Posts Tagged ‘Sites to Bookmark’

Web Sites for Researching History

Wednesday, August 11th, 2010

These 10 trustworthy Web sites provide detailed accounts of historical events and figures, and collections of primary source material designed to help middle and high school students research U.S. and world history.

The Library of Congress

The Library of Congress is a great source to find historical documents, photos, art, maps, audio and video, artifacts and other items. The American Memory section organizes items based on topics, time periods and places of American history. The World Digital Library, a cooperative project with UNESCO, includes rare documents from around the world.

National Archives

The National Archives and Records Administration has a massive collection of material on U.S. history that can sometimes be overwhelming to search through. The Resources for National History Day Research page guides students on where to find material in the archives. In the Teaching With Documents section, assorted events are explained through primary documents in the archive’s collections.

Center for History and New Media

George Mason University’s Center for History and New Media has created a range of Web sites designed for the needs of students and teachers. It includes basic surveys of U.S. and world history, sites that teach students to use primary sources, and sites that provide lesson plans and ideas for teachers. It also features several Web sites of archives and exhibits.

PBS

PBS has a wide range of resources for students from its various programs. The most useful is likely the companion Web sites for the American Experience documentary series examining important events and people in American history. Each site includes resources such as descriptions of the events, biographies of key figures, primary source documents, interactive maps and transcripts of the film. Also visit the American Masters series for biographies of historical figures.

Digital History

Digital History is an online textbook that provides a chronological overview of American history. It also includes primary sources and detailed features on topics such as ethnic America, Abraham Lincoln, Reconstruction and controversial topics of today.

The Avalon Project

Yale Law School’s Avalon Project provides a database of documents such as laws, treaties, declarations, constitutions, speeches and statements from ancient history to the 21st century. Documents are organized by time period and by topic.

HistoryNet

HistoryNet is home to more than 5,000 articles published in Weider History Group magazines, which include American History, Military History, Wild West and World War II.

Country Studies

The Country Studies/Area Handbook Series is a compilation of books written between 1986 and 1998 that details the history of more than 110 countries, dating back to the earliest settlements. It was created by U.S. Department of the Army and printed by the Library of Congress.

EyeWitness to History

EyeWitness to History features first-person accounts of prominent events in U.S. and world history, along with a simple explanation of the event’s importance.

UMKC School of Law

University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law professor Douglas Linder has compiled research pages for more than 50 of the most famous trials in history, dating back to the trial of Socrates 399 B.C. Each page includes a detailed account of the events of and leading up to the trial, court documents such as witness testimony and trial excerpts, and other primary documents such as newspaper accounts and letters.

Related Link Resources
The Library of Congress
The Library of Congress: World Digital Library
Library of Congress
The National Archives
The National Archives: Resources for National History Day Research
The National Archives
Center for History and New Media
PBS: American Experience
American Masters
Digital History
Yale Law School: Avalon Project
HistoryNet
Country Studies
Eyewitness to History
University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law: Famous Trials

World’s Greatest Libraries: Past and Present

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010

J. Scott Applewhite/AP
The Library of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington.

Explore some of the most significant libraries from the ancient and modern world, including the largest, the oldest and the most technologically advanced, as well as those with unique collections, architecture or locations.

Great Libraries of the Past

Perhaps one of the best-known libraries of ancient times is the Library of Alexandria. Founded in 228 B.C. in Alexandria, Egypt, this library housed 700,000 scrolls. Many famous thinkers of the time studied or worked in the library, including the astronomers Aristarchus and Eratosthenes, the poet Callimachus, the mathematician Euclid, the scientist Herophilus and the historian Manetho. The library survived for six centuries, but slowly disappeared after a fire and numerous invasions and wars. The library was gone by 400 A.D. But after years of scholars pushing for the revival of the great library, on Oct. 16, 2002, Egypt celebrated the opening of the New Library of Alexandria, designed to rival the original.

