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Volcano World - Department of Geosciences at Oregon State University

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4 to 10
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For everything everyone wants to know about volcanoes, look at this webpage which includes data on current eruptions, startling photos, links to videos of volcanic activity, links to...more
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For everything everyone wants to know about volcanoes, look at this webpage which includes data on current eruptions, startling photos, links to videos of volcanic activity, links to lesson plans, volcano FAQ's, and a glossary. Video links require the Quicktime plugin. The Kids Door takes you to portins appropriate for younger students and virtual field trips to volcanoes suitable for any age.

tag(s): disasters (39), volcanoes (65)

In the Classroom

Use a projector to take a virtual field trip as you start the study of volcanoes, then include this site as a link on your teacher web page for students to research different volcanoes and current activity.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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NewsHour Extra Lesson Plan: Immigration Reform - PBS

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6 to 12
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A site affiliated with the PBS NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, this lesson plan provides a framework for discussing immigration from multiple points of view. There are links to a ...more
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A site affiliated with the PBS NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, this lesson plan provides a framework for discussing immigration from multiple points of view. There are links to a partial transcript of a NewsHour segment that features the voices of immigrants from different countries. There is a good set of essential questions for discussion related to the issue of immigration. The focus of the lesson is that life experiences shape attitudes toward immigration, and that there are many points of view. Students are encouraged to role play a point of view different from their own. Finally, there is a quick quiz (and Key) that could be used to establish prior knowledge about immigration. On a topic that can be highly emotional, this lesson simply lays out the viewpoints, rather than taking sides.

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

In the Classroom

The essential questions (labeled "My Point of View, parts 2-3") are a nice guide for helping students see this issue from multiple backgrounds.
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Awesome Stories - Awesome Stories Internet Productions

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3 to 8
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A great source of primary documents covering many topics of interest to grade school children including the real stories some of the people killed on Sept. 11. Although this ...more
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A great source of primary documents covering many topics of interest to grade school children including the real stories some of the people killed on Sept. 11. Although this is usually a pay site ($9.95/yr), free membership is available for educators, schools, and libraries. Each feature article is divided into "Story Chapter Links" and highlighted vocabulary clicks to photographs, maps, artifacts, documents, audio-visual clips, and articles with more information about the word. Topics offered include history, culture, literature, disasters, and media. You can find passages on topics related to almost any student's interests and use the resources to teacher reading skills. In December, 2006, Awesome Stories announced free accounts for individuals, as well, but for a "limited time." If you would like your students to be abe to use it at home, consider setting up accounts for students, as well, while they are free.

tag(s): dinosaurs (57), disasters (39), literature (276), movies (72), space (217)

In the Classroom

This is a great jumping off point for beginning researchers. You will find a wonderful compilation of photographs and other realia about the topics. Teach comprehension skills by using the first four chapters and asking students to predict or write aht they think would come next. Bring up the stories on an interactive whiteboard to highlight important terms and access the links that help students build connections to content. Maybe let students select the next topic to help engage reluctant readers.

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NewsHour Extra Lesson Plan: Checks and Balances in Supreme Court Nominations - PBS

Grades
7 to 12
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This site is affiliated with the PBS NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, and presents a lesson plan focused on Supreme Court nominations and the ongoing balance of power in the US ...more
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This site is affiliated with the PBS NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, and presents a lesson plan focused on Supreme Court nominations and the ongoing balance of power in the US government. There are excellent discussion guides, a link to streaming video from the NewsHour, with an accompanying transcript that can be distributed, and a PDF version of a Chicago Tribune article on the issue. There is a nice vocabulary list. There is a good handout on the process of nominating a Supreme Court judge and a worksheet that accompanies it.

tag(s): supreme court (23)

In the Classroom

There is a really nice "balance of powers" exercise that goes way beyond a simple discussion of the Supreme Court. Students look at all three branches of government and determine which branch has power in a variety of contemporary situations. This lesson plan is good as a stand-alone, but also provides a lot of jumping off places for further discussion and adaptation. Use a projector, as the plan suggests, to share the short video clips, available in several formats.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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IOU--An Introduction to the National Debt - PBS The Democracy Project

Grades
6 to 12
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This site presents a lesson plan introducing students to the concept of the National Debt. Students are challenged to compare the National Debt with a personal or family debt ...more
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This site presents a lesson plan introducing students to the concept of the National Debt. Students are challenged to compare the National Debt with a personal or family debt and to apply principles of budgeting to a discussion of governmental budgeting. There is a link to the (constantly) updated National Debt Clock, a nifty game asking students to estimate what portion of the US budget goes to what categories of expenditures, and a similar, but more elegant simulation game that challenges students to make decisions about budget allocations from UC-Berkley. The two budget exercises would be extremely useful in a general discussion of the US government and its responsibilities. Students too often say "We should spend more money on XXX" without understanding the complexities of budgeting.

