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Library of Congress

An outstanding and invaluable site for American history and general research. Contains primary and secondary documents, exhibits, map sets, prints and photos, sound recordings and motion images. The Library of Congress American Memory Historical Collections, a must-see, contains the bulk of digitalized materials, but the Exhibitions Gallery is enticing and enlightening as well. The Library of Congress also provides a Learning Page that provides tools, activities, ideas, and features for educators and students.
The Library of Congress American Memory in particular is a superb resource for American history and general studies. Included are multimedia collections of photographs, recorded sound, moving images, and digitized text. Utilize the Teachers section to research primary set collections and themed resources. Teachers can get updates on new tools, professional development opportunities, and Library programs, events and providers.
The Library of Congress: Teachers
The new Library of Congress Teachers page provides tools and resources for using Library of Congress primary source records in the classroom and include excellent lesson plans, record analysis tools, online and offline activities, timelines, presentations and professional development resources.
Center for History and New Media: History Matters
A Creation of the American Social History Project/Center of Media and Learning, City of University New York, and the Center for History and New Media, George Mason University, History Matters is a wonderful online resource for history teachers and pupils. One of the numerous digital tools are lesson plans, syllabi, links, and displays. The middle for History and New Media’s tools include a list of”best” internet sites, links to syllabi and lesson plans, essays on history and new websites, a link for their excellent History Topics web site for U.S. History, and much more. The CHNM History News Network is a weekly online magazine that features articles by several historians. Resources are intended to benefit specialist historians, higher school instructors, and students of history.
Teaching American History
This is a fantastic assortment of thoughtful and comprehensive lesson plans and other resources on teaching American history. Each project was created by teachers in Virginia in a Center for History and New Media workshop. All projects include many different lesson plans and resources, and some even offer educational videos on supply analysis. The lesson plans cover a variety of subjects in American history and use engaging and interesting resources, activities, discussion questions, and assessments. Take your time browsing–you will find many to select from.
National Archives and Records Administration
The NARA offers national archives, exhibits, classroom tools, census records, Hot Topics, and much more. In addition to its newspaper holdings (which would circle the Earth 57 times) it’s more than 3.5 billion digital records. Users can research people, locations, events and other popular topics of interest, as well as ancestry and military documents. There are also features exhibits drawing from a lot of the NARA’s popular sources. One of the most requested holdings are the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, WWII photographs, and the Bill of Rights.
The National Archives: Teachers’ Resources
The National Archives Lesson Plans section contains incorporates U.S. primary files and its excellent teaching tasks correlate to the National History Standards and National Standards for Civics and Government. Courses are organized by averaging era, from 1754 to the present.
Digital Vaults
The National Archives Experience: Digital Vaults is an interactive exploration of background that examines thousands of documents, photos, and pieces of history which were integrated in a digital format. Upon entering the homepage, the user is given eight arbitrary archives to select from. Clicking on one will give a description and a brief record of the record, as well as exhibits a huge assortment of archives that are similar. The user has the ability to shuffle, rearrange, gather, and research archives, in addition to search for specific points in history using a key word search. Even though a lack of initial organization or index might appear overpowering, Digital Vaults is a superbly imaginative source for exploring history in a compiled manner.
Teach Docs With DocsTeach, educators can create interactive background activities that incorporate over 3,000 primary-source substances in a variety of media in the National Archives. Tools on the site are made to teach critical thinking abilities and integrate interactive elements such as maps, puzzles, and graphs.
Our Documents Offers 100 milestone documents, compiled by the National Archives and Records Administration, and drawn primarily from its nationwide holdings, that chronicle United States history from 1776 to 1965. Features a teacher’s toolbox and competitions for students and teachers.
PBS Online
A fantastic source for advice on a myriad of historic events and characters. PBS’s various and varied web displays supplement their television series and generally include a list of each episode, interviews (often with sound bites), a timeline, primary sources, a glossary, photos, maps, and links to relevant websites. PBS productions include American Experience, Frontline and People’s Century. Go to the PBS Teacher Source for activities and lessons — arranged by topic.
PBS Teacher Source Proceed to the PBS Teacher Source for lessons and activities — arranged by topic and grade level — and sign up for their newsletter. Groups include American History, World History, History on Television, and Biographies. Many lessons include primary sources. Some lessons require watching PBS video, but many don’t.
Smithsonian Education
The Smithsonian Education site is divided only into three main categories: Educators, Families, and Students. The Educators section is keyword searchable and features lesson programs — many pertaining to history. The Students section comes with an interactive”Secrets of the Smithsonian” that educates about the special collections in the Smithsonian.
The Price of Freedom: Americans at War
This Smithsonian website skillfully integrates Flash text and video to examine armed conflicts between the U.S. from the Revolutionary War to the war in Iraq. Each battle includes a brief video clip, statistical advice, and a pair of artifacts. There’s also a Civil War mystery, an exhibition self-guide, and a teacher’s guide. The New American Roles (1899-present) section contains an introductory movie and short essay on the conflict in addition to historic artifacts and images.
