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Photo Timelines - LIFE - Life Magazine

Grades
6 to 12
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This site allows you to view, create, and share interactive timelines. Browse timelines from the 1900s (or before) through the present on various topics and current events. Scroll to...more
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This site allows you to view, create, and share interactive timelines. Browse timelines from the 1900s (or before) through the present on various topics and current events. Scroll to the bottom of the page to search by decade. A series of pictures centered around a theme in a specific time period accompanies a short summary of what is happening in the picture. There is also the option to create your own unique timeline and share it by URL or by embedding in your class blog, wiki, or web page. Click "Log-In To Life" to get started creating your own timeline. To create a timeline you MUST register at the site. Login requires a Facebook, Twitter, Google, or Yahoo account.

tag(s): timelines (63)

In the Classroom

If you only plan to VIEW timelines, no extra skills are needed. Step by step directions are provided. You will also need to choose a username to create your timeline.

There are many uses for the ready-made timelines: use your interactive whiteboard or projector to learn about historical events, research literature, learn about different decades and events throughout the world, and more. Have students create timelines for research projects using Photo Timelines. Use this tool to make a timeline of your class,''''?,"'''? school year for younger classes who are just learning the graphical representation of time. Create author biographies, animal life cycles, or timelines of events and causes of wars. Challenge students to create a timeline of the plot of a novel, interspersed with the ways themes appear throughout the novel. If you teach chemistry, have students create illustrated sequences explaining oxidation or reduction (or both). Elementary students could even interview grandparents and create a class timeline about their grandparents,''''?,"'''? generation for Grandparents' Day. Why not create a timeline highlighting students' family events for a special gift for Mother's Day, Father's Day, or other holidays? You may need to assign students to do some investigative work first (years of births, marriages, vacations, etc.). In world language classes, have students create a timeline of their family in the language to master vocabulary about relatives, jobs, and more (and verb tenses!). Students can learn about photo selection, detail writing, chronological order, and photo digitization while creating the timelines of their choice. Making a timeline is also a good way to review history and cultural developments.

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Penzu: Write in Private - Alexander Mimran and Michael Lawlor

Grades
4 to 12
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Penzu offers a FREE service to write journals or diaries online with exceptional privacy options. As an added benefit, you can add images or your own artwork as illustrations. There...more
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Penzu offers a FREE service to write journals or diaries online with exceptional privacy options. As an added benefit, you can add images or your own artwork as illustrations. There is a very short demo video on the home page. On Penzu you can keep everything completely private or share selective posts by email or URL. Perhaps share selections on a class wiki page? Don't have a wiki? See the TeachersFirst Wiki Walk-Through for practical management and safety tips for a class wiki. Note: Premium service is available, but this review is for the free version.

tag(s): DAT device agnostic tool (159), homework (45), journals (21), writing (361)

In the Classroom

A class journaling program has limitless possibilities. Engage students in discussions using a topic from current events, current social issues, independent reading, literature, and more. Any class using a journal can use Penzu. For example, science lab write ups or the problem of the week in math. Penzu can even be used for homework. Just think, no more lugging heavy boxes full of notebooks around! In language arts have students journal daily and harvest from their musings and ideas to create a short story or a poem. They can even use Penzu to develop their brainstorms and rough draft. Once they are ready to present a final project have them use Bookemon reviewed here reviewed here or Glogster reviewed here to share with their peers and others and possibly add other media. For social studies classes, students can write posts and ideas about famous people or daily life in a time period being studied, then create a "diary" for the famous person in Bookemon or a poster about daily life in Glogster reviewed here. See more ideas for student blogging/journaling at TeachersFirst's Blogging Basics for the Classroom. Share journals with parents as appropriate by URL. Be sure to respect student privacy before sharing.