In the Classroom

You may want to integrate using a spreadsheet to create a budget as part of this study, as well, especially if you are working with high school students who will soon be on their own.
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Get Energized! - US Bureau of Land Management

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5 to 8
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Learn all about energy and conservation using this highly-interactive site with your students. There is a video intro "Energy Snapshot," an interactive look at energy and environment...more
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Learn all about energy and conservation using this highly-interactive site with your students. There is a video intro "Energy Snapshot," an interactive look at energy and environment solutions ("Powering Our Planet"), a "Watt do you Know" game, and a printable (pdf) teacher guide, complete with national standards. The teacher guide includes lesson plans and was orignally designed to accompany a CD-ROM version of the site. All components of the original CD-ROM do appear on the site, however. Your computer MUST have FLASH and either speakers or headphones to run this site!

tag(s): conservation (128), energy (203), environment (321)

In the Classroom

Use the interactive explorations on a projector os interactive whiteboard, then let students explore them individually or in pairs.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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World News in Special English - VOA

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4 to 8
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VOA offers audio and written radio scripts of a wide range of news stories in areas including science, agriculture, culture, health, and education. The language used is simple, and...more
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VOA offers audio and written radio scripts of a wide range of news stories in areas including science, agriculture, culture, health, and education. The language used is simple, and the stories are read more slowly than the average radio broadcast. The site includes its own dictionary ("Word Book") and pronunciation guide, as well as links to many other features. Contains RealAudio and MP3 downloadable audio files. If you have high speed internet, you can also use the streaming option.

tag(s): agriculture (57), news (265)

In the Classroom

Use this simplified news site to help students improve listening skills and vocabulary while learning about current events. This is an easy way to differentiate for students who process information more slowly as English language learners or for other reasons.

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Election 2006 - New York Times

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6 to 12
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Use a clickable national map to analyze the 2006 races for governor, senate, and house in all 50 states. See recent polling data, historical trends, and even predict outcomes to ...more
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Use a clickable national map to analyze the 2006 races for governor, senate, and house in all 50 states. See recent polling data, historical trends, and even predict outcomes to see their impact on Congress as a whole. You can save your "scenarios" for future reference. Note: you must join the New York Times online (FREE), a valuable resource for any classroom. You can make one account, and multiple computers can log in at once. Just don't forget your user name and password!

Although this resource was created for the 2006 election, the background information is valuable for teaching about elections in general and for comparing elections as part of U.S. history.

tag(s): elections (78), politics (100)

In the Classroom

This would be a great site to visit repeatedly throughout the ramp-up to the election. It would be terrific on an interactive whiteboard. You could also assign students to create their own log-ins and generate their own scenarios. based on their own research (encourage ownership!). Then compare their predictions with the actual results. Or role-play groups as they present their scenarios in Republican (or Democratic) National Committee budget meetings and decide strategies.

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Many Things.org Daily - Charles I. Kelly & Lawrence E. Kelly

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4 to 12
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Part of "Interesting Things for ESL Students," this unadorned site changes daily and provides common slang (near the top of the page), idioms, or proverbs and definitions plus daily...more
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Part of "Interesting Things for ESL Students," this unadorned site changes daily and provides common slang (near the top of the page), idioms, or proverbs and definitions plus daily grammar quizzes. It also features an audio broadcast of a simplified news release backed up with archives (Click on links below Listening). Also available is a multilingual translating dictionary and access to three top search engines.

tag(s): grammar (215), idioms (44), news (265), slang (15), verbs (41)

In the Classroom

Use this to beef up vocabulary, to explore culture through idioms and proverbs, and for listening and discussion practice in response to news reports. Great to fill in 5 - 10 minutes at the beginning or end of classes! For the regular classroom teacher, this may provide an alternate way for ESL students to "study" current events. Be sure to mark it in Favorites on your classroom computer for these students to access (or place a shortcut on the desktop). Note: you need speakers for the audio!

