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Social Studies for Kids

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1 to 8
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This is a general "go-to" website all about social studies. There is information about current events, culture, holidays, languages, religion, economics, geography, maps, government,...more
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This is a general "go-to" website all about social studies. There is information about current events, culture, holidays, languages, religion, economics, geography, maps, government, U.S. presidents, timelines, and many other social studies topics. The highlight of this website is the Current Events segment. This is an easy way to incorporate age-appropriate current events in your classroom.
Note: an annoying audio ad plays when you first enter the site. Turn OFF your sound!

tag(s): holidays (137), maps (294), presidents (123), renaissance (32), timelines (57)

In the Classroom

Use the current events segment as weekly discussion starter or assignment in your social studies class. Share this link on your teacher web page for students to access outside of class. To really build a stronger sense of current events, start a class year-long current events "log" on a wiki and have a differnet student write a "week in review" each week throughout the year, based on the current events provided here or others he/she may know about. Reading teachers may also want to use the articles on this site to teach informational text reading skills on an interactive whiteboard. Reading levels are challenging for grades 1-3. Teachers will need to provide help by reading aloud or partnering readers.

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World News - WN Network

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4 to 12
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This is a wonderful compilation site of news from all over the world. Users can read the home page or search news of a specific geographic region. An ...more
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This is a wonderful compilation site of news from all over the world. Users can read the home page or search news of a specific geographic region. An excellent plus here is the ability to choose to read the news in a variety of languages. World Photos today, multimedia, global weather, and sports are just a few of the many attractive sections that add to this site's appeal.

tag(s): news (260)

In the Classroom

Share this site with your school's foreign language teachers. Have students do comparisons between English and foreign language versions of the news. If you teach writing, you can find controversial topics as writing prompts for persuasive writing among the articles, as well, and have students find facts to support their positions. Make this site available from your teacher web page for current events assignments. Reading teachers will want to use the articles on an interactive whiteboard to teach main idea and summarizing: highlight key words to use in a main idea or summary sentence you write together below the article.

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Common Sense Media - Common Sense Media Inc.

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1 to 12
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This site has current movie reviews from the parents' point of view: What current movies are appropriate? What ages are they appropriate for? In addition to current films, there ...more
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This site has current movie reviews from the parents' point of view: What current movies are appropriate? What ages are they appropriate for? In addition to current films, there are reviews of TV programs, new DVD's, games, websites, books, music, etc. The site uses its own rating system: "Appropriate for age," "Know your kid," and "Not appropriate for age." Along with written reviews and Q/A approaches, there are video clips and tips. Each category of entertainment has several recommended and reviewed items with age ranges. There is also a newsletter and in-depth articles on subjects of concern to kids and parents.

tag(s): internet safety (117), movies (70), parents (58), safety (91)

In the Classroom

Let your students' parents know about this site via your teacher web page or class newsletter. You may also want to share it with your school PTO or PTA.

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Iraq - BBC

Grades
4 to 12
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Although this site is no longer maintained, most links are working. This site provides information about Iraq and the war. There are information guides, quizzes, pictures and more....more
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Although this site is no longer maintained, most links are working. This site provides information about Iraq and the war. There are information guides, quizzes, pictures and more. The BBC keeps this page very up-to-date. This site does a good job explaining the war and views of the war to children. Remember this site was created in Britain, so the comments and language are not American. This may surprise younger students at first but will provide a new angle.

tag(s): iraq (30)

In the Classroom

If you do current events study or have students with family members in Iraq, be sure to include this site as a link from your teacher web page. As the 2008 U.S. elections approach, you may want to begin a "current events" collection of resources for students to use to develop better understanding of election issues.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Islam - BBC

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4 to 12
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Although this site is no longer maintained, most links are working. This site introduces students to the religion of Islam. There is a 26-minute video, which includes questions and...more
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Although this site is no longer maintained, most links are working. This site introduces students to the religion of Islam. There is a 26-minute video, which includes questions and answers submitted by students. There are also informative guides, chats, quizzes, pictures, interviews and much, much more. Some of the activities require FLASH.

tag(s): middle east (40)

In the Classroom

If you are teaching your students about the religion of Islam or trying to introduce world cultures, this is one resource that you simply cannot do without. Include it as a resource for students trying to understand currenet events in a broader context.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Middle East - BBC