Edsitement — The Best of the Humanities on the Internet EDSITEment is a partnership among the National Endowment for the Humanities, Verizon Foundation, and the National Trust for the Humanities. All sites linked to EDSITEment have been reviewed for content, design, and educational impact in the classroom. This impressive website features reviewed links to top websites, professionally developed lesson plans, classroom activities, materials to help with daily classroom planning, and search engines. You are able to search lesson plans from subcategory and grade level; middle school courses are the most numerous.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
There’s a lot of excellent material for art students, teachers, and enthusiasts at the Metropolitan Museum of Art web site. Begin with the Metropolitan Museum of Art Timeline of Art History, a chronological, geographical, and thematic exploration of the history of art from across the world. Each timeline page includes representative artwork from the Museum’s collection, a chart of time periods, a map of the region, a summary, and a list of important events. The timelines — accompanied by world, regional, and sub-regional maps — provide a linear outline of art history, and permit people to compare and contrast art from across the world at any moment ever. There’s plenty more here apart from the Timeline:”Just for Fun” has interactive activities for children,”A Closer Look” assesses the”hows and whys” behind Met items (like George Washington Crossing the Delaware),”Artist” enables visitors to get biographical stuff on a selection of artists in addition to general details regarding their work, and”Themes and Cultures” presents past and current cultures with special features on the Met’s collections and exhibitions.
C-SPAN from the Classroom
Access C-SPAN’s complete app archives containing all videos. C-SPAN from the Classroom is a free membership service which offers information and tools to assist educators in their use of source, public affairs video out of C-SPAN television. You do not have to become a member to use C-SPAN online resources in your classroom, but also membership includes access to teaching ideas, activities and classroom applications.
Digital History
This impressive website from Steven Mintz at the University of Houston comes with an up-to-date U.S. history textbook; annotated primary sources on United States, Mexican American, and Native American background, and slavery; and succinct essays about the history of ethnicity and immigration, film, private life, and science and technology. Visual histories of Lincoln’s America and America’s Reconstruction include text from Eric Foner and Olivia Mahoney. The Doing Background feature lets users reconstruct the past through the voices of kids, gravestones, advertisements, and other primary sources. Reference resources include classroom handouts, chronologies, encyclopedia articles, glossaries, along with an abysmal archive including speeches, book discussions and e-lectures by historians, and historical maps, music, newspaper articles, and graphics. The site’s Ask the HyperHistorian feature allows users to pose questions to professional historians.
Civil Rights Special Collection
The Teachers’ Domain Civil Rights Collection is produced by WGBH Boston, in partnership with the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute and Washington University at St. Louis. Materials are free but you have to register. Features an impressive selection of sound, video, and text sources out of Frontline and American Experience reveals, Eyes on the Prize, along with other sources. Also offers an interactive Civil Rights movement timeline and four lesson plans: Campaigns for Economic Freedom/Re-Examining Brown/Taking a Stand/Understanding White Supremacy.
Science and Technology of World War II
Some of the most remarkable technology improvements of the modern era happened during World War II and the National World War II Memorial has 8000 objects directly related to science and technology. This impressive exhibit contains an animated timeline, activities (such as sending encrypted messages), professional sound responses to science and engineering questions, lesson plans, a quiz, essays, and more. An impressive demonstration.
Voting America: United States Politics, 1840-2008
Voting America examines long-term patterns in presidential elections politics in the United States from the 1840s to today as well as several patterns in recent congressional election politics. The job offers a wide spectrum of animated and interactive visualizations of the way Americans voted in elections within the last 168 decades. The visualizations may be used to explore individual elections past the state level down to individual counties, which allows for more complex analysis. The interactive maps emphasize just how important third parties have played in American political history. You can even locate expert analysis and comment videos which discuss some of the most intriguing and important trends in American political history.
Do History: Martha Ballard
DoHistory invites you to explore the process of piecing together the lives of regular men and women in the past. It is an experimental, interactive case study based on the research that went to the book and PBS film A Midwife’s Tale, which were both based upon the remarkable 200 year-old diary of midwife/healer Martha Ballard. There are hundreds and hundreds of downloadable pages from initial documents: diaries, letters, maps, court records, town records, and much more and a searchable copy of this twenty-seven year diary of Martha Ballard. DoHistory engages users interactively with historical documents and artifacts from the past and introduces visitors to the critical questions and issues raised when”doing” history. DoHistory was developed and preserved by the Film Study Center at Harvard University and is hosted and maintained by the Center for History and New Media, George Mason University.
