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Sunday, December 26, 2010

Holiday Edition: 12 Resources All Social Studies Teachers Should Try

I'm taking a few days off to relax and enjoy the holidays. Just as I did at this time last year, for the next three days I'll be re-running the most popular posts of the year. I'll be back on Monday morning with fresh content. Happy Holidays everyone!

One of the things that some readers may not know about me is that I actually do have a day job and don't spend the whole day on the Internet. My day job is teaching high school social studies. For the last couple of years my teaching assignments have been US History and US Civics. In the past I've also taught World Studies courses. Over the last few years I've come realize that there are some websites and free resources with which every social studies teacher should be familiar. Here is my list.

1. Google Earth. The possibilities for using Google Earth in a social studies classroom are almost limitless. In Google Earth students can tour ancient Rome, explore WWI and WWII battle sites, learn about contemporary news stories such as events in Afghanistan, or use Google Earth as an almanac of facts. Students, of course, can use Google Earth to create digital stories. Students can create tours of military campaigns, trace the lives of famous people, or map the expansions and contractions of political borders. If you're looking for some directions to get started with Google Earth, please see Google Earth Across the Curriculum.

2. Google Maps. While Google Maps doesn't offer nearly as many features as Google Earth, it is much easier to start using. Google Maps is completely web-based so students can create placemarks and tours from any Internet connected computer. For directions on creating placemarks on Google Maps, please see pages 25-32 of Google for Teachers.

3. Google Books. Google has scanned and put online thousands of books and documents that are in the public domain. For history teachers this means there is an abundance of books about famous battles, biographies, and other works that your students can access for research.

4. Google Scholar. Teaching lessons about notable US Supreme court cases? Need scholarly works to supplement the information in your students' textbooks? Google Scholar is great place to start that search.

5. National Archives Daily Document. Every day the RSS feed from the National Archives serves up a new primary document corresponding to that day in history. Along with the document teachers will find suggested classroom resources and suggested research links. The National Archives has also made available on Google Video hundreds of films from their records. US History teachers will find a use for just about everything in the National Archives' collection of films.

6. The Avalon Project is a free resource produced by Yale University. The Avalon Project provides digital copies of hundreds of original documents from a myriad of topics in US History. The Avalon Project is a good resource for students that need to find digital copies of original documents. For example, all of The Federalist Papers are available on the Avalon Project website.

Read the rest of the list here.

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