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25 Maps and Charts That Explain America Today - Washington Post

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8 to 12
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Learn about the states of our nation through maps and charts exploring who we are and how we live. Maps explore financial situations through income, number of millionaires, and home...more
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Learn about the states of our nation through maps and charts exploring who we are and how we live. Maps explore financial situations through income, number of millionaires, and home ownership. Other maps display political and religious divisions by state, tax rates, and housing statistics. Some maps delineate topics more suited for adult readers. Click links in each map description to view articles with more in-depth information. Preview specific maps before you share, as some content may not be appropriate for your classroom.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): demographics (16), financial literacy (63), maps (249), politics (85), religions (50)

In the Classroom

This site is excellent for enrichment or critical thinking about the U.S. and societal/governmental issues. Display a map on your projector or interactive whiteboard during political campaigns to ask why different politicians/parties have gained a foothold in certain states or locations. Include links to specific maps from it on your class web page for students to access both in and out of class. Have students create a simple infographic sharing their findings using Venngage reviewed here. Have students create maps including local information using Animaps (reviewed here). Students can add text, images, and location stops!

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Learn About Pearl Harbor - Pearson/Prentice Hall

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6 to 12
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Explore this quick overview of events on December 7, 1941. Move the slider bar through four different areas to read about Japanese Expansion, Air Attack, War, and the American Battle...more
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Explore this quick overview of events on December 7, 1941. Move the slider bar through four different areas to read about Japanese Expansion, Air Attack, War, and the American Battle Cry.

tag(s): japan (61), pearl harbor (12), roosevelt (13), world war 2 (139)

In the Classroom

This site provides a very quick look at events. However, it may be worthwhile to use as an anticipatory set or "activator" to introduce your lessons on Pearl Harbor. Share the site on a projector or interactive whiteboard. Share this site with students as an example of summarizing important events. Use this quick activity as a starting point on a more in-depth look at events leading up to World War 2. Divide students into groups to further explore each of the different areas shown on the site.
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Attack on Pearl Harbor - Holt, Rinehart, and Winston

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6 to 12
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This interactive map depicts the Japanese invasion of Pearl Harbor with animations and short quizzes. Read short descriptions of events in chronological order and click on indicated...more
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This interactive map depicts the Japanese invasion of Pearl Harbor with animations and short quizzes. Read short descriptions of events in chronological order and click on indicated areas on the map to view additional information on people, places, and ships. Proceed through the interactive by providing correct responses to quiz questions for each section. Although there is a Video link, there doesn't appear to be an active video at this time.

tag(s): japan (61), pearl harbor (12), roosevelt (13), world war 2 (139)

In the Classroom

Share this activity on your interactive whiteboard (or projector) as a quick overview of events at Pearl Harbor. If you flip your classroom, have students watch at home before coming to class. Have students create an annotated image describing Pearl Harbor events including text boxes and related links using a tool such as Thinglink, reviewed here. Have students create maps of World War II events using Animaps (reviewed here). Students can add text, images, and location stops. Have students use Fakebook (reviewed here) to create a "fake" page similar in style to Facebook about President Roosevelt, the Japanese Commander, or sailors stationed in Pearl Harbor.
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Collapsus: The Energy Risk Conspiracy - Submarine Channel

Grades
8 to 12
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Collapsus is a simulation that combines interactivity, animation, fiction, and documentary to look into the future as an imminent energy crisis affects ten young people. Participants...more
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Collapsus is a simulation that combines interactivity, animation, fiction, and documentary to look into the future as an imminent energy crisis affects ten young people. Participants make decisions about solutions to the energy crisis and leave a mark on a national and global scale. Live action footage along with animation helps characters understand each situation while vlog posts offer up to date information about the world and personal situations.

tag(s): energy (167), environment (289), problem solving (191)

In the Classroom

Collapsus is a great way to make students think about and discuss a real-world issue in a science class or even in a government class where you talk about the role of public policy in energy use. Explore and play Collapsus on your interactive whiteboard (or projector) as you debate and discuss choices. Have students explore individually or in groups and compare the impact of different decisions. Use an online tool such as the Interactive Two Circle Venn Diagram, reviewed here, to compare and contrast two different decision choices. Create a quick poll (with no membership required) using using Kwiqpoll, reviewed here, to use when making decisions as a class.
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Women, Their Rights and Nothing Less - Newseum Digital Classroom