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Physics Today - The American Institute of Physics

Grades
10 to 12
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Physics Today is an online magazine of current physics topics. Although this site is not highly interactive, it is still a nice resource for contemporary physics reading. Be...more
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Physics Today is an online magazine of current physics topics. Although this site is not highly interactive, it is still a nice resource for contemporary physics reading. Be aware: you are able to comment on the articles. So you may consider previewing comments for appropriateness. Students can comment on the articles themselves without registering, however, an email address is required.

tag(s): news (260), newspapers (94)

In the Classroom

This is a great site for having students read science writing. The cross-curricular aspect of the articles is great. Nonfiction, especially in science, is harder for students to understand and read. This site can provide great practice for students in comprehension of informational texts. Have students read articles as homework and bring questions to class. Or assign an article on the class website and have students post responses. A good strategy for this type of assignment is to require students to create one original post and two responses to other students. This can begin the conversational ball rolling. Another idea for this site, is to use the obituaries section as a start for student research. Students are already exposed to historically important scientists, but this would bring more current physicists to the learning lime light.

If you plan to have students write comments on the articles, an email address is required. Tip: rather than using your personal or work email, create a free Gmail account to use for memberships. If you plan to have students register individually, you may want to create your own Gmail account with up to 20 subaccounts for each group of students (by code name or number) within your classes. Here is a blog post that tells how to set up GMail subaccounts to use for any online membership service.

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GeoCam.tv - GeoCam.tv

Grades
K to 12
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GeoCam.tv allows you to view what is happening around the world as it happens. This site provides a map of active webcams from around the world that you can click ...more
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GeoCam.tv allows you to view what is happening around the world as it happens. This site provides a map of active webcams from around the world that you can click on. Green markers with a number show how many cameras are in the area. Blue markers indicate individual folks streaming video live from their mobile devices.

Because there is no search feature and no descriptions of what the webcams show, do not have young children access them without supervision. Previewing all videos before sharing with the class would be wise.

tag(s): cultures (105), globe (14), maps (289), webcams (6)

In the Classroom

This site would be a great addition to any science, social studies, or world cultures class. Teachers click on a webcam in different parts of the world to see things like weather and basic geography. In early elementary, use web cams to introduce the world visually on a projector or interactive whiteboard. Select specific web cams and create shortcuts on your classroom computer desktop for students to "see what's happening" on a certain continent as you study the seven continents. Use animal webcams for students to observe animal behavior and keep a "lab journal" of what they see. Use this site to visit different areas that have been effected by natural disasters. Share the videos on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Have students (with a partner) create their own videos related to your location and/or specific topic of study. Share the videos using a site such as SchoolTube (reviewed here).
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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DigiTales - Bernajean Porter

Grades
3 to 12
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The DigiTales website offers ideas and assistance in creating digital stories and rubrics for evaluating digital storytelling projects. There are numerous digital stories in the StoryKeepers...more
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The DigiTales website offers ideas and assistance in creating digital stories and rubrics for evaluating digital storytelling projects. There are numerous digital stories in the StoryKeepers Gallery to use as examples. Categories for stories have interesting titles like Docu-Dramas, Itza Wrap, and Beyond Words. Itza Wrap stories are about a lesson learned, Docu-Drama is nonfiction, Beyond Words is about memorable experiences, etc.

Be aware: some of the ideas suggested in the "Tools" section do require the purchase of various software programs. The free audio stories in the "Storykeepers' Gallery" make this a fabulous site!

tag(s): digital storytelling (147), movies (66), writing (361)

In the Classroom

Use your projector to show your students the categories for the different types of digital stories. Each type of story has a description. Once you,'''''''?,"''''''?ve shown your students the stories, have them choose a category and create their own digital story. Many of the tools and programs students will need to learn can be found at (this site) which explains how these programs work. You may want to use Fliggo (reviewed here) to post student's digital stories to the web.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Edge World Question Center - Edge Foundation, Inc.

Grades
11 to 12
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Serious thinkers who love deep questions and concepts can read responses from the world's great thinkers and philosophers to the question, "What scientific concept would improve everybody's...more
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Serious thinkers who love deep questions and concepts can read responses from the world's great thinkers and philosophers to the question, "What scientific concept would improve everybody's cognitive toolkit?" Both vocabulary and concepts discussed here are very sophisticated, so this is not a site to visit casually. Turn up the neurons to read and reread responses from world thought leaders. Ideally, you will want to have a small group of interested thinkers to figure out, argue, and openly ponder the concepts offered. If you enjoy thinking about thinking, philosophy of science, or pondering the impact of today's technology explosion, this site will give you the opportunity to stop and think -- for a long time. Questions and answers from other years are available by clicking on the header logo for the World Question Center. The 2010 question was "How is the Internet changing the way you think?"

