Hard to believe but an iPhone or iPod can hold more historical documents than the typical school library. With MultiEducator’s American Dream the teacher or student can get a hold of nearly 500 important documents in American history, including speeches, inaugurals, laws and Supreme Court decisions. The app costs $2.99 and can be downloaded from the iTunes site.
When teaching about a historic event, there’s nothing like reading about someone who was there. How about listening to them? That’s what the BBC World Service latest program, Witness, does. By sifting through the radio channel archives and mixing in key memoirs and recollections, Witness brings history to life. They are available on the World Service’s Podcast page with recent episodes on the end of post-War rationing in England, the assassination of Gandhi and how Facebook was created. You can play them on demand or download the shows to be played when you like.
It’s a day off from school for teacher and students alike, but tomorrow is a good day to remember Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., his rhetoric and the fight for civil rights two generations ago. Had he not been shot on April 4, 1968, Dr. King would likely have celebrated his 81st birthday last Friday. Here’re some online resources about the man and his mission.
• His famous “I have a Dream” speech given in front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington is available on YouTube.
• A multitude of photos, videos, audio clips and background info about Dr. King, including him receiving the Nobel Peace Prize are all online at the King Center’s site.
• King celebrations can be done with kids reading his inspiring words from a collection of speeches available at MLK Online.
History doesn’t have to be a series of readings and discussions because interactive lessons from the American Institute for History Education have developed in-depth content for US History. Called History Beyond the Textbook, the program is divided into 15 easy to digest segments for middle and high school students that explore everything from Greek philosophy all the way to the current era of globalization. Along the way, the program has a slew of lesson plans from primary documents and time lines to interactive maps, videos and songs of the time. History Beyond the Textbook costs $300 per year but there’s a student version for $15 and there’s a free trial available.
How can you expect kids to hand in neat, crisp homework when your worksheets are barely readable and look like they’ve been photocopied a dozen times. Try teaching them geography with Purpose Games’ variety of educational interactive games. There are programs for identifying states, capitals, and a variety of country and regional maps. All students do is click on the city, state or country that the program asks for and it lets you know if you’re correct. For the teacher, the game tabulates a percentage of correct answers, and the game keeps track of top scores, which leaves open the possibility of a state capital contest. The best part is that all the games are free.
Tomorrow may be election day, but there’re still millions of kids out there who don’t really understand what electing a President is all about, how it works and what’s at stake. BrainPop’s election special can help teach a good lesson in civics without it seeming like a lesson. On top of a good primer on voting, BrainPop has videos on the primaries and caucuses, presidential power and Democracy.
What better lesson in government and civics could there be for a social studies class than to have every elementary school student vote in the upcoming presidential election. That’s the idea behind Woogi World, a virtual social world of students. The site’s Every Kid Votes campaign explains the election process by using an avatar that represents the child, called a Woogi. After selecting one, the child needs to play games to win enough points to earn the right to vote. It’s free and the site can help teach children about Internet safety in a calm and reassuring way.