Graphic Organizer Resources from TeachersFirst

Whether you call them concept maps, mind maps, KWLs, or graphic organizers, these visual diagrams show relationships between concepts and provide a powerful tool for learning and connecting new ideas. Creating graphic organizers also helps today's visual learners build reading comprehension. This collection of reviewed resources includes tools for creating graphic organizers and many suggestions for ways to use them in teaching almost any subject or grade. Be sure to read the "In the Classroom" suggestions for examples of ways to use graphic organizers as part of a lesson or unit.

 

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Images of Life on Earth - ARKive

Grades
6 to 12
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ARKive provides a well-organized opportunity for students to research various species of animals. The site is broken into two components: the Globally Endangered Chapter and the British...more
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ARKive provides a well-organized opportunity for students to research various species of animals. The site is broken into two components: the Globally Endangered Chapter and the British Chapter. The site offers an alphabetized listing of animals along with detailed information, beautiful photographs, and vivid videos for each animal. Be sure to point out the Glossary located at the end of each animal section. This will help students with some of the more difficult vocabulary. Also make sure to note that the British Chapter is focused on animals found in Britain. TeachersFirst review team members found that the site servers are SLOW to open and reload pages, even on a fast connection. Be patient. It is worth it.

tag(s): animals (319), biodiversity (35), classification (24), diversity (33), species (30)

In the Classroom

Use this site as the starting point for individual or group projects. The site grants permission for educational download and use of the images (NOT on a web page), provided you include the copyright information with each image. Have students create sets of images to illustrate a report or make graphic organizers illustrating families of animals from your area and their classifications into kingdom, phylum, etc. Be letting students choose their own animals and examples, the task will have more meaning to them. Individuals can set up memberships (click My ARKive) to make "scrapbooks" of images and information. Membership requires a valid email address (info on your registration is sent there), so a whole-class or teacher account may be the easiest way to use it.

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What Makes a Hero? - ARTSEDGE and DoDDS

Grades
9 to 12
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This lesson plan enables students to identify characteristics that are common to heroes, recognize heroes from many diverse cultures, and discuss how heroes can be any type of person...more
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This lesson plan enables students to identify characteristics that are common to heroes, recognize heroes from many diverse cultures, and discuss how heroes can be any type of person who has accomplished an inspiring action. It offers this in nine 45-minute class lessons. The instructional objectives make it easy to pick and choose which lessons you want to do in the order in which you want to do them. It offers a great, classic base of Aristotelian hero qualities while also enabling you to bring the idea of hero forward into modern times.

tag(s): literature (264)

In the Classroom

The links on the site itself offer ways to let students investigate on the web themselves at safe sites. Integrate technology in your class by sharing the links as part of a web treasure/scavenger hunt using TrackStar, reviewed here, and asking students to collect characteristics of heroes on their own and put them in a collaborative graphic organizer like Mindomo, reviewed here. What a great start to a heroes unit---one that you can revisit and add to throughout the unit. At the end of the unit, let them use the class organizer as the basis for their own "design a hero" challenge instead of a test.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Story Writing Tips for Kids - Corey Green

Grades
3 to 8
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By breaking down the process of story writing into six accessible steps, this site provides a good outline for a lesson on writing an original story. Getting ideas, organizing, filling...more
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By breaking down the process of story writing into six accessible steps, this site provides a good outline for a lesson on writing an original story. Getting ideas, organizing, filling in, writing, and revising are all covered here in upbeat but concrete sections with plenty of tips and alternative approaches. The patterns follow the story mapping you study in reading class, so you will be reinforcing story patterns as students write. The writer is a published author of books for middle school kids. Links provide fun breaks for kids and they include jokes, animal info, and word games. A more important link leads readers to steps for writing a book report.

tag(s): writing (363)

In the Classroom

Use this site and its organized approach to teaching story writing to your upper elementary and middle school students. Include the link on your teacher web page for them to use as a reference outside of class, as well. Consider having students use a graphic organizer of a story map to plan their stories (make one for them or have them use one of the many tools you can find on TeachersFirst by searching graphic organizer on our keyword search.

