TeachersFirst's American Presidents Related Resources

Other TeachersFirst Special Topics Collections

Whether you are celebrating Presidents Day or learning about the Executive Branch of the U.S. government, this collection of reviewed resources about presidents provides a rich starting point for research, class study, or multimedia projects. If this list is too broad, use the search tool at the left of this page to find resources on a specific president or within a certain grade range.  Explore all of our resources tagged for presidents. You may also be interested in TeachersFirst's Resources for U.S. Elections or TeachersFirst's Resources for U.S. Presidential Inaugurations.

 

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Founding Principles: American Governance in Action - Bowdoin College

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6 to 12
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American Governance in Action is a 15 chapter video series providing an overview of the fundamental tenets of the American Government. Videos run approximately 15 minutes or less, and...more
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American Governance in Action is a 15 chapter video series providing an overview of the fundamental tenets of the American Government. Videos run approximately 15 minutes or less, and the narration by Andrew Rudalevige, a professor at Bowdoin College, is easy to understand. Each video also includes a transcript; use the search box to find and highlight terms discovered in the narrative.

tag(s): branches of government (52), civil rights (120), congress (35), constitution (88), elections (73), electoral college (14), presidents (123), supreme court (24)

In the Classroom

Watch videos together as a class, or flip your class and have students watch at home before introducing lessons on the government in class. Allow students to watch videos at their own pace on 1:1 devices or at home, then create a simple infographic sharing their findings using Piktochart, reviewed here. Challenge cooperative learning groups to create podcasts demonstrating their understanding of one of the concepts of American Governance. Use a site such as podOmatic, reviewed here.

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iCivics, Win the White House - iCivics

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4 to 12
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Make the presidential election process personal. Run for U.S. president by playing this free interactive online game which is best played on a computer using most current browsers....more
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Make the presidential election process personal. Run for U.S. president by playing this free interactive online game which is best played on a computer using most current browsers. In this lively, colorful simulation, students will experience being part of a campaign, including creating a candidate avatar, selecting either Democratic or Republican issues, participating in debates and developing a media campaign. Choose your level to start: elementary, middle, or high school and complete the easy-to-follow tasks which do involve some reading, especially the debates section. The "Campaign Manager" will lead you through the process ending with your final probability of winning. Loading the game may take a few moments. Sound begins immediately, but may be toggled off. Online assistance is available by clicking the Help button in the top right corner at each step of the game. Also, the Back button in the top left corner allows easy do-overs of sections. Students may play without registering, but will access more content, compete with others and earn badges after logging in. You can have separate accounts for students and teachers, but must have email addresses. An automatic username is generated when registering. The easy to use Extension Pack for Teachers provides more activities and assessments. Registered teachers can message students and create classes to give students a virtual class code to join without needing an email. If students register, they can check their My iCivics accounts to see points and message members of their groups which can be controlled by the teacher.

tag(s): elections (73), presidents (123)

In the Classroom

Start out using this site with your projector or interactive whiteboard with the whole class. Walk through the beginning of the game and demonstrate the built-in help which is useful for students who might need additional guidance. Have individuals play or create small group teams of campaign staff to guide the candidates. Students or groups may play multiple times. After registering, the site will save games and students can send messages. Use the Achievements badges and points for student assessments. Have students research the debate topics and compare the different aspects of the game to real-life examples in the news. An easy to use Extension Pack for Teachers provides more activities and assessments.
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George Washington's Mount Vernon - Mount Vernon Ladies' Association

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5 to 12
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You don't need to take an actual visit to Mount Vernon to enjoy a look at the life and times of America's first president with this comprehensive website. Choose from ...more
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You don't need to take an actual visit to Mount Vernon to enjoy a look at the life and times of America's first president with this comprehensive website. Choose from The Estate and Gardens or George Washington links to explore information about Washington's life and home. Each section includes full articles, including images and some videos. Be sure to check out the Educational Resources for students and teachers including lesson plans, interactive maps, animated presentations, and more.
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tag(s): american revolution (85), presidents (123), primary sources (92), slavery (66), washington (29)