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4 to 12
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This site provides an eclectic mix of information about the Middle East. The BBC has created this up-to-date website that includes information guides, interviews, message boards, pictures,...more
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This site provides an eclectic mix of information about the Middle East. The BBC has created this up-to-date website that includes information guides, interviews, message boards, pictures, quizzes and more. The message boards pose some interesting discussion questions for students. This is an excellent, student-friendly source for current events and debate background. It also provides short, non-fiction texts for comprehension practice with remedial readers.

tag(s): iran (11), iraq (30), israel (17), middle east (40)

In the Classroom

Include this link on your teacher page for middle and high school students to use as a reference and build better understanding of this tumultuous region. It will help even younger students understand the region, but parts of this website are not appropriate for elementary students. Preview before you take your elementary class on a virtual field trip to the Middle East.

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Children of Iraq - BBC

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3 to 8
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This website introduces students to the children of Iraq and Iraq as a country. Highlights of this website include an interactive video clip (which requires FLASH), informational guides,...more
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This website introduces students to the children of Iraq and Iraq as a country. Highlights of this website include an interactive video clip (which requires FLASH), informational guides, pictures and many other resources. If you have students whose parents are serving in the military, this topic may be emotional, but it will also highlight what children all over the world have in common.

tag(s): iraq (30)

In the Classroom

Use an interactive whiteboard to introduce your students to the children of Iraq, share the video, and take the quiz to find out what your students know about Iraq.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Drought In Africa - BBC

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4 to 10
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This site (created by BBC) includes a wealth of information on the drought in Africa and the continent of Africa. There are videos, music clips from each country, demographic ...more
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This site (created by BBC) includes a wealth of information on the drought in Africa and the continent of Africa. There are videos, music clips from each country, demographic information, authentic pictures and diary entries, interactive maps and numerous articles on specific topics relating to Africa. Some of the interactive learning requires FLASH. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): africa (166), climate (93), climate change (70)

In the Classroom

Use an interactive whiteboard or projector to take your students on an African visit. The main topic of this website is the drought in Africa, however there is a great deal of information on many African subjects. Include this on your teacher web page as one of several links on different continents as you study world geography, cultures, or climate change.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Antarctica - BBC

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3 to 12
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This website (created by BBC) is all about Antarctica. The focus is on research information about Antarctica, animals from Antarctica, Global Warming issues and a student's visit to...more
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This website (created by BBC) is all about Antarctica. The focus is on research information about Antarctica, animals from Antarctica, Global Warming issues and a student's visit to Antarctica. Students will enjoy the pictures and games on this website. The use of a peer (student) visitor sharing information will make this site more appealing to students.

tag(s): antarctica (29), arctic (46)

In the Classroom

With Global Warming issues being discussed frequently, use this website as a simple guide to group discussions on the topic or to introduce the lesser-known continent to your youger students. Don't forget to use a projector or whiteboard to share this authentic footage with your class.

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Flash Earth

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K to 12
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You may be familiar with Google Earth but may not have the ability to install their free software on your computer, either because you are not permitted to or because ...more
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You may be familiar with Google Earth but may not have the ability to install their free software on your computer, either because you are not permitted to or because your computer is not powerful enough to handle it. Try Flash Earth for a simpler tool to explore the earth as you teach geography to any age from kindergarten to seniors. Perhaps you just want to quickly show which way the Conestoga wagons crossed the U.S., or maybe to show where in the world a current events story is taking place. This simple tool, on a projector or interactive whiteboard, is just the trick. Note: You MUST have FLASH on your computer.

tag(s): globe (17), maps (294)

In the Classroom

Use a projector or whiteboard to share a location as art of the background knowledge for a lesson. Be sure to add this link to your teacher web page as a reference tool, as well. Be aware that some world locations have much "fuzzier" satellite images than others. Always preview before your lesson to be sure you can show the features you want students to see. Show elementary students where their "neighborhood" is, perhaps even their streets!

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World Flag Database - Graham Bartram

Grades
3 to 12
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Users can find any flag in the world in this well-updated database. To search for a specific country's flag, simply click on the first letter of the country and thumbprint ...more
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Users can find any flag in the world in this well-updated database. To search for a specific country's flag, simply click on the first letter of the country and thumbprint flags from all countries beginning with that letter come up. Besides coming to a full sized representation of the flag, readers also see important statistics such as religion, currency, and languages as well as important organizations the country belongs to such as the U.N. In one click, a contextual map of the country comes up.

tag(s): flags (22), maps (294), statistics (126)

In the Classroom

This is an easy-to-use fast reference tool for students. The site also sells flags, but you can ignore the sales portion. If your students do country reports, this is a one-stop site for them to find their country's flag. Perhaps they can use these ideas to design a flag for their own mythical country as part of a unit on government.

