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Guns Germs, & Steel - PBS

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9 to 12
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Jared Diamond's book Guns Germs & Steel won a Pulitzer Prize for non-fiction. This website presents an overview of some of the major threads of Diamond's thesis as ...more
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Jared Diamond's book Guns Germs & Steel won a Pulitzer Prize for non-fiction. This website presents an overview of some of the major threads of Diamond's thesis as presented in the PBS special based upon the book. Diamond suggests that geography may have been the single most important factor in the rise and fall of civilizations over the course of human history. The site examines some of the variables that have contributed to the success or failure of societies through history, including crops, animals, technology, and climate. There are lesson plans tied to national standards associated with each of the televised episodes. While viewing the series is an option, much can be gained by examining the lesson plans even without watching the series.

tag(s): cultures (108)

In the Classroom

The information contained here will be most helpful in planning lessons on the interdependence of culture, geography and technology. Students may find information here for research purposes, but this site should be considered mostly for its usefulness to teachers in advance of unit planning.

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Africa Focus: Sights and Sounds of a Continent - University of Wisconsin Digital Collections

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3 to 12
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Africa Focus offers a wealth of digital images and sound recordings from contemporary Africa. This collection from the University of Wisconsin contains more than 3000 slides, 500 photographs,...more
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Africa Focus offers a wealth of digital images and sound recordings from contemporary Africa. This collection from the University of Wisconsin contains more than 3000 slides, 500 photographs, and 50 hours of sounds from 45 different countries. Click Search the Collection to see image categories which include artisans, buildings and structures, cities and towns, education, landscape, religion, and women. Sound recordings include drums, greetings, rites and ceremonies, songs, and signing. The site is easily searched by keyword or by subject heading. This site requires RealPlayer. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): africa (172), air (143), architecture (83), black history (59)

In the Classroom

Teachers will find this site rich in resources for units on science, social studies, geography, architecture, music, art, and culture. Make Africa a "real" place by sharing on a projector as you share stories or learn about homes ("Structures")and habitats or landforms ("Landscape") with younger students. Use the sound recordings for lessons on oral history, myths, languages, and music. Assign student groups a topic area, which they can research and present to the class as a PowerPoint or another multi-media format using an interactive whiteboard or projector.

Images, text, or other content downloaded from the collection may be freely used for non-profit educational and research purposes under Fair Use. That means that you may NOT put them on the web in a public site, blog, or wiki, since you would not be limiting access to class members. If you want students to create blog or wiki pages, create passworded access for class members only to areas displaying these images and resources. Check the website for instructions on how students can cite this source in their bibliographies.

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Interactives: United States History Map - Annenberg Media

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4 to 9
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Annenberg Media has created this fantastic interactive tool that allows you to trace the growth and settlement of the United States by using a map. Throughout this interactive challenge,...more
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Annenberg Media has created this fantastic interactive tool that allows you to trace the growth and settlement of the United States by using a map. Throughout this interactive challenge, students learn about map legends, the compass rose and cardinal directions, and different types of maps. Students also learn about the various regions of the United States and the rivers, lakes, mountains, oceans, and more that are located in the United States. This website even delves into U.S. History by displaying major Indian tribes (and regions), explaining colonists, and the expansion of the great nation. This website requires FLASH. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): colonial america (105), directions (19), india (34), map skills (81), maps (295), westward expansion (29)

In the Classroom

What a comprehensive website - offering geography, U.S. history, map skills, and more. Use your interactive whiteboard (or projector) to share the interactive activities (there are five, including a "test").

