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Today In History - Cowles

Grades
6 to 12
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A very good site for the history buff or those struggling to understand historical events. The story links have real depth and are well written for easy comprehension. Pictures make...more
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A very good site for the history buff or those struggling to understand historical events. The story links have real depth and are well written for easy comprehension. Pictures make the history come alive and support the information given. There are links to particular events of the day, a daily quiz, and a picture of the day. Be aware: some dates do not have any information and other dates provide a very brief list of "happenings."

tag(s): expository writing (45), history day (23)

In the Classroom

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

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Meet Amazing Americans - The Library of Congress

Grades
1 to 8
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This site offers some basic research on MANY "Amazing" Americans. Click to learn more about "Amazing" Leaders & Statesmen, U.S. Presidents, Activists & Reformers, Adventurers & Explorers,...more
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This site offers some basic research on MANY "Amazing" Americans. Click to learn more about "Amazing" Leaders & Statesmen, U.S. Presidents, Activists & Reformers, Adventurers & Explorers, Musicians & Composers, Writers & Artists, Industrialists & Entrepreneurs, Scientist & Inventors, or Athletes and Entertainers. Be prepared: when you click on one of the topics you may have a few people pop up OR more names than you can count! This is an excellent site for research, teaching students about American heroes, or using to enhance your social studies, science, or music curriculum. There are pictures, information, and even some interactives. There are also links to a Presidential Scavenger Hunt, a "Dynamite Presidents" interactive, and other "extras." Some of the activities require Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): composers (21), explorers (63), inventors and inventions (97), presidents (130), scientists (69)

In the Classroom

This site could be used throughout the entire year. Why not highlight a "hero of the week." Share the information on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Have students write diary entries (or blogs) from the perspective of the "hero of the week." Use this site for individual research projects and have students create multimedia presentations about their hero: a Powerpoint, website, blog, wiki, or video. This site can be used in more than just social studies topics. Music classes, science classes, and gifted classes can also benefit from the many research areas.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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America's Story - Library of Congress

Grades
3 to 8
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The stories of America's past come alive in this fun and entertaining site that is filled with interactive activities, engaging glimpses of historical figures, music, animation, and...more
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The stories of America's past come alive in this fun and entertaining site that is filled with interactive activities, engaging glimpses of historical figures, music, animation, and more! Students can jump back in time to experience an historic era, explore America's favorite pastimes, or investigate some vintage music, cartoons, and films. Throughout the site, visitors are presented with interesting side trips, glimpses of historic documents and photographs, and interactive trivia questions. This site requires Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): comics and cartoons (74)

In the Classroom

Interested students could spend hours on this site, so provide some specific directions for use before turning them loose! Use to supplement the study of a particular time period in American history or as an enrichment activity.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Gallup Daily - Gallup, Inc.

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

tag(s): elections (75), statistics (123)

In the Classroom

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

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Cosmeo Atlas - Discovery education

Grades
6 to 12
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This interactive world map shares information in video format about culture, government, history, or the natural world. To view the information you may either click on the location...more
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This interactive world map shares information in video format about culture, government, history, or the natural world. To view the information you may either click on the location on the map, or use the Select a Location toolbar. This site requires Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): climate (92), countries (77), environment (319)

In the Classroom

Students can be divided into groups and assigned a country. Each student can use the videos to create a snapshot of the country based upon the culture, government, history, and the natural world. Students can create their own videos outlining the information, a blog post to share with others, newsletters, or any other project that makes a comparison between cultures. Offer this as one of several resources for student research. Your learning support and ESL students will find it easier to follow this information in video than to use text-based resources.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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The Online NewsHour Extra: Video Clipboard - PBS

Grades
6 to 12
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Are you looking for a new way to get your students excited about current events and the news? This site (a new feature of the PBS NewsHour) provides daily (Monday ...more
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Are you looking for a new way to get your students excited about current events and the news? This site (a new feature of the PBS NewsHour) provides daily (Monday - Friday) video blogs. The blogs come complete with a video clip, summary, quotes, thinking questions, and more. (Don't miss the link to "How to Use this" with tips for downloading veido in advance of your class and how to use it). Video topics relate to current events but extend back into background that lead up to today's events. Some of the "extras" include transcripts, printables, and the ability to post comments. If you post a comment, you must provide your name, city, state, and email address. BE CERTAIN to check your school's Acceptable Use Policy and obtain parental permission before allowing students to comment on the video blogs.

