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World Population History - Population Connection

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6 to 12
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Watch the growth of human population from 1 CE through 2050 with this interactive map and timeline. A five-minute video provides an overview of population growth, use the drop-down...more
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Watch the growth of human population from 1 CE through 2050 with this interactive map and timeline. A five-minute video provides an overview of population growth, use the drop-down box to view the video in several different languages. Personalize your viewing experience to adjust features on the map with themes, overlays, and map dots. Click on the timeline below the map to view additional information about events throughout time. Choose the menu to find all the resources on this site, including several lesson plans.

tag(s): advanced placement (21), conservation (127), environment (317), population (60)

In the Classroom

Try using this website in science class during environmental science units on human population growth. Start the class by sharing this site on an interactive whiteboard (or projector) for students to see. Provide time for students to look at the material and to generate questions about it. Brainstorm not only questions but what students learned from it. Allow groups time to research the economic and social issues that have caused such a change in population and how people live. Challenge students to make a multimedia presentation using Sway, reviewed here, about what they learned from the different time periods or themes. With Sway, you can have music, photos, videos, and even make it interactive.

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MetPublications - Metropolitan Museum of Art

Grades
6 to 12
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Find five decades of the Metropolitan Museum of Art publications available for free download or online reading at this extensive public collection. Browse by keyword, date, title, or...more
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Find five decades of the Metropolitan Museum of Art publications available for free download or online reading at this extensive public collection. Browse by keyword, date, title, or topic as you choose from over 450 available titles. Choose your publication, and then follow the links for downloading in PDF, reading online, or other options. Not all titles have all options available.

tag(s): art history (70), artists (75)

In the Classroom

Share this site with your school's art teacher. Explore artwork from different time periods or places as part of social studies lessons. Encourage students to explore this site on their own to learn more about the various components of art. Have students create an annotated image of different pieces of art including text boxes, related links, and videos using a tool such as Thinglink, reviewed here.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Arts Connected - Minneapolis Institute of Arts & Walker Art Center

Grades
K to 12
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Access more than 100,000 resources including art, audio/video, text, and interactive resources. With the robust search features, narrow searches by keyword, institutions, method of...more
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Access more than 100,000 resources including art, audio/video, text, and interactive resources. With the robust search features, narrow searches by keyword, institutions, method of instruction, or grade level. Be sure to look at the interactive primary resources. Registration is quick and easy and does not require an email address. Begin by watching one of the brief videos that outline the Art Finder feature or Art Collector. Find answers to common (and some not so common) questions at "ask an educator" in the upper left corner.

tag(s): 20th century (51), art history (70), artists (75), cross cultural understanding (115)

In the Classroom

Start by pulling together a collection of video, audio, art pieces, or text. Mix and match your set or use one of the already created sets. Give the set a title and description once you have selected all the pieces. Attach a PDF to provide more information, questions, notes, or directions. Duplicate sets for use with multiple sections of a class. Create custom slides to include YouTube videos.

You can use the digital classroom section to discuss and get more information on fair use, creative commons, copyright, and public domain. Find links to information that can be used to teach students the correct way to use information that was created by others. Once you have created a set or found a resource that is appropriate for your students, have them identify the different elements and techniques that are present in the pieces. Students can compare multiple pieces of art that are either similar or very different. Zoom into an image to get a better look at the skills that were used to create the artwork.

