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The Uninsured in America - PBS NewsHour

Grades
6 to 12
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One of the central issues in the 2008 Presidential election was the state of the U.S. health care system. This site from PBS NewsHour pulls together a number of resources ...more
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One of the central issues in the 2008 Presidential election was the state of the U.S. health care system. This site from PBS NewsHour pulls together a number of resources that could be helpful in discussing this issue with students. There are video and MP3 format interviews with Americans talking about how the health care crisis has affected them. Lesson plans are included. There is analysis focused on how President Obama might address the issue. Graphic information shows how many are uninsured in the U.S., how the U.S. compares with other nations, and a timeline of the history of health insurance in this country. One link focuses on special health care programs aimed at children. This site requires Flash and Adobe Acrobat. You can get both from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): medicine (67)

In the Classroom

Many students may not realize that health insurance is a relatively new phenomenon. This site has a rich variety of resources that can set a context for a discussion on how the cost of health care is contributing to today's economic concerns. Assign students to review several of the reports on this site to prepare for a class debate. Use the video content on an interactive whiteboard or projector to spark discussion. Supplement a geography lesson with comparisons of health care systems in other nations. Use this site as one of several current issues topics for students studying government, and have them prepare a policy proposal for their own "cabinet."
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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The History of Money - The History Channel

Grades
6 to 12
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With the news dominated by problems with the world economy, this site on this history of money might provide a good baseline for further discussion. The video gallery features historic...more
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With the news dominated by problems with the world economy, this site on this history of money might provide a good baseline for further discussion. The video gallery features historic newsreel clips and other content associated with currency and economics. An image gallery shows the history of US coinage. There is a page of quotes related to money as well as a resources page with links to other sites with further information. This site requires Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): currency (20), great depression (24), money (193)

In the Classroom

Use the video clips to introduce a lesson or reinforce content on the history of the Great Depression, or the significance of the gold standard, for example. Use the "coined phrases" as writing prompts or as thoughts to ponder, posted in the classroom. The interactive timeline shows the history of US currency and would work well on an interactive whiteboard or projector.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Global Voices Online - Global Voices

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9 to 12
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In just a few short years, blogging has become one of the fastest growing means of Internet communication. This site represents a collection of bloggers whose interests focus on developing...more
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In just a few short years, blogging has become one of the fastest growing means of Internet communication. This site represents a collection of bloggers whose interests focus on developing countries. These international blogs and blogs about international issues give an authentic voice to areas of the world where that voice is often suppressed or unrecognized. The site is a combination of blogs that have been collected and translated and are presented on the site itself and links to offsite blogs. The entries can be searched by region, by country, or by topic. Additionally, there is a cadre of authors sponsored directly by Global Voices itself to comment on and recommend blogs and bloggers from their geographic areas of expertise.

Be aware that many school districts' web filters exclude blogs, but the entries that are posted directly to the site itself may be more accessible. You should monitor student use regularly, however, as blogs represent the opinions and feelings of their writers and may not always be suitable for classroom use. This site requires Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): blogs (88), countries (77)

In the Classroom

Many social studies classes feature long term projects or units on diverse countries, and this site is a goldmine of information about places that can be difficult to research. Share the blog entries on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Why not have students create a video highlighting what they have learned about their country (or other topic). Share the videos on a tool such as SchoolTube (reviewed here).
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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BigDialog.org - eCitizenship Foundation and MIT eCitizenship Program

Grades
9 to 12
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BigDialog.org has become the premier site for Americans to voice their concerns to President Obama. Your government or civics students will enjoy listening to and reading statements...more
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BigDialog.org has become the premier site for Americans to voice their concerns to President Obama. Your government or civics students will enjoy listening to and reading statements from the citizens of the USA as they relate to current hot topics. Because President Obama's savvy use of the internet during his campaign, this website promises that he will be checking here to take the pulse of America's heart beat. The opinions expressed are genuine and may be inappropriate in the classroom, so preview. As with any site with a public forum, you will need to check your school's Acceptable Use Policy for security reasons. This site requires Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): matter (56)

In the Classroom

Imagine this site as the neighbors next door, who are voicing their concern over civic matters. This site gives a substantial voice of concern and can give your students bountiful ideas for research topics. Share the videos (previewed, of course!) on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Have cooperative learning groups create their own videos voicing their concerns. Send a few of the videos to BigDialog. (Be sure to obtain parental permission first)!
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Human Footprint - National Geographic