If time permits, divide your class into five groups and assign each group one of the main topics to explore. Give each group 30 minutes or so to read through the information. Then have each group share their findings with the class. Take the final "test" together on an interactive whiteboard (or projector).
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Time For Kids - Around the World - TIME for Kids

Grades
3 to 7
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This informative website offers students "faraway places at their fingertips." There are countries included from Africa, Asia, Central America, Europe, North America, South America,...more
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This informative website offers students "faraway places at their fingertips." There are countries included from Africa, Asia, Central America, Europe, North America, South America, and Oceania. Some of the specific countries include Nigeria, Tanzania, Pakistan, Thailand, Costa Rica, Norway, Turkey, Alaska, Chile, Peru, Australia, New Zealand, and more. Each country's information varies a bit. Most include some "native lingo," a sightseeing guide, a history timeline, current news, and other educational bits of information. The website also features lesson plans, worksheets, maps, and graphic organizers. Certain activities at this website require Adobe Acrobat and/or QuickTime Player. You can get both from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): china (63), egypt (70), france (39), greece (27), india (34), jordan (5), maps (295), vietnam (36)

In the Classroom

What a fabulous resource for independent research projects or country comparisons. Put the names of all of the countries into a hat or jar. Have individual students or small groups pick a country. Challenge the students to learn the native lingo, the geography and climate of the area, the history of the country, and more. Have the students create multimedia presentations to share with the class or have a World Cultures day.

If you don't have time to complete a large research project, use your interactive whiteboard (or projector) and take your students "virtually" to a different country every week. Spend 10-15 minutes navigating the website. Challenge your class to learn some of the native "lingo" and practice native phrases throughout the week. Use this site for background when reading folktales and stories set in far-off lands. If you have a chance to do a collaborative project with students across the world, start with basic background knowledge from this site.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Field Trip Earth - North Carolina Zoological Society

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4 to 12
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From sea turtles to the Przewalski horse, travel around the cyber globe to learn more about the endangered animals around us. Learn from the authentic field reports, read interviews...more
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From sea turtles to the Przewalski horse, travel around the cyber globe to learn more about the endangered animals around us. Learn from the authentic field reports, read interviews of animal researchers, or study the essays from folks in the field. The neatest part of this site is the interactive field trip map. Click on the "Choose a Field Trip" link, then 'fly' your plane (using your mouse) over the various flagged locations around the globe. When your mouse moves over the starred area, an information pop-up tells about the endangered animal at that location. For authentic, up-to-the-minute information about our endangered animals, bookmark this site. Some of the activities require Quicktime. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): endangered species (40), environment (323), species (30)

In the Classroom

Have students choose one location on the Field Trip map. Do multi-subject projects, by learning about that location's history, culture, etc, and think about how the interaction of the natives may have led to the endangerment of the local animal. Teachers, click on the Teacher Resources link. You will find oodles of lesson plan ideas--most are general strategies that do not pertain to Field Trip Earth, yet are very useful. Learn from others by exchanging your class ideas with other discussion board postings. Don't forget about this site's search engine for your information needs.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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The College of Exploration - Video Showcase - The College of Exploration

Grades
6 to 12
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This phenomenal website provides twelve short videos about a variety of oceanography and marine biology topics. Specific video topics include: Predators Among Us, Hawaiian Hotspots,...more
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This phenomenal website provides twelve short videos about a variety of oceanography and marine biology topics. Specific video topics include: Predators Among Us, Hawaiian Hotspots, Maritime History, Shipwrecks of the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary, A Polynesian Story, Saved by a Shark, Biodiversity, SPLASH: Monitoring Humpback Whales, Exploring Plate Tectonics, Volunteer Monitoring, Marine Protected Areas, and SIMoN Says. Each video is only a few minutes in length and could easily be incorporated into your lessons. This site requires Flash. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): biodiversity (35), diversity (33), hawaii (8), marine biology (32), oceans (161), whales (17)

In the Classroom

Use one of these videos (or several) as an anticipatory set for a science lesson on one of the topics, sharing the video on a projector or interactive whiteboard. Students will enjoy the "up close" look at the ocean and its many creatures. Or have students work in cooperative learning groups and choose one of the videos to view as a group. Have the groups share the information from their video clip. If you are looking for a science research project, why not assign one of the twelve topics to each of your students and have them further investigate the specific topic.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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NOVA: Science Now - Hurricanes - PBS