Tip: rather than using your personal or work email, create a free Gmail account to use for memberships. If you plan to have students register individually, you may want to create your own Gmail account with up to 20 subaccounts for each group of students (by code name or number) within your classes. Here is a blog post that tells how to set up GMail subaccounts to use for any online membership service. The videos require Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): news (261)

In the Classroom

Share these video blogs with your students on an interactive whiteboard or projector as you discuss current events and related issues. Share this link on your class web page as an option for weekly current events articles you require from students. Take advantage of the free resources (quotes, warm up questions, discussion questions, printables, and other resources). If you teach reading or are working to help learning support students build comprehension, you will find terrific passages for teaching comprehension, inferencing, summarizing, and more, all with meaningful news stories as the focus. If your school's Acceptable Use Policy allows, have students post their own comments to the video blogs. Another idea: have your students create their own wiki about current events in local and/or national news. Invite students to create their own multimedia packages using video clips and their own text to explain an issue and its history.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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American Heritage Education Foundation, Inc. - The American Heritage Education Foundation

Grades
K to 12
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Social studies, history, and government teachers - be warned - this site may be the best FREE gift you receive this year. To sum it up in one word - ...more
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Social studies, history, and government teachers - be warned - this site may be the best FREE gift you receive this year. To sum it up in one word - WOW! The highlight of this site is ready-to-go lesson plans (with standards) divided by age level (elementary, middle, and high school). These FREE lesson plans are available online via a PDF file or you may order a FREE CD (they say it is a $150 value).

The elementary topics range from Colonial America to U.S. Presidents (with a focus on George Washington) to the History of Thanksgiving to The Pledge of Allegiance and MANY others. The middle school topics include the Declaration of Independence, Our National Documents, The Gettysburg Address, Religious Expression in School, and several others. The high school topics vary from the Mayflower, to Federalists 47, the First Amendment, and more. Each grade level also includes lessons on character education.

In addition to the wonderful lesson plans, the site also highlights the four themes of the foundation: Unity, Progress, Freedom, and Responsibility. There are also links to some fantastic social studies sites and a wealth of research information about America. Some of the lesson plans and printables require Adobe Acrobat. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): colonial america (107), constitution (82), gettysburg (26), gettysburg address (18), presidents (130), thanksgiving (36)

In the Classroom

Obviously, the lesson plans are useful for all grade levels. Take advantage of these free resources. Many include printable activities for your students to try out. Although the site isn't highly interactive, it does have some great ideas to incorporate into your class to bring history alive.

Make the lesson plans more "technologically advanced" by having students create a wiki or blog entry. Have your high school students complete the lesson on the First Amendment and then have them have a virtual debate about the First Amendment via a class wiki. Have your elementary students complete the lesson on U.S. Presidents and then have each student write a blog entry pretending to be one of the presidents (a great mini-research project). Have your middle school students complete the lesson on the Gettysburg Address and then try to create their own "Address" to talk about the current state of our nation. Have them share their "Address" on a video using YouTube or or TeacherTube (explained here).
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Quiz School: Create a Quiz Online - Proprofs QuizSchool

Grades
1 to 12
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The site calls itself the "YouTube of Quizzes." This site allows you to create ONLINE quizzes. You MUST register to use this site. Registration does require an email address, user ...more
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The site calls itself the "YouTube of Quizzes." This site allows you to create ONLINE quizzes. You MUST register to use this site. Registration does require an email address, user name, and password. Registration takes less than ten seconds, and is very simple.

Once registered, you click to create a quiz. Then you are asked to choose between a personality quiz or a scored quiz. This site offers extraordinary details. At the scored quiz, you are able to provide a title, tags, description, and choose the type of questions (multiple choice, essay, or fill in the blank). It is simple to insert images, change font styles, insert links, and even score the online quiz. You can create a pass/fail quiz, a graded quiz (with YOU determining what qualifies as an A, B, etc..). You are also able to set a time limit, issue a certificate of achievement, and fill in the possible total score.

Once students have taken the quiz, immediate feedback is provided (including a scale of all participants, the correct answers, final score, and grade). This is a fantastic tool to use to create online quizzes!

Caution: this site does include some minor advertisements. At the time of this review, all advertisements were appropriate. But it would be wise to advise students NOT to click off of the quiz onto any of the advertisements or links.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): quiz (87)

In the Classroom

Use this site to create online quizzes. Create a quiz as a review to share on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Have students take the quiz independently or in cooperative learning groups. Have students create their own quizzes to use for review or as a final project. Embed your quiz (or provide a link to it) on your class website.