Grades
3 to 10
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This interactive takes a look at the effect of typical human consumption on the planet. Students can see how the bread they eat or the newspapers they read tax the ...more
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This interactive takes a look at the effect of typical human consumption on the planet. Students can see how the bread they eat or the newspapers they read tax the resources of our earth. There is also information about water consumption, diapers (and the crude oil they require), eggs, and more. The highly visual display of the site is well balanced with facts. Comparisons between the U.S., the U.K, and Japan provide interesting contrasts in resource usage between nations.

tag(s): earth (228), earth day (112), environment (317), natural resources (59), resources (112)

In the Classroom

Fire up the projector or interactive whiteboard to use this site when beginning a unit on natural resources, agriculture, environment, green living, or cultural comparisons. Ask your students to research other items that might be included in the comparison besides newspapers, potatoes, gas, etc. Have them make charts or online presentations to display consumption information in a similar fashion. Save this site in your favorites to use for Earth Day.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Breathing Earth - David Bleja

Grades
3 to 12
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SEE the relative contributions to carbon dioxide emissions country by country. Students roll the mouse over countries on a flattened world map to see what the carbon dioxide emission...more
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SEE the relative contributions to carbon dioxide emissions country by country. Students roll the mouse over countries on a flattened world map to see what the carbon dioxide emission of each. The featured country's pertinent facts pop up, including emissions, populations, and birth/death rates. Countries are color-coded to indicate rates of carbon dioxide emissions. The pop-ups of births and deaths are fascinating (they occur in real-time). The bottom of the site includes a detailed legend; be sure to check it out. Note that spelling is Australian ("tonnes" vs "tons"). You can turn off the audio at the lower left. This site requires Flash. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): carbon (21), carbon dioxide (17), carbon footprint (11), earth (228), earth day (112), environment (317)

In the Classroom

This site has countless uses in the classroom of various grade levels. Share this site on a projector or interactive whiteboard. With younger classes, use this map to teach about map legends. Use this when studying ecosystems, environmental issues, economics, current events, world birth and death rates, pollution problems, and conservation. Leave the site open for a few hours for students to see the changes. This site is an excellent resource for research projects on countries throughout the world.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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All of Inflation's Little Parts - The New York Times

Grades
7 to 12
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As the saying goes, "It's the economy, stupid." The US economy continues to be an important talking point. Some report that the country is already slipping into recession, but what...more
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As the saying goes, "It's the economy, stupid." The US economy continues to be an important talking point. Some report that the country is already slipping into recession, but what does that mean? This graphic, designed by the New York Times, is the kind of visual presentation that can really help put this discussion into perspective. Presented as an amped-up version of the traditional pie chart, the chart shows what percentage of the average consumer's spending is devoted to everything from cable TV to gas to fast food to postage. The graphic also shows the relative increase or decrease in that cost over the past year. For example, students may enjoy seeing the comparison between money spent on men's clothing versus that spent on women's clothing, with additional comparative data on shoes, accessories, and children's clothes! This site requires Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

In the Classroom

This relatively simple graphic has a very wide variety of possible applications. If you teach personal finance and budgeting, students can use this chart to compare the average American's spending with their own. If you teach economics, the fact that the items that have increased the most in the past year are gasoline, fuel oil, firewood, and eggs (OK, eggs?) will bear out the impact of the rise in the cost of crude oil and the chaos in the middle east. If you teach civics or government, you can show how the changes in the economy affect what citizens want from their politicians. If you teach math, the graphic's real-life data could be used as a basis for computation and problem solving. Because it's Flash-enabled, the "mouse over" effects and the ability to zoom in and out to see greater detail (how much does the average American spends on ham versus turkey? It's on there!). This site would work well on an interactive whiteboard or projector.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Smog City 2 - U.S. EPA and Sacramento Air Quality Management District

Grades
5 to 12
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Use this interactive air pollution simulation to learn about the effects of particulates, ozone, and individual choices on air pollution. The Create Your Own section allows you...more
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Use this interactive air pollution simulation to learn about the effects of particulates, ozone, and individual choices on air pollution. The Create Your Own section allows you to test cause and effect of different factors in a controlled setting. Although the option to download the simulator is offered, it runs just fine in its online version. The site's disclaimer explains that the complex relationships between environmental factors have been simplified for this simulator, but the processes are still representative of the "real world" factors. This is a MUST for Earth Day!

