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 ” In History” sites out there. However, I don’t think most of them are particularly good.

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.

Also, check out: The Best Sites Where You Can Find Cool Things That Happened On Your Birthday

Here are my picks for The Best ” 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 ” 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.

I’m also adding the Associated Press’ 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.

This Week In History is a weekly feature from The English Club.

The OED birthday word generator: which words originated in your birth year? is an interactive from the Oxford English Dictionary that does what its title says. Just because I don’t have any other place to put it, I’m adding it here.

The World History Project has a nice “What Happened On” site.

The New York Times has unveiled a “Time Machine” feature that lets you read online what appears to be most (or, at least, many) pages of every edition they’ve published. Plus, you can print out PDF’s of the articles — at least, for the ones on the front page.

Unfortunately, it says you have to be a home or digital subscriber to The Times in order to access the feature. I wonder if they might ever make an exception for schools?

Playback FM lets you find the number one song on the day you were born (thanks to Vox for the tip).

The BBC has a weekly series of videos they call This Week In History. You can see their regularly updated YouTube playlist here.

And here’s an example:

The British newspaper, The Telegraph, has begun what appears to be a weekly series of videos called Telegraph Time Tunnel. They are publishing two minute videos with images and simple text reviewing major events that occurred that same week sometime within the past one hundred years. It’s not as complete as the other resources on this list, but could still be useful.

The Atlantic’s New “Life Timeline” Could Be An Engaging Social Studies Tool

National Geographic has a nice “This Day In History” feature. It shows an image, along with an accessible short narrative description of the event. What makes it stands-out, though, from other sites on The Best “Today In History” Sites list is that it also provides “tags” that lead you to related educational resources and lesson plans.

The Library in Congress used to have a nice “Jump Back In Time” site to see what happened on various days in history, but they deleted it awhile back. However, their newer Today In History site is pretty good, too. Even better, it provides audio support for the text. It just features one event each day, but it also provides links to other related resources.

The Zinn Education Project is a great resource, and has been on The Best Teacher Resource Sites For Social Justice Issues list it began. They unveiled a redesign and expansion of their website, and it looks great! One of the new features I’m most excited about is a complete and searchable “Today In History” page.

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