In the Classroom

This site is best suited for gifted/highly able senior high students or for teachers seeking an open-ended question to toss into discussion in an AP level class. This is definitely NOT a site to offer for students to explore on their own. Focus on one response and use it repeatedly as an angle to get students thinking. For a longer term approach, keep one of these questions or answers posted in your classroom or on your class web page to constantly prompt students into deeper thinking beyond the simple memorization and application of concepts. One great example to post, use as a writing prompt, or challenge students to use as a central theme for a multimedia presentation: Howard Gardner's suggestion that we ask ourselves,""How Would You Disprove Your Viewpoint?!"

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Explore the Cosmos - The Planetary Society

Grades
6 to 12
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Become part of space exploration via The Planetary Society's activities, the place to go for space enthusiasts. The society's mission is "To inspire the people of Earth to explore...more
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Become part of space exploration via The Planetary Society's activities, the place to go for space enthusiasts. The society's mission is "To inspire the people of Earth to explore other worlds, understand our own, and seek life elsewhere." Although the site is text-heavy, the society offers many ways to engage with the latest space news, images, and experiences related to space and space exploration. The Kids section (see link at the left) explains ways kids can observe and participate in various space activities. The various projects range from working with space images (using free Gimp software) to following blogs and news of various space projects. The content is quite up to date and covers projects rarely reported in mainstream media. Learn about technologies designed specifically for space experiments (see "Innovative technologies"), such as Mars microphones. Of course, there is the usual information about planets, but it goes into greater depth than a typical "About Space" site designed for schools. There is even a Weekly Planetary Radio Trivia Contest. If Carl Sagan is one of the founders, you know the society is serious!

tag(s): inventors and inventions (97), nasa (39), planets (124), space (207)

In the Classroom

Make this site a link on your class web page during a unit on space or all year round. Gifted students and those with a passion for space will find endless discoveries. Include this site as a research source when assigning projects about space or the planets. If you have more able students in upper elementary of middle school, use this site as a differentiated alternative for them to research at a higher level. Inspire students to read in content areas by sharing space-related "current events" articles from this site. These selections would work well on interactive whiteboards for practice using highlighters to find main idea, context clues, and other comprehension skills. If you assign portions of the site to the entire class, you may need to assign "reading buddies" for weaker readers. Challenge students to narrate space image galleries (search for the blog entry on the "New Flickr collection of historical NASA photos") or design and explain their own devices for space exploration on Thinglink, reviewed here.

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Across the World Once a Week: Collaborative Microblogging for Cross-Cultural Understanding - TeachersFirst

Grades
3 to 12
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Across the World Once a Week (XW1W) is a teaching idea that uses today's instant technologies to share answers to the same question across the world once a week. XW1W ...more
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Across the World Once a Week (XW1W) is a teaching idea that uses today's instant technologies to share answers to the same question across the world once a week. XW1W is a simple, social way for students to learn about real life in other cultures from real kids all across the world. By simply "hashtagging" Twitter or blog responses to a weekly question about daily life, students can share and learn about other cultures from their international peers. Find out more and read the details of this offering from TeachersFirst. The page displays the current weekly question as well as a Twitter feed of recent responses. (If you see a black "box," your school may be blocking Twitter feeds.) Don't miss the FAQ page to help you get started.

tag(s): cross cultural understanding (115), cultures (105), twitter (50)

In the Classroom

Join XW1W with your class using a single Twitter account or any blog or wiki tool where you can share student answers to the weekly question. If you cannot access Twitter at school, that is not a problem. You do not even have to use Twitter (though this is a great way dip your toes into Twitter). See the FAQ page for specific hints on using XW1W with your students. Share the XW1W idea with teaching colleagues in other places, and perhaps even with families to try at home. Want to learn more about Twitter and teaching. See TeachersFirst's Twitter for Teachers page.

