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Selecting Great Internet Lesson Plans

There are two primary approaches to finding resources on the Internet General Searches and Site-specific Searches, and in both cases, finding quality resources is the goal.

GENERAL SEARCH

With any search engine like Goggle or MSN, you can conduct detailed searches by using quotes and AND. As an example, if you insert “The Great Depression” AND “lesson plan” you will generate over 1400 websites (“Hits”) of varying quality (see selection criteria below). It is then, largely a matter of sifting through each site and assessing its quality and fit with your Big Idea and Standards. Because it is a general search (as opposed to a site-specific search), you have the additional burden of evaluating its Source (that is who published it) in order to determine its quality (things like accuracy of information, appropriateness of content and pedagogy, etc.). The U. S. Government, state agencies, national and state professional teacher organizations, textbook publishers, school districts and universities, and non profit organizations offer a degree of credibility, quality and durability that teachers can usually rely on because the lesson plan has typically undergone peer review (review by experts to insure quality). For this reason it is often wiser to conduct site-specific searches (see next). Commercial websites such as Teacherworld and personal websites (a teacher who created some materials and posted it on the web) sometimes offer many fine materials and lesson plans but these resources may not have undergone any third party review and thus they cannot be assumed to have the same level of credibility.

      

SITE-SPECIFIC SEARCH

Site-specific searches include the kinds of sites listed below for use in this course. The most comprehensive general website for Internet resources for all subject fields in elementary education is GEM (The Gateway to Educational Materials). It is a U. S. government sponsored website for both lesson plans and materials that you can use with your internet lesson.

Selection Criteria

For all Internet lesson plans, there are a number of indicators (other than the credibility of the source) of a well developed plan that you should consider as you select your lesson plan.

    1. Standards. Is the plan tied to national or state standards?
    2. Instructional Sequence. Is there a clear and detailed explanation of the sequence of the instruction?
    3. Rigor. Does the plan challenge the students with tasks and activities that require critical thinking and self-discipline?
    4. Creativity. Does the plan creatively engage the students with:
      1. opportunities to further develop of basic skills
      2. a variety of strategies, and
      3. meaningful, grade appropriate content.
    5. Resources. Are there resources, such as well crafted handouts or links to other high quality websites?
    6. Evaluation. Is their an evaluation component?

The extent to which something on the Internet that is called a lesson plan actually is a lesson plan - rather than an activity - is based largely on how many of the above 6 components are found in the plan. The extent to which an activity, Internet lesson plan, or task is effective in helping you teach your students depends on the quality of the components.

Websites

National Organizations

National Center for History in the Schools http://www.sscnet.ucla.edu/nchs/ The Organization of American Historians http://www.oah.org/
http://www.historians.org/
http://www.garlandind.com/nche/
Publisher of the quarterly journal The History Teacher http://www.csulb.edu/~histeach/
http://www.georgetown.edu/crossroads/asainfo.html

Videos: Learner.org

16. Explorations in Archeology and History
Gwen Larsen teaches sixth–grade social studies at Harbor School in Boston, Massachusetts. In her introductory lesson, Ms. Larsen guides students through an exploration of their family histories, leading to their place in the larger human family and the development of civilizations. Ms. Larsen’s students work in groups to differentiate between fossils and artifacts. The lesson concludes with student presentations of their own family heirlooms. http://www.learner.org/resources/series166.html

VOD17. Exploring Geography Through African History
Lisa Farrow is a seventh–grade world cultures teacher at Shiloh Middle School in a suburb of Baltimore, Maryland. Ms. Farrow's lesson provides her students with an understanding of African history and geography. After creating a personal timeline, the students create a historical timeline of Africa, focusing on the Bantu migrations, the rise of Islam, the West African trading empires, the Turkish empire, the slave trade, and European colonialism. Students take an active role in group work as they create maps and captions that define each period. Ms. Farrow concentrates on the importance of the trading empires and their connection to Africa's history as a whole. http://www.learner.org/resources/series166.html

19. Population and Resource Distribution
Becky Forristal teaches seventh–grade economics at Rockwood Valley Middle School, 20 miles outside St. Louis, Missouri. Her lesson focuses on a population simulation that explores world economics, demonstrating the inequalities in land, food, energy, and wealth distribution in the world today. Using a global map on the classroom floor, students are able to visualize how resources are distributed in both wealthy and under–developed nations of the world.