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5 to 12
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This fascinating website presents middle and high school students with concise but eclectic information about hurricanes. Topics range from Hurricane Katrina, to an online quiz, to...more
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This fascinating website presents middle and high school students with concise but eclectic information about hurricanes. Topics range from Hurricane Katrina, to an online quiz, to a 12-minute video clip. The video explains the "how" behind predicting a hurricane's direction and path. It also explains how the intensity affects various cities (such as New Orleans). The video clip requires FLASH. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): hurricanes (39), weather (195)

In the Classroom

Be sure to check out the "Teachers Guide." There you can click on "Classroom Activities" to find a lesson plan, additional links, and explicit standards. Use the additional links included with the lesson plan for students to do further research about hurricanes. Have them work in pairs to research various "famous" hurricanes and add them to a class "disaster" or "weather" wiki.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Geography at the Movies - blip.tv

Grades
K to 12
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This informative and interactive website provides short video clips on a variety of geography (and science) topics. General topic areas include agriculture, climate change, coasts,...more
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This informative and interactive website provides short video clips on a variety of geography (and science) topics. General topic areas include agriculture, climate change, coasts, development, environment, industry, population, rivers, rocks, places, resources, weather, tectonics, settlement, and several others. Each topic area includes numerous videos about the subject matter. Use the videos to learn more about global warming, farming, sand dunes, international landmarks, Ghana, and countless others. This website provides an incredibly eclectic presentation of topics. WATCH the "how-to-use this site" video to see how you can show movies in class or download them for offline use. Online versions of the videos require FLASH. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): agriculture (58), climate (93), environment (323), rivers (24), rocks (50), weather (195)

In the Classroom

What a fabulous resource for geography and science lessons. A high-speed connection is a must.Use your interactive whiteboard (or projector) and share these FREE video clips. Be sure you turn up the volume on your speakers. Or make the videos an individual or cooperative learning group project. Put the pertinent video titles on a list and allow each individual/group to choose one of the videos to view and share the information with the class.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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NOVA: Science Now - Stronger Hurricanes - PBS

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5 to 12
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This site explores the connection between global warming and intense hurricanes. There are two FLASH video clips (4-6 minutes each): "Hotter Oceans, Fiercer Storms" and "Hurricane Katrina."...more
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This site explores the connection between global warming and intense hurricanes. There are two FLASH video clips (4-6 minutes each): "Hotter Oceans, Fiercer Storms" and "Hurricane Katrina." Get FLASH from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.. There is also an audio slideshow that examines the connection between the rising temperatures of the sea and more powerful storms. PBS provides some of the original broadcast video clips, as well, in multiple file formats.

tag(s): climate (93), climate change (68), hurricanes (39)

In the Classroom

What an excellent website to use if your class is studying climate, weather, or Hurricane Katrina. Use an interactive whiteboard (or projector) to share the video clips with your class. Don't forget to turn up the volume. After viewing the video clips, have your students write a letter or blog entry explaining their fictitious "experience" with a hurricane, using three facts that they learned from the video clip. Or turn down the sound and have students write and perform a news-story style narration of their own for a video clip from the site.
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Maps and Graphics - United Nations Environment Programme

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9 to 12
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Looking for a way to graphically display world or environmental problems? These world maps can be used to view complicated topics in a way that students can "see." Choose Freshwater,...more
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Looking for a way to graphically display world or environmental problems? These world maps can be used to view complicated topics in a way that students can "see." Choose Freshwater, Diversity and Conservation, Climate Change, Pollution, Environment and Poverty, and Urban Issues. Search global and regional data to create your own interactive map. View materials and maps by region, category, or collection. Graphics can be downloaded in pdf (readable in Acrobat Reader) or graphic png files (readable in Picture/Fax viewer or your built-in image program).

tag(s): climate (93), conservation (130), data (157), environment (323), pollution (65), statistics (126), water (130)