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Yahooligans News - Yahoo

Grades
2 to 8
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Children see the latest news stories (Sports, Entertainment, Top Stories, Animals, Science and Nature, and Grab Bag) organized into slide slows so there is minimal reading and a new...more
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Children see the latest news stories (Sports, Entertainment, Top Stories, Animals, Science and Nature, and Grab Bag) organized into slide slows so there is minimal reading and a new photo for each focus item. In addition, there is another link to the most important story, for a recent movie, and an opportunity for children to vote on a news question.

tag(s): movies (70), news (260)

In the Classroom

Share a current events story on a projector or interactive whiteboard as a day-starter while children trickle in from the bus. Note: if you send students to this site on their own, they may be distracted by numerous "fun" offerings from Yahooligans (music videos, celebrity info, etc). You may want to give them specific guidleines about where they are permitted to go.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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BBC Learning English - BBC (British Broadcasting Company)

Grades
3 to 12
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BBC offers the news with vocabulary support, exercises, video and audio features with related testing, a serial story with viewer input, a special grammar and vocabulary section, and...more
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BBC offers the news with vocabulary support, exercises, video and audio features with related testing, a serial story with viewer input, a special grammar and vocabulary section, and features just for students (Learner of the Day, a learning English blog, emailed newsletter, and message board.) This is a comprehensive site well worth your time. American speakers will find some "different" vocabulary, but this simply enriches the site. Some activities require Flash. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): news (260)

In the Classroom

For teachers, there is a weekly lesson plan to accompany a selected news feature. The lesson plan includes highlighted vocabulary, a glossary, comprehension questions, a quiz, and links to more information about the subject of the story. This site is useful for far more than just ESL/ELL. Remedial reading teachers who struggle to find interactive comprehension activities will love the variety of reading selections and cloze passages, such as "Get That Job."
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Newsround - BBC News for Kids - BBC

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3 to 8
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This highly-participatory, attractive world news site for kids lets children select all the normal news features like tv/movies, music, weather, sports, animals, sci/tech etc. Students...more
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This highly-participatory, attractive world news site for kids lets children select all the normal news features like tv/movies, music, weather, sports, animals, sci/tech etc. Students can join the Press Pack and submit their own photos and comments. Under Newsroom, kids have the options of submitting a report they've researched and written; it will be displayed on the website! They can also ask for a certain topic to be investigated. Topic suggestions can be found here too. Personal advice columns are totally cyber with one current topic, bullying, available in video webchat format. A message board with current comments runs across the top of the site like a ticker tape. Other interactive features include student voting, blogs, and games. Besides features for students, video clips, quizzes, and educational games comprise some of the offerings for teachers . Requires the RealPlayer G2 Plug in to watch the Newsround videos.

tag(s): news (260), sports (98)

In the Classroom

Note: the site is British, so spelling and topics have a UK slant! Make sure you have parent permission for students to post work to the site, and keep their identities safe by using pseudonyms or initials. Encourage those with Internet access to visit the site with mom and dad to talk about current events together (include the link on your teacher web page). If you are familiar with RSS feeds, this would be a good choice for a first feed.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Volcano World - Department of Geosciences at Oregon State University

Grades
4 to 10
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For everything everyone wants to know about volcanoes, look at this webpage which includes data on current eruptions, startling photos, links to videos of volcanic activity, links to...more
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For everything everyone wants to know about volcanoes, look at this webpage which includes data on current eruptions, startling photos, links to videos of volcanic activity, links to lesson plans, volcano FAQ's, and a glossary. Video links require the Quicktime plugin. The Kids Door takes you to portins appropriate for younger students and virtual field trips to volcanoes suitable for any age.

tag(s): disasters (42), volcanoes (68)

In the Classroom

Use a projector to take a virtual field trip as you start the study of volcanoes, then include this site as a link on your teacher web page for students to research different volcanoes and current activity.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Awesome Stories - Awesome Stories Internet Productions