For secondary students, use Arts Connected to research and compile a set of works that demonstrate a certain concept or idea. Use this opportunity to have students practice their digital citizenship skills by properly crediting works chosen as well as demonstrate learning. Students can save sets as a PDF and submit to the teacher in hand or electronically.
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History/Social Science Resources - Los Angeles Unified School District

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K to 12
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The Los Angeles Unified School District offers a large selection of resources for teaching history and social sciences aligned to Common Core Standards. Choose from elementary, middle,...more
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The Los Angeles Unified School District offers a large selection of resources for teaching history and social sciences aligned to Common Core Standards. Choose from elementary, middle, or high school to find curriculum maps and lessons. One very useful portion of the site includes lessons created in partnership with Reading Like a Historian, reviewed here, that engage students in the creation of historical knowledge. Both sites are a must-visit for anyone teaching Social Studies!

tag(s): assessment (100), commoncore (94), professional development (123)

In the Classroom

Bookmark and save this site for use throughout the school year. Be sure to take advantage of the lesson plans and curriculum guides. Share with other teachers as you collaborate and plan together.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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The Global Flow of Refugees - Nikola Sander & Ramon Bauer

Grades
7 to 12
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The Global Flow of Refugees offers an interactive look at refugee flows between countries during the past few years. It is based on a New York Times visualization. Choose a ...more
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The Global Flow of Refugees offers an interactive look at refugee flows between countries during the past few years. It is based on a New York Times visualization. Choose a year to view the complete flow circle for that year. Click any segment to narrow down information to individual countries showing the flow to or from that country. In addition to the interactive chart, scroll down further on the page to view two static versions of the chart featuring 50 selected countries.

tag(s): continents (49), countries (76), cross cultural understanding (115), immigrants (20)

In the Classroom

Share this site on a projector or interactive whiteboard to research and understand the flow of refugees throughout the world. Use this as an introduction to understanding complicated events in the Middle East and other volatile regions in the world. After viewing the interactive, have students study the regions for large migrations of refugees from one region to another. Have them share their findings with a multimedia presentation using one of the many TeachersFirst Edge tools reviewed here. Have students use Little Memory, reviewed here, to create a diary entry as a refugee traveling to a new country.

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The Great Human Odyssey - A World of Extremes - CBC

Grades
6 to 12
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The Great Human Odyssey is a powerful journey into the lives of three different cultures and the lives of nomads. Explore the sea, desert, and tundra as you become the ...more
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The Great Human Odyssey is a powerful journey into the lives of three different cultures and the lives of nomads. Explore the sea, desert, and tundra as you become the nomad and view life from a first person perspective. Along the way click on icons as they pop-up to provide additional information through videos and photographs.

tag(s): cross cultural understanding (115), deserts (10), oceans (148), tundra (14)

In the Classroom

The Great Human Odyssey is perfect for use with an interactive whiteboard or projector. View the different sections together to learn more about life in extreme climates. Have students use Fakebook, reviewed here, to create a "fake" page similar in style to Facebook about one of the nomads. Use an online tool such as Interactive Two Circle Venn Diagram, reviewed here, to compare and contrast student lifestyles with those on this site. Compare the three nomadic lifestyles presented with the Venn Diagram - 3 Circles, reviewed here. Have students create maps using Animaps, reviewed here, to locate places found on this site and explore areas close by. Students can add text, images, and location stops!

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Wide Angle Window Into Global History - PBS

Grades
6 to 12
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Looking for videos and resources that peer into Global Issues? Start with this resource! Click the Video Bank to view resources by themes: conflict, power, human rights, social structures,...more
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Looking for videos and resources that peer into Global Issues? Start with this resource! Click the Video Bank to view resources by themes: conflict, power, human rights, social structures, migrations, economic systems, factors of production, or political systems. Also, view the video bank by location in the world. Videos in each theme are up to several minutes in length and are clips of larger videos. Click on the video of choice, to view the video on a larger screen, see the guiding questions, read the background essay and transcript, and find related links. Text can easily be printed using the print function along the bottom. Videos are easily downloaded, with directions for both PC and Mac users. View the country and region map along the left side along with the accompanying lesson plan. Additionally, click on Lesson Plans instead to display the following for each global issue: overview, learning objectives and standards, media components (with links), and materials. Be sure to note the Prep for Teachers along the bottom of each lesson plan.
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tag(s): cross cultural understanding (115), cultures (105), maps (287)