In the Classroom

Use a graphic comparison between different areas of the world as a starting point for environmental or social problems discussions. An interactive whiteboard with drawing and highlighting tools will allow your students to "work" with the data both visually and tactilely. Students can gain a global perspective to problems and better grasp the meaning of data. Students can then research specifics or reasons behind the statistics shown on the graphic. For example, use a map of Population of World by Poverty. Students can then research the populations of the countries as well as the possible reasons for the poverty. Students can calculate the percent differences between countries or different years. Have students make comparisons into multimedia or traditional presentations. Students can also have class discussions, debates about policies, or create a wiki to show information and sides of the issues and to make the data "show" something more meaningful than a simple number.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Kidlink - Kidlink

Grades
3 to 12
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This website provides an online connection to students from various areas of the world. There are links provided for students, families, and teachers. The website is available in various...more
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This website provides an online connection to students from various areas of the world. There are links provided for students, families, and teachers. The website is available in various languages - English, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, and Portuguese. Students can share stories, artwork, and more. The educational content includes life planning skills (careers), social studies (geography, government, history, etc.), writing, and many other academic areas. Free registration is required for each student and teacher. All content is monitored by volunteer moderators. What a fabulous resource to use in geography or language arts class. This website doesn't just teach students about countries throughout the world, but also allows students to interact with students of various cultures as they write and respond to each other in this safe environment.

tag(s): careers (139), cultures (108)

In the Classroom

Students need not have their own email to use this site. Kidlink explains that they are permitted to use the teacher's email address (which allows you to monitor their activities, as well). You might want to use your "extra" email account. Set up accounts for your students to communicate in your world language class or as part of your study of other continents. With younger students, you may want to communicate as a whole-class activity, composing on a projector or interactive whiteboard.

If your school policies limit your ability to use such a site, see the FAQ information and ready-to-go presentation explaining Kidlink. Share it with your principal and parents. ALWAYS get written parent permission when sharing student work/ideas online.

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Timeline of Art History - Metropolitan Museum of Art

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6 to 12
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The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City offers this site. View World Maps, Timelines, Thematic Essays, and more. Click on the "Works of Art" link to search by ...more
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The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City offers this site. View World Maps, Timelines, Thematic Essays, and more. Click on the "Works of Art" link to search by time period, geographical region, or thematic category. Time periods include 8000 BC to the present. Thematic categories include African, Renaissance, Colonial, Medieval, Modern, and more. The timeline features nearly every continent and many categories of art.

tag(s): art history (74), medieval (26), renaissance (31)

In the Classroom

Art teachers will find it easy to search for themes. History teachers can access items by date. Any of the "thematic essays" could be projected on an interactive whiteboard (or projection screen) to accompany a lecture in class. Or have students use this excellent resource for independent research or to illustrate their own presentations. Challenge groups to choose a time period and create blogs about the "mood" of the art. If you are beginning the process of integrating technology, have students create blogs sharing their learning and understanding using Telegra.ph, reviewed here. This blog creator requires no registration! Or have students make a multimedia presentation using one of the many TeachersFirst Edge tools reviewed here.

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Interactives: Historical and Cultural Contexts - Annenberg Media

Grades
6 to 12
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This website teaches students to recognize different kinds of primary documents, interpret them by using context clues, and apply what they've learned to better understand the past....more
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This website teaches students to recognize different kinds of primary documents, interpret them by using context clues, and apply what they've learned to better understand the past. Professional historians rely heavily on primary documents in their research. The world wide web has opened up a wealth of primary documents for use by a broader audience, and students can gain valuable insight into the past by understanding and analyzing them. Advanced classes, particularly AP-level, emphasize the importance of primary documents. What is particularly good about this site is that it is written at a level accessible to younger students. This allows teachers to begin using primary documents much sooner. The Speed Round requires FLASH. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): primary sources (92)