About a hundred years after the great Library of Alexandra was formed, another great library was established. After the ruler of Egypt banned the export of papyrus (the plant used to make paper), it is thought that parchment was developed in the city of Pergamum—in modern-day Turkey—which made possible the copying of books outside of Egypt, and the development of the Library at Pergamum. According to Encyclopedia Britannica, eventually the library, along with the entire city, was turned over to Rome, and some think that its collection was given to Cleopatra to become part of the Library of Alexandria.

Predating the libraries at Pergamum and Alexandria was the Library of King Ashurbanipal at the city of Nineveh. In the 600s B.C., Ashurbanipal established a great library housing tens of thousands of cuneiform tablets. The library had many of the same characteristics of a modern library; for example texts, were organized by subject matter, government documents were also held in the library and there were citations explaining what sets of tablets and rooms contained. Eventually the library was buried during an invasion, and although Ashurbanipal’s library was not the first library, it was one of the largest of its time, and one of the first libraries to implement cataloging as we use today.

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Lending an Artistic Touch to Math

Wednesday, July 21st, 2010

Unlike the arts, Math has struggled to find its place in Web 2.0 communities—until now. Maria Droujkova has developed Natural Math and Math 2.0, “math programs in which learning takes place within communities and networks,” according to Joann Agnitti for EdLabs at Columbia University Teachers College.

Droujkova’s programs combine math with social networking, and encompass “five dimensions,” such as “humanistic mathematics” and “the psychology of mathematics learning and education.” Agnitti calls these combinations “mashups” that allow math to “tell a story,” and help quell math anxiety with psychology.

Natural Math is a colorful site with a children’s storybook quality. Users can peruse member profiles, discuss math in the community forums, and participate in online math clubs and math chats.

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Related Link Resources
Illuminations
NJ.com
Harper's Magazine
UDaily
National Education Association
Edutopia
Natural Math
EdLab

View and Listen to College Lectures Online

Wednesday, July 14th, 2010

AP Photo

Looking for a way to keep your mind sharp while on summer vacation? Exercise your brain with online lectures. We’ve tracked down a few notable professors who have extended their spheres of influence beyond their classroom doors.

Physics in Action

For the visual learners among us, MIT Professor Walter Lewin takes his physics lectures to a whole new level. Each lecture he gives takes about 40 hours to prepare, and is rehearsed three times before his students ever see it. Many include complex real-life demonstrations of physics in action. In one of his signature displays, Lewin stands in front of a 33-pound wrecking ball to illustrate the principles of Hooke’s law. MIT’s OpenCourseWare site offers three complete classes’ worth of Lewin’s lectures; begin with Classic Mechanics I, taped in 1999.

MIT makes lectures and course notes freely available for more than 1,800 of its classes. Browse through all of MIT OpenCourseWare to find another professor or subject that interests you.

Life Lessons

The lessons educators teach don’t all come from textbooks—often they come from life. It became the goal of computer science professor Randy Pausch, of Carnegie Mellon University, to make that clear. Pausch, who was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2006, shot to fame after giving a memorable “Last Lecture,” filled with advice to his students about how to achieve their dreams. He testified before Congress and was profiled by ABC. Pausch died in July 2008; his Web site is still available, and features a host of videos that include his Last Lecture and a talk about time management. “The Last Lecture” has also been published as a book.

Stargazing

At the University of California, Berkeley, students generally have a terrific time learning about the universe from award-winning astronomy professor Alex Filippenko. Filippenko incorporates music, props and digital technology to teach his students about concepts like changes in atomic energy levels. Audio versions of his astronomy lectures are available for free online.