Grades
3 to 8
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A great source of primary documents covering many topics of interest to grade school children including the real stories some of the people killed on Sept. 11. Although this ...more
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A great source of primary documents covering many topics of interest to grade school children including the real stories some of the people killed on Sept. 11. Although this is usually a pay site ($9.95/yr), free membership is available for educators, schools, and libraries. Each feature article is divided into "Story Chapter Links" and highlighted vocabulary clicks to photographs, maps, artifacts, documents, audio-visual clips, and articles with more information about the word. Topics offered include history, culture, literature, disasters, and media. You can find passages on topics related to almost any student's interests and use the resources to teacher reading skills. In December, 2006, Awesome Stories announced free accounts for individuals, as well, but for a "limited time." If you would like your students to be abe to use it at home, consider setting up accounts for students, as well, while they are free.

tag(s): dinosaurs (54), disasters (42), literature (266), movies (70), space (226)

In the Classroom

This is a great jumping off point for beginning researchers. You will find a wonderful compilation of photographs and other realia about the topics. Teach comprehension skills by using the first four chapters and asking students to predict or write aht they think would come next. Bring up the stories on an interactive whiteboard to highlight important terms and access the links that help students build connections to content. Maybe let students select the next topic to help engage reluctant readers.

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World News in Special English - VOA

Grades
4 to 8
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VOA offers audio and written radio scripts of a wide range of news stories in areas including science, agriculture, culture, health, and education. The language used is simple, and...more
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VOA offers audio and written radio scripts of a wide range of news stories in areas including science, agriculture, culture, health, and education. The language used is simple, and the stories are read more slowly than the average radio broadcast. The site includes its own dictionary ("Word Book") and pronunciation guide, as well as links to many other features. Contains RealAudio and MP3 downloadable audio files. If you have high speed internet, you can also use the streaming option.

tag(s): agriculture (59), news (260)

In the Classroom

Use this simplified news site to help students improve listening skills and vocabulary while learning about current events. This is an easy way to differentiate for students who process information more slowly as English language learners or for other reasons.

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Many Things.org Daily - Charles I. Kelly & Lawrence E. Kelly

Grades
4 to 12
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Part of "Interesting Things for ESL Students," this unadorned site changes daily and provides common slang (near the top of the page), idioms, or proverbs and definitions plus daily...more
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Part of "Interesting Things for ESL Students," this unadorned site changes daily and provides common slang (near the top of the page), idioms, or proverbs and definitions plus daily grammar quizzes. It also features an audio broadcast of a simplified news release backed up with archives (Click on links below Listening). Also available is a multilingual translating dictionary and access to three top search engines.

tag(s): grammar (210), idioms (43), news (260), slang (14), verbs (38)

In the Classroom

Use this to beef up vocabulary, to explore culture through idioms and proverbs, and for listening and discussion practice in response to news reports. Great to fill in 5 - 10 minutes at the beginning or end of classes! For the regular classroom teacher, this may provide an alternate way for ESL students to "study" current events. Be sure to mark it in Favorites on your classroom computer for these students to access (or place a shortcut on the desktop). Note: you need speakers for the audio!

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Where I Come From - National Endowment for the Humanities

Grades
3 to 5
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Using the traditional family tree activity as a springboard, this lesson plan takes students on a virtual journey across the planet to visit their ancestral homelands. In the process...more
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Using the traditional family tree activity as a springboard, this lesson plan takes students on a virtual journey across the planet to visit their ancestral homelands. In the process of connecting with their heritage, students practice map-reading skills, learn about geographic regions and cultures, and investigate the current events in that part of the world.

tag(s): cultures (108), immigration (60), migration (58)

In the Classroom

Take advantage of the free lesson plan hosted on this site! This would be a great lesson to use before a unit focused on immigration to the United States. Be sure to save this site as a favorite to allow for easy retrieval later on!

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Day In Pictures - Reuters

Grades
4 to 12
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Reuters' new photo service offers several image collections, including a review of every week and month. Users will need to scroll down the page a bit to find it, but ...more
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Reuters' new photo service offers several image collections, including a review of every week and month. Users will need to scroll down the page a bit to find it, but the images are striking, covering a wide variety of issues and events.

In the Classroom

Use these images as writing prompts in an English or government classroom focused on providing real-world examples. Post an image on the interactive whiteboard or projector and have students respond to the image by a specific written format, or to the content presented in the picture. This is a great way to provide a face to the content being learned in a government class, or to help students stretch their imaginations with new prompts in an English class.
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