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Annenberg Classroom - NPR/NY Times

Grades
6 to 12
7 Favorites 1  Comments
    
This collaborative website focuses on controversial contemporary issues, including juvenile justice, eco-topics, gun control, women's rights, voting rights, civil liberties in war,...more
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This collaborative website focuses on controversial contemporary issues, including juvenile justice, eco-topics, gun control, women's rights, voting rights, civil liberties in war, and affirmative action. Help students understand the role of the news media in a democracy. This website combines the radio broadcast resources of Justice Talking and written articles and features from the NY Times Learning Network. Lesson plans corresponding to each "hot topic" offer social studies, language arts, and science teachers opportunities to connect the real news with topics in their curricula. A glossary of words important to the democratic process and a link to the Constitution with a "what it says, what it means" feature allow students to understand authentic sources as well as historical references. "In Their Own Words" (accessible from the Site Guide) provides primary source documents and statements from each of the three branches of government, from the press, and from schools.

tag(s): civil rights (117), ecology (135), radio (27), women (101)

In the Classroom

Use this site to help students explore the branches of government in action as they address a "hot topic." Have groups of students listen to real broadcasts and analyze the issues as examples of the constitutional concepts you are studying. Make this link available from your teacher web page while studying the Constitution, the branches of government, and many other social studies topics. Use your interactive whiteboard or projection screen to share a video or audio clip to spark discussion on an issue or activate your lesson. Then, divide your class into teams and have a class debate about the issue. Have students prepare a pro/con wiki using links to the primary sources to support their position or create their own podcast commentaries with support for their opinions.

Comments

Too many resources to even summarize. I can't wait to share this resource. CONSTITUTION ON SEPT. 17. Patricia, NJ, Grades: 6 - 12

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They Had a Dream Too - TeachersFirst

Grades
1 to 4
14 Favorites 0  Comments
 
They had a Dream Too is a unit on overcoming obstacles for grades K-4. It offers profiles of several dozen famous people and asks students to research how one of ...more
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They had a Dream Too is a unit on overcoming obstacles for grades K-4. It offers profiles of several dozen famous people and asks students to research how one of these achieved success despite an impediment. The unit can be used as part of Black History month, a culminating project for a biography unit, or in any context studying accomplishments.

tag(s): africa (180), african american (113), black history (59), martin luther king (37)

In the Classroom

Take advantage of the free lesson plans and activities offered on this site - a great resource for a Social Studies class.

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Daytum - Ryan Case and Nicholas Feltron

Grades
K to 12
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Are you looking to collect and analyze class data easily? Choose from 16 different ways to view data. Decide the items you wish to count (the free plan allows up ...more
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Are you looking to collect and analyze class data easily? Choose from 16 different ways to view data. Decide the items you wish to count (the free plan allows up to 1000 different things to be counted.) Also determine the category the items can be placed into (use up to 24 different categories in the free account.) Add a statement panel to your display panel to add notes and make comments about the data. Be sure to click the How To at the bottom of the home page to learn how to use the Daytum site. Also click the "Watch A Screencast" link for additional help. Data can also be collected via text or Twitter tweets.

tag(s): data (148), infographics (42), statistics (122), visualizations (14)

In the Classroom

Some of the best data to collect is anything that is a habit: types of drinks students drink at home, hours watching TV/playing games/doing homework, meals/fast food, etc. Use the site to collect data from other students or classes for a Math, Social Studies, or Psychology class. Use Daytum for a Science class by counting animals at a feeder, recycling efforts, amount of paper used in the classroom, days of rain/no rain, etc. Anything that can be counted can be used by Daytum! Be sure to identify students who will be counters and recorders of the data.

Before using Daytum, be sure to follow the directions on the How To page. Be sure to decide the goal first and the data to be collected. Having an idea of the kind of data to be collected as well as how it will be displayed is necessary before using. This tool is best used as a class activity rather than creating individual accounts. Create a class account and use a class computer or computer attached to a projector or whiteboard to collect data as students enter the room. Set up the parameters of the data to be collected (or enlist the help of an ambitious student.)

