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Chinese New Year

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5 to 8
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Gear up for the Year of the ox with this informational site about the Chinese New Year. Learn about the animals in the Chinese zodiac, the significance of dragons in ...more
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Gear up for the Year of the ox with this informational site about the Chinese New Year. Learn about the animals in the Chinese zodiac, the significance of dragons in Chinese mythology, several "special" facts about various years, and how the date of the New Year is determined. Get some great ideas from this site for activities in your classroom.

tag(s): china (66), chinese (48), chinese new year (3)

In the Classroom

Share the "what's special about..." section with your students on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Have students judge which year was the most special and write journal entries or blogs about WHY.

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New Year's Resolutions - Goalsguy Learning Systems, Inc.

Grades
5 to 12
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Celebrate New Year's Resolution Week in your classroom with this site that offers a brief history of New Year's observances, good luck traditions practiced around the world, a list...more
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Celebrate New Year's Resolution Week in your classroom with this site that offers a brief history of New Year's observances, good luck traditions practiced around the world, a list of common resolutions, and a resolution contract, which can be easily adapted to grade level. A list of famous people born on New Years Day and New Years songs round out this mix.

Be aware: there are some minor advertisements at this site. There is also a short interactive countdown activity that requires Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): new years (11)

In the Classroom

Have students use this site as a starting point in creating their own New Year's Resolutions. Have cooperative learning groups research the various holidays in December and January. Challenge students to create a multimedia presentation (video, PowerPoint, or blog) to share their findings about the holiday. Have a "World Celebrations" day and have students share information about the holiday (such as customs, food, significance, and any other pertinent information).
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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New Year's in America - Jerilyn Watson

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3 to 6
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This online quiz focuses on New Year's traditions in America, but tests knowledge of grammar and word choice. The quiz has about forty questions (all related to New Year's and ...more
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This online quiz focuses on New Year's traditions in America, but tests knowledge of grammar and word choice. The quiz has about forty questions (all related to New Year's and grammar). This is a great activity for ESL and ELL students or elementary students practicing grammar skills. This site does require Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): new years (11), states (163)

In the Classroom

Use an interactive whiteboard or projector and take this quiz together. Or use this website as a learning station during your Language Arts or Social Studies class. In younger classes (or beginning ESL or ELL) allow students to work with a partner. Challenge students to create their own quiz on New Years (or another holiday) that incorporates grammar practice.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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New Year Traditions - Australian Media Pty. Ltd.

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4 to 6
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Learn about New Year's celebrations around the world. Click on the name of a country to read a brief synopsis of its customs and traditions. Includes links to New Year's-inspired ...more
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Learn about New Year's celebrations around the world. Click on the name of a country to read a brief synopsis of its customs and traditions. Includes links to New Year's-inspired recipes, poetry, and songs. Some of the songs provide lyrics only, while others have sound. A few of the links require Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): new years (11), poetry (228), songs (52)

In the Classroom

Play one of the New Year's songs in the background while your students use this site for research about specific countries.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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New Year's Customs Worldwide - TOPICS Online Magazine

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4 to 8
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Happy New Year! Come to this site to learn more about New Year's celebrations from around the world. One country believes that if you sleep on New Year's Eve - ...more
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Happy New Year! Come to this site to learn more about New Year's celebrations from around the world. One country believes that if you sleep on New Year's Eve - your eyebrows will turn white! Can you figure out which one? Come to this site to explore many traditions, read personal stories (written by students), view video clips of New Year's celebrations, take an online quiz, and more. Some of the activities at this site require Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): new years (11)

In the Classroom

Around the New Years holiday, share this site with your students on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Have students read through the various country celebrations and choose their favorite and least favorite customs. Have students write a short story or blog entry describing why they made the choices that they did. Have cooperative learning groups explore this site together and take the online quiz.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Using Art to Define the Renaissance - TeachersFirst

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6 to 10
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This unit, ideal for classes in Art, World Cultures, or World History, can also be used in conjunction with the study of Renaissance literature. Students should already have a basic...more
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This unit, ideal for classes in Art, World Cultures, or World History, can also be used in conjunction with the study of Renaissance literature. Students should already have a basic understanding of the Classical Period and the Middle Ages. Beginning from the premise that "art imitates life," the unit connects art with the philosophical underpinnings of the Renaissance. This unit will take students through a process in which they will not only experience masterpieces from the Renaissance, but will also learn to analyze art, draw conclusions, and, at the advanced level, apply lessons from the art to their own lives. In doing so, students will gain an understanding of the characteristics that define the Renaissance.

tag(s): renaissance (34)

In the Classroom

This unit was developed to be used by a wide range of ages and abilities. It can be altered for different ability levels. TeachersFirst editors have included options for more student-centered, project-based activities using technology throughout the unit. You can adjust the time requirements depending on which activities you decide to do.