In the Classroom

These resources and videos are extremely flexible for classroom use. Use the film clips for current events, and to also highlight events from the past. Use a video segment to get students thinking about past incidents, solutions, and whether today's environment has changed from that of the past. View a variety of clips from one theme and discuss events in the clip or use a writing assignment to provide time to process the events. Discuss in what ways these clips are similar and other societal, economic, and political factors that affected them. Use any of these videos to find any current events that are still dealing with the same issue today. Be sure to brainstorm how different people, in other areas of the world, would view these issues. Research these issues using resources from other areas of the world to see editorials and news clippings that are not American. Note: Use the country code after your search term or use this news search. Were there other people interviewed about any of these issues? Who are they and what did they say? Consider creating videos showcasing a variety of viewpoints. Use one of the video tools reviewed at the TeachersFirst Edge. Besides the viewpoint of each video, what would be a common question that all videos within the theme have in common? How does the bubble of our American culture hamper our understanding of other people both here in the U.S. and abroad? Research the history and culture of the various areas to identify factors responsible for the themes portrayed by this resource.

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Retronaut via Mashable - Timescape

Grades
7 to 12
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Retronaut is an archive of historical photos, though not your typical photos. These images are sometimes quirky, and generally unexpected. Many have explanations about the period. View...more
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Retronaut is an archive of historical photos, though not your typical photos. These images are sometimes quirky, and generally unexpected. Many have explanations about the period. View images of 1970's rock stars with their parents (Elton John, Frank Zappa, Eric Clapton to name a few). See Selma's Children, What Parisian Fancy Ladies wore in 1906, history's first women aviators, and much more. Explore the site by Most Popular, Featured, or The Latest. Click on an image to view a "capsule" with other related images. Some of the images have links under them for attribution, and you can see and read even more about that topic. Under latest, this reviewer found topics that were just added five days before, so you may want to check back if you do not find what you're looking for. Warning: At the time of this review there were two topics that may be inappropriate for the classroom. Use the URL of the topic you wish to share in a new window or tab of your web browser.
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tag(s): 1700s (23), 1800s (44), 1900s (33), 20th century (51), advertising (33), cultures (105), images (266), maps (287), medicine (67), politics (99), transportation (40)

In the Classroom

Share Retronaut via Mashable with students to explore images from a given time or relating to any historic topic to get an interesting perspective not typically seen in textbooks. Create capsules using images to share for any classroom project or allow students to create their own in conjunction with classroom presentations. Use Wellcome Images, reviewed here, with over 100,000 historical images if you do not find what you want on Retronaut. Galleries are not moderated, so check before sharing on your interactive whiteboard or projector. You can always use the URL of the topic you wish to share on a new tab of your web browser.

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Maptia - A World of Stories - Dorothy Sanders, Dean Fischer, and Johnny Miller

Grades
6 to 12
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Maptia is a bold, beautiful world of thoughtful and inspiring stories told through photographs by photographers, adventurers, and writers. Explore stories categorized by places, themes,...more
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Maptia is a bold, beautiful world of thoughtful and inspiring stories told through photographs by photographers, adventurers, and writers. Explore stories categorized by places, themes, and storytellers. Stories focus on portraying an individual perspective of the location and why it matters on a personal level. Find a collection of inspiring stories by people and organizations who are making a difference in many corners of the world. When browsing through offerings, information includes a short synopsis along with the location featured and an estimate of time to read the story. Create an account to add your stories. Bookmark and save favorites for viewing at any time. Maptia works well for viewing in all browsers, but it is optimized for Chrome and Safari when creating stories.

tag(s): creative writing (166), digital storytelling (144), narrative (24), photography (160)

In the Classroom

Share Maptia on your interactive whiteboard or projector to discover personal stories from anywhere in the world. Share with students as examples of personal narrative writing. Challenge students to create an account and add their own personal stories. To find even more stories like those under Causes see The Lowell Milken Center for Unsung Heros, reviewed here, and follow their ten steps for writing about people who make a difference. Create a class account and bookmark favorites. Share with students through a link on your class web page. Display photographs for use as a creative writing prompt.