Grades
9 to 12
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The Newseum pulls together an enormous collection of primary sources about the women's suffrage movement, with rich resources for using these primary sources in an educational setting....more
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The Newseum pulls together an enormous collection of primary sources about the women's suffrage movement, with rich resources for using these primary sources in an educational setting. There is an interactive timeline, a "media map" that plots primary sources on a US map for a visual representation of the geography of the movement, and nearly a dozen lesson plans (including videos) that feature the use of primary sources to broaden understanding. The site requires registration to use, but there is no cost.

tag(s): civil rights (94), women (88), womens suffrage (14)

In the Classroom

It can be tempting to relegate resources like this one to a special unit during Women's History Month, but the primary sources here need to be integrated throughout any study of civil rights in general and the importance of universal suffrage to a modern democracy. While the sources may all be related to the fight for votes for women, much of the content is also relevant in understanding the social and political history of the United States, particularly during the 19th and early 20th century. The lesson plans are comprehensive and include printable discussion guides and worksheets, as well as extension activities. They are standards aligned and Common Core compatible. Some of the extension activities mention using tools such as Glogster. Find alternatives that may allow more extensive free access by exploring the TeachersFirst Edge .
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The Year We Had Two Thanksgivings - Marist College

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5 to 12
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Learn the story behind the year with two U.S. Thanksgivings from this simple, yet interesting site. The short article tells the tale of President Roosevelt's journey to declare the...more
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Learn the story behind the year with two U.S. Thanksgivings from this simple, yet interesting site. The short article tells the tale of President Roosevelt's journey to declare the official date for all states to celebrate Thanksgiving. View several documents, including letters and telegrams to the president voicing opinions on setting an official date for Thanksgiving.

tag(s): primary sources (74), roosevelt (13), thanksgiving (30)

In the Classroom

Use information from the article and documents as part of any lesson about Thanksgiving. Share the documents as part of a unit on primary resources. Print and share documents with students and challenge them to present an opposing point of view or write a reply from President Roosevelt. Use an online tool such as Interactive Two Circle Venn Diagram (reviewed here) to compare and contrast different points of view. Have students use Fakebook (reviewed here) to create a "fake" page similar in style to Facebook "as" President Roosevelt or one of the writers of letters to the president.

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Zip Lookup - esri.com

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6 to 12
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What does your zip code tell you about the demographics and lifestyle of your community? Find out with Zip Lookup. Type in any zip code for quick information on the ...more
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What does your zip code tell you about the demographics and lifestyle of your community? Find out with Zip Lookup. Type in any zip code for quick information on the "Tapestry" of your area. View the top three demographic segments of the community such as "Boomburbs" or "Savvy Surbanites." Use the drop-down box for an explanation of each segment. Click on tabs to further narrow down information such as income, age, and population density comparing each zip code to the county, state, and the entire United States.

tag(s): communities (25), demographics (16), population (52)

In the Classroom

Use Zip Lookup to compare and contrast any areas of the United States using several different categories. Use this site as an anticipatory set or "activator" to introduce a unit or lesson on states and communities on a projector or interactive whiteboard. Include it in discussions of politics and election strategies or local and state government. Have students create a simple infographic sharing their findings using Easel.ly, reviewed here or Venngage reviewed here. Have students create maps using Animaps (reviewed here). Students can add information learned using the zipcode, other text, images, and location stops.

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Cartoons for the Classroom - The Association for American Editorial Cartoonists

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6 to 12
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A picture is worth a thousand words, and editorial cartoonists have been boiling down the foibles of politicians and public figures throughout history. One needs only to know about...more
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A picture is worth a thousand words, and editorial cartoonists have been boiling down the foibles of politicians and public figures throughout history. One needs only to know about Thomas Nast and his cartoons of Boss Tweed during the 19th century to know that cartoons have a deep impact on political discourse. Cartoons for the Classroom offers over 250 one-page downloadable lessons featuring two or three political cartoons related to current events and several questions for discussion that relate to those cartoons. Alternatively, download the cartoons alone along with space to "draw" your own conclusions.