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NMAI: Identity by Design - Smithsonian

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6 to 12
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From the National Museum of the American Indian, this online exhibit is subtitled "Tradition, Change and Celebration in Native Women's Dresses." The exhibit uses 19th century Native...more
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From the National Museum of the American Indian, this online exhibit is subtitled "Tradition, Change and Celebration in Native Women's Dresses." The exhibit uses 19th century Native women's clothing as insight into Native American culture of the time period, and features stunning photographs of Native dresses and commentary by present-day Native women. The site both describes the ways Native women made their clothing in the 19th century and the ways that clothing can give us important clues about the role of women in Native society. Of interest also are the ways clothing began to reflect the influence of the dominant white culture on traditional Native practices. The site also includes information about today's Native Powwow dance competitions which bridge the distance between traditional culture and the modern world, and bring 19th century Native women's clothing and costume into the 21st century. The Resources link contains lesson plans and educational material. This site requires Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): clothing (9), native americans (78), women (101)

In the Classroom

Traditionally, American history has been taught as the story of the dominant European culture's triumph over more primitive Native cultures. Native American culture is too often pictured as one-dimensional rather than as a rich collection of diverse tribes and cultures. If Native women are featured at all, they may be represented only by Pocahontas and Sacajawea. This site allows a fuller exploration of the variety of Native women's cultures and would serve as an outstanding supplement to a study of the European settlement of the West. The photographs of the women's dresses are lovely and would display nicely on an interactive whiteboard or projector. The commentary would be useful for any student doing more in-depth research into Native culture. The site's focus on women's roles and culture would also fit nicely with a unit on women's history. The Resources link contains lesson plans and educational material. To extend the clothing-as -culture approach in your classroom, ask students to create a wiki showing the role of clothing in ethnic subcultures of the U.S. today or at other places and times. Middle school grades might want to work together with the art or FCS teachers on this.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Interactive-Learning.com.au - K.O'Regan

Grades
6 to 12
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Don't let the simple appearance fool you! This site is a smorgasbord of interactive lessons on history, English, and music. Wonderful for the Humanities teacher, it allows teachers...more
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Don't let the simple appearance fool you! This site is a smorgasbord of interactive lessons on history, English, and music. Wonderful for the Humanities teacher, it allows teachers of any of those subjects to pick and choose what best fits their plans. Some examples of topics include archaeology, ancient Rome, South American Empires, ancient Egypt, ancient Greece, letter writing, gorgeous grammar, common spelling errors, the Renaissance, the Middle Ages, poetry, the theatre, film, composers, and at least twenty other topics. The site declares itself "student self-directed (self-explanatory)." The links are functional, the graphics are attractive, and, while some of the activities are simple and straightforward, many of them take students into analysis and synthesis without them even realizing they are thinking on higher levels and producing work with more depth. Many of the activities require Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): australia (35), civil rights (117), grammar (216), listening (91), medieval (27), poetry (228), renaissance (34), spelling (168)

In the Classroom

The world is open on this site. Choose any activity your students are interested in and this site can help you mold it into what you want for your curriculum. Students interested in fantasy? Have them investigate and write from the "Fantasy-Myths and Legends" prompt. Trouble with grammar? Have them print off the worksheets from "Gorgeous Grammar" and play online, interactive, Grammar Gorillas. This site's use is only limited by your imagination! From virtual site studies to student web projects-- it's all here!
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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History for Middle School Kids - Kidipede

Grades
4 to 10
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This site, designed especially for middle school students, includes a HUGE amount of social studies topics. Although this site is recommended for middle school students, it is also...more
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This site, designed especially for middle school students, includes a HUGE amount of social studies topics. Although this site is recommended for middle school students, it is also appropriate for high school students studying the subject areas. It is mainly a "text" site, without interactives. However, this is a great resource for explaining complex topics, researching specific topics in social studies, and much more. Some of the general areas of the site include: Mesopotamia, North America, Ancient Africa, Ancient Egypt, Medieval Europe, Islamic Empire, Ancient China, Ancient Rome, and Ancient Greece. Each general area includes countless sub-topics. There is a search box available at the top of the page. There are also links to activities for students, project ideas, and Teacher's Guides. There are two caveats: there are some advertisements, nothing too distracting AND some of the suggested activities include "buying" a book from Amazon. You do NOT need to purchase anything to take advantage of this free resource!