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Einztein - Einztein

Grades
8 to 12
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Einztein serves as a universal campus from which online learners can easily explore free online courses delivered by any combination of text, audio, video, and other media. Most are...more
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Einztein serves as a universal campus from which online learners can easily explore free online courses delivered by any combination of text, audio, video, and other media. Most are higher education level, but there are also a few listings for middle and high school course levels. Einztein serves as a searchable catalog of curated courses offered by providers as diverse as Stanford University and The British Museum. To find a course, enter a term in the search box and click "search" - or browse the selection of subjects. You can also filter your search results by course provider, subject, and media type. Finally, try clicking some of the related subject tags that you see to further refine your search. Your search results will consist of course suggestions. You can browse the course descriptions, check out which courses received a good rating, and link out for a closer look. Each course link includes labels to show documents, video, or audio that may be included. Registration isn't necessary; however, the site is undergoing beta testing for a new social learning network and registration is required to be included in those tools.

tag(s): chinese (48), climate (92), genetics (90), psychology (64)

In the Classroom

This site is perfect for gifted learners or academic enrichment based on individual interests. Students can choose a course to enroll in, then present information in the form of a multimedia report. Challenge students (independently or collaboratively) to create an online book using a site such as Mixbook (reviewed here.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Google Treks - Dr. Alice Christie

Grades
K to 12
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GoogleTreks allows teachers and students to synthesize information in one easy-to-use Google Map that places text, pictures, audio files, video files, and much more in one central location....more
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GoogleTreks allows teachers and students to synthesize information in one easy-to-use Google Map that places text, pictures, audio files, video files, and much more in one central location. This site offers possibilities for exploration in all subject areas for all grades. The site is organized by both subject and grade-level tasks. Currently there are only a few examples to follow; however, they offer a variety of material and ideas for creating your own Google Trek or for students to create their own. After choosing a pre-made GoogleTrek, you are directed to a Google Map with different tasks and links.

There is an excellent tutorial for creating your own GoogleTrek that includes step-by-step directions with pictures. After creating a GoogleTrek, it can be posted to the site for others to use. Also included is a rubric that can be downloaded in pdf form. More information on Google Maps can be found at the TeachersFirst review. You can also view the maps in Google Earth. To learn more about Google Earth, see the TeachersFirst review (here).

tag(s): maps (289)

In the Classroom

Introduce this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Then have students explore independently or in small groups. Older students can create their own GoogleTrek after viewing examples for any subject. To post the GoogleTrek, you must email the creator (directions are explicitly explained on the "Posting Your Own GoogleTrek" link. Have students create GoogleTrek's about Christmas Around the World, routes of explorers, famous landmarks, and important inventions. While presenting a GoogleTrek, have students identify points displayed on paper maps located at their seats.

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Lino - Infoteria Corporation

Grades
K to 12
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Create online sticky type bulletin boards to view from any online device using Lino. Click to try it first without even joining. The trial canvas has stickies explaining how to ...more
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Create online sticky type bulletin boards to view from any online device using Lino. Click to try it first without even joining. The trial canvas has stickies explaining how to use Lino. Join and create your own canvases to share stickies, reminders, files, and more. Change sticky colors from the menu in the upper right hand corner or use the easy editing tools that appear when the sticky is selected. Use the icons at the bottom of each sticky note to "peel them off," share, edit, and more. Create a group from your Lino page to share and collaborate on canvases. You can also share canvases publicly so anyone with the URL can participate. This is a device-agnostic tool, available on the web but also available for free as both an Android and iOS app. Use it from any device or move between several devices and still access your work. App and web versions vary slightly.

tag(s): collages (17), creative fluency (8), creativity (110), DAT device agnostic tool (159), gamification (69), note taking (33)