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32 Interesting Ways to Get to Know Your New Class - Tom Barrett

Grades
K to 12
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If you are looking for new ideas to use the first week of school, this site is sure to offer some useful suggestions. This Google Document includes suggestions from creating ...more
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If you are looking for new ideas to use the first week of school, this site is sure to offer some useful suggestions. This Google Document includes suggestions from creating a class autobiography to administering the "hardest test of the year." Ideas are available for all age ranges and can be modified to fit your needs and available resources. This is a public document so if you have a great idea, be sure to add it to the document for other teachers to use!

tag(s): back to school (58), newbies (18), substitutes (21)

In the Classroom

Use these fabulous ideas for getting to know you activities at the beginning of the school year. Have a great idea that you use in your class? Be sure to share it on this site.

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Sound Sleeping - Flashaltman

Grades
K to 12
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Sound Sleeping contains a great interactive sound-mixing tool. Create music with soundtracks of drums or flutes and the ambient sounds of nature. This soundboard helps you generate...more
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Sound Sleeping contains a great interactive sound-mixing tool. Create music with soundtracks of drums or flutes and the ambient sounds of nature. This soundboard helps you generate background music perfect for meditation, yoga, napping, writing, or quiet reflection.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): behavior (46), mental health (26), senses (28), sound (101), sounds (68), stress (14)

In the Classroom

Enhance student listening ability with this sound-mixing tool. Ask students to visit this site to create their own musical mix. Afterward, ask others to guess the tracks in the music. Students can also identify which speaker the soundboard's pan tool is sending various sounds. Activities such as these are the perfect addition to a science unit about the five senses. Consider having students create a their own personal mix to use while learning deep breathing, practicing creative visualizations, or engaging in class relaxation exercises. You could also plan these sounds during creative writing exercises or independent reading time. Headphones or speakers are necessary for this site, if you don't wish to share with the entire class. Students in need of "cooling off" time may enjoy playing Bubble Burst. Choose to create music with the vibes soundboard and student creations will automatically play with Flickr photographs of nature. Emotional support teachers may find this tool useful in helping students develop self-control mechanisms. Share this link on your class web page and/or in a parent newsletter and suggest ways to enhance relaxation techniques at home.

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Imgur - Imgur

Grades
K to 12
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Looking for easier ways to share images? Pronounced "Imager," this site is easy to use. Use the super-simple photo-sharing site to upload photos or insert image URL addresses. Click...more
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Looking for easier ways to share images? Pronounced "Imager," this site is easy to use. Use the super-simple photo-sharing site to upload photos or insert image URL addresses. Click the upload button or enter the URL of the image from the Internet (obtainable by right clicking the online image and selecting "properties" or "Get info"). No need to register for an account. Uploaded images are private and only the person who uploaded has the URL of the image. Use the simple editing options to be sure the image fits in the blog, wiki, or site you are using it on. File upload is limited to 2 MB. Use a direct link or embed code to share your uploaded image wherever you need.

tag(s): images (266), photography (160)

In the Classroom

Use in the classroom to quickly upload and share images. Create albums where individual photos can be titled or captioned. Have students categorize photos and describe them. Use for any project, class explanation of concepts, experiments, or demonstrations. Share pictures of class happenings, speakers, field trips, and other opportunities you would want to share.

Users must be able to find a suitable image for upload from their computer or the Internet. Follow the very simple directions to manipulate the image. Since no registration is necessary, Imgur is easy and safe to use. Be aware that relying on services such as these can be a problem if the site no longer exists in the future. Be sure that students understand rules for sharing appropriate and inappropriate images and copyright concerns.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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KeepVid - keepvid.com

Grades
K to 12
13 Favorites 0  Comments
   
Want to use YouTube videos but cannot play them at school? Download your video using this free service. No software download required, but you will need to have Java on ...more
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Want to use YouTube videos but cannot play them at school? Download your video using this free service. No software download required, but you will need to have Java on your computer. Find a video you want to save, then copy and paste the video's URL at KeepVid. The easiest way for your download to be successful to insert "keep" into the URL before the "YouTube." In our experience, this tool works without causing other problems. You may encounter warnings about applet security; we ignored these, but you may choose to do otherwise. If you decide to proceed, be sure to "allow" KeepVid access when your computer asks, and click "run" to begin the download. Select the quality you want to save the file to download (low, medium, or high quality FLV, MP3, or MP4 format.) Use KeepVid with a variety of video sites. If unable to view your file, either download a FLV viewer such as FLV Player (find a free one advertised on the site,) or convert your file into a more usable format. Drag the KeepVid button from their site into your browser's links toolbar. Find your video. When it starts to stream, click the KeepVid button in your toolbar. Choose the link to download and save.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): conversions (23), movies (64), video (253)

