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History and Politics Out Loud

Grades
9 to 12
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Here's a small site we hope will grow quickly. There are recordings of famous political speeches - including William Jennings Bryan's "cross of gold" and Churchill's famous "iron curtain"...more
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Here's a small site we hope will grow quickly. There are recordings of famous political speeches - including William Jennings Bryan's "cross of gold" and Churchill's famous "iron curtain" speech. Interestingly, many of these are in their entirety, making for listening sessions of an hour or more. History teachers will find numerous possibilities for this one, especially if the collection continues to grow. You'll need the RealPlayer for the sound files.

tag(s): politics (97), speech (92), speeches (19)

In the Classroom

Use this site to supplement a lecture on Martin Luther King and the impact of his "I have a dream" speech. Browse the results by speaker and select the speech under King's collection. After discussing King's role in civil rights, play the clip or as much of it as you can for students. Use the audio as a writing prompt, in which students respond to the difference in hearing vs reading the speech. Students should also respond to the emotional appeal of the speech, in addition to the overall message presented. This activity would be a great short review at the end of a unit on MLK Jr.
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Face to Face - Stories from the Aftermath of Infamy - ITVS

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9 to 12
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You will need a high speed connection to use this site, but those who have one will find it an insightful collection of spoken narratives dealing with reactions to the ...more
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You will need a high speed connection to use this site, but those who have one will find it an insightful collection of spoken narratives dealing with reactions to the September 11 attacks from Muslim and Japanese Americans. While the experiences of these two groups vary significantly, these audio essays raise important issues in a thoughtful way that invites further discussion and examination.

tag(s): japan (60), terrorism (47)

In the Classroom

This site could be used as a "trigger" for a high school history or government class. Teachers will want to preview this material, and should be prepared for lively discussions that it will likely generate.
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Civil War Classroom Activities - PBS

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6 to 12
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Based on the Ken Burns PBS production that aired in 1990, this collection of lesson plans is complete, thought-provoking, and covers a wide range of topics whose relevance extends well...more
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Based on the Ken Burns PBS production that aired in 1990, this collection of lesson plans is complete, thought-provoking, and covers a wide range of topics whose relevance extends well beyond the war itself. Designed for use in grades 7-12, these one- and two-period lessons are well-annotated, include lots of web links, and come complete with downloadable PDF files. Students will find these an interesting set of source ideas for reports and the like, and teachers will be able to take this content in many different directions. Well worth a look!

tag(s): civil war (143), lincoln (86), slavery (70)

In the Classroom

Take advantage of the free lesson plans and classroom activities offered in this site! The majority are somehow tied into the video, but there are some that also are broad enough that showing the video is not necessary.
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Star Spangled Banner - Smithsonian

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6 to 12
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Learn about the flag that inspired the National Anthem at this Smithsonian site. The site includes a quiz, a teacher section, and descriptive information about the flag, the War of...more
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Learn about the flag that inspired the National Anthem at this Smithsonian site. The site includes a quiz, a teacher section, and descriptive information about the flag, the War of 1812, and the battle at Fort McHenry that inspired Francis Scott Key's poem.

tag(s): national anthem (4), war of 1812 (15)

In the Classroom

Use this site as an introductory activity for a lesson on the Flag's creating during a unit on the American Revolutionary War. Introduce the site on the interactive whiteboard before allowing students to explore it in cooperative learning groups on classroom computers. Have the students search the site with, answering specific questions on a follow-along (created by you) that encourages them to explore the site in depth. For help with making that follow-along, we recommend using Graphic Organizer Maker, (reviewed here). Afterward, have a class discussion or some sort of reflection piece to allow students to vocalize questions and opinions about the information presented.