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Cool Kid Facts - CoolKidFacts

Grades
1 to 7
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Visit Cool Kid Facts to find information for just about anything in this world or even out of this world! Select from Geography, History, Science, Animals, and Human Body. There...more
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Visit Cool Kid Facts to find information for just about anything in this world or even out of this world! Select from Geography, History, Science, Animals, and Human Body. There are also topics in the right menu on the home page that range from Albert Einstein to Volcanoes and nearly everything else you can think of (alphabetically) in between. There are articles, videos, pictures, and quizzes, too. The videos are from various outside sources and 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): animals (276), australia (35), brain (72), china (66), deserts (10), earth (228), egypt (67), greek (41), heart (43), human body (121), italy (17), magnetism (36), mars (41), mexico (34), moon (72), newton (25), photosynthesis (33), rainforests (13), rome (27), sun (71), tornadoes (16), tsunamis (16), volcanoes (61)

In the Classroom

Share this site with students on your interactive whiteboard (or projector) and show them all the different subjects available. Challenge students to find a topic about which they know nothing (or barely anything). This site will give them experience reading informational text on a topic they wonder about. Partner weaker readers with others who may be able to help them read the text-heavier articles. Have students read and research individually or in small groups taking notes using a simple graphic organizer from 25 Language Arts Graphic Organizers, reviewed here. Use this opportunity to teach summarizing, and citing sources. Cool Kid Facts is a great tool to build background knowledge about all sorts of topics!
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Introduction to Africa - InterKnowledge Corp

Grades
4 to 8
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From Botswana to Zimbabwe, explore the diverse nations that make up the continent of Africa. Begin by choosing a country from the list to read short articles including information about...more
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From Botswana to Zimbabwe, explore the diverse nations that make up the continent of Africa. Begin by choosing a country from the list to read short articles including information about the history, climate, culture, and highlights of each area. This site is rather text-heavy, but includes a lot of useful information.
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tag(s): africa (180)

In the Classroom

The text portions are challenging, so you may want to pair weaker readers with a partner as they research on this site. This is a great find for gifted students. Challenge them to explore unusual topics or do more in-depth investigation related to a "standard" curriculum topic! Save this site as a favorite on classroom computers, and have students look at individually. Have students create a simple infographic sharing their findings using Easel.ly, reviewed here. Have students examine the different sections of the site, and then create a "travel brochure" for a portion of Africa. Since events and governments change rapidly in Africa, challenge your gifted or more able students to find more recent stories about an African country on Google News and compare recent events to the information on this site. Is the Internet always accurate? Have students use a mapping tool such as Mapskip (reviewed here) to create a map of local landforms (with audio stories and pictures included)!

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The Places We Live - Jonas Bendikson

Grades
6 to 12
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Visit four of the world's poorest slums through this powerful collection of stories, images, and sounds. Following the introduction, choose a city: Caracas, Venezuela, Nairobi, Kenya,...more
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Visit four of the world's poorest slums through this powerful collection of stories, images, and sounds. Following the introduction, choose a city: Caracas, Venezuela, Nairobi, Kenya, Jakarta, Indonesia, or Mumbai, India. Hear each family's story by choosing from images at the top of each page or view the slideshow including images, audio, and facts about the region.

tag(s): africa (180), cross cultural understanding (115), india (36)