In the Classroom

The site would work well on an interactive whiteboard (or projector) as a classroom activity. With the teacher leading and clarifying, the class might walk through several simple document analyses to gain an understanding of primary documents and their uses. If you do History Day competition, this activity would be a good starter early in the process. Alternatively, students could be instructed to complete the activity independently as an introduction to a more complex discussion of primary documents or to prepare for the dreaded DBQs ("document-based questions") in AP History classes.
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Doing a Travel Buddy Project - Larry Johnson & Annette Lamb

Grades
K to 4
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Doing a Travel Buddy Project is an on-line collaboration project that will keep the attention of every student! Students read Flat Stanley and proceed to send Flat Stanley or some ...more
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Doing a Travel Buddy Project is an on-line collaboration project that will keep the attention of every student! Students read Flat Stanley and proceed to send Flat Stanley or some other type of classroom character, along with class communication, to various schools. While the classroom character is "traveling," students can chart the object whereabouts on a classroom map and compile research on each location. This site provides pointers for a no-fail traveling plan. This activity will require some significant preparation time on behalf of the teacher as well as cooperation from other schools. See a related resource on Flat Stanley projects here.

In the Classroom

This project could be enhanced with many activities such as creating a travel itinerary for the traveler or researching modes of travel. Plan the trip with things such as packing a suitcase, conducting research on the destination locations, presenting research in a Power Point presentation, integrating corresponding literature based on travel, and keeping a classroom travel journal. A wiki is an ideal place for students to track the buddy, including pictures! Save money by having your classroom object travel as an e-mail attachment.

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Language Menu Games - Learnwell Oy

Grades
6 to 12
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This highly motivating site has many interactive language review activities. Most of the review does presuppose quite a bit of language study in the target language. There are currently...more
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This highly motivating site has many interactive language review activities. Most of the review does presuppose quite a bit of language study in the target language. There are currently 36 languages to choose from. (From matching games to picture recognition to translation practice, the site offers fairly sophisticated word practice. A flag-country matching game is of general interest to all students, not just language learners. There are many advantages in using this site for ESL or ELL students. The main advantage is the capability to choose a different language for questions and answers, thus assuring specific understanding of specific words with the definitions in their first language. This site requires JAVA. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): capitals (25), flags (22), vocabulary (323), vocabulary development (128)

In the Classroom

Mark this site in Favorites on your classroom computers for ESL and ELL students.. Provide information about this site to foreign language teachers in your school. This is a wonderful site to list in your class newsletter (if applicable) or on your class website.

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Travel For Kids - Globetracks

Grades
2 to 8
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This website provides easy-to-access information about numerous countries. The information focuses on what would interest travelers to each country: the main cities, sites of interest,...more
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This website provides easy-to-access information about numerous countries. The information focuses on what would interest travelers to each country: the main cities, sites of interest, geographical features, food, shopping, family activities, and books. There are approximately 40 countries included (such as Austria, Finland, Hong Kong, Israel, Canada, Cuba, Chile, Bali, Kenya, and numerous others). The highlight of this website is the wonderful annotated list of books about each country.

tag(s): countries (79)

In the Classroom

Have students research various countries throughout the world -- maybe one from their famiy heritage. Use your interactive whiteboard (or projector) to have them share the various countries. Have your students read books from the various countries. Then challenge your students to create travel posters or broshures about the country. World language teachers can use the country information for students to learn "plan a trip" to a country where residents speak the language you are studying and create a tour advertisement in the language.

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Australia - Kids Down Under - gigglepotz

Grades
2 to 5
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This website highlights a collection of resources about Australia. Some of the printable pages include an Australian map, coloring page, Australian animals, and others. There are also...more
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This website highlights a collection of resources about Australia. Some of the printable pages include an Australian map, coloring page, Australian animals, and others. There are also links to listen to the national anthem, to read stories about Australia, to take a quiz about the county, and much more. There are even authentic Australian recipes provided. Some of the activities require FLASH. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): australia (35), maps (295)

In the Classroom

If your class is learning about Australia, this is a one-stop resource for research, teaching ideas, and more. Use your projection screen (or interactive whiteboard) and share the "What's it like being an Aussie kid?" link. Print the many printable pages and have the students work in pairs to complete the challenge.