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Mindomo - Expert Software Application

Grades
1 to 12
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Create collaborative mind maps (graphic organizers) using this online tool. See an example created by...more
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Create collaborative mind maps (graphic organizers) using this online tool. See an example created by our editors. The example gives some ideas for uses of this online graphic organizer tool.

tag(s): mind map (23)

In the Classroom

Have students create graphic organizers in cooperative groups as a study guide for unit content, to collect information for a group research project, or show examples of an important concept. Share and compare the organizers on an interactive whiteboard or projector in class and allow classmates to suggest changes. Skills needed: join the site, practice with the tools (don't miss the notes feature!). Save up to 7 "private" maps and an unlimited number of "shared" maps.

Make a map available online by saving and clicking "yes" for sharing, then clicking the Save by URL icon. This will copy the URL onto your computer's clipboard so you can paste it into a word doc or even your teacher web page. Imagine sharing several student made "study guides" in the days before the unit test.

Note that maps that are shared can be seen by the public, but not altered. You specify members who may collaborate and make alterations. For students to collaborate using this tool they must have individual memberships, requiring an email account. These memberships must be activated from their email. So, if students do not have email that is accessible from school, classroom use BY STUDENTS will be severely limited. Editor's note: we asked the Mindomo folks about spell check and student safety issues. They are still developing this tool, so they MIGHT address these issues at a later date.

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Visuwords - Paul R. Dunn

Grades
6 to 12
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This graphical online dictionary will make looking up words and figures of speech addictive, and visual learners will start to understand meanings as never before. The dictionary pulls...more
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This graphical online dictionary will make looking up words and figures of speech addictive, and visual learners will start to understand meanings as never before. The dictionary pulls it information from Princeton's WordNet, an opensource database built by University students and language researchers. A WORD OF WARNING: because the source of the words is a university, where speech is completely open, there are word included in this "dictionary" that are NOT classroom appropriate. Use it only under teacher monitoring.
The color-coded word "entries" display like a mind-map or graphic organizer, showing parts of speech in different colors and showing related words and phrases, as well. Be sure to look at the color key at the bottom to understand all the information presented. This site requires FLASH. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): dictionaries (58), thesaurus (23), vocabulary (314)

In the Classroom

Introduce new vocabulary before reading or starting a new unit, using this site on an interactive whiteboard or projector. The distinctions, examples, and relationships the site features for new words will help students build better connections and understanding as they read and study the words in classroom context. English teachers will love this as a learning tool for teaching distinctions between similar words. Just remember to use it in a monitored situation (see above).

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Language Arts Presentations - Free Club Web

Grades
K to 12
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Wow - this website provides ready-to-use PowerPoint presentations on over 100 topics. The presentations were created by teachers - for teachers to use in their classrooms. This website...more
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Wow - this website provides ready-to-use PowerPoint presentations on over 100 topics. The presentations were created by teachers - for teachers to use in their classrooms. This website organizes topics by general grade levels (K-5 and 6-12). Just to give you a taste of the uniqueness of these presentations, topics include such diverse topics as Shakespeare, "grammar goofs," active reading strategies, haunted house graphic organizer, phonics millionaire game, pronouns, and numerous others. Any language arts teacher is guaranteed to find something useful at this website. Do yourself a favor and check it out! You may need PowerPoint software to be able to view these files, depending on how the site creators save them. Note: while files are downloading, it may appear that nothing is happening and that the links are dead. Look for a tiny "downloading" icon in the lower left corner of your screen, and please be patient! This site has heavy advertising at the top of the landing page. Scroll down to find the presentations.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): air (145), grammar (208), narrative (19), shakespeare (110)

In the Classroom

Try these ready-to-go PowerPoint presentations on an interactive whiteboard or projector in your classroom. Some may also be well-suited for individual students to run on a single classroom computer for remediation or review. There are games, resources and a lot of information. The site includes a disclaimer asking to be notified if users find any copyrighted material. TeachersFirst recommends that you NOT download copies but instead use them online, just in case.