In the Classroom

Be sure to bookmark and save this site for use with any President's Day or American Revolution lessons. Take advantage of the free lesson plans for use in your classroom. Create a link to maps and animated presentations on classroom computers for students to explore on their own. You may also want students to take a virtual tour of George Washington's Mount Vernon, reviewed here. Have students use Fakebook, reviewed here, to create a "fake" page similar in style to Facebook about George or Martha Washington, one of his slaves, or a soldier in his army. Have students create timelines (with music, photos, videos, and more) about the life of George Washington using Sutori, reviewed here.
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Connecting Learning and Instruction in Olathe (CLIO) - Olathe United School District

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5 to 12
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CLIO provides American History resources for 5th through 12th grade teachers. Information includes lesson plans, reading lists, and general teaching resources. The most detailed portion...more
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CLIO provides American History resources for 5th through 12th grade teachers. Information includes lesson plans, reading lists, and general teaching resources. The most detailed portion of the site is the lesson plan section that includes many printable lesson plans beginning with Creating a New Nation through Year of the Boar and Native Americans in Contemporary America. Be sure to check out the General Teaching Resources section for additional printables including a Historic "Moment in Time" Poem worksheet and resources for teaching Historical Writing.

tag(s): american revolution (85), civil rights (120), civil war (142), cold war (30), great depression (27), lincoln (83), martin luther king (36), native americans (80), roosevelt (14), rosa parks (6), vietnam (34), washington (29), world war 1 (56), world war 2 (138)

In the Classroom

If you teach American history, be sure to bookmark this site for use throughout the year. New teachers will especially appreciate having a stockpile of ready-made lessons they can tweak and make their own, and of course, any American history teacher can take advantage of the free lesson plans and teaching resources included here. Use activities from this site to differentiate learning within your classroom. Be sure to share with other American History teachers on your campus.
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Primary Source Sets - Library of Congress

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4 to 12
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This collection of primary sources from the Library of Congress is organized around key topics and themes in American History. View Primary Source Set titles in alphabetical order from...more
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This collection of primary sources from the Library of Congress is organized around key topics and themes in American History. View Primary Source Set titles in alphabetical order from Abraham Lincoln through Women's Suffrage. Choose any topic to view Teacher's Guides and analysis tools including graphic organizers for students. Sort information to find materials meeting Common Core Standards, State Standards, or national organization standards.

tag(s): 20th century (49), authors (121), black history (58), civil war (142), constitution (88), hispanic (15), jefferson (20), lincoln (83), new deal (5), primary sources (92), segregation (16), thanksgiving (34), veterans (16), washington (29), westward expansion (31), womens suffrage (25), wright brothers (19)

In the Classroom

When introducing a new unit, show students photos from the era and have them describe what they see and what period they think it is. Find plenty of questions and activities (including a blank analysis organizer for students) in the Teacher's Guides. Also look at Library of Congress: for Teachers, reviewed here. Encourage your students to use this tool for projects. Challenge students to find a photo (legally permitted for reproduction), and then narrate the photo as if it is a news report. Have students create a multimedia presentation using Voicethread, reviewed here. This tool allows users to narrate a picture. Include this site on your class webpage for students and parents to access as a reference.
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The Roosevelts - PBS

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7 to 12
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PBS offers this series of lessons aligned to their popular mini-series, The Roosevelts. All lessons include alignment to standards, background information, discussion questions, and...more
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PBS offers this series of lessons aligned to their popular mini-series, The Roosevelts. All lessons include alignment to standards, background information, discussion questions, and evaluation rubrics. Choose from full-length Lesson Plans or Snapshot Lessons containing quick, adaptable activities for classroom use.
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tag(s): 1900s (38), presidents (123), roosevelt (14)

In the Classroom

Take advantage of the free lesson plans offered to supplement your current lessons based on the Roosevelt family. Have groups of students complete different Snapshot Lessons then share with the class. Have students make a multimedia presentation using one of the many TeachersFirst Multimedia Edge tools, reviewed here. Have students use Fakebook, reviewed here, to create a "fake" page similar in style to Facebook about a member of the Roosevelt family.
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Branches of Power - Annenberg Classroom