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American History Timeline Links - Smithsonian

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4 to 12
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The Smithsonian's timeline links are a sort of chronological trip through the Smithsonian's attic. Each presents an exhibit, artifact, or other piece of history from a particular period....more
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The Smithsonian's timeline links are a sort of chronological trip through the Smithsonian's attic. Each presents an exhibit, artifact, or other piece of history from a particular period. Part of the attractiveness of this site is the eclectic nature of the results that you get from the various links. If you're interested in teaching history from different angles, there are lots of resources here.

In the Classroom

For virtually every topic in history, there is a corresponding site and activity here! Every topic has a variety of resources, from webquests to free lesson plans. Look at the time-line for your corresponding unit, and take advantage of the free resources the Smithsonian has put together! An excellent resource for any Social Studies teacher.

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Endgame - Ethics and Values in America - PBS

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9 to 12
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PBS tackles greed, honesty, and the gray areas that separate vice from virtue in this series on America's ethics. While many viewers will think about the business implications of the...more
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PBS tackles greed, honesty, and the gray areas that separate vice from virtue in this series on America's ethics. While many viewers will think about the business implications of the series, the producers put the focus at a more personal level. Depending on your local situation, this site could be useful in business, guidance, or similar applications - or simply as a homeroom discussion starter for older students.

tag(s): ethics (17)

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Best of History Web Sites

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9 to 12
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Maybe there really can be "too much of a good thing." This site is an immense catalog of resources (ie. other websites, lessons plans, content) for social studies teachers. Due ...more
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Maybe there really can be "too much of a good thing." This site is an immense catalog of resources (ie. other websites, lessons plans, content) for social studies teachers. Due to the sheer volume of material, it would be wise for teachers to have a clear idea of what they are looking for before opening up the site. Casual "grazing" here might easily lead to a becoming lost on the web.

tag(s): europe (73)

In the Classroom

Save this site as a favorite on your classroom desktop and use it as a reference for virtually everything! It's amazing how many resources they have managed to find - incredibly more helpful than a Google search would have been.

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Charters of Freedom - National Archives

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6 to 12
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Though part of a larger site about America's historic documents, this collection of biographies of the delegates to the Constitutional Convention will find plenty of use by itself....more
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Though part of a larger site about America's historic documents, this collection of biographies of the delegates to the Constitutional Convention will find plenty of use by itself. These delegates wrote our Constitution, but today's students know very little about any of them. Find the details of each man's life here!

tag(s): american revolution (86), constitution (87), evolution (99)

In the Classroom

This is a great site to introduce the American Founding Fathers, or for reference around Presidents Day weekend. Introduce the site on the interactive whiteboard or projector, during a lesson on the individual fathers. Have students look at the site, and select one image that they think represents a particular Founding Father. Have students create a multimedia presentation using UtellStory, reviewed here. This site allows users to narrate a picture. Challenge students to find a photo (legally permitted to be reproduced), and then narrate the photo as if it is a news report. To find Creative Commons images for student projects (with credit, of course), try PhotoPin, reviewed here. Have them report a story on the founding fathers as if the issue of the constitution is a current one, and they are informing the public of its happenings.

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FireWise

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6 to 12
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Though not designed specifically for students, this site, containing a wealth of information on ways to minimize dangers to people from forest fires, includes many examples of how man...more
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Though not designed specifically for students, this site, containing a wealth of information on ways to minimize dangers to people from forest fires, includes many examples of how man and his environment can be at odds with one another. In addition to the scientific issues involved in fire control and prevention, this site would contribute to a discussion on ecosystems and encroachment into wilderness areas.

tag(s): fire (27), fire prevention (11)

In the Classroom

As your students study about safety or environmental issues, include this site as a resource. Ask students to create a fire pro and con list as they discuss the more obvious safety issues of fire and the balancing role that fire can play in renewing habitats and nature's cycles. Use a graphic organizer tool such as bubbl.us (reviewed here) to map out the many impacts that wildland fires can have.