In the Classroom

Be sure to include The Places We Live with any unit on poverty around the world or in a general world cultures class. Share this site on your class web page for students to access both in and outside of class for further exploration. Have students create a simple infographic sharing their findings using Easel.ly, reviewed here. Have students create a word cloud of the important terms they learn from this site using a tool such as Wordle (reviewed here). Use an online tool such as Interactive Two Circle Venn Diagram (reviewed here) to compare life in your area to the life of teens shown here. Share the images, with no sound, as writing prompts for students to imagine themselves in the slums. What would their lives be like? What would be the same or different? What could they do to help their family to get out of those living conditions? Is there anything anyone can do to help?
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Project Mosaic: Zora Neale Hurston - Rollins College

Grades
7 to 12
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Discover Zora Neale Hurston through African-American history combined with traditional liberal arts subjects such as art, art education, anthropology, education, and history. Enhance...more
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Discover Zora Neale Hurston through African-American history combined with traditional liberal arts subjects such as art, art education, anthropology, education, and history. Enhance your awareness of African American History and of Hurston, famed novelist of Their Eyes Were Watching God and other 20th century works, through the primary and secondary sources featured on the site. Art work, articles, exhibitions, and lesson plans feature life in the time of Zora Neale Hurston.

tag(s): authors (120), literature (275)

In the Classroom

In the classroom, use Project Mosaic to enhance your study of civil rights, storytelling, women studies, Florida history, or literature. The primary and secondary sources provide a deeper look into life in the early 1900's. In your leadership unit, examine the challenges Zora Neale Hurston faced in her life and how she turned these problems into stepping stones to meet her goals. Expand into other areas such as history and culture during World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War, or even Desert Storm using primary and secondary sources. Have students interview groups of people who lived during those time periods, discovering how opinions greatly influence world events. Extend the study into literature and artwork of the period. Encourage students to become involved in local, state, or world events. Have students create their own renderings of the time period using one of the multimedia TeachersFirst Edge tools reviewed here.

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Nelson Mandela Biography - bio.com

Grades
4 to 12
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Explore the life of Nelson Mandela with this informative site from Biography.com. Contents include facts of Mandela's life, photos, and videos profiling his life and leadership. One...more
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Explore the life of Nelson Mandela with this informative site from Biography.com. Contents include facts of Mandela's life, photos, and videos profiling his life and leadership. One especially useful portion of the site includes a printable study guide including vocabulary, extension activities, and more. There is a lot here to explore.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): 20th century (51), black history (59), civil rights (117), heroes (24), south africa (10)

In the Classroom

Share this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector as an introduction to your Civil Rights, Black History, or Heroes unit. Allow students to explore on their own. Use the study guide as a resource for vocabulary, deepening understanding, or for extension activities. Use an online tool such as Interactive Two Circle Venn Diagram (reviewed here) to compare Nelson Mandela to other Civil Rights leaders such as Martin Luther King. Have students create timelines about Civil Rights (with music, photos, videos, and more) using Capzles (reviewed here). Have students use Fakebook (reviewed here) to create a "fake" page similar in style to Facebook about Civil Rights leaders.
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Nelson Mandela - BBC

Grades
3 to 8
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Find a good introduction and overview of the life of Nelson Mandela geared toward elementary students (and middle school). View basic information, such as why Mandela is famous. Take...more
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Find a good introduction and overview of the life of Nelson Mandela geared toward elementary students (and middle school). View basic information, such as why Mandela is famous. Take a look at young Mandela, problems in South Africa, and his life as a world statesman. Scroll through several fun facts about Mandela, play a game of Audience with Mandela, explore photographs and videos, or take a short quiz. This site was created in the UK. American English speakers may notice some slight spelling or vocabulary differences.

tag(s): biographies (87), civil rights (117), heroes (24), south africa (10)

In the Classroom

Introduce this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Then have students explore this site independently or in small groups. Use this site as an anticipatory set or "activator" to introduce a unit or lesson for Black History Month or about heroes in Civil Rights. As you discuss Martin Luther King, Jr, include discussion of major Civil Rights leaders from other countries. Have students create an annotated image of Nelson Mandela including text boxes and related links using a tool such as Thinglink, reviewed here. Have students create maps of Mandela's journeys using Animaps (reviewed here). Students can add text, images, and location stops! Have students create timelines (with music, photos, videos, and more) using Capzles (reviewed here).
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Nelson Mandela - Facts - Nobel Media