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4 to 12
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Sunnylands Civics Games offers a small but excellent selection of games about the Constitution and related topics. Topics include Branches of Power, The First Amendment, the Bill of...more
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Sunnylands Civics Games offers a small but excellent selection of games about the Constitution and related topics. Topics include Branches of Power, The First Amendment, the Bill of Rights, and more. You can try to be the leader of the Legislative Branch. Choose three main issues and the most productive way to succeed in your cause. Most activities begin with a short video followed by questions. Most activities also include a glossary of terms used.

tag(s): bill of rights (28), branches of government (52), constitution (88), game based learning (137), supreme court (24)

In the Classroom

Use the Sunnylands Civics Games to introduce Constitution-related topics to your class using an interactive whiteboard or projector. View videos together and pause as needed to discuss information. Challenge students to try the interactive activities on individual computers or at home. Have students use Fakebook, reviewed here, to create a "fake" page similar in style to Facebook about Americans described in the games. Have students create timelines (with music, photos, videos, and more) using Capzles, reviewed here, to trace the path of a bill or the writing of the Constitution.
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Our Nation's Leaders - Minnesota State University

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3 to 12
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Learn about the first 43 Presidents at this interactive site. Read a brief portrait of each with a short narrative about his Presidency and accomplishments. A picture is also included...more
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Learn about the first 43 Presidents at this interactive site. Read a brief portrait of each with a short narrative about his Presidency and accomplishments. A picture is also included with each president. Unfortunately, it does not yet include President Obama and beyond.

tag(s): presidents (123)

In the Classroom

Use this site to introduce a specific president. Share this site on your projector or interactive whiteboard. Use this tool for research projects. There are several short paragraphs devoted to each President, and they would be perfect to teach how to take notes or summary writing. Have your class write a proposed piece about the current President and have the class vote on the best one.
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Magna Carta 800th Anniversary - Magna Carta 2015 Committee

Grades
8 to 12
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2015 marked the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta, one of the founding documents of modern democratic society. In recognition of this anniversary this committee collected a number of...more
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2015 marked the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta, one of the founding documents of modern democratic society. In recognition of this anniversary this committee collected a number of resources for celebrating and understanding its significance to history. An interactive timeline highlights events prior to and following the signing of Magna Carta. Essays discuss Magna Carta's impact on modern democracy. An interactive map places events in geographic contexts. And perhaps you're planning a trip to the UK for the celebrations? Find visitors' resources and a calendar of commemorative events. Check out the resources under Schools, including biographies of those involved (including a whole section on women) in the development of the document. There are lesson plans aligned with the UK's school system, and a quick Q&A overview of the importance of Magna Carta today. Don't miss the YouTube video explaining the work of Britain's Parliament in just over 60 seconds. If your district blocks YouTube, then this video (and others) 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 Online-Convert, reviewed here, to download the videos from YouTube.

tag(s): branches of government (52), democracy (14), great britain (20)

In the Classroom

No study of modern democratic political systems is complete without an understanding of Magna Carta. On its anniversary, incorporate the interactive timeline into a discussion of the roots of the US Declaration of Independence or the post WW2 Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Compare and contrast the different ways the principles that underpin Magna Carta have been transformed into democratically elected governments across the world.
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JFK American Experience - PBS American Experience

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7 to 12
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This site accompanies an episode of the PBS production American Experience, taking a new look at the life and legacy of John F. Kennedy. It was created in remembrance of ...more
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This site accompanies an episode of the PBS production American Experience, taking a new look at the life and legacy of John F. Kennedy. It was created in remembrance of the 50th anniversary of his assassination. The site combines primary sources with more scholarly articles examining the political context of his presidency and the policies and events we associate with that presidency. The primary source collection is rich and diverse, and there is also a nice contextual timeline of world events between 1961 and 1963. The teacher reference guide is designed primarily to be used in conjunction with viewing the American Experience episode itself, but includes important questions for discussion that are appropriate even for students who have not watched the full film.
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tag(s): 1960s (27), civil rights (120), kennedy (25), presidents (123)

In the Classroom

The 50th anniversary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy provides an opportunity to refresh students' knowledge of JFK as a man and a President. What important policy innovations can we attribute to his Presidency? How might the remainder of the turbulent decade of the 1960s have been different had he lived? And from a different perspective, while we all want to romanticize the legacy of "Camelot" and the glamour of the Kennedy family, what were his failings? This site provides some rich primary sources to include in a discussion of the Kennedy Presidency, as well as a brief preview of the American Experience film itself. Whether you choose to view the episode with your class or not, you are certain to obtain excellent information at this site.
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60-Second Civics - The Center for Civic Education

