Here’s the latest end-of-the-year “Best” list….

You might also be interested in:

The Best Social Studies Sites Of 2012 — Part One

The Best Social Studies Sites Of 2011

The Best Social Studies Websites — 2010

The Best Social Studies Websites — 2009

The Best Social Studies Websites — 2008

The Best Social Studies Websites — 2007

Here are my choices for The Best Social Studies Sites Of 2012 — So Far:

Peek is a travel planning site that has announced a feature call “Create Your Perfect Day.”  After registering, which takes seconds, you pick a city or area you’d like to visit. Then, start picking places in that area you’d like to spending time in. Images of the places are automatically shown, you can pick one of them, and then write why you picked it.

The Guardian has published an excellent online “graphic novel” reviewing the 2012 Presidential election. For English Language Learners especially, I don’t think there’s anything better out there on the election.

The American Family Through Time is a fascinating interactive “board game” that takes you through each census since the founding of the United States and shows you key results from that era.

I’ve previously posted about a Robert Krulwich NPR column, “Let’s Play History As A List” and how I’ve applied it in my Social Studies classes. Simply put, students list a few words, along with their rationale, to describe an historical era. Melody Sheep produced an excellent video, Our Story in 1 Minute, which makes me think that a version of “history as a list” could be adapted for video, too. Obviously, a student-produce video wouldn’t be as slick as this one, but it could be used as a model. What do you think?

The Victorians: Learn to work like a historian is a new site from The National Archives of the United Kingdom. With a very accessible video guide, you….work like a historian investigating multiple artifacts and take notes in an online notebook. You can then save or print-out your notes.  I was particularly impress by its simple, yet sophisticated, instructional guidelines, which can be easily used away from the site on just about any photo or artifact — historical or not — as a tool for higher-order thinking.  The site uses the acronym “LACE”:





In other words, it goes something like this:

Look: Describe what you see

Ask: What questions do you need to ask, and answer to make sense of what you have seen?

Conclude: What do the things you have discovered from this source tell about what it was like to be…….

Expand: What more would you like to know? How can you find out?

Manifest Destiny – The Story of The US Told in 141 Maps is an impressive interactive that does exactly what the title says….

Using Photographs to Teach Social Justice is an excellent twelve lesson resource from Teaching Tolerance.  The series is particularly suited to United States History classes, and would be accessible to mainstream and English Language Learners. I would have definitely used them last year when I was teaching United States History to ELL’s, and will adapt a couple this year for my ELL Geography class.  Though I am completely supportive of the intent and message of the lessons, I’ll probably be making some minor adjustments to them to make some of the questions a bit more subtle.

The History of Human-Powered Flight is an impressive interactive timeline from NPR.

The Google Cultural Institute has multimedia online exhibits on a variety of historical topics, including apartheid in South Africa and the Holocaust.  It’s really quite an impressive site. Many of its presentations belong in individual “The Best” lists on various topics but, for now, it’s safe to say that the entire site is one of the best Social Studies sites of the year.

The New World is an interactive from The New York Times. Here is how it describes itself:

…we appear on the brink of yet another nation-state baby boom. This time, the new countries will not be the product of a single political change or conflict, as was the post-Soviet proliferation, nor will they be confined to a specific region. If anything, they are linked by a single, undeniable fact: history chews up borders with the same purposeless determination that geology does, as seaside villas slide off eroding coastal cliffs. Here is a map of what could possibly be the world’s newest international borders.

Every minute of network news video — including national broadcast networks, cable networks, and local news affiliates — recorded since 2009 will be available online at the Internet Archive and will be searchable by text.  If that seems unimaginable, and it does seem like that to me, read about it at The New York Times, All the TV News Since 2009, on One Web Site.

Beyond The Bubble is a project of Stanford and the Library of Congress that I just learned about from Gail Desler. It has a small collection of very good assessments that can be used in teaching history that you can print out and use with students, along with a rubric and student sample responses. You can register for it, but, though I might be missing something, I didn’t see any benefit to registration — it appears the same resources are available whether you log-in or not.

As it is now, it’s nice place to keep in mind for a few assessments that might work for a few units history educators might be teaching. It’s more important value, though, is as a model for simple assessments that teachers can create for their own classes that are directly connected to the content they’re teaching. However, it seems to me that if Beyond The Bubble really wants to have a substantial impact on teaching history in the U.S. and in the world (and even in other subjects as well), it will need to create a tool including a template/guide for teachers to be able to access the Library of Congress materials and create their own assessments that they can use and share on the site — as well as being able to be evaluated by other users.

The New York Times has published an interactive A History Of New York In 50 Objects that they modeled on the BBC’s famous A History of The World in 100 Objects.

The Global Closet Calculator is an interactive from National Geographic that lets students research where their clothes are made and consider its implications. The site includes videos with a transcript.

Feedback is welcome.

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