Grades
3 to 12
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Explore information and facts about the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize winner, Nelson Mandela, straight from the Nobel Prize website. In addition to basic biographical information, view videos...more
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Explore information and facts about the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize winner, Nelson Mandela, straight from the Nobel Prize website. In addition to basic biographical information, view videos of Mandela's Nobel lecture, a bibliography of his writings, a photo gallery and much more. The question and answer portion of the site contains basic information useful for even the youngest students, while older students may enjoy exploring the wall to find comments shared by the site's readers.

tag(s): 1960s (30), 1970s (12), 1980s (9), 20th century (51), biographies (87), black history (59), civil rights (117), heroes (24), south africa (10)

In the Classroom

Introduce this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Then have students explore this site independently or in small groups. This site is perfect to include with Black History Month activities or in a unit on Civil Rights leaders. Have students create a simple infographic with words used to describe Mandela sharing their findings using Easel.ly, reviewed here or Venngage reviewed here. Have students create a word cloud of the important terms they learn from this site using a tool such as Wordle (reviewed here), Tagxedo (reviewed here), or WordItOut (reviewed here). Use an online tool such as Interactive Two Circle Venn Diagram (reviewed here) to compare South Africa at the time of Mandela's arrest to current South Africa. Have students use Fakebook (reviewed here) to create a "fake" page similar in style to Facebook about Mandela during his time in prison or after his release.

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Engaging Students With Primary Sources - Smithsonian National Museum of American History

Grades
6 to 12
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The Smithsonian Institution offers a printable guide to using primary sources in any classroom. View examples of how to do it and suggestion! Explore each of the main sections including...more
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The Smithsonian Institution offers a printable guide to using primary sources in any classroom. View examples of how to do it and suggestion! Explore each of the main sections including documents, photographs, oral histories, and objects for ideas and tips. Each activity is aligned to National Center for History in the Schools standards. The guide is in PDF format for easy printing and use.

tag(s): primary sources (86)

In the Classroom

Bookmark and save this site for use throughout the year as a guide for using primary sources. Use some of the lesson strategies with other primary source collections
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Story Maps - Esri

Grades
5 to 12
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Story Maps takes learning in a new direction. Interactive maps tell a story through videos, images, audio, and links. Learn more about the topics in text that accompanies each map....more
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Story Maps takes learning in a new direction. Interactive maps tell a story through videos, images, audio, and links. Learn more about the topics in text that accompanies each map. A timeline of "dots" allows you to move through the story step by step. A satellite view is available on some maps, and legends give you important information to read the map accurately. A wide variety of topics are available to inform and educate. Use the search bar to find a map to meet your needs. Travel to the most visited National Parks or explore an interactive map of the three days and decisive moments of the battle of Gettysburg. It is important to pay as much attention to the text pop-ups as the cartography and other aspects of the map. New stories are added every two weeks. so come back often! This review was for the free area of the site that allows you to view the map stories. There are extensive directions on how to create your own maps, but these suggest purchase of maps, etc. from ArcGIS, an affiliate of Esri. Some of the map storytelling ideas could be used with other free mapping tools, however.

tag(s): gettysburg (26), map skills (79), maps (287), measurement (159)

In the Classroom

Map out interactive virtual field trips on Story Maps. Introduce this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Then have students explore this site independently or in small groups. Have a team competition as students navigate the site on an interactive whiteboard to complete a scavenger hunt. Students can find geometric shapes in real life objects on the images with the maps. Calculate distances or time if the map is a timeline of events. Use this site as an anticipatory set or "activator" to introduce a unit or lesson on a projector or interactive whiteboard. Make a shortcut to this site on classroom computers and use it as a center. Be sure to help your weaker readers and ESL/ELL students by sharing the vocabulary words prior to reading, either on a handout or by projecting them on an interactive whiteboard and highlighting them in the text as you come to them. Have students create online posters to summarize what they learned from the map, individually or together as a class using a tool such as Web Poster Wizard (reviewed here) or PicLits (reviewed here. Ask students to write informational essays on the topics or use the maps to write creative stories. Challenge your most tech-savvy or gifted students to explore the step by step map storytelling directions and try their hand using google Maps or other map tools. The advice in these directions is excellent.