tag(s): comics and cartoons (73), politics (85), satire (4)

In the Classroom

These one-page discussion starters could help students keep up with current political issues, provide an opening or closing activity, or serve as an enrichment activity for students who move through other assignments more quickly. Available either with or without guiding questions, and covering a wide range of relevant and timely topics, they are perfect to keep as a Plan B or for an emergency substitute teacher activity. Elsewhere on the site are links to other information about political cartooning through history; most of these links connect to outside sites so be sure and preview carefully. In Art class, create a "political" option during a line drawing unit for current events enthusiasts to draw their own political cartoons. Include these cartoons during a unit on humor and satire in an English/Language Arts class or gifted program.
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Voting America: United States Politics 1840-2008 - University of Richmond

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7 to 12
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Find interactive maps examining the results of elections from 1840 through 2008. With US politics increasingly dominated by election year strategizing, a historical look at how Americans...more
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Find interactive maps examining the results of elections from 1840 through 2008. With US politics increasingly dominated by election year strategizing, a historical look at how Americans have voted in both Presidential and Congressional elections can provide useful context. In a democracy, the power of popular elections to affect the lives of all citizens cannot be understated. In order to understand how changes in population--demography and distribution--have affected popular elections, it's important to see those changes in perspective. On this site, you can look at Presidential elections or Congressional elections, as well as population maps focused on African American and White population changes over the time period. Most of the maps are based on an advancing time line that maps data over time. For Presidential elections, there are also more detailed maps for each separate election.

tag(s): congress (24), elections (63), electoral college (11), maps (249), presidents (114), timelines (56)

In the Classroom

These maps, powerful when projected on an interactive whiteboard (or projector), make the impact of changes in population demographics and distribution visual. The maps might also provide a good resource for students studying a particular President or time period. Challenge students to create a newspaper about what they have learned (about the President or time period). Use a tool such as Zinepal (reviewed here). Click to "Start with a blank e-Book."

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ContextU: Understand Your World - ContextU

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7 to 12
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Although it is still in Beta, ContextU seeks to provide important context to major events in US History. With its American Revolution and Civil War modules up and running, a ...more
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Although it is still in Beta, ContextU seeks to provide important context to major events in US History. With its American Revolution and Civil War modules up and running, a table of contents allows you to select a person, place, event or theme relating to the broader subject. From that starting point, you can easily jump to a map, a brief biography of important characters, a hyperlinked timeline of events, or a flow chart of causes and effects. When so much of traditional instruction on US history consists of looking at discrete events without always understanding the larger framework and connections for these events, ContextU offers an important perspective for learning. Based on the site's table of context, future modules are planned for each of the larger wartime eras in US history.

tag(s): american revolution (67), civil war (131), timelines (56)

In the Classroom

Consider using the ContextU organizing framework as a regular touchpoint for a unit on either the American Revolution or the American Civil War. As you progress through the important events that comprise each era, return to the larger context to help students "see the forest" as well as the trees. ContextU might also be added to your storehouse of bookmarks for each unit so students could access it while doing outside assignments or projects. Find age-appropriate literature to share with your students about Colonial America and the Revolution or The Civil War and Slavery at TeachersFirst's CurriConnects booklists for all ages. Use class discussions or student essays to draw together what they learn from independent reading, this site, and their "regular" curriculum.

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Where We Came From and Where We Went State by State - New York Times

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7 to 12
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The New York Times looks at each state in the US and charts movement both into the state and out of the state since 1900. With immigration in the news, ...more
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The New York Times looks at each state in the US and charts movement both into the state and out of the state since 1900. With immigration in the news, it's sometimes helpful to remember that with a country as large as the United States, there has been a great deal of INTRA-state movement over the country's history. Explore the states via these interactive charts. Mousing over each component of each chart brings additional clarifying information about that state's intra-state migration statistics. The set of charts begins with California, Florida, and Nevada, three states with the most dynamic population changes. The remainder of the charts follow in alphabetical order. Each state's chart also contains a brief narrative explaining significant components.

tag(s): census (20), demographics (16), immigrants (12), immigration (49), migration (53), states (158), transportation (35), westward expansion (19)

In the Classroom

A great introduction to population change and the changing nature of social and physical mobility in the United States, these charts can prompt discussion about why families move. Although the charts begin in 1900, they are still useful in looking at Westward Migration in the US. Also explore such issues as changing job markets, natural resources and industries, movement between high density and low density areas, and the places where non-native born residents are most likely to settle. Invite students to create their own infographics about a certain state or region based on what they discover here. Learn about infographics in the classroom and the tools to make them in TeachersFirst's Now I See!.