In the Classroom

Use this tool easily in your Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) classroom since all students will be able to access it for free, no matter what device they have. Students can use this when researching alone or in groups, sharing files, videos, and pictures quickly from one computer to another. Have students write tasks for each member of the group on a sticky so that everyone has a responsibility. Show them how to copy/paste URLs for sources onto notes, too. Use Lino as your virtual word wall for vocabulary development. Use a Lino for students to submit and share questions or comments about assignments and tasks they are working on. Use it as a virtual graffiti wall for students to make connections between their world and curriculum content, such as "I wonder what the hall monitor would say finding Lady Macbeth washing her hands in the school restroom... and what Lady M would say back." (Of course, you will want to have a PG-13 policy for student comments!) Encourage students to maintain an idea collection lino for ideas and creative inspirations they may not have used yet but do not want to "lose." They can color code and organize ideas later or send the stickies to a new project board later. In writing or art classes, use lino as a virtual writer's journal or design a notebook to collect ideas, images, and even video clips. In science classes, encourage students to keep a lino board with (classroom appropriate) questions and "aside" thoughts about science concepts being studied and to use these ideas in later projects so their creative ideas are not 'lost" before project time. A lino board can also serve as a final online "display" for students to "show what they know" as the culmination of a research project. Add videos, images, and notes in a carefully arranged display not unlike an electronic bulletin board. This is also a great tool to help you stay "personally" organized. Use this site as a resource to share information with other teachers, parents, or students.

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2010 Census - US Census Bureau

Grades
6 to 12
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Every ten years, the United States participates in a census; the census represents both a raw count of the country's population, but also how that population is distributed demographically....more
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Every ten years, the United States participates in a census; the census represents both a raw count of the country's population, but also how that population is distributed demographically. The US Census Bureau has begun unrolling the data collected during this most recent census. This site will continue to update, so check back often for more. The ability of the Internet and computer data to be distributed widely has changed significantly since the 2000 census, and this site reflects increased transparency and ease of access to this vital information.

tag(s): census (19), demographics (19), population (60)

In the Classroom

First, it's important for students to know that the US Constitution requires a census, and second, that the information gathered is used in a variety of important ways that affect them directly. The first data posted looks at how shifts in population density will change the way various geographic areas of the country are represented in the US government. Consider reading the Director's blog for further analysis of how census data is being used on a local, state, and national level. Of course, the data are perfect for using in math and civics classes for teaching graph reading and creation, and for providing real-life information to use in statistical analysis. A civics or sociology class might download a copy of the census form and consider what the questions tell us about how families live in the 21st century. What questions might students add to a future census form that would reflect how things are changing for their generation?
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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State of the Union Address 2011 - guardian.co.uk

Grades
6 to 12
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See a comparison of State of the Union Address language from President Obama, 2011, to past presidents and speeches. These word clouds offer a visual comparison of the most frequent...more
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See a comparison of State of the Union Address language from President Obama, 2011, to past presidents and speeches. These word clouds offer a visual comparison of the most frequent words in different presidential speeches. You can make your own clouds of speech text using Wordle, reviewed here and similar word cloud tools to add to the comparison options.

tag(s): presidents (130), speech (91), speeches (17)

In the Classroom

Share these word clouds on interactive whiteboard or projector to analyze the presidential agendas in a civics or government class. Have students make their own clouds of text from other speeches using Wordle, reviewed here or similar word cloud tools to add to the comparison options. During political campaigns, share this comparison and invite students to create ones of their own between different candidates. In English/language arts classes, use the word clouds to spark discussion of propaganda techniques, word choice, and effective speech techniques. Share this discussion in debate club, as well, to point out the importance of carefully crafted messages. Have students create and compare clouds of their own speech drafts while studying persuasive writing.

