because these books are in the public domain (i.e. older), their language is not "contemporary." The texts would make excellent pieces for reading comprehension passages or culture study of past times, and you need not be worried about copying/pasting text from these into other software and/or making copies. You could even use them as passages on an interactive whiteboard to practice "main idea" or parts of speech.

The illustrations are simple and beautiful. Print out some great artwork for your classroom bulletin boards, copyright-free!

The myths/legends collection would be great for upper elementary or later mythology units. Students can also use the passages and illustrations to create multimedia "tales" of their own. Give them the opening passage and let them write the rest.

Comments

The myths/legends collection would be great for upper elementary or later mythology units David, VA, Grades: 4 - 8
The illustrations are simple and beautiful. David, VA, Grades: 4 - 8

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Story Corps - NPR

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3 to 12
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NPR is amassing a collection of oral histories by traveling across the country and talking to average people. On this website, users can read or listen to the stories ...more
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NPR is amassing a collection of oral histories by traveling across the country and talking to average people. On this website, users can read or listen to the stories told by a wide variety of Americans. Click "Tell your story" to find Locations & Reservations for traveling Mobile Booths or directions to record on your own. The Do It Yourself guide includes tips on interview questions and an interview check list. Started in 2003, the site has many stories in its archives and frequently adds updates.

In the Classroom

Use this site to reconnect your students with those of other generations and geographic locations. Turn up your speakers and listen to some examples in your classroom. You can even use the story collection site as a model to start your own oral history project for your class or the entire school. You may not want to actually place your recording on the NPR site but instead house them locally in your school or community web site. As major events occur in your community, such as an anniversary or the opening of a new school, engage your students in documenting the event. The general interview guides offer useful interview techniques for school newspapers or news broadcasts, as well.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Remembering Pearl Harbor - National Geographic

Grades
6 to 12
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This site focuses on the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. It includes an outstanding interactive multimedia map and narrative of the attack that integrates audio (complete with a scratchy...more
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This site focuses on the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. It includes an outstanding interactive multimedia map and narrative of the attack that integrates audio (complete with a scratchy old-time radio sound), 1940s style maps and a "you are there" interface that is really stunning. There is also a searchable archive of survivor stories. This first person "memory book" provides eyewitness accounts that give an immediacy to the study of the attack not possible with text book narrative. Related NatGeo features add dimension to understanding of Pearl Harbor.

tag(s): pearl harbor (12), world war 2 (142)

In the Classroom

This site would be perfect for use on a projector or interactive whiteboard. It will give students a great introduction to the bombing at Pearl Harbor. Ask students whether Pearl Harbor or September 11 was the most devastating attacks ever made on American soil...and why. If you have the technical capability, challenge your students to create their own (historical fiction) "memory book" accounts of World War II events-- or of events happening today. This is an ideal topic for podcasts.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Old Magazine Articles - Matt Jacobsen

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6 to 12
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As the title implies, this site is a searchable archive of PDF images of old magazine articles. The majority is from the 20th century, although there are also entries ...more
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As the title implies, this site is a searchable archive of PDF images of old magazine articles. The majority is from the 20th century, although there are also entries from the 19th century. Because the articles are from magazines, they often include fantastic pictures that can illustrate fashion, culture and opinions of the time period. It's an eclectic mix of topics, with some emphasis on the early 20th century. Recent additions include articles from WWI and WWII eras, as well as flappers and fashion of the 1920s.

tag(s): 20th century (53)

In the Classroom

This is a fabulous primary document site packed with useful resources for social studies teachers. Because the entries are all in PDF format, each can be printed and copied for classroom list. According to the owner of the site, the information is all in the public domain and can be freely distributed. Entries are continually being added. For the serious researcher, there isn't always exact bibliographic information included with each entry for use in citations. However, for classroom use, or for use on interactive whiteboards, this archive is exceptionally useful... and it's FREE!
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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CPC: Civil War Flags - Capitol Preservation Committee