In the Classroom

Use this service to backup videos on your YouTube channel. Use to download and save videos at home that you wish to show to students, especially if they are blocked at school. Users must be able to find, copy, and paste the URL of the video to be downloaded. Once the program starts, you will be prompted to save it. If you want to use the video at school, you would save it to a USB stick.The MP4 format is fast, and it will play on an Apple or Windows computer. If you want to download in FLV format, you must also be able to play FLV files on the computer or be able to download an FLV viewer. No registration or login is required. This should primarily be a teacher resource. If using with students, discuss appropriate and inappropriate uses of the technology as well as choosing necessary videos. Be careful about videos found on the KeepVid site. These may not be family or student appropriate.

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Bitstrips - Core Matrix

Grades
3 to 12
4 Favorites 0  Comments
    
Bitstrips lets you create comics. You will also find comics to read or remix, created by others in the Bitstrips community. Create professional-looking comics in minutes. Choose the...more
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Bitstrips lets you create comics. You will also find comics to read or remix, created by others in the Bitstrips community. Create professional-looking comics in minutes. Choose the number of panels, type of characters, style of speech bubble, and various props and settings. Several actions are available: clicking and dragging the items to go into the comic strip, typing dialog into the bubbles, scaling items in the frame, rotating items, and more. There is a "Bitstrips for Schools" link; this feature does offer a 30-day free trial, however it is fee-based after 30-days.

tag(s): comics and cartoons (74)

In the Classroom

Have small groups of students each create one panel as a summary of something you just read in class. Use comics in math and turn a word problem into a comic strip/cartoon. In social studies create a comic strip/cartoon about a historic event, person, place, or speech. In language arts take a novel or non-fiction book and create a comic strip/cartoon about the characters and plot. You can also have your students write summaries of current events or responses to reading assignments. With younger students, use an interactive whiteboard or projector to create a class comic on a current topic of study, such as the different parts of a plant or the planets.

Register and play with the simple tools to choose how many frames, settings, people, dialog bubbles, and props. Save your work to come back later or you may "publish" right away. You have a choice about whether others are allowed to view and "remix" your work. You also have the option to edit work or embed it in a website, blog e-mail or wiki. It would be wise to preview whatever you wish to share with your students since the general public can create comics with their own ideas. Students should submit their work without identifiable names and location, according to your school policy, (since you own the master account).

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Zooburst - zooburst.com

Grades
K to 12
9 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Create a 3D digital pop-up book that can be seen without the 3D movie glasses. Be sure to check out the Gallery to view great examples. Use ZooBurst's editing tools ...more
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Create a 3D digital pop-up book that can be seen without the 3D movie glasses. Be sure to check out the Gallery to view great examples. Use ZooBurst's editing tools with public domain (or Creative Commons) pictures or clipart to create your book. Create an account, choose a title, and read their instructions. Take your idea, manipulate with the simple to use tools, and add text, images, and animation. Edit the angle of the pop-up, speed of the pop-up, and even view your creation from a variety of angles. Use the left side panel to search the web for an image by simply entering a search term. Upload a picture from your computer easily. Click on the picture to add to your book. Drag and drop these elements into various positions in the book. Use the right side panel to change size, rotation, and color of the images. Add a chat bubble to the pictures and fill with text. Use the text box below the book to describe the scene on the page. Add new pages or switch between pages through use of the bottom window. Easily save your book and find your creations in the My Stuff link along the top. For those interested in Augmented Reality, here is a screencast that shows it in action.The free version of the tool currently allows 10 books up to 10 pages each. A free iPad app is available. Premium memberships offer more features--at a price.

tag(s): creative writing (166)

In the Classroom

Create a Zooburst book to embed in a wiki, blog, or site to provide back to school information about your class or teaching team. Introduce the teacher(s), subjects, curriculum content, contact information, sites to view, etc. Use for creative writing in any subject area. Have students: make a book to recreate a historical event (or create an alternative ending), explain a scientific term in simpler words, write their own story, or explain how a math concept can be applied in the real world. Create a book and read it to the students during story time. Use Zooburst to create an introductory story for a new concept or unit. Use as a means for students to deliver presentations, reports, or explain complex concepts. You can put together a story using digital pictures from around your school and share it with your students during story time. Or have students work on stories in groups or individually to exercise their creativity, and maybe produce the next classic children's book.