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Graphic Organizer Maker - Recipes4Success/Tech4Learning

Grades
1 to 12
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This handy online tool lets you create customized graphic organizers "on the fly" and print them from the web site. There is a paid version of the site, but this ...more
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This handy online tool lets you create customized graphic organizers "on the fly" and print them from the web site. There is a paid version of the site, but this FREE tool lets you choose the type of organizer you want, customize the Title and Directions, and print. Organizer types include Venn diagrams, KWL, scientific method, and many more. Learning support teachers will want to use this for students to create study materials.

In the Classroom

Use these printed organizers as study support for any content area topic. Many are excellent options for reinforcing reading skills in the content areas, even for senior high students. Include this on your teacher web page so students can create their own organizers to study for tests or prepare presentations.

To make a new organizer, simply click "new," write title and directions, and print the small "print" icon. It may be easiest to take their default directions and change them for your purposes. Note that you LOSE your work when you close the page, so make sure you have printed first!

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Inspiration Quickstart Tutorial - Inspiration

Grades
K to 12
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Learn to use Inspiration, the software that makes graphic organizers (and outlines)that make sense to your visual learners, using this printable pdf tutorial. You need Acrobat Reader...more
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Learn to use Inspiration, the software that makes graphic organizers (and outlines)that make sense to your visual learners, using this printable pdf tutorial. You need Acrobat Reader to open and print it. The page provides a link to get Acrobat Reader, if you do not have it.This tutorial is supplied by the software manufacturer.

In the Classroom

This site can also be used to help students develop study skills or determine what helps them learn best.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Collapse: Why Do Civilizations Fail? - Annenberg Media

Grades
6 to 12
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This site looks at the collapse of several ancient civilizations and suggests why these civilizations did not last. The text is easy to read and is highlighted by learning ...more
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This site looks at the collapse of several ancient civilizations and suggests why these civilizations did not last. The text is easy to read and is highlighted by learning activities and games that illustrate the issues under discussion. Featured civilizations include the Maya, Mesopotamia, the Anasazi of North America and the West African societies of Mali and Songhai. The strength of this site is its suggestion that there are commonalities that help us understand the collapse of a society. There are web links to further resources, and a summary featuring Percy Shelley's poem "Ozymandias", a nice literary connection. There are "hands on" activities scattered throughout, many including cross-curricular links to science or literature.

tag(s): gifted (82), mayans (14), mesopotamia (6), nasa (38)

In the Classroom

This site gives good concrete information, but its real power is in the greater consideration of the rise and fall of civilizations through history. This is a VERY thought-provoking collection of resources. Teachers interested in tying this discussion to current events might discuss the future of civilization in Iraq considering the criteria for maintaining a society given in this site. Use this site as a learning center or station during a unit on ancient civilizations' collapse. This site could be specifically tailored to teach about Mesoamerican cultures as three of the 4 ancient civilizations were located in South America. To make that simpler, we recommend creating a guide for students through a website such as Graphic Organizer Maker, (reviewed here). This would be a great resource for a World History classroom! Teachers of gifted could also use this site as the basis for a great social studies unit. If you own the old favorite computer game Civilization, you could put together some scenarios using that, as well.

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Be A Historian - Industrialization - Silos and Smokestacks National Heritage Area

Grades
5 to 10
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This teacher friendly site has it all - thinking questions, facts, research activities and more! This site is designed for grades 6-8, but could be useful in grades 5-10. ...more
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This teacher friendly site has it all - thinking questions, facts, research activities and more! This site is designed for grades 6-8, but could be useful in grades 5-10. The students are taken back to the late 1800s by authentic pictures and creative learning activities. Topics include working women, railroads and other forms of transportation and mass production.

tag(s): industrialization (14)

In the Classroom

Use the interactive graphic organizers for students to complete individual or guided learning experiences. These would also work well on an interactive whiteboard.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Calendars through the Ages - Institute for Dynamic Educational Advancement

Grades
6 to 12
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This information-packed site focuses on calendars through the ages. It includes sections on the astronomy of calendars (e.g. moon cycles), the history of calendars, differences among...more
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This information-packed site focuses on calendars through the ages. It includes sections on the astronomy of calendars (e.g. moon cycles), the history of calendars, differences among various international calendars, derivation of the names of the months, and loads of other trivia about calendars.

tag(s): calendars (45)

In the Classroom

Lots of great stuff for "did you know?" discussions or as an extension of a study of timelines and other graphic organizers of information. A few interesting visuals, but the strength of this site is in its information. Might be a good source for monthly bulletin boards or an enrichment area for gifted students.