Where Great Minds Think Alike (or Not)

There are many great professors out there, along with other great thinkers who thrive on imparting their knowledge to others. One site that provides videos with scholarly appeal is FORA.tv. The site hosts an abundance of videos featuring academics and intellectuals offering opinions and ideas on subjects as diverse as religion, health, education, energy and business. Some of the many partners at FORA.tv include The Brookings Institution, C-SPAN and Asia Society. Whether you want to listen, read or chat with others, FORA.tv helps educate you about the world.
TED.com offers quirky, intriguing lectures from leading lights in science, politics, technology, business and the arts. Watch video lectures from Stephen Hawking, Jill Bolte Taylor, Al Gore, Elizabeth Gilbert and more.

Introducing SweetSearch4Me – A Search Engine Just for Me

Thursday, June 24th, 2010

This week, Dulcinea Media launched SweetSearch4Me—a search engine for students in grades K-8.

General commercial search engines aren’t designed for young learners. What may be the best search results for adults are often difficult for young users to understand. A handful of search engines for kids have been on the market for years, but most don’t do nearly enough to ensure that high-quality content written specifically for kids is easy to find.

SweetSearch4Me searches only Web sites that our staff of research experts, librarians and teachers have evaluated and approved as high-quality content appropriate for young users. Only the best sites directed at elementary school students are included, and many of the results on the first page were created exclusively for kids.

Planning to attend the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) conference in Denver June 27-30? Visit the Yolink booth to see Mark Moran and Shannon Firth of Dulcinea Media demonstrate how SweetSearch integrates with Yolink, a “find tool” that helps you find the information you would never have found online before.

Mark and Shannon will also be previewing our SweetSearch2Day calendar product, a mash-up of all our content and the best content from around the Web that relates to each day.

We plan to spend the summer further evaluating and fine-tuning SweetSearch4Me results, and will formally release it in September 2010. In the meantime, we’d love to get your feedback. Try your own SweetSearch4Me searches and let us know what you think by e-mailing sweetsearch@dulcineamedia.com.

Travel Through US History at Gettysburg

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010

Gettysburg is famous for its Civil War history, its 20,000-acre battlefield, dramatic stone monuments and affecting cemetery. A popular destination for schools and families with children, Gettysburg presents a wealth of educational opportunities, but is surrounded by a quaint town that allows for parental relaxation as well. Take a virtual visit to Gettysburg using the Web sites in this article, and get a pre-trip history lesson to enhance your visit.

Pennsylvania’s Storied Past

Pennsylvania was home to many important developments in early U.S. history, including crucial Civil War battles. FindingDulcinea’s Civil War States feature on Pennsylvania suggests visiting the Library of Congress Web site, which maintains a collection of portraits of named Civil War soldiers from both the Confederate and Union armies. The Library of Congress site also discusses President Lincoln’s invitation to speak at Gettysburg, and has rare documents, including the only known photo of Lincoln at the dedication of the Gettysburg cemetery, and two drafts of the Gettysburg address.

The Battle of Gettysburg began on July 1, 1863, when Gen. Robert E. Lee led his Confederate troops into what would be the bloodiest Civil War battle. At the end of three days, 50,000 troops were dead and the war had taken a turn. Union Maj. Gen. George Meade’s army defeated Lee’s troops, ending the South’s charge into northern territory.

Listen to actor Sam Waterston read Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address on NPR. The segment was taped on Nov. 19, 2003, to mark the 140th anniversary of the speech, which commemorated Union soldiers who perished in the Civil War.

Planning a Visit to Gettysburg

Frommer’s travel guide to Frederick, Md., includes a chapter on Gettysburg. Learn the lay of the massive battlefield, which is essentially a park. According to Frommer’s, riding a bike, driving a car or taking a bus tour around the park’s sloping hills and rolling valleys are the most efficient ways to take it all in.

The battlefield surrounds Gettysburg, a small town that draws tourists from around the world. Frommer’s says crowds are most heavy during the annual three-day reenactment from July 1–3, and on Remembrance Day in November. Among the more than 100 park monuments, “dedicated by various states to their military units,” the “granite-domed Pennsylvania Memorial” is the biggest and most popular among visitors.