If you have a gifted one or two in your class, set up a free class Zooburst account for them to create extensions of the curriculum in Zooburst: a Civil War tale, a modern day restaging of a Shakespeare play, a biography of a famous scientist or author.

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Webonauts Internet Academy - pbskidsgo.org

Grades
3 to 5
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Explore being a citizen in a "web-infused, information-rich" world. Try your hand at 12 missions all while observing the motto: "Observe, Respect, Contribute." Understand critical issues...more
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Explore being a citizen in a "web-infused, information-rich" world. Try your hand at 12 missions all while observing the motto: "Observe, Respect, Contribute." Understand critical issues concerning online safety. Identify credible sources of information. Learn how to handle cyber-bullying bullying. Note: This resource was developed as a partnership project between PBS KIDS and Common Sense Media. Find great resources and information in the Parents and Teachers tab on the site.

tag(s): bullying (52), cyberbullying (43)

In the Classroom

Learn about the importance of protecting passwords and maintaining privacy settings. Follow the 12 missions to be cyber-smart. Create a password or mission guide for students to complete to show what they have learned. Discuss other issues with technology to provide more learning experiences for students. Challenge groups to create a multimedia presentation about one of the missions they complete or create a word cloud highlighting key terms using a site such as wordle reviewed here.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Do Something.org - Do Something.org Team

Grades
7 to 12
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Do Something.org is one of the largest organizations in the United States that helps young people take action to promote causes they care about and motivates them with realistic,...more
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Do Something.org is one of the largest organizations in the United States that helps young people take action to promote causes they care about and motivates them with realistic, creative inspiration to create a culture of volunteerism. By tapping into the web, television, mobile devices, and popular media, DoSomething.org empowers and celebrates today's youth as the "Do Something" generation: teenagers who recognize the need to do something, believe in their ability to get it done, and then take action. Explore this site for ideas for starting your own project and browse the many causes and volunteer opportunities already in your own area and beyond. Help students discover ways to make a difference. The rules are simple: No Money, No Car, and No Adults permitted for putting your plans into action.

There are suggestions, resources, and support to empower your students and give them the energy to take action and make a difference. Whether their passion is to feed the homeless, end bullying, help even the playing field of educational inequalities, or many more needy causes, this website is chock full of easy to access information and strategies that encourage teenagers to decide for themselves how they can contribute their time and desire to make a difference.

tag(s): service projects (25)

In the Classroom

Do you believe that kids can change the world? What are you doing about that? If you have been thinking about involving your class in some type of community service, but need some direction, DoSomething.org is a phenomenal place to "shop" around for ideas. Perhaps you may want to start by showing the film, Pay It Forward, or with a writing prompt, "If you were given time in school to come up with one idea that could be put into action right now by people your age that would make this school or this community a better place, what would it be and how would you put your plan into action?" Have students share ideas in small groups, then introduce them to DoSomething.org by projecting it on your classroom whiteboard or projector, viewing some of the short videos, and using the power of the internet to empower them to act now. Have your students create an interactive online poster ("glog") using Glogster EDU, reviewed here. Club advisers, school counselors, and teachers of gifted can use the empowering resources of this site to inspire students to ACT.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Dream in Color - Scholastic

Grades
K to 12
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Dream in Color celebrates diversity by embracing nationalities and cultures around the world, with a focus on African American, Hispanic, and Asian Pacific ethnic backgrounds....more
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Dream in Color celebrates diversity by embracing nationalities and cultures around the world, with a focus on African American, Hispanic, and Asian Pacific ethnic backgrounds. Activities are included for grades K-12. There are lesson plans, teacher resources, and videos that will enable students to hear voices of people like Maya Angelo that inspire and explain what it means to "Dream in Color" and foster an inclusive culture.

tag(s): africa (180), african american (113), asia (73), black history (59), cultures (105), diversity (36), hispanic (18), tolerance (10)

In the Classroom

Help your students uncover the roots of rich and diverse cultures through the concept of what "community" means to each of us. Perhaps start by interviewing parents and grandparents about family backgrounds and discuss culture and traditions. Expand to explore the host of information from this Web site about different heritages and cultures, much of which can be shared on your classroom whiteboard. Elementary and middle school students may want to create an online bulletin board using a tool such as Wall Wishers, (reviewed here), to represent the different aspects of their community: focusing on characteristics, benefits, responsibilities, and the impact of diverse cultures blending and working together to create a better society. High School students could consider a multi-dimensional project, perhaps by exploring heritage and culture through a study of historical figures, artists, or writers. Their research could be presented in a rich, interactive slide show that includes text, photos, and even videos, with the use of the Collage tool from VUVOX, (reviewed here).