21. The Middle East Conflict
Justin Zimmerman is a sixth-grade teacher at Magnolia School in Joppa, Maryland, about 30 miles north of Baltimore. Mr. Zimmerman explores the claims to land in the Middle East from three major religions — Islam, Christianity, and Judaism. After learning about the geography of the area, the students begin to explore the region’s political unrest and discuss the controversy over control of the land of Israel. Through this lesson, the students begin to make connections that relate their own lives to the political and religious struggle.

Content Sources

Digital History has one of the most most extensive and easily navigable collections on American History. It includes biorgaphies of all major American historical figures, timelines, maps, multimedia lectures, primary doucments, flash movies, games, etc. http://www.digitalhistory.uh.edu/

An multimedia overview of American History http://www.digitalhistory.uh.edu/multimedia.cfm

American History Content by Eras with a summary, extensive background content knowlege for the teacher, primary documents, maps, images, fact sheets, and more by each Era. http://www.digitalhistory.uh.edu/modules/index.cfm

The History Channel Video Library has streaming video for a teacher to learn about events, watch famous speeches, etc. http://www.history.com/media.do

Birography of America provides debates and lectures that encourage critical analysis of the forces that have shaped America. First-person narratives, photos, film footage, and documents reveal the human side of American history.
26 sepearate video segments starting with New World Encounters will privide background information shaped by renouned historians. http://www.learner.org/resources/series123.html

World Wide Virtual Library U.S. History is an extensive collection of links to Amiecan history http://vlib.iue.it/history/USA/

Gateway to American Historical Sites http://www.cr.nps.gov/colherit.htm

Gateway to the U. S. Presidents http://www.whitehouse.gov/history/presidents/

Gateway to U.S. Documents http://www.law.ou.edu/hist/

American Cultural History http://kclibrary.nhmccd.edu/decades.html

U. S. Senate History http://www.senate.gov/
pagelayout/art/a_three_sections_with_teasers/art_hist_home.htm

U. S. House of Representatives http://www.house.gov/house/Educate.shtml

U. S. Supreme Court http://www.supremecourthistory.org/

U. S. Military History http://www.kwanah.com/vl/military.html

Songs to Learn History http://www.songsforteaching.com/socialstudiessongs.htm

Historical Maps http://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/map_sites/hist_sites.html

Links to Over 200 Timelines http://www2.canisius.edu/~emeryg/time.html

Library of Congress  http://www.loc.gov/

National Archives http://www.archives.gov/digital_classroom

Images from American History http://teachpol.tcnj.edu/amer_pol_hist/_browse.htm  

Internet Lessons or Activities

The Gateway to Educational Materials select The Gateway to Educational Materials BROWSE Option. Click on SHOW next to subject, click on SOCIAL STUDIES , use the SEARCH box or scroll down and use by GRADE LEVEL or KEYWORDS to search for a lesson plan on the topic you decided to cover in your lesson.

The National Endowment for the Humanities has a large number of Internet lesson plans that can be used to teach government, history, geography and economics at the elementary school level and can be used as a source for your Internet Lesson.

MarcoPolo has a large number of Internet lesson plans that can be used to teach government, history, geography and economics at the elementary school level and can be used as a source for your Internet Lesson.

Core Knowledge Lesson Plans has history, Geography and Humanities Internet Lesson Plans.

National Geographic Lesson Plans

The American Heritage Education Foundation

The National Council for the Social Studies is a great source of information on teaching social studies at all grade levels.  If you join, you will receive the periodical Social Studies and the Young Learner.

Classroom Materials

Graphic Organizers at http://www.graphic.org/goindex.html

ERIC ONLINE Documents

ED476500 The Best of Both Worlds: Blending History and Geography in the K-12 Curriculum. (2003),

ED466427 Teaching with Documents

Ed478459 Teaching with Broadsides

 

Site
Resources

History Home Page

Geography Home Page

Sunshine State Standards- History

History Web Resources

History Assignments


Sample History Textbook Content


History Perspectives

History's Frameworks

Hazards of History


Standards
Content

Era 1
Era 2
Era 3
Era 4
Era 5
Era 6
Era 7

Era 8
Era 9

Era 10

Thinking

Standard 1: Chronological Thinking

Standard 2: Historical Comprehension

Standard 3: Historical Analysis and Interpretation

Standard 4: Historical Research Capabilities

Standard 5: Historical Issues-Analysis and Decision-Making


NCSS Recourse

The NCSS Themes of Social Studies

The NCSS Democratic Beliefs and Values

The NCSS Essentials of Social Studies Education