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Clip Syndicate - clipsyndicate.com

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6 to 12
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Clip Syndicate provides professionally produced news videos and timely feature clips from television stations and other media outlets around the United States and the world. You can...more
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Clip Syndicate provides professionally produced news videos and timely feature clips from television stations and other media outlets around the United States and the world. You can easily embed these clips in your own web site, blog, or wiki. Clips DO include ads, but they are not hosted on YouTube. Choose from videos offered on several different channels such as science and technology, government and politics, or education. Registration isn't required to view and embed videos, but it does allow you to save and view statistics from videos you embed.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): news (170), video (184)

In the Classroom

Use the code provided to embed any video or channel directly onto your class blog or website. Bookmark and save Clip Syndicate as a resource for current event stories for classroom use. Ask your students to visit Clip Syndicate and create a multimedia presentation from the information they learn there and by reading additional news coverage of the event. Embed any channel onto your website or blog as a current events writing prompt, and have students create blog posts about them using Throwww ( reviewed here). Throwww allows you to create "quick and easy" blog posts to be used one time only. A unique URL is provided, and the tool is as easy as using a basic Word program! World language classes can look on this site for recent stories from other cultures to discuss in their new language. Science and social studies teachers will find current stories related to topics they teach, such as volcano footage or stories about conflicts and political tensions. Share a clip at the beginning of class to connect curriculum with the "real world."
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The Civil War - Teaching American History

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5 to 12
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This engaging Civil War site features interactive maps detailing many aspects of life during the time of the Civil War. Choose from tabs at the bottom of the main page ...more
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This engaging Civil War site features interactive maps detailing many aspects of life during the time of the Civil War. Choose from tabs at the bottom of the main page to explore railroads, slavery, cotton production, and more as it looked during the time. Each map includes a legend demonstrating statistics by date for all states and territories at the time.

tag(s): agriculture (46), civil rights (94), civil war (131), gettysburg (29), industrial revolution (22), railroads (9), slavery (63)

In the Classroom

Share this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector to explore and understand different components of life during the Civil War period. Challenge students to create a presentation using Prezi, reviewed here, with information from this site. Use an online tool such as Interactive Two Circle Venn Diagram, reviewed here, to compare two states during Civil War times or to compare one state during the Civil War era to that state today. During your Civil War study, don't miss TeachersFirst's Gettysburg By the Numbers for more questions and data to use in your discussions.
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Stuff You Missed in History Class - Tracy Wilson and Holly Frey

Grades
7 to 12
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Explore interesting history tidbits and background information about world events including topics from Atlantis to Vikings. Scroll through the list of topics and find links to various...more
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Explore interesting history tidbits and background information about world events including topics from Atlantis to Vikings. Scroll through the list of topics and find links to various podcast episodes with archives going back to 2008. Click to play the episodes or download any episode in mp3 format using the download link. Episodes are approximately 30 minutes in length. You can also search for specific topics using the search tool.
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tag(s): archeology (24), black history (50), civil rights (94), civil war (131), cross cultural understanding (87), mental health (18), native americans (65), podcasts (42), religions (50), vikings (6), world war 1 (38), world war 2 (139)

In the Classroom

Use podcasts from Stuff You Missed in History to enrich current lessons or lure students into thinking history can actually be "cool." Provide a link on class computers or your class website for students use. Have students use a mapping tool such as Mapskip (reviewed here) to create a map of one of these events (with audio stories and pictures included)! Have students use Fakebook (reviewed here) to create a "fake" page similar in style to Facebook about one of the people in these lesser known historic events.