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3rd Grade Home Page - Kidport

Grades
2 to 4
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This site, created for third grade students, offers links to activities in math, science, social studies, language arts, creative arts, and a reference library. Some of the subject...more
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This site, created for third grade students, offers links to activities in math, science, social studies, language arts, creative arts, and a reference library. Some of the subject areas only offer one or two activities, while others offer several topics. The topics vary greatly and include famous U.S. monuments, place value, energy, light, contractions, antonyms, synonyms, multiplications, drawing, matter, structure of the U.S. government, famous Americans, compound words, and countless others.

Although some of the activities are not highly interactive, they are well done and could be very useful in the classroom. Some of the pages do have advertisements, but they are not distractive. This site requires Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): antonyms (26), energy (202), light (49), matter (61), multiplication (221), place value (56), synonyms (38)

In the Classroom

If you teach third grade (or are looking for some enrichment for gifted younger students), visit this interactive and eclectic website. Nearly all of these activities are ideal for an interactive whiteboard or projector. Use the activities to create learning centers or for research. List this site in your class newsletter and on your class website for students to use for additional practice at home.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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4th Grade Home Page - Kidport

Grades
3 to 5
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This site, created by Kidport for fourth grade students, offers links to lessons and activities in math, science, social studies, language arts, creative arts, and a reference library....more
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This site, created by Kidport for fourth grade students, offers links to lessons and activities in math, science, social studies, language arts, creative arts, and a reference library. Some of the subject areas only offer one or two activities, while others offer several. The topics include California Missions, arithmetic practice, the food chain, animal comparisons, U.S. presidents, Mexican American War, California Gold Rush, homophones, and other grammar activities.

Although some of the activities are not highly interactive, they are well done and could be very useful in the classroom. Some of the pages do have advertisements, but they are not distractive. This site requires Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): addition (238), california (27), gold rush (19), grammar (215), homophones (17), multiplication (221), subtraction (198)

In the Classroom

Check out the unique mix available at this website. Share it with your students on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Use this site for enrichment, learning stations, or indoor recess options. List this site in your class newsletter and on your class website for students to use for additional practice at home.
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6th Grade Home Page - Kidport

Grades
5 to 7
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This site, created by Kidport for sixth grade students, offers links to lessons and activities in math, science, social studies, language arts, creative arts, and a reference library....more
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This site, created by Kidport for sixth grade students, offers links to lessons and activities in math, science, social studies, language arts, creative arts, and a reference library. Some of the subject areas only offer one or two activities, while others offer several. Some examples of topics include adding and subtracting decimals, angles, human body (heart, bones, muscles, and more), vertebrates, invertebrates, Ancient Egypt, Ancient Rome, Ancient Greece, the structure of the U.S. government, U.S. constitution, presidents, homophones, contractions, drawing, and others.

This site offers a variety of interactive elements (online quizzes, interactive maps and diagrams, and other learning exercises). Some of the pages do have advertisements, but they are not distractive. This site requires Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): angles (87), constitution (82), decimals (132), egypt (69), grammar (215), greece (26), presidents (130), rome (27)

In the Classroom

Check out the unique mix available at this website. Share it with your students on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Use this site for enrichment, learning stations, or as a whole class activity. List this site on your class website for students to use for additional practice at home.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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7th Grade Home Page - Kidport

Grades
6 to 8
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This site, created by Kidport for seventh grade students, offers links to lessons and activities in math, science, social studies, language arts, creative arts, and a reference library....more
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This site, created by Kidport for seventh grade students, offers links to lessons and activities in math, science, social studies, language arts, creative arts, and a reference library. Some of the subject areas only offer one or two activities, while others offer several. Some examples of topics include adding and subtracting decimals, angles, human body (heart, bones, muscles, and more), vertebrates, invertebrates, Ancient Egypt, Ancient Rome, Ancient Greece, the structure of the U.S. government, world geography, U.S. constitution, presidents, kinds of verbs, kinds of nouns, sentence structure, drawing, and others.