The Valley of the Dead The Valley of the Shadow depicts two communities, 1 Northern and one Southern, through the experience of the American Civil War. The project focuses on Augusta County, Virginia and Franklin County, Pennsylvania, and it poses a hypermedia archive of thousands of resources that makes a social history of their coming, combating, and aftermath of the Civil War. Those sources include newspapers, letters, diaries, photographs, maps, church records, population census, agricultural census, and military records. Students can explore the conflict and write their own foundations or rebuild the life stories of women, African Americans, farmers, politicians, soldiers, and families. The project is intended for secondary schools, community schools, libraries, and universities.
Raid on Deerfield: The Many Stories of 1704
The Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association/Memorial Hall Museum in Deerfield, Massachusetts has established a rich and impressive site which focuses on the 1704 raid on Deerfield, Massachusetts, with the objective of commemorating and reinterpreting the occasion from the viewpoints of all the cultural groups who were present — Mohawk, Abenaki, Huron, French, and English. The website brings together many sources — historical scenes, stories of people’s lives, historic artifacts and papers, essays, voices and songs, historic maps, and a deadline — to light broad and competing perspectives on this dramatic event.
Lewis and Clark: The National Bicentennial Exhibition
The Missouri Historical Society has developed a comprehensive award-winning website and web-based curriculum developed to complement their Lewis and Clark, The National Bicentinnal Exhibiton. Written for grades 4-12, the components focus on nine major themes of the display and feature hundreds of primary sources from the exhibit. The program uses the Lewis and Clark expedition as case studies for larger themes like Diplomacy, Mapping, Animals, Language, and Trade and Property. It presents both the Euro-American standpoint and a distinct Native American standpoint. The online exhibit has two segments. One is a thematic approach that highlights the content in the main galleries of this exhibit. The other is a map-based travel that follows the expedition and introduces main sources on the way, including interviews with present-day Native Americans.
The Sport of Life and Death
The Sport of Life and Death was voted Best Overall Site for 2002 by the Web and has won a ton of other internet awards. The website is based on a traveling exhibition currently showing at the Newark Museum in Newark, New Jersey and bills itself as”an internet travel to the ancient spectacle of gods and athletes.” The Sport of Life and Death features amazing special effects owing to Macromedia Flash technologies and its overall layout and organization are superb. There are useful interactive maps, timelines, and samples of art in the Explore the Mesoamerican World section. The focus of the site, however, is the Mesoamerican ballgame, the oldest organized sport ever. The sport is explained through a gorgeous and engaging combination of text, images, expert commentary, and video. Visitors can also compete in a competition!
The Great Chicago Fire and the Web of Memory
A top notch exhibition created by the Chicago Historical Society and Northwestern University. There are two big parts: the history of Chicago in the 19th century, and also the way the Chicago Fire has been recalled over time. Included are essays, galleries, and even resources.
Tech at the U.S. History in the Classroom
Here are some innovative, engaging and technology-infused lessons & web sites on U.S. History:
“Day in Life of Hobo” podcast
This interdisciplinary creative writing/historical simulation activity incorporates blogging and podcasting and calls on students to find out more about the plight of homeless teenagers during the Great Depression and then create their own fictionalized account of a day in the life span of a Hobo. This undertaking will probably be included in the spring edition of Social Education, published by the National Council of Social Studies.
“Telling Their Stories” — Oral History Archive Project of the Urban School
See”Telling Their Stories” and read, watch, and listen to possibly the best student-created oral history project at the nation. High School students at the Urban School of San Francisco have generated three notable oral history interviews featured at this website: Holocaust Survivors and Refugees, World War II Camp Liberators, and Japanese-American Internees. Urban school students conducted, filmed, and transcribed interviews, generated hundreds of movie files associated with every transcript, then posted the full-text, full-video interviews with this public site. The National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) has acknowledged Urban School’s Telling Their Stories project with a Leading Edge Recognition award for excellence in technology integration. Teachers interested in running an oral history project can contact Urban School technology director Howard Levin and ought to think about attending his summer teacher workshop.
Student News Action Network
This student-produced current events journal features contributions from around the globe and is directed by five student-bureaus: The American School of Doha, Bishops Diocesan College, International School Bangkok, International School of Luxembourg, along with Washington International School. The students have cleverly adopted the free Ning system and far-flung pupils work tirelessly to create an interactive, multimedia-rich, and student-driven online newspaper.
“Great Debate of 2008″
Tom Daccord produced a wiki and a personal online social media for the”Great Debate of 2008” project, a student exploration and discussion of issues and candidates surrounding the 2008 presidential election. The job connected students around the nation at a wiki and a private online social network to share ideas and information related to the 2008 presidential elections. Pupils post information on campaign issues into the wiki and partake in online discussions and survey with other pupils in the personal online social network.
The Flat Classroom Project
The award-winning Flat Classroom job brings together high school and middle school students from around the world to explore the ideas presented in Thomas Friedman’s book The World is Flat. These collaborative endeavors harness the most effective Web 2.0 tools available including wikis, online social networks, digital storytelling, podcasts, social bookmarking, and much more.

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