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Children's Internet Protection and the Courts - A Context - American Library Association

Grades
6 to 12
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Here's a concise explanation of what the Supreme Court did and did not do when it ruled that public libraries cannot consitutionally filter web content. Written by an attorney, but...more
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Here's a concise explanation of what the Supreme Court did and did not do when it ruled that public libraries cannot consitutionally filter web content. Written by an attorney, but in layman's terms, the site sheds light on the principles behind the decision, and may be useful for school librarians or those interested in first amendment issues.

tag(s): freedom of speech (11), internet safety (111), speech (92)

In the Classroom

This would be a great case study for a discussion on freedom of speech.

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History of Jim Crow - PBS

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6 to 12
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This is the companion site to a PBS program of the same name. It offers an introduction to the Jim Crow laws that effectively institutionalized segregation throughout the South. There...more
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This is the companion site to a PBS program of the same name. It offers an introduction to the Jim Crow laws that effectively institutionalized segregation throughout the South. There are also numerous images of African American life in the South during the early 1900s.This looks like a promising resource, especially as a backgrounder for the study of the civil rights movement of the 1960s.

tag(s): africa (172), african american (112), civil rights (121), segregation (16)

In the Classroom

True to its claim, this is an educator's site; it contains lesson plans, simulations, narratives, and picture galleries and more. The site may be useful for both American History and American Literature classes.

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Presidents' Day Page - Sheila A. Simmons

Grades
1 to 5
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Here's a very simple pictorial introduction to the lives of Washington and Lincoln, created for California's SCORE program. Primary students will have no trouble navigating these pages...more
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Here's a very simple pictorial introduction to the lives of Washington and Lincoln, created for California's SCORE program. Primary students will have no trouble navigating these pages and reading the simple descriptions. This site offers a slideshow with some authentic pictures of both famous presidents. Includes links to literature, class activities, bibliography, and related information. The class activities are ready to go and easy to follow. Most include standards, and all but two of the outside links were working at the time of this review.

tag(s): lincoln (86), presidents (121), washington (32)

In the Classroom

This site is ideal for research projects or a quick President's day activity. Check out the class activities section for some "ready to go" lesson ideas (with standards). Share the slideshow on your interactive whiteboard or projector.

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Declaring Independence - Library of Congress

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6 to 12
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This extensive site from the Library of Congress explains the details of the drafting of the Declaration of Independence as well as the obstacles the Continental Congress faced in publishing...more
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This extensive site from the Library of Congress explains the details of the drafting of the Declaration of Independence as well as the obstacles the Continental Congress faced in publishing their work. Like many of the LoC sites, the narrative works best for secodary students, but the images will be fascinating to younger classes as well. This is a great addition to American history or government units on American independence.

tag(s): american revolution (86), declaration of independence (13), evolution (99)

In the Classroom

Open this site on the interactive whiteboard or projector, and go through the "exhibits" offered with students. Allow students to peruse it on their own in cooperative learning groups. This would be a great review activity, as students may only grasp the importance of the primary documents once they have learned the greater context. To show what they have learned from this site, challenge students to create an online graphic to share using Tabblo reviewed here.

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NetState

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4 to 8
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Minimal historical information, basic almanac facts, interesting lists of "famous sons and daughters." This site is far from one-stop shopping, but there's useful information here....more
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Minimal historical information, basic almanac facts, interesting lists of "famous sons and daughters." This site is far from one-stop shopping, but there's useful information here.

tag(s): states (165)

In the Classroom

Use this site as a reference for students working on a research project on the 50 states. Have students work on "state reports" during a unit on the geography of the 50 states, using this site as a point of reference. To show what they have learned from this site, challenge students to create an online graphic to share using Tabblo reviewed here. Assign students specific states to research and report on, presenting their graphics to their classmates.