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Inside the Brain: An Interactive Tour - Alzheimer's Association

Grades
8 to 12
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This highly visual site gives visitors an unforgettable tour of the brain and explains the functions of its three main parts. Formatted as a self-paced slideshow, the site also provides...more
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This highly visual site gives visitors an unforgettable tour of the brain and explains the functions of its three main parts. Formatted as a self-paced slideshow, the site also provides an intense explanation of the effect of Alzheimer's disease on brain tissue. Roll your mouse over the colored text on each slide to view the specific region described.

tag(s): brain (66)

In the Classroom

Create a basic Web hunt or graphic organizer to guide students through the slideshow and encourage them to focus on the vocabulary and descriptions. The visual component of this resource helps students understand the logistical as well as functional aspects of each major region of the brain.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Pompeii: Stories from an Eruption - The Field Museum

Grades
8 to 12
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Take a virtual tour of the current Pompeii exhibit at the Field Museum of Chicago with this site that brings the cataclysmic eruption to life. The true gem of the ...more
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Take a virtual tour of the current Pompeii exhibit at the Field Museum of Chicago with this site that brings the cataclysmic eruption to life. The true gem of the site is an interactive timeline that details and animates the events of August 24, AD 79. But be sure to check out the photo gallery - which includes images of frescoes, artifacts, and plaster and epoxy resin casts of some of the victims (a bit gruesome).

tag(s): volcanoes (67)

In the Classroom

Use the interactive time-line on this site as a learning center or station during a lesson on ancient Pompeii. Because there is a lot of content on this site, we recommend creating a guide to help students grasp the basic concepts. For help with graphic organizers, we recommend using Graphic Organizer Maker, (reviewed here).

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John Roberts Nominated as Chief Justice - NPR

Grades
6 to 12
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NPR's collection of stories about the Roberts nomination includes background on his career, a look at the confirmation process, and discussions of Roberts and the rare opportunity to...more
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NPR's collection of stories about the Roberts nomination includes background on his career, a look at the confirmation process, and discussions of Roberts and the rare opportunity to fill two court vacancies. Useful for individual or group use.

tag(s): senate (10), supreme court (24)

In the Classroom

Though there have been judges nominated and appointed more recently than Roberts, this site provides some excellent information that makes it a great resource for a lesson on judicial nominations. Use this site as a hands-on activity after a class discussion or lecture on the topic. Have cooperative learning groups explore the site with the intentions of showing how Roberts moved through the processes to become a judge. Have students create graphic organizers or concept maps demonstrating the process. Use a tool such as bubbl.us (reviewed here) to create and share the concept maps.

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Finding the Message: Grasping Themes in Literature - Scholastic

Grades
4 to 7
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This lesson plan introduces students to the literary element of theme and provides practice in recognizing themes in a variety of texts (suggested). Graphic organizers, slide shows,...more
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This lesson plan introduces students to the literary element of theme and provides practice in recognizing themes in a variety of texts (suggested). Graphic organizers, slide shows, lists of common themes, movies, songs, and seven mentor picture books that are good for discussing theme, and links to supporting materials are included. Aligned to National Standards. You can share this lesson via email, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and Pinterest.

tag(s): plot (11), themes (12)

In the Classroom

Select and choose material from this lesson to introduce your students to themes in literature. Some are better used with the entire class, others in small groups, pairs, or at stations. Have students create a digital bulletin board to post what they are learning and questions they have using a tool like Padlet, reviewed here. With Padlet you can create columns for categorizing information. Challenge students to create a word cloud about themes using Word Clouds for Kids, reviewed here. After using the Scholastic lesson, continue student learning about themes by using CommonLit, reviewed here.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Stories of the Wrights' Flight - Smithsonian