This site is powerful and therefore may take some extra time to load - so prepare ahead! This site requires Flash. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): air (163), earth (228), earth day (112), environment (317), pollution (66)

In the Classroom

Younger students would benefit from a teacher-centered introduction on the simulator (using your interactive whiteboard or projector), followed by directed explorations to find specific answers to teacher questions. Older students can determine the most important factors in air pollution and explore means to solve the problem as part of a health, social studies, science, or government class. Have your students present their finding on an interactive whiteboard or projector.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Climate Chaos - BBC

Grades
4 to 10
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One word describes this all-encompassing website: amazing! If you are teaching students about global warming, climates, types of energy, recycling or any other "green" topic - you must...more
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One word describes this all-encompassing website: amazing! If you are teaching students about global warming, climates, types of energy, recycling or any other "green" topic - you must visit this website. At the website you will find interactive activities and games, guides and information about numerous topics, quizzes, votes, and chats! This site is frequently updated. Some of the activities require FLASH. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): earth (228), earth day (112), energy (197), recycling (57)

In the Classroom

Share this one on an interactive whiteboard or projector to help your students to understand the effects of global warming. Include the link on your teacher web page as you study weather, climate, and environmental concerns. This site would also make a great "scavenger hunt" for students to learn the basics about global warming. Ask each to write some questions for the hunt, then have the whole class try it! Have cooperative learning groups explore various facets of this site and create a multi-media presentation.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Daryl Cagle's Professional Cartoonists Index - MSNBC

Grades
6 to 12
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We know that today's students are far more accustomed to learning through images than students of the past. This site is a collection of the work of dozens of political ...more
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We know that today's students are far more accustomed to learning through images than students of the past. This site is a collection of the work of dozens of political cartoonists and is constantly updated to provide fresh content tied to the news of the day. The site is surprisingly deep, however, and has cartoon galleries that go back at least five years.

Teachers should be aware of several cautions however: Preview the cartoons collections for age-appropriateness; understand that the site does contain advertisements; and recognize that the images are copyright protected. Teachers are advised to post links to specific cartoons rather than trying to "cut and paste" the cartoons into websites or other documents.

tag(s): comics and cartoons (74), politics (99)

In the Classroom

Use the political cartoons on this site to introduce a class discussion on current events, civics, or government. Try using a cartoon as a writing prompt either for individual students or for collaborative work. Post a link to a particular cartoon or cartoon series on your classroom blog for discussion. Have students try to create a cartoon (either drawing or using computer generated images) depicting current events in the news.

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Lincoln 200 Years - C-Span

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6 to 12
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This site, created by C-Span, examines numerous areas of Abraham Lincoln's life and legacy. Main areas of this site include Schedule, Timeline, Videos, In His Own Words, & Gallery....more
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This site, created by C-Span, examines numerous areas of Abraham Lincoln's life and legacy. Main areas of this site include Schedule, Timeline, Videos, In His Own Words, & Gallery. The highlight of this site is the video link. Click and find video clips (some reenactments, others lectures) about the Lincoln-Douglas Debates, Gettysburg Address, Pre-Presidency, and his Assassination. This site also highlights the release of four new pennies in February 2009.

Be aware: the links in the left sidebar will take you to the parent site (C-Span), not the Lincoln information. The right sidebar provides a list of recommended websites about Lincoln. This site requires Real Player, you can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): civil war (145), emancipation proclamation (12), lincoln (86), slavery (72)

In the Classroom

If you are planning for the 200th birthday of Lincoln or any study of the Lincoln era, check out this site! This is a phenomenal site for any secondary class. Use this site for research projects. Share the videos on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Have students create their own videos of reenactments based on their research. Share the videos on TeacherTube (explained here).

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Veterans History Project - Library of Congress

Grades
9 to 12
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The Veterans History Project is both a valuable historical resource and a terrific jumping off point for a serious student or group project. The Veterans History Project uses volunteer...more
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The Veterans History Project is both a valuable historical resource and a terrific jumping off point for a serious student or group project. The Veterans History Project uses volunteer contributors to gather remembrances from war veterans and civilians who worked in support industries. The Project includes audio interviews, interview transcripts, letters, and other primary documents related to US wars beginning with World War I up through the present conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq. Use the site to search for and access already preserved accounts, or to design a student project to gather new accounts (note however that volunteers are limited to students in 10th grade or older).