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21st Century Questions - 21st Century Question

Grades
6 to 12
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21st Century Questions is a collaborative blog designed to pose thoughtful and challenging questions about the impact of technology on society. In partnership with efforts to...more
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21st Century Questions is a collaborative blog designed to pose thoughtful and challenging questions about the impact of technology on society. In partnership with efforts to promote digital literacy skills, teachers, students, and others can use this site either by accessing the questions already posed and exploring them with students, or by posing additional questions themselves. Each post contains a prompt, either in the form of a short video clip, a cartoon, or a short narrative, and then a series of open-ended questions. The rest is up to you!

tag(s): writing (361), writing prompts (92)

In the Classroom

These questions present a wealth of challenging writing prompts, class discussion starters, or extension/enrichment activities for gifted students or high ability writers in science or social students classes, in debate club, or in enrichment programs. Access the site yourself and cherry-pick your favorite questions. Alternatively, provide a link to the site and ask students to explore possible questions they'd like to answer or discuss. Finally, collaborate as a class to develop question prompts of your own as a group project and then post them to the site. Bookmark this site as one of those you go to when you have unexpected time to fill in class, or as a resource for a substitute teacher-led discussion. Science teachers can use technology issues to connect science with real world topics for students who may not otherwise see value in mastering concepts. Assign groups to explore a topic of their choice from this blog and present it in open-ended debate once a month in your science class or as part of a science careers unit.

Comments

This is a treasure trove of prompts to ponder and spur editorial/argument writing. I LOVE THIS! Patricia, NJ, Grades: 6 - 12

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Physics Central- Explore - Physics Central

Grades
8 to 12
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Looking for current physics research and articles? This a great place to view. Physics Central's Explore section provides up to date research articles and podcasts that will help students...more
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Looking for current physics research and articles? This a great place to view. Physics Central's Explore section provides up to date research articles and podcasts that will help students understand the present day issues in physics. There are numerous topics available. At the time of this review, some of the engaging topics included FMRIs: the Future Mind Reader, Holograms, Snowflake Science, and several others. There are pictures, clear and understandable text, and interesting podcasts and vodcasts (video podcasts).

tag(s): podcasts (52)

In the Classroom

Use this site for students to relate physics to their everyday lives by finding a current event, reading it, and discussing how it is relevant to them. Discussion can be in class, or posted to a class wiki. It would be a good idea to insert the link to the site on your class website or wiki so that students can access it easily in and out of class. Not comfortable with wikis? Have no wiki worries - check out the TeachersFirst's Wiki Walk-Through.

Reading teachers looking for informational passages to reinforce and practice comprehension skills will find the current events articles on this site well sited for use on an interactive whiteboard to practice main idea, summarizing, etc.
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Study English - Australia Network

Grades
4 to 12
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This site, produced by Australian TV, offers oral lessons for intermediate and advanced level English language learners. The TV productions are available online in their entirety; they...more
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This site, produced by Australian TV, offers oral lessons for intermediate and advanced level English language learners. The TV productions are available online in their entirety; they provide listening, pronunciation, and reading and writing practice for LES candidates. Although based on the Australian curriculum and testing called IELTS, the lessons, vocabulary, and practices are appropriate for any learners of English. The accent on the videos is, of course, Australian. Included in the offerings, in addition to the videos, are tape transcripts, study items, and quizzes.

tag(s): grammar (217), video (259)

In the Classroom

Use this site with ESL/ELL learners as designed. Share the lessons on your interactive whiteboard or projector. If individual computers are available, have students view the lessons independently (with headsets) and create multimedia projects to demonstrate what they have learned. Have students create an interactive online poster ("glog") using Glogster EDU, reviewed here. Better yet, if students get used to the video and exercise formats, have them produce similar videos teaching a few lessons about their home cultures! Share the videos using a tool such as Teachers.TV reviewed here.

Special ed teachers and those seeking combination video/text lessons to use to teach listening/reading comprehension may find these lessons valuable, as well.

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Access, Analyze, Act: From Economic Theory to Financial Reality - PBS

Grades
9 to 12
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This series of lesson plans and accompanying resources (don't overlook the right side menu!), addresses economic theory in ways that will help students translate theory into concrete...more
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This series of lesson plans and accompanying resources (don't overlook the right side menu!), addresses economic theory in ways that will help students translate theory into concrete reality. Each lesson plan incorporates a case study, and there are introductory video clips, and interactive content for each. Sample topics like health care, unemployment, labor, imports and exports, and general economic theory.