Challenge your students to work in cooperative learning groups and investigate various topics. For example, assign one team to be the "Zoologists" and study the various animals highlighted at this website. Another team could be the "Travel Agents" and learn about the various travel "hot spots" listed at this website. A third team could be the "News Reporters" and research the "What is it like being an Aussie Kid" information. A fourth team could be the "Politicians" and learn about the national holidays celebrated in Australia. You could also include a team of "Chefs," "Religious Scholars," and numerous others based on your students. Once the investigation portion of the project is completed, have the students create interactive Power Points, podcasts, or visual displays to share their research with the class. Or create a Tour of Australia wiki!
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TIME for Kids Around the World - Australia - TIME for Kids

Grades
3 to 6
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G'Day mate - welcome to Australia! At this informative website, students can take a virtual tour of Australia (see the "Sightseeing Guide") and learn native slang (for example, did...more
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G'Day mate - welcome to Australia! At this informative website, students can take a virtual tour of Australia (see the "Sightseeing Guide") and learn native slang (for example, did you know that "grizzle" means "to complain"?). There is also a history timeline, highlights of many Australian animals, a quiz, and more.

tag(s): australia (35), mars (40)

In the Classroom

Use your interactive whiteboard (or projector), and take your students on a trip "down under." Don't miss the virtual tour of the country. You will visit the Great Barrier Reef, Kangaroo Island, the Sydney Opera House, and many other famous cities and/or landmarks. Why not have your students write a letter to a friend using Australian slang. This website also provides excellent information for research projects.

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Traveler IQ Challenge - Travelpod.com

Grades
3 to 12
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This challenging geography website is sure to excite your students as they click their way throughout the world (via a map). The website challenges students with numerous trivia questions....more
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This challenging geography website is sure to excite your students as they click their way throughout the world (via a map). The website challenges students with numerous trivia questions. The website offers twelve difficulty levels: "easy" has you click on countries and/or continents, while the "difficult" has you locate specific cities and landmarks. Students must reach a certain goal at each level to proceed to the next level. This interactive map activity requires FLASH. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

In addition to the main activity, this website also provides travel blogs and photos. Be sure to check out the content on the blog before you share it with your students. The link to "create your own challenge" uses a Facebook log-in, so will likely be blocked in your school.

tag(s): capitals (25), cities (26), landmarks (27)

In the Classroom

Use this website to provide your students with a more eclectic geography lesson. Divide your class into teams. Then use an interactive whiteboard or separate computers to see which team can earn the most points by finding the most locations. This web activity is also ideal for cooperative learning groups. Before you turn students loose on their own computers, decide which teacher-previewed travel blogs, if any, they are permitted to view.
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The History of Jim Crow - NYLife/PBS

Grades
6 to 12
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This website presents a comprehensive look at Jim Crow and the history of segregation in the United States. It is full of direct information as well as links to related ...more
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This website presents a comprehensive look at Jim Crow and the history of segregation in the United States. It is full of direct information as well as links to related sites. Subtopics include television, geography, history, American literature, and teacher resources. The teacher resources include lesson plans (with standards), activities, and other resources. The literature connections provided are the "icing on the cake." Note: some additional information about the site -- and sales of videos -- appears in a pop-up. You may want to temporarily allow pop-ups to see if this information is helpful.

tag(s): segregation (16)

In the Classroom

There are countless ways that secondary teachers could incorporate this website. The lesson plans are ready to go and simple to use (see Teacher Resources). Why not work together with your teaching team to offer an interdisciplinary unit on segregation, relating the history to literature? Use the books, To Kill a Mockingbird, Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, or numerous others to help your students visualize the time period and make connections about the history and the literature. This website is also a great opportunity for collaborative work. Have your students read different historical fiction books from this time period, and then share the various similarities that they find. As an extension, have students write fictional blog entries from people they read about.
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