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7 to 12
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60 Second Civics offers podcasts covering one important concept at a time in 60-second narratives. They are updated daily. Short Attention Span? This site is perfect for you! There...more
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60 Second Civics offers podcasts covering one important concept at a time in 60-second narratives. They are updated daily. Short Attention Span? This site is perfect for you! There are nearly 2000 podcasts to explore. You can subscribe to the podcast series through an RSS feed, on iTunes, or access them directly through the website. Unfortunately, they do not seem to be searchable by theme or content, so you'll just need to scroll through them if you're looking for a specific topic or issue. Tip: when you hover your cursor over the word PLAY, it doesn't change to a pointing hand. Click on the word anyway to start the podcast. 60-Second Civics is part of a larger site that contains lesson plans, teacher resources, video clips, and a photo gallery on all aspects of citizenship.

tag(s): bill of rights (28), branches of government (52), constitution (88)

In the Classroom

Need a quick lesson starter or attention grabber at the beginning or end of each class? Try a 60-second Civics lesson. If you access the day's podcast via the website, you'll also find a one-question multiple choice quiz that relates to the podcast so you can check for content acquisition. These podcasts are perfect for a civics or government class! Share the podcasts on your projector (or interactive whiteboard) so the entire class can hear the podcast and see the quiz at the end. If you are the adviser for the school news program, these would be a terrific addition, ready to go for you every day. During the run-up to Consitution Day in September, include these in the morning PA announcements. Load the podcast on iTouches or other mobile devices in the media center for students to browse and learn. Encourage students to create their own "stump the teacher" or "stump the student citizen" quizzes based on these podcasts. Use one of the many poll/quiz tools in the TeachersFirst Edge.

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Under His Hat: Discovering Lincoln's Story From Primary Sources - Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation

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4 to 12
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History buffs will delight in the information about Abraham Lincoln found at Under His Hat. Bring Lincoln to life by viewing personal artifacts such as his wedding certificate,...more
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History buffs will delight in the information about Abraham Lincoln found at Under His Hat. Bring Lincoln to life by viewing personal artifacts such as his wedding certificate, his writing utensils, and his famous top hat. There are eight categories showcasing digital versions of primary sources related to Abraham Lincoln. Click on a category of interest and click on an artifact to enlarge to a 3D version and read about it.

tag(s): civil war (142), lincoln (83), presidents (123)

In the Classroom

Click on "In the Classroom" to find activities for each artifact for elementary, middle school, and high school. Personalize Abe Lincoln for your students by sharing some of the artifacts on your interactive whiteboard. Have students explore this site independently or in small groups. Students can then create a word cloud of the important terms they learn using a tool such as Wordle (reviewed here), Tagxedo (reviewed here), or WordItOut (reviewed here). Use ideas from Engaging Students With Primary Sources reviewed here to help high school students analyze primary source documents they find on Under Lincoln's Hat.
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Founders Online - National Archives and University of Virginia

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6 to 12
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Founders Online is an archive from the National Archives of over 119,000 fully annotated primary source documents from six of the nation's founding fathers: George Washington, Benjamin...more
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Founders Online is an archive from the National Archives of over 119,000 fully annotated primary source documents from six of the nation's founding fathers: George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, and James Madison. Enter any search term or browse by author, recipient, or time period. Each document includes information such as author, recipient, date, and links to other similar documents if available.

tag(s): american revolution (85), colonial america (108), colonization (15), constitution (88), declaration of independence (13), franklin (11), jefferson (20), primary sources (92), washington (29)

In the Classroom

Search and view information from this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Find documents from similar time periods and events to compare and contrast different points of view. Have students download to create an annotated image including text boxes and related links using a tool such as Thinglink, reviewed here. Have students create timelines (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 any of the founding fathers included on this site.
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US House of Representatives: History, Art & Archives - Office of the Historian, US House of Representatives