To fully experience this site, you need Adobe Acrobat and Real Player. You can get both from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): afghanistan (7), iraq (32), korea (15), resources (112), veterans (19), vietnam (36), world war 1 (54), world war 2 (142)

In the Classroom

Primary documents are a vital link between the students of today and the experiences of real people from the past. Students can access these interviews and accounts through searching by time period (WWI through the present), branch of service, gender, or POW status. As your class studies a particular conflict, assign students different accounts to research and then have them "portray" that person in a panel discussion about the war. Compare the experiences of persons filling similar roles across conflicts. Examine gender differences or the differences between those serving in the Navy and the Army. For a powerful long-term project, download the site's "field kit" and consider gathering new accounts for the project in your community.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Lincoln's 200th birthday coincides with Obama inauguration - The Earth Times

Grades
6 to 12
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This website is essentially a news article highlighting the inauguration of Barack Obama (the first African-American president in U.S. history) and the celebration of the 200th birthday...more
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This website is essentially a news article highlighting the inauguration of Barack Obama (the first African-American president in U.S. history) and the celebration of the 200th birthday of Abraham Lincoln. This article compares the two American heroes. The theme of Obama's inauguration is Lincoln and how the two men are similar. Both took office during critical times in U.S. history, both faced huge challenges, both are from the state of Illinois, and both are known for their inspirational speeches.

tag(s): inauguration (11), lincoln (86)

In the Classroom

Share this article with your students. Have your class compare Lincoln and Obama. If they both had cellular phones, what do you think they might text to each other? Have students research the two men and then create a fictitious wiki that the men might have written back and forth to one another. Have students write their own articles comparing the two men.

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TeachersFirst: Lesson Ideas for Lincoln - TeachersFirst

Grades
1 to 12
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For Lincoln's birthday or any time of year, here are ideas to better acquaint students with the life, times, and work of the 16th president of the United States. These ...more
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For Lincoln's birthday or any time of year, here are ideas to better acquaint students with the life, times, and work of the 16th president of the United States. These ideas feature both technology-enhanced lessons and non-tech experiences. Choose from the lesson titles (sorted by level) to find lesson ideas best suited to your students and the subjects you teach.

tag(s): civil war (145), debate (41), lincoln (86), presidents (130)

In the Classroom

No matter what subject you teach, you can find something to fit in your plans for Presidents Day or the Lincoln Bicentennial. Use these ideas and adapt at will. You can even email an idea to your teacher colleague to save a friend time!

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NewsHour Extra Lesson Plan: What is the Role of Civil Disobedience - PBS

Grades
6 to 12
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This site, affiliated with the PBS NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, presents a lesson plan related to the history of civil disobedience. The site provides a short handout for students, and...more
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This site, affiliated with the PBS NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, presents a lesson plan related to the history of civil disobedience. The site provides a short handout for students, and a more detailed summary for teachers to prepare for discussion on civil disobedience and its role in creating change. There is also a collection of historical quotes focused on the issue, including the words of Martin Luther King, Jr., Henry David Thoreau, and Bishop Desmond Tutu. You need Acrobat Reader to print the quotes and other downloadable documents. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): civil rights (117)

In the Classroom

Encouraging students to think of disobedience (of any kind) as a positive force for change will delight some students and confuse and trouble others. Depending upon their age and their intellectual and moral development, teachers should be prepared for these varied reactions. Although there is brief mention in the lesson plan of Cindy Sheehan, the anti-war protestor, there is no discussion of other contemporary issues related to terrorism, freedom versus security, or privacy. Teachers should also be prepared to have these topics enter the discussion. The historical quotes would make good bulletin board fodder or discussion (either verbal or written) prompts. Maybe try one on your class blog!
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Google Trends - Google

Grades
6 to 12
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Want a concrete indicator of public curiosity and concerns from the source they use most? Try Google Trends (formerly known as Google Zeitgeist). This simple tool tells what people...more
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Want a concrete indicator of public curiosity and concerns from the source they use most? Try Google Trends (formerly known as Google Zeitgeist). This simple tool tells what people are searching most on Google (country by country), correlating it to the news and other major dates. Click on the year trends to view all of them and click on those of interest to you. Or scroll down the landing page instead to see the big headline makers of the year. For example, use the 2008 summary to see the spikes in certain Google searches connected with events during the 2008 U.S. political campaigns. Get a quick snapshot of popular culture "hot topics" or personal concerns during tough economic times, simple by seeing what people are searching on Google. If you are trying to build world-awareness and 21st century learners in your classroom, keep Google Trends handy to spark discussion and curiosity.

tag(s): consumers (21), politics (99)

In the Classroom

Teachers of gifted will want to share this as a must-read site, but all students would benefit from hypothesizing about the world trends that generate Google searches. Share this resource on your teacher web page or classroom computer for handy access. As you discuss current events, government, politics, of even consumer behavior, use Zeitgeist to ask questions: Why are people searching this now? What did people in other countries search while Americans were focused on Sarah Palin or bank bailouts? Show a Trends listing on your projector or interactive whiteboard and simply ask the question: Why? Challenge students to discuss possible reasons for what they see in small groups or in blog posts. Use a Trends finding as a prompt for a debate or essay in English class. Use the trends as indicators of consumer behavior for discussions in business or FCS classes. Use search wordings from other countries in your world language classes to sharpen awareness of cultural differences and similarities.