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JFK 50 - John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum

Grades
7 to 12
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This web site honors the legacy of President John F. Kennedy in recognition of the fifty years that have passed since his inauguration on January 20, 1961, when he first ...more
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This web site honors the legacy of President John F. Kennedy in recognition of the fifty years that have passed since his inauguration on January 20, 1961, when he first captured the hearts of Americans and memorialized a moment in history with his words, "Ask not what this country can do for you, but what you can do for your country." JFK50 is filled with cutting-edge multimedia that inspires and invites students to explore the themes of public service, civil rights, leadership, and more to discover how relevant they remain to social and political issues today.

tag(s): kennedy (27), presidents (131)

In the Classroom

Use this website as your online destination for teaching, researching, and starting a conversation about the primary people, changes, speeches, and events of the John F. Kennedy era. Do not miss the links at the upper left corner of the home page for the Legacy Gallery, Downloads and Resources, and "History Now" which provides an interactive timeline that links today's date to details of what transpired during JFK's presidency. Highlight the ideals articulated fifty years ago to serve as a springboard for today's students to become actively involved in public service by projecting the authentic broadcast reports, videos, newspaper accounts, and other media on your classroom whiteboard or projector. Team up with colleagues in other departments to engage in interdisciplinary learning projects. You may want to have students collaborate to put a new spin on a research report. Challenge them to create a newspaper article about the domestic affairs, foreign policies and diplomacy, the arts, or any of the other extensive topics found on JFK50 by using the Newspaper Clipping Generator. Polish it off by having students create magazine covers that reflect the content of their articles, essays, or reports by using Magazine Cover Maker reviewed here.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Teachley's Amazing Talking Brain - Donna Sawyer

Grades
K to 12
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Teachley's Amazing Talking Brain offers tips and suggestions for increasing student learning. Each portion of the brain offers suggestions for How to Increase Intrinsic Motivation,...more
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Teachley's Amazing Talking Brain offers tips and suggestions for increasing student learning. Each portion of the brain offers suggestions for How to Increase Intrinsic Motivation, Balancing Stress in the Classroom, 6 Ways Movement Can Help in the Classroom, and much more. Below the brain image are also links for other brain resources to use in the classroom. Some of the links are broken; however, the Amazing Talking Brain information is worth the time to visit this site.

tag(s): brain (72), psychology (64), stress (14)

In the Classroom

Share one thought a week with your building's teaching staff or teachers you mentor for motivation throughout the school year. Share this site with classroom tutors when training them to work with students. New teachers or student teachers will also benefit from this clever compilation of tips. With older (or more advanced) students or psychology classes, have cooperative learning groups research one of the topics at this site and create a multimedia presentation. Challenge students to move past PowerPoint and create an online Prezi presentation (reviewed here) or another reviewed presentation tool from the TeachersFirst Edge to explain the topic.

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Jackie Robinson-Breaking Barriers in Sports and in Life - Scholastic & Major League Baseball

Grades
4 to 8
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Whether you are a lover of major league baseball or have a "soft spot" for overcoming the odds stacked against you and achieving a dream - the American dream, you ...more
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Whether you are a lover of major league baseball or have a "soft spot" for overcoming the odds stacked against you and achieving a dream - the American dream, you will find videos and activities on this Web site that will surely capture the hearts and attention of the boys as well as the girls in your class.