Grades
6 to 12
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This site is part of the state of Pennsylvania's Capitol Preservation Committee site and provides a searchable index of information about the state's extensive collection of Civil War...more
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This site is part of the state of Pennsylvania's Capitol Preservation Committee site and provides a searchable index of information about the state's extensive collection of Civil War flags. Each entry includes a description of the flag, information about how and when it was used, and an image of the flag. Sadly, there is no "zoom" option for the images so you cannot get a full screen image of the flag without the descriptions, nor can you focus on details. A few projectors have this zoom feature. You are lucky if you have it!

tag(s): civil war (145), flags (22), pennsylvania (6)

In the Classroom

The site would be helpful for students researching specific Pennsylvania Civil War units, or for teachers wishing to present images of Civil War flags as part of a discussion on battle tactics or military organization. The images of the "national colors" or U.S. flags may have interest beyond an examination of Pennsylvania's role in the Civil War.

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Anne Frank Center - Anne Frank Center USA

Grades
6 to 12
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This site would make a nice accompaniment for students reading "The Diary of Ann Frank." This site includes exerpts from Anne's diary, lesson plans and downloadable readers' guides...more
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This site would make a nice accompaniment for students reading "The Diary of Ann Frank." This site includes exerpts from Anne's diary, lesson plans and downloadable readers' guides for teachers. Go directly to "Ann Frank: Life and Times" to access the excerpts from her diary and the scrapbook. This include pictures and artifacts along with a biography of Anne Frank suitable for middle school students.

tag(s): anne frank (10), world war 2 (142)

In the Classroom

A "scrapbook" section would be very effective on a projector or interactive whiteboard. The scrapbook might function as a good anticipatory activity to set up a unit on the diary, although it does give away the ending of the story. There is also a section for teachers which includes some downloadable handouts, a bibliography and other resources.

If you are teaching about World War II, this would be a good resource to share on your teacher web pages for independent projects.

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NFL Play 60 Challenge - American Heart Association

Grades
4 to 9
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Attention Middle School Teachers! Get your students physically active! Be sure to check out NFL Play 60, a program from the American Heart Association and the NFL, designed to ...more
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Attention Middle School Teachers! Get your students physically active! Be sure to check out NFL Play 60, a program from the American Heart Association and the NFL, designed to get kids active in ALL areas of their life. This site (provides lesson plans in language arts, math, physical education, science and social studies. The lesson plans are very detailed, involve "getting moving", are easy to follow, and are correlated with standards.

In the Classroom

Join the site (free) and work together with your teaching colleagues or school administration to find activities and get kids moving and healthy. Even test scores rise when kids are healthy and active!
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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The Costumer's Manifesto - Tara Maginnis, Ph.D

Grades
7 to 12
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This is an amazing site for kids who ask, "But what did they WEAR?" In today's fashion-conscious society, looking at the past is often quite amusing, eye-opening, and insightful. A...more
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This is an amazing site for kids who ask, "But what did they WEAR?" In today's fashion-conscious society, looking at the past is often quite amusing, eye-opening, and insightful. A worthwhile site for teachers of theater, history, English, and even family and consumer science -- since the site even includes some patterns. Clicking on any of the options in the opening menu will take you to specific areas of that subject through history. The "Costume History sorted by Period" is truly fascinating as it offers drawings, patterns, and rationale for clothing of different time periods, including materials used and practical reasons for everything from codpieces to headdresses.

tag(s): costumes (6)

In the Classroom

This is a HUGE site worth dipping into for everything from history of clothing to wedding rituals and ceremonies of all kinds. As you introduce the setting of a new piece of literature or study of a new historical period, share this site to make another time "real" to your fashion-conscious teens. Include this site for fashion, costuming, or customs as one of the student research topics for a time period or lit study.

Note: The site is not terribly attractive as a set of links. It also has advertising and links to "outside" topics. Give precise directions for where students should go.

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National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS)

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K to 12
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The mission of National Council for the Social Studies is to provide leadership, service, and support for all social studies educators. ...more
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The mission of National Council for the Social Studies is to provide leadership, service, and support for all social studies educators.

In the Classroom

Within the Classroom Resources section of this website to look for free lesson plans and classroom activities. The lessons are organized by grade level, so be sure to pass it along to peers in other grade levels. Save this one as a favorite to allow for easy access and retrieval.