Grades
8 to 12
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Learn about a pivotal event in American history while strengthening research skills. This lesson plan combines primary source documents authored by the Wright brothers with newspaper...more
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Learn about a pivotal event in American history while strengthening research skills. This lesson plan combines primary source documents authored by the Wright brothers with newspaper accounts of the Kitty Hawk accomplishments. Students are asked to compare and contrast the two sources to identify discrepancies and isolate the most reliable documents.

tag(s): flight (31), wright brothers (19)

In the Classroom

Take advantage of the free lesson plan that's offered on this site! There is even a pre-prepared graphic organizer that is available to help students catalog the information.

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Wright Brothers and the Invention of the Aerial Age - Smithsonian

Grades
8 to 12
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This site offers beautiful illustrations, photographs and interactive activities, all designed to acquaint visitors with the challenges and achievements of the Wright Brothers. In...more
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This site offers beautiful illustrations, photographs and interactive activities, all designed to acquaint visitors with the challenges and achievements of the Wright Brothers. In addition to excellent content - organized by topic in timeline format - the site features an artifact gallery and several well-planned classroom activities. An interactive "pitch, roll, and yaw" experiment is coming soon.

tag(s): wright brothers (19)

In the Classroom

Use the images on this site to create a visual discovery activity in your classroom to introduce the topic of the Wright brothers. Select 3-5 of the more powerful images, placing them on separate slides in a Powerpoint, to be displayed over the projector. Have students write down what they observe, predict and infer about each image jotting them down on a graphic organizer. (For help making graphic organizers, try: Graphic Organizer Maker, (reviewed here).) Once the class has gone through all of the images, have a class discussion based on the notes that students took during the process. This activity can be used to introduce or review, in a non-lecture format.

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Graphic Organizers - Houghton Mifflin Company

Grades
2 to 8
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This time-saving collection of dozens of graphic organizers includes timelines, Venn diagrams, sequence charts, persuasion maps, and much more. Each is available as a ready-to-print...more
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This time-saving collection of dozens of graphic organizers includes timelines, Venn diagrams, sequence charts, persuasion maps, and much more. Each is available as a ready-to-print PDF file. (You need Acrobat Reader- Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page). Available in Spanish.

tag(s): graphic organizers (40)

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Chaucer Metapage - University of North Carollina

Grades
10 to 12
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If medieval English literature is part of your British Lit curriculum, you might want to send your students to this resource for a sampling of the sounds of "Middle English." ...more
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If medieval English literature is part of your British Lit curriculum, you might want to send your students to this resource for a sampling of the sounds of "Middle English." Selected passages from the Canterbury Tales are read aloud by scholars of 14th and 15th Century English literature. Students can listen while following along with the text. Compare and contrast with modern English translations.

tag(s): chaucer (5)

In the Classroom

Use the audio portions of this site as a learning center or station during a lesson or unit on Chaucer. Have students listen to the audio portions and respond or decipher their meaning on a graphic organizer. For help making easy graphic organizers, we recommend using Graphic Organizer Maker, (reviewed here). Be sure to include headphones at the station to avoid students disrupting others!

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Powerful Days in Black and White - Kodak

Grades
9 to 12
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This site brings the many faces and struggles of the Civil Rights Movement into focus with riveting images by photographer Charles Moore. These moving scenes of riots, segregation,...more
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This site brings the many faces and struggles of the Civil Rights Movement into focus with riveting images by photographer Charles Moore. These moving scenes of riots, segregation, and triumph will make an unforgettable impact on your students. Use to generate reactions and open discussion in a 20th century American history class.

tag(s): africa (163), african american (106), civil rights (120), photography (157)

In the Classroom

Take some of the more powerful images in this site and use it to create a visual discovery activity. Open the site on the interactive whiteboard or projector, and go through the images one at a time - giving enough time for students to analyze and interpret the images individually. Have students focus on observations, inferences and predictions they can make from the images. This activity works best if used with a graphic organizer.

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