tag(s): europe (75), greece (26), medieval (27), mesopotamia (6)

In the Classroom

Use this site as an anticipatory set in your history classes studying these topics. The information is simple to understand and would be useful for students struggling with a topic. Use the site for research about specific topics. Have teams of students explore each of the "sub-topics" within the main topic and then create an interactive presentation (Powerpoint, video, or blog) to share the information with their class. Why not list this link on your class website, so students can access the page both in and out of the classroom.

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Today in History - Library of Congress

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4 to 12
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The Library of Congress offers this daily look at historical events - mostly American. There is typically more than one event listed per day, and the text integrates cultural, literary,...more
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The Library of Congress offers this daily look at historical events - mostly American. There is typically more than one event listed per day, and the text integrates cultural, literary, and political trends into the daily reporting. This makes this daily nugget far more than just a collection of "factoids."

tag(s): history day (23)

In the Classroom

This site provides excellent historical research! 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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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 (44), 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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Modern Languages - Learning Space Open University

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8 to 12
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This site offers free courses with a great deal of depth on topics featuring modern European languages and English. It is a not a site for beginning language learners or ...more
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This site offers free courses with a great deal of depth on topics featuring modern European languages and English. It is a not a site for beginning language learners or low-level ESL and ELL students. Courses explore language topics, mostly with textual readings. Some of the featured units follow language textbooks. In addition to language topics, there are several offerings in business English. Students can choose what to study in a variety of ways: by topic, time of course, and course number or code.

You can put this in your RSS reader. Some of the activities require Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): business (58)

In the Classroom

Introduce your AP language and world culture students to the materials on this site. Gifted students or those seeking independent language study could also use these courses.Older ESL and ELL students interested in business careers may also find it useful.
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Foreign Languages and Literature - MIT Open Courseware

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8 to 12
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This site offers free comprehensive, interactive language and literature courses developed by MIT staff as part of their open course ware program. All courses include a regular syllabus...more
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This site offers free comprehensive, interactive language and literature courses developed by MIT staff as part of their open course ware program. All courses include a regular syllabus that features assignments, interactive activities, and other resources such as videos and slideshows. There is a wide range of language offerings; the cultural courses complement the language instruction and include topics such as popular culture, history, economics, media , and thinking skills. There are courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels. This site requires Adobe Acrobat. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): chinese (48), french (88), german (64), india (36), japan (61), japanese (42), latin (22), spanish (108)

In the Classroom

AP history, language, and economics students may find MIT's online course materials useful. MIT has committed to putting its entire curriculum on the web, and these early offerings include syllabi, reading materials, and a variety of subject-specific class notes. Before using these pages, students and parents should all be aware of what Open Courseware is and is not. Teachers at smaller schools may welcome the availability of language alternatives. Teachers of gifted who are looking for acceleration options will also find these courses valuable, though you will need to develop a means of doing assessment if your students are to earn credit for them.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Ethnologue - SIL International

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6 to 12
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This site is an index to languages of the world, including lesser known ones. There is also some reference information provided for most locations. Teachers and students can click on...more
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This site is an index to languages of the world, including lesser known ones. There is also some reference information provided for most locations. Teachers and students can click on a map of the world to come up with a list of continents and then a list of countries. Each country, no matter how obscure, displays a list of its languages and dialects and a short description of the location where the language is spoken. For example, the tiny West African country of Liberia lists over 30 languages and dialects, many of which are spoken in no locations outside this country.

In the Classroom

Use this site when social studies students are doing reports on world cultures. Check out your own state (or country) and see what you can learn. ESL and ELL students may enjoy sharing the information displayed here about their individual countries and languages with American students who might have no idea of the cultural differences among members of the same country. Use this map as a discussion starter I your world cultures class about migration patterns and the power of a common language to encourage cross-cultural pollination.