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North Korea - CIA FactBook - CIA

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6 to 12
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The CIA's Factbook is pretty dry reading, but this site does provide some of the history of Korea, including the post-World War II division into North and South. There are ...more
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The CIA's Factbook is pretty dry reading, but this site does provide some of the history of Korea, including the post-World War II division into North and South. There are other facts about culture, government, and economy, but North Korea remains one of the world's least-known and least-understood nations. Could be a useful reference for discussion of current events or a research source for projects on countries.

tag(s): korea (15)

In the Classroom

Include this in your supplemental teacher links pages during a unit on Asia or Korea.

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War News Radio - Swarthmore College

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6 to 12
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Produced by a talented, well-trained group of college students, this online audio resource - available as podcasts, through RSS syndication, and on the web, presents detailed, well-researched...more
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Produced by a talented, well-trained group of college students, this online audio resource - available as podcasts, through RSS syndication, and on the web, presents detailed, well-researched short reports about the war in Iraq. Many segments include on-the-scene interviews with Iraqis and troops in the field. The site also includes a collection of background reports, like "Iraq 101" that help provide context for the reporting

tag(s): blogs (90), iraq (32), terrorism (49)

In the Classroom

Try this one as a current events source for personalized, less sensational reports on events in Iraq.

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IbisEye Hurricane Tracking - Herald Tribune

Grades
6 to 12
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Here's an elegant hurricane tracking resource that provides both current hurricane data and historical tracks, complete with damage totals. The site also shows current weather alerts...more
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Here's an elegant hurricane tracking resource that provides both current hurricane data and historical tracks, complete with damage totals. The site also shows current weather alerts and other storm-planning information.

tag(s): weather (194)

In the Classroom

This is a marvelous hurricane teaching tool. It's unclear, however, whether the site will be a reliable resource for real-time disaster response.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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The Basics of Fusion - Princeton

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6 to 12
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In May, 2006, an unusual international consortium signed a treaty that could lead to the eventual construction of the world's first commercial fusion reactor. With it would come the...more
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In May, 2006, an unusual international consortium signed a treaty that could lead to the eventual construction of the world's first commercial fusion reactor. With it would come the key to almost limitless energy. This backgrounder from a similar European consortium provides a much more basic introduction to how fusion works and why it presents such a challenge.

tag(s): energy (203), nuclear energy (24)

In the Classroom

In addition to its obvious applications in physics, this issue could have widespread economic and environmental implications. There are lots of "What if..." questions you could develop around this one.

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Losing Louisiana

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7 to 12
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Examine the current situation in Louisiana - a region still struggling to recover from the devastating effects of hurricane Katrina - through the lens of this compelling site. Visitors...more
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Examine the current situation in Louisiana - a region still struggling to recover from the devastating effects of hurricane Katrina - through the lens of this compelling site. Visitors are greeted with a beautifully designed introduction that leads to an interactive aerial view of the affected area. Click on a number of locations to explore photographs and audio segments featuring interviews with coastal restoration experts as well as residents who were directly affected by the hurricane.

tag(s): hurricanes (40), louisiana (11), wetlands (10)

In the Classroom

Everyone has heard about the catastrophic damage that occurred in New Orleans, yet these images show the full extent of the damage - even months after the event. This site provides some great 360 degrees visual imagery of the damage, as well as provides information about the levees and the flooding history/subsidence in new Orleans. There is also a great landloss map that shows the loss Louisiana has faced, dating back to 1932. This would be a great learning center or classroom activity in a cultural geography, US history or US government class. Have students research and explore the site, and use it as a starting point for a class discussion to the events, the impact, and ultimately the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. This could also be a great way to lead into a lesson about government aid and interventions in times of crises!
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You Think! - World Bank

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6 to 8
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Delve into global issues with this outstanding site that explores topics like education, conflict, nutrition, the environment, and more, within the context of what matters to kids....more
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Delve into global issues with this outstanding site that explores topics like education, conflict, nutrition, the environment, and more, within the context of what matters to kids. Students can read factual summaries of the problems then investigate the related photographs, videos, galleries, and games. Click on the "Issues" link to view all available topics. Includes downloadable materials for teachers.

tag(s): air (163)

In the Classroom

Take advantage of the free ideas and classroom guides provided in the "4teachers" section. This would be a useful accompaniment to a government or Geography class.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Science Update Podcasts - American Association for the Advancement of Science

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6 to 12
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Head to this site to subscribe to a free, weekly podcast on interesting news and developments in all areas of science. These weekly audio files run 3-5 minutes each. While ...more
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Head to this site to subscribe to a free, weekly podcast on interesting news and developments in all areas of science. These weekly audio files run 3-5 minutes each. While not designed specifically for instructional use, they provide current science news in an easily accessible format.

tag(s): news (265)

In the Classroom

Try this one for your own professional development, or play it in science class as students are getting settled in for their class period.