Grades
6 to 12
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With Congress (and its low approval ratings) in the headlines, you might wonder if it were always like it is today. This site offers a historical look at the US ...more
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With Congress (and its low approval ratings) in the headlines, you might wonder if it were always like it is today. This site offers a historical look at the US House of Representatives from its first session in 1789 to the present. Who has served? Who have the leaders been? What does the House do? How has that changed over time? The site is absolutely packed: historical documents, photographs, oral histories, information about policies and procedures, and biographies. There are also important artifacts highlighted on this site: paintings, sculpture, and the trappings of US political power, as well as insight into the personalities of those who have served in the House. There are lesson plans, time lines, a glossary, and printable fact sheets.

tag(s): branches of government (52), congress (35), house of representatives (10)

In the Classroom

Understanding the separation of powers is fundamental to learning about how the US is governed. While it may be tempting to group the Senate and the House of Representatives into one legislative entity, there are important differences between the two bodies. This site can help students see the specific role the Founders had for this branch of government. Looking at important events in US history, like women's suffrage, civil rights, and foreign policy through the lens of the House gives added depth to the lesson. Students may be interested in the process by which the House conducts its business. Who is a "whip" and why do they call him (or her) that? Take some time to check out the lesson plans and other resources designed for educators as well.
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English Lessons on American Presidents - Sean Banville

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4 to 12
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This American Presidents website contains lesson plans for teaching about each of the US presidents all the way through Barack Obama. The site uses the informational text about each...more
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This American Presidents website contains lesson plans for teaching about each of the US presidents all the way through Barack Obama. The site uses the informational text about each president to teach, reinforce, and review English language concepts. The site is directly geared toward ESL/ELL students. However, all users will benefit from materials provided. Choose any president to view a short biography. There are also language lessons such as fill in the blank and writing activities. Choose from links at the top of the page to print the lesson in PDF format, hear the article read in mp3 format, and view additional activities such as flash cards and word jumbles. Although heavy in advertising, this site is worth a look as a resource for activities and lessons about US presidents.
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tag(s): jefferson (20), kennedy (25), lincoln (83), presidents (123), reading comprehension (127), washington (29)

In the Classroom

Bookmark and save this site as a resource to accompany US presidents units or to supplement current materials used in teaching about the presidents. This is a great tool to use in English/language arts class for nonfiction readings. If you want to remove distracting advertisements, use a tool such as Readability (reviewed here). Print activities and biographies about several different presidents to add to your substitute folder. Share this site with ESL/ELL and Special Education teachers as a resource for materials.
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Center for Civic Education - Center for Civic Education

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5 to 12
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The Center for Civic Education offers this site loaded with information and resources that support the democratic process. Choose the resources tab to take advantage of many lesson...more
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The Center for Civic Education offers this site loaded with information and resources that support the democratic process. Choose the resources tab to take advantage of many lesson plans for all grade levels on topics such as President's Day, voting, Women's History Month, and many more. Choose the More Lesson Plans link to see a list of all lessons sorted by grade levels from K-12. Another interesting portion of the site is found at the media tab. Choose from video or photo galleries or the 60 Second Civics option. 60 Second Civics is a daily podcast accompanied with a short question. Previous podcasts are archived for access at your convenience. Subscribe with iTunes or Podcast Alley or visit the page to listen.
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tag(s): branches of government (52), civil rights (120), constitution (88), democracy (14), elections (73), electoral college (14), lincoln (83), martin luther king (36), presidents (123), sept11 (17), washington (29)

In the Classroom

Share a link to the podcasts via your web page or blog. Have students answer the daily question then respond with a short journal entry or with comments on your webpage. Use lesson resources to supplement your current curriculum or commemorate events such as 9/11, MLK Day, Presidents Day, or Constitution Day. View videos on your interactive whiteboard (or projector). Assign videos to groups of students to view then report to the class. Rather than a traditional report, challenge cooperative learning groups to collaborate on a topic found on the site using Titanpad reviewed here to share ideas and information.
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How Our Laws Are Made - Mike Wirth

Grades
6 to 12
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Remember "I'm Just a Bill"? This one screen infographic is today's equivalent. The site, which is zoomable, presents a graphic flowchart of how ideas become laws in the United States....more
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Remember "I'm Just a Bill"? This one screen infographic is today's equivalent. The site, which is zoomable, presents a graphic flowchart of how ideas become laws in the United States. A great, high impact, visual aid to understanding the process by which the US government enacts laws.

tag(s): branches of government (52), congress (35)

In the Classroom

Use the graphic as an introduction to a detailed discussion. Share the site on your projector or interactive whiteboard. Use it to reinforce the process once you've taught the lesson. Encourage students to bookmark it to review or test their understanding. Anyone who teaches civics, government or US history will be able to use this graphic on an interactive whiteboard. For that matter, it should be required viewing for citizens and politicians alike!