The Gettysburg Convention & Visitors Bureau has tips and planning advice for travelers, including hotel and restaurant recommendations. Activities for traveling families and school groups are also listed. For example, take a self-guided Scenic Valley Tour through Adams Country, spanning about 35 miles north, south and west of Gettysburg. The Adams Country area is laced with bucolic orchards, and is home to historic sites like the Lower Marsh Creek Presbyterian Church, built in 1790.

The U.S. National Parks Service Gettysburg portal explains some of the most popular attractions, including a Civil War soldier exhibit. The site also covers practical information, such as fees and directions. Use National Park Service maps of Gettysburg and view maps of the Battle of Gettysburg.

If you’re looking for a general hotel or flight search Web site, visit findingDulcinea’s Travel Web Guide, or consult Gorp for a list of campgrounds in the Gettysburg area, with descriptions, amenities and booking information.

Gettysburg Reenactment Video

Civil War Hotel has a video of a Gettysburg reenactment that, though surrounded by ads, offers an excellent pre-visit perspective on the attraction.

Teachers Find Innovative Travel Opportunities

Wednesday, June 16th, 2010

Ithaca, N.Y., presented its fourth annual Winter Recess from Feb. 12-21, featuring discounted travel for teachers and their family members, according to Budget Travel. Winter Recess may be long gone, but there are plenty of other opportunities for educators to travel frugally this summer.

Explorica is a travel company catering to teachers. Their selection of tours, regional experts around the world, planning tools and social networking applications help ensure an immersive international (or U.S. travel) experience for teachers and their students. Explorica is affiliated with several high quality tourist organizations, including the Student Youth Travel Association and the National Tour Association.

Teachers Travel Web connects teachers around the world for bed and breakfast-style stays, home-exchanges and house-sitting posts. A yearly membership fee of about $65 is required to access listings, and any teacher, educator, trainer or counselor is eligible for membership. Teacher Travel Web was started years ago by a New Zealand couple.

In an article for Suite 101, English teacher and freelance writer Thadra Petkus offers ideas for teachers looking for ways to travel abroad. She presents summer and spring break options, and tips for saving or making money while traveling as a teacher. Hobbies, such as photography or writing, can be lucrative for traveling teachers. Teaching abroad or chaperoning student tours can help teachers finance international excursions as well.

New Orleans teems with intriguing historic sites, unique architecture, an eclectic array of museums and enough personality to keep even the most jaded student enthralled. Plan an educational tour of New Orleans, or get ideas for a field trip to the Crescent City.

5 Ways to Encourage Boys to Read

Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010

Nationwide, more boys than girls seem to be struggling with reading. Here are five tips from teachers, librarians, authors and literacy strategists to encourage boys to read.

First, “[e]xpand your definition of reading to include non-fiction, humor, graphic novels, comic books, wordless books, fantasy, science fiction, magazines, online, audio books, [and] comic strips,” children’s author Jon Scieszka told About.com. Scieszka is also the founder of the Web site Guys Read.

Second, do more than shelve “boy-friendly” books; actively promote them. Boys know when the books they like are being ignored. “And they’ll recognize the implication: books that are funny or action packed or fantasylike aren’t any good,” Sullivan wrote.

Third, use reading logs, Kristen Bevilacqua, a literacy volunteer in South Africa, suggests. The log’s purpose is as a “milestone tracker” more than a diary, which might be considered “girly.” The log is a place for boys to record the number of genres or chapter books they have read. “Since reading is an activity that is often too abstract for many boys, the concrete proof of their success will be beneficial to their reading confidence and independence,” according to Bevilacqua.

Fourth, another idea Sullivan suggests to teachers is to have a story hour during students’ lunch hour. In 2005, Greenland Central School, an elementary school in New Hampshire, held a program called “Literary Lunch,” where a teacher or local librarian read to students as they ate. “Each book takes one week to read, and on Fridays, we celebrate it with cupcakes for dessert,” school librarian Margaret Kelley told the Portsmouth Herald.

