Here is a great resource for teachers and students! Khan Academy, a global classroom for anyone in the world who has access to a computer, has a library of over 3,200 videos online that are free. This provides quality instruction to areas all over the world, no matter where they are located. Incentives for students are also on the cite to motivate them with a game of earning badges and points, “game mechanics” as they refer to it, and they also offer Teacher Resources as well. Here is an example of one topic they cover:
ALGEBRA (many lessons in each of these subtopics):
Rations & Proportions
Exponents and Radicals
It’s easy to see by this listing that there are many lessons from which to choose. Here is a partial list of more topics without subtopics listed:
Arithmetic & Pre-Algebra
Art History (for many different eras)
Banking & Money
Healthcare & Medicine
Khan Academy is a global classroom of students who learn at their own rate and choose what they want to study. Here are reviews and stories of the academy so you can read first hand from teachers and students all over the world.
Frontier Texas in Abilene, Texas, is a great educational experience. In fact, it has made the New York Times. When our family visited it, I thought it would probably be the average historical type of museum but I was mistaken. It’s an impressive museum where one can experience state-of-the-art technology. I won’t tell you too much so you can discover it for yourself.
Abilene, Texas, is located in west Texas and has a charm all its own. Not only is it home to Frontier Texas but Abilene is also the Children’s Storybook Capital of Texas as designated by the 84th Legislature of the State of Texas. This west Texas town is off I-20 and is definitely worth visiting!
Constitution Day is required by Federal law (Public Law 108-447) to be celebrated by all publicly funded educational institutions on September 17th, the day that the Constitutional Convention signed the Constitution in 1787. Before this law was enacted in 2004, the holiday was known as “Citizenship Day”. Now, it’s known as “Constitution Day and Citizenship Day” to be exact, and this holiday also recognizes those who have become U.S. citizens.
Here is a great assortment of activities and links to videos, lesson plans, games, words to rap, a slide show, a timeline, and informational sites:
Download a Constitution Day video to make a DVD for your classroom or school assembly (or show online). Video features kids from elementary school through high school. Great video!
Art Activity: For young students, paint large flags using long horizontal stokes that cross midline and use ab pattern for stripes. For students a little older, do the same but count the 50 stars and 13 stripes as well as pattern and write a sentence or sentences (i.e. This is my flag.) using proper punctuation.
Create a constitution for the class listing the class rules, and have all the students, the teacher and any aides sign it.
Collaborize Classroom: How would you like a free online learning platform for your students that is secure and safe? Collaborize Classroom offers just that! Teachers can extend classroom discussions in a private online community of students. The online platform is safely structured to continue discussions, facilitate online learning groups, and allow students to share resources and engage in collaborative learning.
Watch a Collaborize Classroom Video to see how this happens:
This online collaborative learning provides deeper participation inside and outside the classroom as students are engaged in online discussions, activities, and assignments. Students can share resources and engage in discussions that will result in a richer educational experience.
What’s great is that teachers can set up their Collaborize Classroom site in just minutes. They just need an email address to utilize this free online learning platform that complements classroom discussions and encourages discussion, participation, and engagement. Teachers can also create online lesson plans using free resources. Here are some of the free resources available:
Do’s and Don’ts for Student Forums
Rethinking Your Role
Art of Asking Questions
5 Activities with Collaborize Classroom
The platform is not meant to replace traditional instruction but helps to facilitate learning groups in a safe environment. All of the sites are secure and have a password protected process. The password is known only by teachers, students, and those who are invited to join the site. All information and data is protected and safe!
Collaborize Classroom is free, allowing teachers to accomplish more than they could otherwise, and the free resources are a valuable addition to using this online learning tool. The web-based technology provides endless possibilities for student learning. In my opinion, this is a great way to encourage student engagement, especially those who are shy and don’t talk in class. Most students are online at home anyway using social networking. This platform fits right in with the way they communicate online socially. And with the current economic crisis, the fact that this is free enables any teacher to use this platform.
The National Mining Hall of Fame which is located in Leadville, Colorado, is a museum that educates the public about mining and the history of mining. It commemorates miners and those that work with natural resources. This is a great museum for kids with lots of hands-on exhibits along with lots of interesting history lessons.
We visited this museum while on vacation, and I was surprised how much we enjoyed it. It takes a minimum of an hour to go through it, and I’m sure we spent much longer than that. You get to walk through several old mining replicas that are realistic and fun for kids of all ages. They have a huge rock collection, and those who collect rocks would enjoy this section. The museum is located in an old mining town in an absolutely beautiful part of Colorado and is well worth the drive to get there!