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World Digital Library - Unesco

Grades
4 to 12
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The World Digital Library makes it possible to discover, study, and enjoy digitized cultural treasures from around the world. Resources include manuscripts, maps, rare books, musical...more
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The World Digital Library makes it possible to discover, study, and enjoy digitized cultural treasures from around the world. Resources include manuscripts, maps, rare books, musical scores, recordings, films, prints, photographs, and architectural drawings. Browse by place, time, topic, type of item, and contributing institution, or use the open-ended search available in many languages. Information included with items includes a description, place of event or item, date, location of the item, and tags for viewing items similar in nature or topic. Move the timeline to view items for specific time periods.

tag(s): 1600s (11), 1700s (23), 1800s (44), 1900s (33), 20th century (51), africa (180), asia (73), australia (35), china (66), cross cultural understanding (115), europe (75), images (266), north america (19), south america (39)

In the Classroom

Use this site as a resource for viewing and learning about the many cultural treasures around the world. Display the site on your interactive whiteboard or projector to view images and documents from American and World History. Have students choose an item of interest to research further and then share using a tool like Zoho Show (similar to Powerpoint, but easier and free) - reviewed here. World language teachers can underscore culture lessons using these resources or have students explore and share their findings.

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The Secret Door - Safe Style UK

Grades
2 to 12
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Open a door to tour worldwide locations with this intriguing site. Clicking on the door transports you to indoor spaces from all over the world using a Google StreetMap mashup. ...more
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Open a door to tour worldwide locations with this intriguing site. Clicking on the door transports you to indoor spaces from all over the world using a Google StreetMap mashup. Click on the door again (or click "take me somewhere else") to be transported to another place. Visit famous landmarks, museums, and more. What a treat! The entire Secret Door interaction can be embedded in your blog or wiki using the embed code provided by clicking "embed this." Secret Door is random, so going to the same place again could be tricky. To return later to the same location, make a note of the location in top left (or copy it). Use Google Maps (reviewed here), search for the location that was named in the top left corner, and use Streetview (drag the little orange man on top of the landmark to look inside).

tag(s): cross cultural understanding (115), landmarks (26)

In the Classroom

Teacher-librarians can use this to inspire research or non-fiction reading by embedding it in their website or displaying it on a computer in the media center! Use this site to learn drawing inferences about each of the places visited. Use the images as a class or in groups to determine where in the world it is located using clues from the picture. You will want to "hide" the location that shows in the top left corner. This is a great introduction into culture, building, design, etc. Project an image on an Interactive Whiteboard as a prompt for a short story, poem, or essay inspired by the image. Share an image as your students enter the classroom as the daily "travel mystery." Give your students 2-3 minutes of time to investigate WHERE the image is from. Brainstorm how the image is related to a story being discussed in class, a unit of study, or parallels to our culture. What creatures and cultures would be seen in this place? Ask and answer interesting questions related to the images. Teachers of gifted can use these images to inspire creation of text-based games to take place in these settings using descriptive writing and a tool such as Quest, reviewed here, or Playfic, reviewed here.

Comments

Very cool, easy to use site for when you have a few minutes. I think the age range could be k-12 as my 4 year old loved seeing where the door would take us. The only reason I didn't give it 5 stars is because it is really hard to get back to a place that you previously visited. Diane, PA, Grades: 0 - 4

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