In the Classroom

This really is a "one stop shop" for lessons on economics. Take time to dig deeply through the resources provided. There are video clips narrated by PBS commentators, interactive resources for use on an interactive whiteboard or projector, an economics glossary (with a widget for your class homepage that allows students to access the glossary directly), podcasts and audio content, and links to further resources. Challenge students to create their own multimedia explanations of key concepts using GlogsterEDU reviewed here, or a concept map created using webspiration reviewed here.
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PolitiFact: Sorting out the truth in politics - St. Petersburg Times

Grades
6 to 12
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Politicians are legendary for their ability to "spin" or manipulate the facts in their own favor. This site seeks to cut through the jargon and the partisan spin to evaluate ...more
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Politicians are legendary for their ability to "spin" or manipulate the facts in their own favor. This site seeks to cut through the jargon and the partisan spin to evaluate statements made by politicians, using their "Truth-o-Meter." Although the interface is light-hearted (using a scale that runs from True, Barely True, False, and "Pants on Fire"), the facts are well researched and presented.

tag(s): advertising (33), elections (75), politics (99)

In the Classroom

This site is a great resource for students researching politicians and their viewpoints. If you're sponsoring a class debate, keep the site handy for each side to check the assertions of their opponents. When students have questions about the content of political advertising, for example, refer them here to find out more. As an assignment, consider having the class pick a political ad, and using the information on this site, write about how the creator of the ad selected the facts that would best portray the viewpoint of the candidate. They could share their critique on a class wiki or on a classroom bulletin board. Have groups create a "mythbuster" political poster on ThingLink, reviewed here.

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Congress.org - C-Q Roll Call, Inc

Grades
9 to 12
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Congress.org is a product of the larger group of news publications that include Congressional Quarterly and Roll Call, both long-time sources of news about Washington politics. The...more
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Congress.org is a product of the larger group of news publications that include Congressional Quarterly and Roll Call, both long-time sources of news about Washington politics. The site collects news stories, letters to congress and statements from political advocacy groups in one place for the reader to survey. The site is as non-partisan as possible, and it's possible you will find links to statements from the National Rifle Association next to those from the the Society of Friends. There is also a running accounting of recent votes in Congress for those trying to keep up with current legislation. Be aware, however, that one portion of the site includes letters to Members of Congress written by subscribers; previewing in advance is advised.

tag(s): congress (33), elections (75), house of representatives (9), senate (9)

In the Classroom

Consider placing this site on your class web page for students to use in researching political viewpoints, both in relation to upcoming elections and in ongoing political debate. It's a site for true politics junkies, but will be useful for those who are looking for concise information collected in a readable, easy-to-access format. Use the site during your study of the legislative branch and have groups follow congressional groups of individuals, creating a timeline of their activities using a tool such as XTimeline, reviewed here or Dipity, reviewed here. Embed the congressional timelines in your class wiki for students to compare and critique or to trace an incumbent's activities during an election cycle.

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Recovery.gov - US Government

Grades
9 to 12
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Much has been made about the federal government's commitment to make the fruits of the economic Recovery Act transparent; this site represents that transparency. This site has lots...more
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Much has been made about the federal government's commitment to make the fruits of the economic Recovery Act transparent; this site represents that transparency. This site has lots of boxes and charts. There is a wealth of data here, however, and that may be its greatest strength. Where has the money gone? Track it geographically, track it by category, track as tax relief, track it as job creation, track it by source, track it by grant versus loan versus contract.

tag(s): data (148)

In the Classroom

While students themselves may not be searching for jobs funded by the Recovery Act, the site can answer questions about local uses of Recovery Act money. Use this site as a rich source of real data that can be used to teach about reading charts and graphs, analyzing information and making inferences from that information, and as a prime example of the responsibilities of citizens to see where their tax dollars are going. Groups of students might tackle a particular slant on the Recovery Act and report their findings. Follow up with a class-generated letter to a local legislator about their findings as a writing intensive addition to a largely numbers driven lesson. Or have your students create interactive online posters ("glogs") using Glogster EDU, reviewed here to share with the class.
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