Every year, people across the country pause on April 15 to celebrate the historic event that marks the anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier in baseball in 1947. Use this educational program to bring the significance of Jackie Robinson's legacy to your classrooms. Although Breaking Barriers centers around an essay contest, you may choose to simply use the ideas to offer and assist your students in learning opportunities to teach them values that will enable them to face their own barriers and express themselves in written form. There are lessons, printables, book lists, and more that align with language arts, math, and social studies national standards.

tag(s): civil rights (117)

In the Classroom

Share the video of Jackie Robinson's daughter, Sharon Robinson, on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Listen to her personal story of her famous baseball player Dad's courage, determination, integrity, and persistence to break the color barrier on and off the playing field. Use an online tool like bubble.us reviewed here to engage students in whole class brainstorming of some of the real life barriers that students face today, and then lead into a journal writing activity for students to think about how to use Jackie Robinson's values to face and overcome barriers in their own lives. Whether you are celebrating the anniversary of Jackie Robinson Day, Black History month, a unit on courage and heroes, or introducing these concepts anytime during the year, the downloadable and whiteboard ready materials will increase the richness of your class discussions and broaden students' understanding of how to make a difference in their own lives and the lives of others.
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No Name-Calling Week - GLSEN and Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing

Grades
K to 12
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Are you looking for some "fresh" ideas to put an end to bullying in your classroom but are not sure where or how to start? Well, you are in the ...more
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Are you looking for some "fresh" ideas to put an end to bullying in your classroom but are not sure where or how to start? Well, you are in the right place. This web site brings attention to No Name-Calling Week: an annual week of realistic educational activities designed to end all types of name-calling. No Name-Calling Week was inspired by the young adult novel, The Misfits, and presents an opportunity to address bullying as an increasingly, ongoing issue. Whether you are a teacher, student, administrator, counselor, or parent, there is an abundance of useful ideas, activities, and materials for elementary, middle, and high schools to promote anti-bullying awareness, and they are all free!

tag(s): bullying (52), sports (97), tolerance (10)

In the Classroom

Use the resources from this web site to plan and implement lessons that students will relate to, and help to bring an end to harmful name-calling and "dissing." Select some of the many safe Web 2.0 tools reviewed by TeachersFirst Edge, such as Automotivator, reviewed here for designing digital posters that can be printed, or PhotoPeach, reviewed here for creating a digital slideshow that includes music, captions, and more. TeachersFirst also has an entire collection of on line resources to create comic strips, available here to drive home the message that bullying is never a laughing matter.
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Rosa Parks: How I Fought for Civil Rights - Scholastic

Grades
4 to 8
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The Rosa Parks: How I Fought for Civil Rights website includes free printable lesson plans, worksheets, an interview, a biography, and other reading material that can be easily...more
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The Rosa Parks: How I Fought for Civil Rights website includes free printable lesson plans, worksheets, an interview, a biography, and other reading material that can be easily viewed full-screen on your classroom interactive whiteboard. The site is easy to navigate with links built right into the text for vocabulary and other relevant information. The activities help students understand the importance and necessity of every individual citizen in a democracy working together to contribute to a better way of life for all.

tag(s): black history (59), civil rights (117), martin luther king (37), rosa parks (6), tolerance (10), women (101)

In the Classroom

Spark your students' interest for how one brave individual changed history by not giving up her bus seat to a white passenger. Whether you are doing a unit on people who make a difference, civil rights, tolerance, or studying women and events in history, this self-contained website provides resources and materials that you can display on your classroom whiteboard and involve students in using the interactive links to enhance learning and spring board discussions on what still needs to be done in regards to acceptance and embracing racial, ethnic, and cultural differences. Use an online tool like The Interactive Three Circle Venn Diagram, reviewed here, to compare and contrast discrimination in our country then with similar challenges we face today, and what still needs to be accomplished for a better tomorrow. Broaden the concepts to include that even when we are brave and have courage, change doesn't come about immediately; it takes time and continued perseverance. Culminate the unit with a writing prompt for students to reflect on and explain: Have you ever faced something that you thought you couldn't stand up to?
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Giving Thanks: A Compare-and-Contrast Lesson - Gary Hopkins for Education World

Grades
7 to 12
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This activity is a good one for the Thanksgiving season or anytime. A powerful five minute video gets students reflecting on their lives and appreciating how much they have when ...more
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This activity is a good one for the Thanksgiving season or anytime. A powerful five minute video gets students reflecting on their lives and appreciating how much they have when compared to children in other parts of the world.

tag(s): critical thinking (108), thanksgiving (37)