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100 Leaders in World History - National History Day

Grades
7 to 12
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National History Day has developed this gallery of 100 "significant" leaders in world history. You can browse the leaders individually or search by type (political, military, scientific),...more
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National History Day has developed this gallery of 100 "significant" leaders in world history. You can browse the leaders individually or search by type (political, military, scientific), sphere of geographic influence, or time period. Each leader's entry includes some brief biographical information, characteristics as a leader, and links to further information. Rather than providing extensive information about each person on the site, the gallery provides a context for considering and comparing individual leaders. A separate section provides extensive classroom resources for discussing leadership and using the site to illustrate the traits of leaders. There are downloadable posters for each leader as well as a poster that includes all 100 that can be printed for classroom use. There are, of course, lots of connections to the National History Day competition, but there is plenty of good content here regardless of whether students intend to enter.

tag(s): art history (55), black history (50), famous people (14), native americans (65)

In the Classroom

It goes without saying that this is a great resource for students thinking about a National History Day project. However, any course or lesson involving leadership will find lots of good supporting content here. Consider categories of leaders across time, for example. Do political leaders exhibit similar traits regardless of the time period in which they lived? Are there differences between male and female leaders? Are there different kinds of leaders? Are leaders always good? Share this site during Women's History Month, Black History Month, and other observances that highlight "significant" leaders.
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The Square of Life - The Center for Innovation in Science and Engineering

Grades
1 to 12
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Become a part of a local and global Internet based collaborative project studying your square meter of life. This project may look "plain vanilla," but the hands-on, real world learning...more
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Become a part of a local and global Internet based collaborative project studying your square meter of life. This project may look "plain vanilla," but the hands-on, real world learning is terrific. Once you choose your square meter, document and record data of all the living and nonliving things within your square. While sharing findings look for similarities. This project takes place multiple times a year. The guide offers lesson plans, extension activities, and worksheets. Also find assessment ideas, standards, and information for urban teachers. After creating an account, submit data, view data, and participate in the discussion area. Resources include student galleries, reference materials, ask an expert, project leader, and more. Some past student contributions are hosted on YouTube. If your district blocks YouTube, they may not be viewable. You could always view the videos at home and bring them to class "on a stick" to share. Use a tool such as KeepVid reviewed here to download the videos from YouTube.

tag(s): ecology (130), environment (289), scientific method (50)

In the Classroom

Bring a heightened awareness to your local and global environmental education. In lower elementary grades, do the project together as a class. Teach scientific observation using a hands-on project. You could also include this as part of a civics or government class discussing the environment and public policy. This well-defined project is ready made for you. Integrate observations, documentation, measurements, deeper inspection, and ways to identify living and nonliving materials. Take photographs and record written accounts. Create presentations in PowerPoint, Prezi, reviewed here, Google presentations, reviewed here, or other presentation tools to draw in language arts standards. Expand the project to each student's backyard. Are any squares in your school or local area severely damaged environments? Brainstorm with students to find a way to change them back to their original state.
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JFK American Experience - PBS American Experience

Grades
7 to 12
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This site accompanies an episode of the PBS production American Experience, taking a new look at the life and legacy of John F. Kennedy. It was created in remembrance of ...more
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This site accompanies an episode of the PBS production American Experience, taking a new look at the life and legacy of John F. Kennedy. It was created in remembrance of the 50th anniversary of his assassination. The site combines primary sources with more scholarly articles examining the political context of his presidency and the policies and events we associate with that presidency. The primary source collection is rich and diverse, and there is also a nice contextual timeline of world events between 1961 and 1963. The teacher reference guide is designed primarily to be used in conjunction with viewing the American Experience episode itself, but includes important questions for discussion that are appropriate even for students who have not watched the full film.
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tag(s): 1960s (29), civil rights (94), kennedy (26), presidents (114)

In the Classroom

The 50th anniversary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy provides an opportunity to refresh students' knowledge of JFK as a man and a President. What important policy innovations can we attribute to his Presidency? How might the remainder of the turbulent decade of the 1960s have been different had he lived? And from a different perspective, while we all want to romanticize the legacy of "Camelot" and the glamour of the Kennedy family, what were his failings? This site provides some rich primary sources to include in a discussion of the Kennedy Presidency, as well as a brief preview of the American Experience film itself. Whether you choose to view the episode with your class or not, you are certain to obtain excellent information at this site.
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Teaching Literacy Through History - Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History