Christopher Columbus and three ships named the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria, are well known and studied by students every year in October in remembrance of Columbus Day. Columbus made four voyages in search of a western route to the Orient and to discover new territories, and it was the first voyage in which the three famous ships sailed the Atlantic. Columbus was not the first European to reach America but was actually second, and he miscalculated the longitude in getting to the Orient. However, he did have beneficial information about the trade winds which greatly helped traveling the Atlantic Ocean, and his travels were the beginning of American colonization.
We visited the Royal Gorge Bridge in Colorado with our teenage son a few years ago, and he was so impressed with the bridge that a couple of years later he chose it for a school project. It is truly an awesome experience to walk across the lengthy bridge, look across towards the majestic mountains, look down into the immense canyon, and then ride the “world’s steepest incline railway” deep down into the canyon and look up at the tiny strand of a bridge that you have just walked across. Pictures do not do it justice! It is one of those “Wow!” experiences.
I wish I had taken pictures throughout all the steps of this project, but time was a factor and I didn’t. Here are some of the few pictures I did take. I am so glad I took these pictures beforehand because his project disappeared from the classroom and we never got it back. It got thrown out with the trash by the janitor along with 20 other projects. Our son received a high grade on this project so at least the teacher did see it!
A large, very sturdy foam (or wood) sheet to form the base for the project
Large empty cereal boxes to form the brown walls on either side of the canyon
Newspapers to make paper mache slopes and texture for the inside of the canyon
Brown craft paint to cover the paper mache slopes
Brown construction paper to cover the outside portions of the cereal boxes that are not in the canyon (and any part of the cereal boxes showing that are not part of the canyon) OR brown paint. We found it easier and quicker to use brown construction paper.
Popsicle sticks to glue together to make the base for the road part of the bridge
Flat toothpicks to make the bridge slats over the top of the Popsicle sticks
Wooden dowel rods and other small wooden pieces from a craft store
Lightweight craft wire to make the cable wires for the bridge
Silver Sharpie Permanent Marker or silver spray paint (for the wooden pieces)
Heavy duty tape such as duct tape
Newspapers to make paper mache
If you have never visited Royal Gorge, then I suggest watching the Online Video to give you a better idea of what the bridge looks like.
Using duct tape or something similar, tape the cereal boxes in place along the two long edges of the thick foam or wooden base. This forms the canyon.
Make paper mache out of newspapers, glue and water. Use paper mache to make the slopes on the inside of the cereal boxes to make the canyon walls.
Paint the paper mache canyon walls and floor of the canyon with brown craft paint.
Paint the outside of the cereal boxes with brown paint or cover with brown construction paper. (we used construction paper)
Use blue craft paint or blue plastic wrap to form the river at the bottom of the canyon.
Depending on what wooden pieces you find at the craft or hobby store, look at the picture of the bridge and use your creativity to use items from the hobby shop to approximate the dimensions to scale in your model. Color the wood with silver to represent the metal parts of the bridge.
Glue the Popsicle sticks end to end and then lay “slats” made from flat toothpicks (cut in half or thirds) across the sticks to form the part of the bridge that cars drive across. (This is very time consuming and you might come up with a different idea.)
Use the craft wire to form the cables on the bridge.
Royal Gorge Bridge, “Building World Landmarks” Series, by Margaret Yuan. Good for ages 7-14. Describes the techniques and difficulties in building the bridge.
America’s Top 10 Bridges by Edward Ricciuti. Good for ages 7-12. The Royal Gorge Bridge is included in the 10.
Credit: Free pictures from acobox.com
The Constitution begins with three famous words, “We the people,” and was signed on September 17, 1787 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It was signed by the Founding Fathers and because of the Constitution, we enjoy many of the rights and freedoms we have today. Here are some interesting facts:
The first national Thanksgiving Day was originally created by George Washington to give thanks for the Constitution.
The U.S. Constitution is the oldest and shortest of all the national constitutions.
Benjamin Franklin was the oldest delegate. He was 81 years old at the time.
When Pearl Harbor was bombed, the Constitution was moved to Fort Knox for safekeeping. Now it is at the National Archives in Washington, D.C.
There have been 27 amendments to the Constitution out of the more than 11,000 that have been introduced in Congress.
A special exhibit called the Tango Alpha Charlie: Texas Aviation Celebration will be at the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum from September 12, 2010, through January 9, 2011. There are educator resources available to go with this exhibit. In the educator’s guide below, there are 11 lessons that tell about the history and science of aviation in Texas. These lessons are aligned with STEAM and TEKS objectives. There is also a student log book available too.
Want to make test time easier for the teacher? Here is a great way with FREE online tests for children’s biographies of U.S. presidents. Students read the easy-to-read biography online and then take the online test. These tests are graded by the computer for free, are also printable, and the grades can be printed out by the teacher. Here are the biographies that have tests available at this time:
Franklin Delano Roosevelt
John F. Kennedy
Teachers will need to log in and register their class so students can take the online tests. Remember there is no cost for anything!