In the Classroom

Start off by asking students to write a journal entry to answer and explain, "Do you ever think that you might have it easier compared to some other kids?" Show the video on your classroom whiteboard or projector. Have students use one of TeachersFirst online compare/contrast graphic organizers such as the Venn Diagram tool (reviewed here) or another one of your choice that can be printed from Freeology (reviewed here) to juxtapose their way of life with the way of life of people their age who have very little compared to them. Teenagers need reality checks when it comes to their wants verses their needs. As a follow up, have students work in groups to brainstorm ways that they could actually make a difference for children who endure lives of poverty. Check with your school nurse or social worker to see if there is a family in the community that could use some extra kindness and have your students come up with a plan that your class could put into action right now. Let them experience the enduring lesson and joy that comes from helping others.
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A Class Divided - Frontline/PBS-WGBH Educational Foundation

Grades
6 to 12
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This is one of the most requested programs for effectively conveying the reality of discrimination, what it feels like, and how it can change a person. Frontline, the PBS news-magazine...more
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This is one of the most requested programs for effectively conveying the reality of discrimination, what it feels like, and how it can change a person. Frontline, the PBS news-magazine show, produced this gripping piece that tackles the controversy, complexity, and consequences of discrimination that have shaped our society. This film and collection of activities are based on the 1970 documentary of the daring lesson that teacher Jane Elliott taught her third-grade class to give them a firsthand experience in the meaning of discrimination, immediately following the assassination of Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. The film shows what she taught the children and the impact that lesson had on their lives. It includes three major segments: the footage of the original documentary of Jane Elliott's third-graders, (approximately 20 minutes), the reunion of those third-graders 14 years later who talk about the effect her lesson has had on their lives, (approximately 7 minutes), and also Elliott teaching her lesson to adult employees of Iowa's prison system and how their reactions to her exercise were similar to those of the children, (approximately 20 minutes). A Teachers' Guide, as well as an abundance of supplementary materials that allow students to wrestle with realistic ideas, are available on this site.

tag(s): black history (59), bullying (52), civil rights (117), diversity (36), racism (18), segregation (15), tolerance (10)

In the Classroom

Help your students understand why Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated and raise their awareness of discrimination and the struggle for civil rights by involving them in active viewing of A Class Divided projected on your classroom interactive whiteboard or projector. You can view the film in its entirety, or in separate chapters followed by the Discussion Questions. You may want to give students a specific task to do during the film. For example, you might ask them to listen for a particular issue or the answers to a set of questions, or take notes in preparation for one of the post-viewing activities. Replay the video or pause for discussion whenever you choose for focused, in depth exploration. Depending on your students' background knowledge and grade level, you may want to review or introduce some of the basic tenets of the United States Constitution that provide the legal grounding for equality and protection of individual rights. Explain that there are examples in American history when individuals' rights were denied and that many civil rights activists were arrested for either challenging demonstrating or breaking rules that they thought were unfair. Pose some of the questions for written assignments and discussion. This is a perfect lesson for Black History Month! Divide the class into groups to brainstorm situations that exist today within our own communities, and how they would feel and deal with it if they were the subjects. Students can easily create mind maps using free tools from Teachersfirst, such as diagrammr.com reviewed here or bubbl.us reviewed here. Have students choose words from songs to explore themes of freedom and equality, using Stories Behind the Songs reviewed here. High school students could extend this to a reading and study of the final chapter of "One America in the 21st Century," the 1998 report of President Bill Clinton's Initiative on Race, which lists 10 things that every American should do to promote racial reconciliation. Ask students to add anything they think is missing and make a commitment to continue the crusade to end discrimination.

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Dogs Serving Veterans - New York Times

Grades
3 to 12
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This site offers a great starting point for class discussions of Veterans Day. It is an eight slide show about service dogs and how they are helping veterans who have ...more
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This site offers a great starting point for class discussions of Veterans Day. It is an eight slide show about service dogs and how they are helping veterans who have been disabled and as a way to dealing with stress. Each slide focuses on a veteran and his/her service dog and how the dog has enriched their daily life.

tag(s): disabilities (20), memorial day (13), veterans (19)

In the Classroom

Use this site on a projector or interactive whiteboard to discuss and informally assess prior knowledge as you study Veterans Day, the effects of war, or people with disabilities. Ask students to discuss a time when they have seen service animals and how they have been used to help someone. Discuss the information on the site and locate the countries where the veterans served on a map to help students understand what it means to go to war. Ask students to choose one slide and write a story based on what they see in the image. If your school is looking for a schoolwide service project, consider raising funds for service dogs.
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