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The American Journey: Modern Times - McGraw Hill

Grades
6 to 12
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McGraw Hill publishes this set of videos as a companion to their textbook "American Journey: Modern Times" which covers US History from the Civil War to the Present. This collection...more
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McGraw Hill publishes this set of videos as a companion to their textbook "American Journey: Modern Times" which covers US History from the Civil War to the Present. This collection of over 50 short videos is designed to accompany sections of the text; the videos are labeled according to the section of the text. There is a short title that will help you locate videos focused on various eras even if you are not using this particular textbook. If that's the case, however, you'll need to do a little digging to see what each video covers, as the titles are very general.

tag(s): civil war (142), great depression (27), presidents (123), world war 1 (56), world war 2 (138)

In the Classroom

Use these videos on an interactive whiteboard or projector as a class opener, or as a transition between lecture and an activity. Their length (2 to 3 minutes) makes them perfect for helping visual learners focus on the main events, or for providing a preview or summary of lecture topics. They may not form the centerpiece of your lesson, but they're nice to have in your "back pocket" to use as an enhancement.
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Congress.org - C-Q Roll Call, Inc

Grades
9 to 12
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Congress.org is a product of the larger group of news publications that include Congressional Quarterly and Roll Call, both long-time sources of news about Washington politics. The...more
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Congress.org is a product of the larger group of news publications that include Congressional Quarterly and Roll Call, both long-time sources of news about Washington politics. The site collects news stories, letters to congress and statements from political advocacy groups in one place for the reader to survey. The site is as non-partisan as possible, and it's possible you will find links to statements from the National Rifle Association next to those from the the Society of Friends. There is also a running accounting of recent votes in Congress for those trying to keep up with current legislation. Be aware, however, that one portion of the site includes letters to Members of Congress written by subscribers; previewing in advance is advised.

tag(s): congress (35), elections (73), house of representatives (10), senate (10)

In the Classroom

Consider placing this site on your class web page for students to use in researching political viewpoints, both in relation to upcoming elections and in ongoing political debate. It's a site for true politics junkies, but will be useful for those who are looking for concise information collected in a readable, easy-to-access format. Use the site during your study of the legislative branch and have groups follow congressional groups of individuals, creating a timeline of their activities using a tool such as History in Motion,

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Playing History: Your Source for Historical Games - Trevor Owens and Jim Safley

Grades
3 to 12
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Playing History is a directory of free historical games, interactives, and simulations. There is a growing body of research about the value of educational games and this site...more
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Playing History is a directory of free historical games, interactives, and simulations. There is a growing body of research about the value of educational games and this site is a database for high quality games and simulations. You will find not only games for history, but for different cultural knowledge, too. This collaborative site currently has 132 humanities learning games and is growing monthly. You can suggest your own favorite humanities based games and simulations to be included in this collection. This site does not host these games. It is a sharing point for teachers/enthusiasts of history to recommend games and find them.

At this site the quality of the games varies from deep thinking to factual to cute. Learn everything from the history of dating to the geography of China to "Do I Have a Right?" exploring the Bill of Rights.

tag(s): cultures (108), supreme court (24)

In the Classroom

There is a wide variety of topics for the study of cultures and history here, so be sure to look through this site as you plan your new unit or lesson! There are many, many uses for this site in the class room: Share a game from this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector for a whole class review, choose a game from this website to use as a center, a review, or to provide a student reward on individual computers. Some of the games can be downloaded into a pdf and printed out and used as a traditional card, or board group game. Since this is a collaborative website, you and your students can "rate" the games to give feedback for other users.
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Comments

Oh MY GOSH! Who knew? This is a wealth of information available through game-playing. By searching the term "social justice," I arrived at numerous options for delving into the various aspects of a complex problem. I cannot wait to share this resource. Patricia, NJ, Grades: 6 - 12

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