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My Hero - My Hero Project

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K to 12
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Looking for an online project-based interactive website that encourages literacy and cross-cultural communication? Looking for an alternative culminating project or process writing...more
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Looking for an online project-based interactive website that encourages literacy and cross-cultural communication? Looking for an alternative culminating project or process writing project for your secondary classes? Trying to help your high school juniors and seniors create an interesting college "essay" or portfolio piece? Join other adults and children from around the world by adding your essay, artwork or video about a hero on this non-profit, ad-free web site. You and your students can use this site with basic word processing knowledge -- or take it further if you are more technically capable.Site registration is required. Site is available in Spanish. Flash, Acrobat Reader and Quicktime are required. Get them from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): gifted (93), heroes (25), writing (367)

In the Classroom

Be sure to visit the Teacher's Resource section for helpful hints and links. Use any word processing program to type essays, then copy and paste into the My Hero class page. Provide a link to the class page on your teacher web page so students, parents, and relatives can read the essays. As always follow your district policies regarding posting student work on the Internet. It is HIGHLY advisable to get written parent permission for such a project!

Very young students could work together as a class to write their entry. Older students and those with more technology available will definitely want to try the videos! If you know iMovie or Windows Moviemaker, this is a terrific project. It is well-suited for gifted students, as well.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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43 Folders Cornell Notes - 43 Folders

Grades
6 to 12
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Looking for a simple way to teach note-taking skills? This wiki web site provides a template and simple instructions for taking notes Cornell style. The template contains a ...more
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Looking for a simple way to teach note-taking skills? This wiki web site provides a template and simple instructions for taking notes Cornell style. The template contains a 4 section layout that includes a section for demographics such as name and topic, a section for simple, bullet-style notes, a section for review questions based on the notes and lastly, a section for a summary. Simple and easy - a tool every student can benefit from utilizing.

tag(s): note taking (39)

In the Classroom

Special Ed teachers will find this system quite helpful for their struggling students. Consider teaming up with content-area teachers to require it of ALL students! Teachers may want to use the template in their own graduate coursework, as well.

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Create your own R.A.F.T.S. Prompts for Social Studies - Northern Nevada Writing Project

Grades
4 to 12
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Looking for writing prompts that are fun and geared toward social studies? Trying to reinforce content knowledge using writing? Look no further! This web site offers a great ...more
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Looking for writing prompts that are fun and geared toward social studies? Trying to reinforce content knowledge using writing? Look no further! This web site offers a great way to create writing prompts simply by clicking on an icon and receiving the luck of the draw. The teacher chooses the subject and by random selection, the web site chooses the Role, Audience, Format, Topic and Strong Verb. Students can also create their own, though it may be tricky for lower grades (might require several walk-throughs). Great for students who struggle with brainstorming writing topics.

tag(s): writing (367), writing prompts (94)

In the Classroom

Use this for literature contracts or guided reading assignments. It is also helpful for teachers who are having writer's block! Great way to tie social studies to language arts.

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Flash Earth

Grades
K to 12
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You may be familiar with Google Earth but may not have the ability to install their free software on your computer, either because you are not permitted to or because ...more
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You may be familiar with Google Earth but may not have the ability to install their free software on your computer, either because you are not permitted to or because your computer is not powerful enough to handle it. Try Flash Earth for a simpler tool to explore the earth as you teach geography to any age from kindergarten to seniors. Perhaps you just want to quickly show which way the Conestoga wagons crossed the U.S., or maybe to show where in the world a current events story is taking place. This simple tool, on a projector or interactive whiteboard, is just the trick. Note: You MUST have FLASH on your computer.

tag(s): globe (14), maps (292)

In the Classroom

Use a projector or whiteboard to share a location as art of the background knowledge for a lesson. Be sure to add this link to your teacher web page as a reference tool, as well. Be aware that some world locations have much "fuzzier" satellite images than others. Always preview before your lesson to be sure you can show the features you want students to see. Show elementary students where their "neighborhood" is, perhaps even their streets!

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