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TESL/TEFL/TESOL/ESL/EFL/ESOL Links - ITESLJ

Grades
1 to 12
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This compilation of sites is a standard source for ESL and ELL teachers and contains links to whatever type of vocabulary enrichment activity you might be looking for. Although this...more
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This compilation of sites is a standard source for ESL and ELL teachers and contains links to whatever type of vocabulary enrichment activity you might be looking for. Although this site is "plain vanilla" and not high-tech, it has been around for a long time and offers a comprehensive list of sites to use with ESL and ELL students. English/language arts teachers will also find the vocabulary development options helpful for any student, especially those who may need extra learning support.

Be sure to check out "What's New" for recent additions. Go to "Main Page" and try the search box; it's a good place to try to find the links you remember from awhile back but have lost track of.

tag(s): holidays (147), idioms (44), sight words (37), vocabulary (324)

In the Classroom

Provide this link on your class website. Use this site for vocabulary ideas with your ESL and ELL students AND in your world language classes or mainstream language arts classes. The variety at this site offers something for every classroom learning English or another language.

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Beeline TV - Beeline Software Express

Grades
1 to 12
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This online TV resource offers instant streaming of TV news, sports, music, and cultural programs from up to 400 different countries in many languages. With a Windows Media Player or...more
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This online TV resource offers instant streaming of TV news, sports, music, and cultural programs from up to 400 different countries in many languages. With a Windows Media Player or other player (downloading directions given at the site), teachers can have television on classroom computers instantly. Foreign language teachers can show programs featuring their language group. English language TV comes from the U.S. and the U.K. Some examples of "TV" places include Dubai, France, Jordan, Kuwait, Japan, Korea, China, Poland, Denmark, Russia, and countless others.

Be sure to preview stations and programs to be certain the offerings are appropriate for your classrooms and student ages. International students will enjoy the opportunity to check out news and other events from their original countries. Some of the European TV sites offer bilingual programming; English language summaries often accompany the news in many languages.

tag(s): news (261), sports (97)

In the Classroom

Add interest to a foreign language class by checking out the news in your target language using this site. Supplement language study with cultural opportunities by using the music sites. During major world events, compare news coverage from different English-speaking sites to see the different angles provided from different cultures. As you read stories or study customs from other lands, use this site on a projector or interactive whiteboard to share a taste of the world with your elementary students. If your school has a student handbook or special supplement for international students, recommend this site as a way to check the news and cultural happenings from their first countries. All students will enjoy coverage of international sporting events.

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Happy Ramadan - kiddyhouse.com

Grades
K to 5
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This site includes basic information about Ramadan. The site features some catchy background music, and lots of reference information about Ramadan and fasting. There are also links...more
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This site includes basic information about Ramadan. The site features some catchy background music, and lots of reference information about Ramadan and fasting. There are also links for teachers, students, coloring pages, Ramadan songs, crafts, e-cards, and other features. This site requires Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): ramadan (10)

In the Classroom

Get an interactive whiteboard or projector, turn up the volume, and introduce your students to Ramadan. This is a very practical and fun site created especially for children. Use this site to teach your students about the history of the holiday, the traditions, the music, and more!
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Gapminder World - Gapminder

Grades
6 to 12
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Use Gapminder World (with no login required) to see how countries vary and change over time in economics, health, and environment. Click the MAP tab as a good place to ...more
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Use Gapminder World (with no login required) to see how countries vary and change over time in economics, health, and environment. Click the MAP tab as a good place to start. Follow all trends and click play to animate the country bubbles through a timeline. Click on a specific bubble (country) to follow through time. Each axis of the graph can be customized for a large number of combinations. Video tutorials and a pdf of directions are available. Share your chart through the use of a link or take a snapshot of your screen using print screen functions. There is also this page of help and ideas specifically for teachers. Be patient. This site has a lot of information to load, so you may have to wait a bit!

tag(s): countries (77), environment (317)

In the Classroom

Be sure you and your students begin by "playing" with the controls to figure out the many tools available on this dynamic site. Be sure to peruse by this page of ideas specifically for teachers. Use this site to generate questions from students for continued research in health, environmental, and civics topics that students will relate to. Manipulate each axis (using pulldowns) to create a dynamic graph and follow all or a few of the countries (bubbles). Questions resulting from the graph can be used to define research leading to further understanding. Have students obtain background information that can lead to further research on social issues in the U.S. and around the World or use this tool as part of oral/visual presentations comparing countries and cultures. Be sure to use your interactive whiteboard or projector.
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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 (317)

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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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 (79), gettysburg (26), gettysburg address (18), presidents (131), thanksgiving (37)

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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