Just ask WHY? and watch your students leap to higher level thinking as you challenge them to prove it with other findings from the web or research.

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The Mint: Fun Financial Literacy Activities for Kids, Teens, Parents and Teachers - Northwestern Mutual Foundation

Grades
6 to 12
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Economics and the stock market have taken center stage since the crises of 2008. This site provides a nice overview of the world of personal investment including sections on earning,...more
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Economics and the stock market have taken center stage since the crises of 2008. This site provides a nice overview of the world of personal investment including sections on earning, saving, spending, investing, giving, owing, safeguarding, and tracking. There are also a number of interactive features that can provide insight into the student's attitudes toward money. Online calculators help students understand how finance charges affect the "bottom line" for purchases bought on credit, and how saving in interest-bearing accounts can increase assets. The "Ideas for Teachers" link includes lesson plans and other tips for using the site in an educational setting. This site requires Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): business (58), money (193)

In the Classroom

This site provides some great tools for use by students in a personal finance or "Real World" class, as well as information to supplement a discussion of economics or current events. You could also use it as a real world application of many math concepts or team teach middle school math and social studies together. Consider assigning the interactive quizzes as independent work, and using the topical overviews to accompany a lecture or class discussion. One drawback: the "sounds" that accompany mousing over your choices are very distracting. Consider turning down the sound (or hitting mute) on your computer if you use this site on an interactive whiteboard. Challenge students to write "financial" blogs offering advice, based on the information learned at this site. Or assign them to demonstrate competence with concepts such as per cent and interest by creating a financial advice column for a student online newspaper.
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Held accountable - New York Times

Grades
6 to 12
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The lesson plans are frequently updated; include McRel standards, links to more information, and lots of detail! ...more
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The lesson plans are frequently updated; include McRel standards, links to more information, and lots of detail!

tag(s): africa (180), black history (59), civil war (145), lincoln (86), slavery (72)

In the Classroom

Teachers can pick and choose easily from among several strands of thought among these lesson plans, either to supplement a unit on the Civil War, for use during Black History observations, or in an English class focused on story telling and personal voice. It could also provide interesting materials for reading comprehension practice using content area materials. All the plans follow a pretty regular format: link to the Times article, read it and discuss, but this kind of break from the use of a standard textbook can be refreshing. Many plans include a vocabulary list, ideas for extension activities and focus on making the lesson as interdisciplinary as possible. As you celebrate Presidents Day (especially Lincoln's 200th birthday in 2009), check out this site for Lincoln resources!

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On This Day - New York Times

Grades
6 to 12
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The New York Times offers this glimpse back into history in this daily feature. Events may be national or international, and frequently refer to contemporaneous Times coverage. The...more
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The New York Times offers this glimpse back into history in this daily feature. Events may be national or international, and frequently refer to contemporaneous Times coverage. The site also lists "famous" birthdays, copies of previous New York Times, and links to lesson plans (mainly current events).

tag(s): news (261)

In the Classroom

Try this one for a daily "historical current events" sampling. Take advantage of the "ready to go" lesson plans, which include interactive features.

This site also makes for decent research. For a classroom-ready activity each day to build understanding of historical events in the context of your students' prior knowledge, also try TeachersFirst's Dates That Matter. Include both links on your teacher web page for instant access by students both in and out of class. Maybe start a class wiki for your own "This Day" collection and assign student groups a day of their own. Add to it from year to year. Or have students write blog responses on class or individual blogs as they choose an event for the day from several sources and react to it.

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Gallup Daily - Gallup, Inc.

Grades
1 to 12
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The Gallup Daily offers detailed information about elections, current events, video clips, and much more. There are also graphs and statistical information. Some of this site...more
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The Gallup Daily offers detailed information about elections, current events, video clips, and much more. There are also graphs and statistical information. Some of this site requires Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): elections (75), statistics (122)

In the Classroom

Use this site to share current events with your students on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Study the statistics of the election in your math class. Have a mock election in your class, analyze the results of your class election using graphs and statistics.
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