This site offers a variety of interactive elements (online quizzes, interactive maps and diagrams, and other learning exercises). Some of the pages do have advertisements, but they are not distractive. This site requires Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): angles (87), constitution (82), decimals (132), grammar (215), presidents (130)

In the Classroom

Check out the eclectic mix of activities available at this website. Share it with your students on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Use this site for enrichment during certain units, learning stations, or as a whole class activity. List this site on your class website for students to use for additional practice at home.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Election 2016 - Scholastic

Grades
3 to 8
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Track the entire election process with your elementary and middle school students. This site developed by Scholastic is loaded with activities for kids and tools for teachers. Features...more
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Track the entire election process with your elementary and middle school students. This site developed by Scholastic is loaded with activities for kids and tools for teachers. Features include candidate interviews conducted by students, explanations of the election process in kid-friendly terms, lesson plans on various election topics (Political Parties, Campaigning, Electoral College, Candidates and Issues, and others), printable pages, election interactives, and more.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): elections (75)

In the Classroom

Share the interactives and video clips on your projector or interactive whiteboard. Use the ready to go lesson plans (which include standards) to keep your students informed of election news. With older students, create a class wiki to discuss presidential views and issues.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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How the President Gets Elected - Factmonster

Grades
4 to 12
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This simple seven-step users' guide is a great refresher for older students and an easy-to-understand introduction for those just learning about the election process. The site explains...more
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This simple seven-step users' guide is a great refresher for older students and an easy-to-understand introduction for those just learning about the election process. The site explains common election terminology (caucus, Electoral College, primary) and outlines requirements that must be met to vote and to run for public office. Use this guide to frame discussions and chart the progress in this year's presidential election.

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

In the Classroom

Have your students follow this guide to create a fictitious candidate. Challenge students to create a blog about their mock candidate. What issues are important to your students? Do any of the IRL (Internet lingo for "in real life") candidates share the same views as the students' mock candidate?

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National Renewable Energy Laboratory - US Department of Energy

Grades
9 to 12
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Learn about alternative technologies such as "Advanced Vehicles and Fuels," Basic Sciences," "Biomass," "Buildings," "Energy Analysis," "Geothermal," "Hydrogen and Fuel Cells," "Solar,"...more
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Learn about alternative technologies such as "Advanced Vehicles and Fuels," Basic Sciences," "Biomass," "Buildings," "Energy Analysis," "Geothermal," "Hydrogen and Fuel Cells," "Solar," and "Wind." Use the site for some great background information on alternative technologies as well as links to other information. View publications in Adobe pdf that can be downloaded for additional information. Adobe Acrobat is available at the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): ecology (135), energy (202), environment (319)

In the Classroom

Divide the class into groups to read and decide information that should be presented in class. Use the information to make recommendations to their families, school district, or the community for future energy change. Use these discussions to determine how they can best meet energy needs of the future. In government class, ask student groups to prepare a policy statement on energy for a hypothetical political candidate.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Ben's Guide to U.S. Government - Government Printing Office

Grades
1 to 12
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Here's an introduction to American government that even the youngest students can appreciate. Divided into four grade levels, the site explains the structure and purpose of American...more
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Here's an introduction to American government that even the youngest students can appreciate. Divided into four grade levels, the site explains the structure and purpose of American government in age-appropriate terms for everyone from Kindergarteners to high school students. For example, there are four interactive games for your primary students (grades k-2)that make learning about our government fun. Have students learn states' locations by placing them on the map. Color the USA flag, help Ben Franklin out of a maze, or find your way around the liberty bell. There are also age-specific activities divided into grades 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12. This site requires Flash. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): constitution (82), franklin (12), states (162)

In the Classroom

With younger grades, use an interactive whiteboard or projector to learn the states' locations with the entire group. This simple site would be great to use in your computer center for individual learning or for some indoor recess enrichment fun. Secondary teachers looking for more than the basics will want to supplement this site with other resources. There is a link for parents and teachers, be sure to take a look!
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If You Were President - Scholastic

Grades
3 to 8
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Do you think you have what it takes to be the President? Students choose their advisors from profiles offered, balance a budget, propose the budget, and are interviewed by the ...more
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Do you think you have what it takes to be the President? Students choose their advisors from profiles offered, balance a budget, propose the budget, and are interviewed by the press. The final, printable page presents a newspaper highlighting the student's presidency and choices.

tag(s): elections (75), presidents (130)

In the Classroom

If possible, have your students work on individual computers to complete this presidential assignment. Have students print off their newspaper page and share them with the class. Extend the assignment by having them create a newspaper with similar articles about a real presidential candidate and what he/she might do if elected. Use a tool like Printing Press, reviewed here, to create the newspaper.
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National First Ladies' Library - National First Ladies' Library

Grades
6 to 12
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The wives of U.S. Presidents have often served a crucial, but unofficial and sometimes unrecognized, role in U.S. History. Hillary Clinton's recent run for the White House even prompted...more
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The wives of U.S. Presidents have often served a crucial, but unofficial and sometimes unrecognized, role in U.S. History. Hillary Clinton's recent run for the White House even prompted a spirited discussion of what her husband might be referred to if she became the first woman president.