This is a very interesting project! I imagine most people know someone who lived through WWII and have heard stories of what life was like during that period in history. What made this particular project interesting was that the student (actually my son) interviewed several people who lived during this time period. He received first hand information about what life was like and how so many people pulled together for the good of our country, even though they had to ration items and do without some items. Interviewing these people helped make this project come alive for him. We knew someone whose best friend was killed at Pearl Harbor on the USS Arizona. It was such a sad time in history for all those involved!
Another interesting factor was that we had actually been to Pearl Harbor, saw the short movie (which made it seem like we were really there and brought tears to my eyes), went through the museum, and bought memorabilia such as a copy of the newspaper which showed the headline “WAR!”
TIPS FOR THIS PROJECT:
Interview people who lived through WWII and get a first hand account of what it was like.
Get copies of pictures of people who served in the war to add to the project.
Read children’s books about Pearl Harbor. See list below.
CHILDREN’S BOOKS ON PEARL HARBOR:
Pearl Harbor: A Primary Source History by Jacqueline Laks Gorman. Good for ages 8-12.
The Attack on Pearl Harbor (Cornerstones of Freedom Series) by Tom McGowen. Good for ages 9-11.
Attack on Pearl Harbor by Shelley Tanaka. Good for ages 10+.
Air Raid – Pearl Harbor!: The Story of December 7, 1941 by Theodore Taylor. Good for ages 12 and up.
Boyat War: A Novel of Pearl Harbor by Harry Mazer & Triston Elwell. Good for ages 12 and up.
Pearl Harbor: Day of Infamy by Stephanie Fitzgerald. Good for ages 12 and up.
Presidents Day(also Presidents’ Day) is known as Washington’s Birthday and is celebrated in February on the third Monday. The reason the celebration of his birthday was moved to the third Monday in 1971 was to simplify the calendar.
Many people celebrate both Washington and Lincoln’s birthdays or all of the presidents’ birthdays on Presidents Day, but it was originally instituted to celebrate George Washington’s birthday alone. However, it is convenient to celebrate more than one president on that day and most people do that.
CHILDREN’S BOOKS ON PRESIDENTS:
So You Want to Be President? by Judith St. George. (2001 Caldecott Medal Award Winner) Great for ages 8-12.
Our Country’s Presidents: All You Need to Know About the Presidents, from George Washington to Barack Obama by Ann Bausum. Great for ages 9-12.
You’re Kidding! Incredible Facts About the Presidents by Elizabeth Koehler-Pentacoff. Great for ages 8-12.
Don’t Know Much About the Presidents by Kenneth C. Davis.
CHILDREN’S DVD’S & VIDEOS:
Presidents Day DVD ( Holidays for Children DVD Series) by Library Video Company
Presidents 2-DVD Special – Abraham Lincoln and George Washington by Nest Learning System
George Washington was the first president of the United States.
It is not a fact that George Washington chopped down a cherry tree. His biographer, Mason Weems, made this up to illustrate how honest Washington was in dealing with people. It is a fact that Washington was an honest person.
He is known as “The Father of our Country.”
Washington is known for being “First in war, first in peace, first in the hearts of his countrymen.”
Large piece of heavy cardboard or plastic foam for the base
Assortment of cardboard boxes to form the levels of the garden
Heavy-duty tape to tape the boxes together
Modeling clay – white
Acrylic paint – blue & green
Piece of plastic greenery that has many small removable pieces on it
Wire cutter to cut the coat hanger
Make the basic shape of the varying levels with the assorment of boxes that you have.
Tape them together securely with heavy-duty tape
Tape the boxes securely to the base
Cover the entire area of the boxes with white modeling clay
Remove many small pieces of greenery from the large piece. Shorten if necessary. Place in rows in the modeling clay while the clay is still soft, securing with a small mound of clay at the base of each piece of greenery (tree).
Paint the green grass in rows.
Paint the blue waterfall, stream, and pond of water.
Cut the coat hanger to make the irrigation line to take water to the top level. Bend the coat hanger two inches from the end at a 90 angle to make the coat hanger not touch the ground. Do this on both ends of the coat hanger. Secure both ends of the coat hanger to the project with a mound of modeling clay.