Fifth, enlist help from other male role models. The guide “Me Read? No Way!” highlights a mentor program at St. Thomas University in New Brunswick, Canada, where men in their 20s developed “informal educational relationships” with male students, who they met weekly for two years.

“Male-teacher librarians need to read books—lots of books. Always have a book on hand. Carry it. Know a wide selection of books that boys will read,” Joel Shoemaker is quoted as saying in the guide, published by the Ontario Ministry of Education.

Even younger boys can model good reading habits for their peers. Bevilacqua suggests creating book recommendation boards in school, where boys write a summary of the book of the month or week and explain why they liked it. “A book recommended by a friend, needs no other stamp of approval for boys to want to read it too,” Bevilacqua wrote.

Need Funds for a School Project? DonorsChoose.org Can Help

Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

Henny Ray Abrams/AP
Charles Best of DonorsChoose.org.

Just about every public school teacher can relate: There just aren’t enough learning materials and supplies available in our schools. Ten years ago, one teacher set out to change that by creating DonorsChoose.org, a Web site that matches donors with public school teachers requesting donations for school projects.Though the program started in New York, it has since expanded around the country, first to North Carolina in 2004. According to Matthew E. Milliken, reporting for The Herald-Sun, DonorsChoose.org “has funneled $3.6 million from nearly 19,000 contributors to North Carolina educators.” Across the country, more than 195,000 donors have given almost $47.9 million. Most of the money goes to classroom supplies (41 percent of all requests, Milliken writes), books (27 percent) or technology (22 percent).

In the Durham, N.C., school district, school administrators encourage teachers to try DonorsChoose.org. At J.D. Clement Early College High School in Durham, the Web site helped fund books, calculators, a laptop for a special-needs student and a new rug.

“It’s just been a nice way for us to provide for our students in ways that we couldn’t have before,” Kendra O’Neal-Williams, the principal at J.D. Clement, told The Herald-Sun. “We didn’t have the funds to—nor did the parents have the funds to—purchase this specific technology.”

DonorsChoose.org was started in 2000 by Charles Best, a social studies teacher in a Bronx high school. According to the DonorsChoose.org Web site, Best “sensed that many people would like to help distressed public schools, but were frustrated by a lack of influence over their donations.”Best sought to change that by making a $1 donation just as appreciated and valued as a $100 donation: Regardless of the amount, every donation receives photos of the project it funded, a thank-you letter from the teacher and a report showing how every dollar was spent. In what the organization calls “citizen philanthropy,” every donor receives “the same level of choice, transparency, and feedback that is traditionally reserved for someone who gives millions.”

Choice is integral to DonorsChoose.org’s mission. In a video on YouTube, Best shares the story of one donor who only wanted to contribute money that would support the preservation of salmon in the Pacific Northwest. He explains how he did a keyword search on “salmon” on the DonorsChoose.org Web site and came up with five classroom projects on saving salmon in the Pacific Northwest.

The variety of projects is impressive, making “the ability for a citizen philanthropist to express a really personal passion” and “find classroom project requests matching their passion” one of the organization’s key features, according to Best.

Best isn’t the only one who thinks DonorsChoose.org is worthwhile: Stephen Colbert, host of Comedy Central’s “The Colbert Report,” is a DonorsChoose.org board member. Colbert hands out $100 “philanthropic gift certificates” to every guest of “The Colbert Report.”

Related Link Resources
The Herald-Sun
DonorsChoose.org
YouTube

10 Stories That Shook the School World in 2009

Wednesday, December 16th, 2009

Every year has its share of stories that profoundly impact us. And stories about our schools and our children particularly touch our emotions.

With a new administration in Washington, a global economic recession and the increasing influence of technology in our society, 2009 was bound to have more than its fair share of stories that would impact our schools.

Here are 10 we believe most profoundly impacted the education world in 2009.

Related Link Resources
findingDulcinea:10 Stories That Shook the School World in 2009