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Grading on a Curve - New York Times

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6 to 12
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Just how effective are the six key issues of President Bush's domestic agenda? This lesson gives students a chance to assume the role of political analyst as they critically examine...more
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Just how effective are the six key issues of President Bush's domestic agenda? This lesson gives students a chance to assume the role of political analyst as they critically examine the Bush administration. The goal is to create a report card addressing the efficacy of selected domestic topics. Includes suggestions for interdisciplinary activities and projects. Aligned to standards.

tag(s): foreign policy (16), presidents (132)

In the Classroom

Though a bit outdated for a current events class, this would be a great lesson in a US government class looking at the Presidency of George H.W. Bush. Save this lesson as a favorite on your desktop to allow for easy retrieval later on - though be sure to look closely at the lesson and make sure that students have learned enough of the contextual information to be able to make sense of the article. For differentiation, peruse the article before-hand, creating a list of words that students may have trouble with or may not be familiar with. Create a follow-along for the article, defining those words selected to help students as they read. This will allow lower achieving readers to be able to process the information more efficiently and with more comprehension.

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Avian Influenza: What You Should Know - U.S. Centers for Disease Control

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6 to 12
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The CDC's home page for information on "bird flu" (avian influenza) offers a variety of content written at an adult level, including basic fact sheets, current outbreak updates, etc....more
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The CDC's home page for information on "bird flu" (avian influenza) offers a variety of content written at an adult level, including basic fact sheets, current outbreak updates, etc. Used selectively, this information offers an authoritative look at the evolution of this new disease and the international response to its spread.

tag(s): diseases (70)

In the Classroom

Use this site as an introduction to the avian flu during the seemingly always present flu-season. Have students explore the site in cooperative learning group with the intentions of finding three things that they can do to prevent themselves from getting the flu, or what the government is doing to prevent a spread. Have students create a short presentation with the information, making online posters that summarizes their findings. Use an online poster creator, such as Padlet (reviewed here). This would be great in a Health class, or in a government class studying government responses during crises or the impact of globalization.

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John Roberts Nominated as Chief Justice - NPR

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6 to 12
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NPR's collection of stories about the Roberts nomination includes background on his career, a look at the confirmation process, and discussions of Roberts and the rare opportunity to...more
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NPR's collection of stories about the Roberts nomination includes background on his career, a look at the confirmation process, and discussions of Roberts and the rare opportunity to fill two court vacancies. Useful for individual or group use.

tag(s): senate (9), supreme court (23)

In the Classroom

Though there have been judges nominated and appointed more recently than Roberts, this site provides some excellent information that makes it a great resource for a lesson on judicial nominations. Use this site as a hands-on activity after a class discussion or lecture on the topic. Have cooperative learning groups explore the site with the intentions of showing how Roberts moved through the processes to become a judge. Have students create graphic organizers or concept maps demonstrating the process. Use a tool such as bubbl.us (reviewed here) to create and share the concept maps.

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2004 - The Year in Pictures - New York Times

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6 to 12
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The Times' review of 2004 includes some of the most powerful images from the past 12 months. While there's nothing here that hasn't already been published, teachers may want to ...more
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The Times' review of 2004 includes some of the most powerful images from the past 12 months. While there's nothing here that hasn't already been published, teachers may want to exercise some discretion with the images from the war in Iraq.

In the Classroom

Whether studying the War in Iraq or the election campaign, use these images to create a visual discovery activity to preface a lecture or classroom discussion on either. Select 3-5 images from this site, choosing the most powerful and moving images. Placing the images on individual slides, allow students 1-2 minutes to observe each image. During that time period, students should be taking notes based on what they observe, predict and infer about each image. The more powerful and detailed the image is, the more information students can take out. After the class has observed all the chosen images, have a class discussion based on the notes students took. This is a great way to introduce content in a way that gets students thinking, as well as avoiding the typical lecture format.
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