One activity I have my students do annually is make a poster about what events happened in history on their birthday. It makes history “come alive” a bit more for them, and often prompts a desire to learn more about a particular topic.
There are quite a few of these kinds of “Today In History” sites out there. However, I don’t think most of them are particularly good.
Four of them stand-out. In order to make it on this “The Best…” list they have to:
* Provide information about multiple historical events that occurred on that day.
* Offer easy access to learn more information about some of the events.
* Be accessible to English Language Learners.
* Provide some multi-media resources.
Here are my picks for The Best “Today In History” Sites:
Number three is The New York Times: On This Day website. It has a nice front page listing many events, and offers additional information, and images, for a few of them.
Number two is the BBC’s On This Day. This is an excellent site that offers many of the same advantages of Encarta. It’s primary advantage over that resource is that the BBC offers more online videos if you want more information about events. It also has the same disadvantage — they both need to “lighten-up” a bit.
And now, for my pick for number one Best “Today In History” site is…. The History Channel: This Day In History. It covers many different kinds of events — serious and not-so-serious. And it offers accessible sources of additional information, including videos.
You can also find other sites that didn’t make this list on my website under This Day In History.
I’m adding the Library of Congress’ Jump Back In Time feature to this list.
I’m also adding the Associated Press’ Today In History site to this list. It doesn’t have much information about each event, but it does provide a link to a nice online video about the most important ones. Here’s another source to find the videos.
Critical Past is a new site that has 57,000 “historic” videos from 1893 to the 1990′s — many of them appear to be old newsreels. It seems to be designed to sell them for download, but anyone can view them online for free. It has a very nice search feature, and a neat and easy way to find out what happened on any date in history.
Nikon has created a pretty neat site called “Feel This Day.” It’s a nice multimedia interactive showing what events have happened on each day in history. Unfortunately, though, it seems to just show what happens on the day you access the site — I don’t see anyway to access other days from throughout the year. If you can figure out that there is such a way, please let me know.
This Week In History is a weekly feature from The English Club.
ABC News has a nice “Today In History” daily video where they feature an important event in history. However, it doesn’t appear that you can access all of them — only events that occurred on any day of the month you’re currently in. So that doesn’t let students find events, for example, that happened on their birthday. However, it’s still a nice resource.
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