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50states.com

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4 to 8
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This site offers metalists (most of the content isn't theirs) for each state, including bios of presidents from that state, attractions, public records, and more. There's much more...more
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This site offers metalists (most of the content isn't theirs) for each state, including bios of presidents from that state, attractions, public records, and more. There's much more than history items at this site, which may or may not be an advantage.

tag(s): states (165)

In the Classroom

There are a lot of ads from this site, so if using be sure to forewarn students not to access any of the side links. Use this site if creating state profiles during an American History class. This activity works best if accompanied by a guided graphic organizer or worksheet - we recommend using Graphic Organizer Maker, (reviewed here).

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Explore the States - Library of Congress

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4 to 8
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From the Library of Congress's America's Library section, this site offers very brief information on each state, along with links to state-specific events, attractions, or activities....more
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From the Library of Congress's America's Library section, this site offers very brief information on each state, along with links to state-specific events, attractions, or activities.

tag(s): states (165)

In the Classroom

This site offers only the briefest of information.

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AMDOCS - Univ. of Kansas

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6 to 12
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Created at the University of Kansas, this collection of primary sources offers coverage from the 15th century through the present, making it useful for both early and contemporary history....more
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Created at the University of Kansas, this collection of primary sources offers coverage from the 15th century through the present, making it useful for both early and contemporary history. Many of the documents are on third-party sites, so expect some level of change over time.

tag(s): american revolution (86), history day (24)

In the Classroom

Take advantage of the hundreds of available primary sources on this site. History teachers can use these documents for a variety of activities, from supplementing the text to using them to teach students how to analyze the validity of sources. The documents are organized by date, and can benefit both World History classes in addition to American History.

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Japanese Americans and the Constitution - Smithsonian Institution

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6 to 12
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The Smithsonian presents this nicely-designed site describing the internment and discrimination against Japanese Americans during World War II. Students can listen to an audio introduction...more
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The Smithsonian presents this nicely-designed site describing the internment and discrimination against Japanese Americans during World War II. Students can listen to an audio introduction which provides a summary of the events of the period, and sets the stage for the larger presentation. This one is well worth a visit.

tag(s): constitution (87), japan (60), japanese (45), world war 2 (142)

In the Classroom

This site is a great way to address the topics of racism and the Japanese internment in your classroom. Teachers can either save this and use it as a learning center or have the students do it together on classroom computers. Don't teach this topic without looking at this site first!

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Inventing Entertainment - the Edison Recordings - Library of Congress

Grades
6 to 12
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Much of the content in this Library of Congress site about Thomas Edison and his phonographs is beyond the scope of middle schoolers. However, there are sound recordings from the ...more
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Much of the content in this Library of Congress site about Thomas Edison and his phonographs is beyond the scope of middle schoolers. However, there are sound recordings from the original machines that let students listen to the product of Edison's work, and the basic biographical information will be useful for those studying inventors. Explore this one in some depth; there's a lot here.

tag(s): inventors and inventions (94)

In the Classroom

Download some of the sounds and recordings from the database, and use them as part of a learning center during a unit on Inventions & Inventors. Have students listen to the recordings (make sure to include headphones) on classroom computers, writing a short reflection afterwards about what they heard and what their impression was. Students could also compare and contrast the quality of the recordings, noting the vast differences in technology between then and now. This would be a very interesting resource for a US history classroom!

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FirstGov for Kids - US Government

Grades
3 to 8
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This site offers one-stop surfing for federal agencies' offerings for younger students. The collection covers topics from government to ecology to physics, and the offering vary from...more
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This site offers one-stop surfing for federal agencies' offerings for younger students. The collection covers topics from government to ecology to physics, and the offering vary from very good to mediocre. Nonetheless, this is a convenient, safe starting point for students interested in working with government sources.

tag(s): branches of government (47)

In the Classroom

Within each of the grades menu options are links to learning activities and games that can be used to compliment almost any unit within a civics or government class. Use the classroom activities as review games through out the year, helping students constantly review information for a final end of the year assessment. (especially use for standards testing!) Many of them would also make great learning centers or stations throughout the year.

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