The National First Ladies' Library, located in Canton, Ohio, is dedicated to teaching others about the contributions of the First Ladies of the United States, as well as other notable women in U.S. History. In fact, the library is housed in the former home of Ida Saxton McKinley, the wife of President William McKinley. The Library is both a physical resource, but also a comprehensive virtual library of information. The site contains biographies of US First Ladies, lesson plans, and a searchable timeline. There is an online catalog of the many resources available in the library itself; those who do not live nearby could still use the catalog to identify resources associated with former First Ladies. This site requires Adobe Acrobat. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): biographies (87), first ladies (2), presidents (130), women (91)

In the Classroom

These resources might be useful to those doing First Lady biographies for Women's History Month or other famous Americans reports. Students doing more in-depth research for History Day projects will find the online catalog helpful. Check out the link to facts and trivia for a good First Ladies Trivia page.
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Field Trip - HUD

Grades
1 to 3
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Students can take an interactive tour (or quick picture tour) of three community sites: a park, a library, and city hall. Each location allows students to "click around" to learn ...more
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Students can take an interactive tour (or quick picture tour) of three community sites: a park, a library, and city hall. Each location allows students to "click around" to learn more about the location. For example at the library, students learn what non-fiction, fiction, periodicals, and other library terms mean. There are also links on the bottom of the page for People, Places, and Things. The People link teaches students about volunteering, the homeless, and various careers. The Places link features safe places to play, field trip links, and more. Go to the Things link to Build a Community, go on a Scavenger Hunt, or play other interactive games. Much of this site requires Flash. Get Flash from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): communities (35)

In the Classroom

Use this during your unit about neighborhoods and community. Share the site on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Then either set up a social studies computer station or have students explore on individual computers. If you plan to visit the library or town hall, preview it with a visit to this site. Have your students draw other community buildings and explain their functions by using a map or go floor by floor, as in the library visit. You could even create a class wiki "tour" using digital pictures. You might want to list this site in your class newsletter or on your class website for parents to share with their students.

ESL and ELL students learning names for community locations will appreciate this site for helping things come alive. Use this site to increase and strengthen vocabulary. Ask students to compare these locations with parallel offerings in their home communities.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Play the News Game - Impact Games

Grades
9 to 12
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In this current events activity, students (or all members of your class working together) choose current news events and assume character roles. After viewing the latest hot event in...more
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In this current events activity, students (or all members of your class working together) choose current news events and assume character roles. After viewing the latest hot event in the particular news item and reading some background, students (or your class) assume one of the characters' roles. They must make decisions, consult advisers, hone predictions, and make choices to steer tomorrow's news today. They can come back later to compare their predictions to what happened with the situation in the real news. Thus current events are no longer isolated factoids but become dynamic processes. News topics vary greatly and can include violence and other ugliness happening in the world today. Preview carefully before recommending a game to students, depending on the standards of your school community. Some topics include actual violence occurring in the world. Topics cover world news, U.S. politics, technology, and even entertainment. At one time, there are up to 20 news "games" going on. Players can see what other players have decided. Some games are closed; that is, their decisions are final. Members (your class as a whole?) also gain rank and opinion rating depending on how active they are on the website and how their opinions compare to those of the mainstream. As of this review, this site is still in "beta." This site requires Flash 9 or newer. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

To use many features of the site, you must create a membership (requires email). There are many "social" features within the site that make it a potential safety issue if all students are allowed to use it on their own. See ideas for handling these concerns below.

tag(s): news (261)

In the Classroom

Try this site as a regular part of your secondary discussions on current events or choose selected "games" that connect with your current curriculum topic. For example, explore stories from African nations as you study world cultures in Africa.

Classroom teachers will want to start by conducting this activity using a whole-class account (use your "extra" email account to create a single account, monitored by you). Use the game to facilitate discussion and build students' global citizenship by allowing them to make choices and see the results. Be sure to talk about the line between fantasy and reality: which parts of these games have actually happened and which are part of the "game" hypotheses. Include the link on your teacher web page for students to access both in and out of class if you believe they are ready to handle it on their own. Check your school policies on allowing students to participate in online decision making and sharing, and obtain written parent permission before individual students are allowed to log on. As an alternative for students who may not have permission, you can pose some of the same questions and provide newspaper and news magazine articles for background. But you know which tool your students will prefer!
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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