Grades
K to 12
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Meet your ELA standards as you teach history! Explore over 40 free lesson plans aligned to the Common Core Standards. Browse all lesson plans or use the search feature to ...more
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Meet your ELA standards as you teach history! Explore over 40 free lesson plans aligned to the Common Core Standards. Browse all lesson plans or use the search feature to find lessons by keywords or grade level. Every lesson contains all materials and procedures needed. Sign up for a free subscription using your school email address to access all information.

tag(s): american revolution (67), bill of rights (26), black history (50), civil rights (94), columbus day (11), constitution (69), elections (63), electoral college (11), franklin (10), gettysburg (29), lincoln (80), roosevelt (13), symbols (17), terrorism (44), thanksgiving (30), washington (30), world war 1 (38), world war 2 (139)

In the Classroom

Use ideas from the lesson plans to supplement your current teaching materials. Have students create a simple infographic sharing their learning from the notes they took during the lesson. Use Easel.ly, reviewed here, or Venngage, reviewed here. Challenge students to find a photo that represents a part of the lesson taught. Have students create a simple multimedia presentation using Yodio, reviewed here.. This site allows users to narrate a picture. Use Creative Commons images (with credit, of course). Try Compfight, reviewed here.
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Created Equal - National Endowment for the Humanities

Grades
9 to 12
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Four documentary films related to the Civil Rights Movement, available to stream either in part or in their entirety, form the centerpiece of this effort from the National Endowment...more
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Four documentary films related to the Civil Rights Movement, available to stream either in part or in their entirety, form the centerpiece of this effort from the National Endowment for the Humanities. The films cover time periods beginning with the Abolitionist Movement and continuing through the Freedom Marches and the turbulent 1960s. Explore the meaning of freedom and equality in the United States with relevance still today. There are teacher resources, lesson plans, and suggestions for aligning lessons to the Common Core.

tag(s): bill of rights (26), black history (50), civil rights (94), civil war (131), emancipation proclamation (11), segregation (15)

In the Classroom

The documentaries, or the excerpts presented, are all available to stream from the site. While they may be too lengthy to show in their entirety during one class period, they have also been divided into clips according to themes. For example, Equality is part of the full video about Law and the Strategy of Nonviolence. This makes them more adaptable for classroom use. Share the videos on your interactive whiteboard or projector. The issues raised by these documentaries may be easily incorporated into lessons related to the Civil Rights Movement, modern U.S. history, Black History Month, or civics and government. Use these videos as conversation starters in the classroom.
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Legislative Explorer - Center for American Politics and Public Policy

Grades
9 to 12
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With so much data out there, how are we, as citizens, to manage this information to make good choices? The University of Washington's Center for American Politics and Public Policy...more
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With so much data out there, how are we, as citizens, to manage this information to make good choices? The University of Washington's Center for American Politics and Public Policy takes the massive amount of information about US legislative activity from 1973 to the present and helps us visualize the progress of bills through the legislative branch. Color-coded "particles" represent each bill on an interactive field for each two-year legislative session. Set the field in motion and watch bills move through committees and onto the floor of the House or the Senate. Notice how many "particles" (each representing a bill) remain clustered in committees throughout the legislative session and how many actually make it to the President's desk and become law. The animation is much more powerful (and informative) when you select an issue, a state, a legislator, a committee, or a party from the drop down menus, but the "big picture" visuals are also informative.

tag(s): advanced placement (16), branches of government (39), congress (24)

In the Classroom

Despite being fairly wonky (political geeks will LOVE this site!), Legislative Explorer will also help civics and government teachers present the overall picture of how a bill makes its way (or doesn't) through the legislative branch. On an interactive whiteboard (or projector), the visual impact of how many bills are proposed in a session is stunning. Once past that, however, students can research the activities of their local legislators, by name or by state. What issues matter enough to them to result in bill sponsorship? Alternatively, divide students into groups and have each group research a specific committee. What bills come to that committee? How successful is that committee in moving bills to the President's desk? How does the activity in the most recent Congress compare to that from 40 years ago? Have the issues changed?

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