Word webs are great to use with kids. I have used them in the regular classroom, with ESL students, and with Gifted & Talented students. Here are some examples of different word webs that you can print. Just click on the highlighted words:
One goal of teaching about Abraham Lincoln should be to “make him come alive,” to help students realize that he was a real person just like they are. Here are some tips on teaching a unit about Lincoln that hopefully will add to the materials you have:
TEACHING ABOUT LINCOLN:
On the Abraham Lincoln Museum site, there is one reproducible page for an Abraham Lincoln Discussion Web that would be great to use in the classroom regardless of visiting the museum. Click on this site for Lincoln and scroll down to page 23. This is a great page for a Discussion Web on Lincoln’s life. I have used Discussion Webs many times, and they are great for students of all ages.
Need a unit on Lincoln? An experienced teacher has a free unit on Abraham Lincoln on her website with printable worksheets and also a biography. These materials are free for teachers and homeschooling parents.
Having an Interest Center in the classroom on Abraham Lincoln would help motivate students to learn about him. The center could contain pictures of the era in which Lincoln lived. Old looking objects could be placed in the center as well as student-level books on Lincoln. Use your imagination and be creative!
Depending on the level of the students, here are some of Lincoln’s accomplishments to discuss with them:
His decision to fight kept the country from coming apart.
He had great foreign policy which kept other countries from getting involved in the Civil War.
He issued the Emancipation Proclamation which freed the slaves.
He strongly supported the Thirteenth Admendment which ended slavery.
He is known for his honesty, leadership, and character.
He gave the House Divided Speech.
He gave the Gettysburg Address.
He is quoted even today due to having many famous quotes known world wide.
Make a log cabin out of Lincoln Logs
Make a log cabin by gluing Popsicle sticks together
Some of your Lincoln books would probably come from the library. Click here to see a list of good kids’ books on Lincoln available on this site.
CHILDREN’S DVD’S & VIDEOS:
Abraham Lincoln: Great Americans for Children Series – DVD by Schlessinger Media
Presidents Day DVD ( Holidays for Children DVD Series) by Library Video Company
Long-term learning for students is one goal of teachers, right? Well, according to the Abraham Lincoln Museum site, museum studies show the following:
The museum experience brings students out of the textbook in an exciting way.
The people in history come alive!
Exposing students to things they can see, hear, and touch greatly increases their long-term learning after being presented with new material in the classroom . Experiencing exhibits and artifacts reinforces what was learned.
The social experience that occurs on a field trip greatly increases the learning that happens in the museum.
The exhibits appeal to the many different learning styles of students, and they also appeal to all ages. (I can testify to that!)
The powerful stories told by the exhibits and artifacts help the students to remember their experience for a long time.
A talented teacher friend of mine has written children’s biographies about several presidents, including Barack Obama, which are available online for teachers and homeschooling parentsat no charge. She also has these printable worksheets on Barack Obama, as well as the other presidents, available online which are also free for teachers:
Online Jigsaw Puzzle
Online Crossword Puzzle
Online Word Scramble
Online Word Search
Online Color Picture
Again, all of her materials are free for teachers and homeschooling parents. If anyone wants to use them for commercial purposes, they need to contact her. Be sure and visit her site. She has a lot of great, free material!
OTHER CHILDREN’S BOOKS:
Barack Obama: Our 44th President by Beatrice Gormley. Great for ages 8-12.
Austin, the capital of Texas, is home to the fairly new Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum. The building is impressive on the outside and inside, being three stories tall. It contains interactive exhibits, an IMAX Theater, and a great Cafe for meals and snacks. We thoroughly enjoyed the exhibits and theater and eating in the Cafe. This is a museum we definitely recommend. They have great resources as well for teachers and home schooling parents. There are links to these resources below:
The National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame, located in Fort Worth, Texas, is one of the museums we have visited. It’s a fairly new museum that is architecturally beautiful. It is very informative and lets visitors see, hear, and experience what life was like back in the early days of cowboys and cowgirls. I definitely recommend this museum.
Cowboys and cowgirls are part of our national history, an important part in teaching Texas history. What better way to make that history come alive than to plan an educational trip as part of a vacation. That’s something that our family has done on many occasions and has greatly enjoyed!
Springfield, Illinois, is the home of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, a great educational travel destination. Our whole family, grandma included, took this educational trip together, and we all loved it. This state-of-the-art museum is truly fascinating, makes history come alive, and reveals Lincoln’s life in an unforgettable way. Be sure to allow plenty of time to tour the entire museum! (There are other things to do in Springfield, too, such as touring the famous Frank Lloyd Wright Dana-Thomas House which is amazing. Also, the old “Route 66” goes through Springfield and there are all sorts of relic eating places and memorabilia.)
What better way to make history come alive than to travel to learn at a place like the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame in Waco, Texas. Our family visited the museum on our vacation and really enjoyed it. The museum gave the history of the Texas Rangers along with artifacts, and it also memorialized 30 Texas Rangers who served with great distinction. The movie about the history of the Rangers made it even more real. It is truly a museum worth visiting!