I usually just do a year-end list of The Best Social Studies Sites and many other topics, but it gets a little crazy having to review all of my zillion posts at once. So, to make it easier for me — and perhaps, to make it a little more useful to readers — I’m going to start publishing mid-year lists, too. These won’t be ranked, unlike my year-end “The Best…” lists, and just because a site appears on a mid-year list doesn’t guarantee it will be included in an end-of-the-year one. But, at least, I won’t have to review all my year’s posts in December…
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Here are my choices for The Best Social Studies Sites Of 2011 — So Far:
“Democracy Kids” is a nice series of interactives designed to teach young people about how the United States government operates. It provides audio support for the text, which makes it particularly accessible to English Language Learners. It’s sponsored by several respected civic organizations, including the National Conference of State Legislatures.
I’ve previously highlighted Glencoe’s online videos for social studies, but have now discovered that offer many more free resources to support all their social studies textbooks. They’re useful even if you don’t use their books, though, and they’re freely available. You can start off at their main Social Studies site or at their main site for all their textbooks. From there, it’s easy to navigate to their U.S. History, World History and Geography books. They all have links to videos, “in-motion animations” like this one, interactive maps like this (I especially like these maps because they offer audio support for the text), and different games (I especially like their categorization activities).
Google has created a gallery where you can visit historic areas around the world using its Street View feature.
Many teachers are familiar with the Newseum’s collection of daily newspaper frontpages from thoughout the world. Some of their resources are on The Best Tools To Help Develop Global Media Literacy list. They’ve just launched a new project — the Newseum Digital Classroom. They’re still in “closed beta,” so you have to request a registration key. Even without the key, though, you can check out a lot of their preview resources.
A History of Poverty is an animated world map showing where poverty (and prosperity) have been most present over the past two hundred years. You can narrow it down by continent or county, too. It’s from the Christian Aid charity.
The San Francisco Chronicle has published newly discovered color photos documenting the destruction of the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake. These are not manually tinted ones — they are one of the earliest actual color photographs. You can see s slideshow of the photos here, and read an article about them here.
The CNN Freedom Project: Ending Modern Day Slavery” is an excellent multimedia resource on human trafficking.
First Person American is a neat website that has multimedia recounting the travels of modern immigrants to the United States. In addition, if you are somehow connected to an immigrant, but aren’t one yourself, you can share cultural-related memories.
The Daily What: News For Schools In Scotland provides very well-written and accessible articles about world-wide events, and, in addition, provides interactives (such as quizzes) for each one (look for the red question mark on the right column to find the interactives). The articles have both shorter and longer versions available. The site has a lot of other features, but those are only accessible to Scottish teachers and students.
“Birth Year Inflation” is a neat interactive from BillShrink that lets you type in the year of your birth (or any year), see what a number of items cost then, and compares it to their cost now.
Newspaper Map shows you the front pages of newspapers from around the world, displayed on a Google Map. If it just stopped at that, it wouldn’t be much different from the well-known Newseum display of the same thing. But it doesn’t stop there. Unlike the Newseum, Newspaper Map lets you click on the front page to gain access to the entire newspaper. And, even better, with one quick click, you can choose the language you want the paper translated into. It’s very simple and easy to access.
There’s a great new site filled with materials to support U.S. Citizenship teachers. It’s called….U.S. Citizenship Teachers.
“If It Were My Home” is a neat interactive that compares the standard of living in the United States to any other country of your choice. The site also has some other neat features.
“1001 Wonders” is an amazing site sharing panoramic photos from United Nations’ World Heritage Sites around the world.
Products Of Slavery is an impressive online visualization of products throughout the world created through using child or forced labor.
ViewChange.Org has some pretty amazing short videos from around the world. This is how it describes itself: Using the power of video to tell stories about real people and progress in global development. Believe me, that doesn’t even begin to tell you what’s there.
The UN Food Programme has a simple quiz on world hunger on its website. What makes it stand-out, though, is what happens if you take it: “For every person who takes this short hunger quiz, a child will receive a warm meal thanks to an anonymous donor to WFP.”
An organization of educators and survivors’ families known as the 4 Action Initiative has released a free 236-page guide to teaching September 11.
You can read a nice description about it here, and access the entire curriculum here.
Feedback is welcome.