I thought for this post I would share some of my favorite Social Studies sites. I have TONS of suggestions but I don’t want to spill all my secrets now. I also don’t want to break the internet. So I will keep this a cliff-hanger/To Be Continued post! I think most of us are already familiar with Brain Pop, Flocabulary, and Discovery Education and I use those regularly. Most of my blog posts contain suggestions for websites so if you ever need more just feel free to search around!
Let’s get into these 6 hidden gems that you might not be as familiar with! Some may require signing up for an account but they are all FREE! You are welcome times two;)!! Click each computer to go to the site in a new tab and bookmark them to explore later.
1) If you take the word America and put it together with INFO, what do you get? AMERIFO! I came across this awesome site via my assistant Pinterest when I was looking for images of landmarks. I used images from the site for my iSPY U.S. Landmarks sets. Click on the picture to check it out!
Teacherpreneur tip=images and content of this site are public domain. WIN! Great site for students to use for research. Hmmm…I smell a web quest coming on;)!
2) Another site with a plethora of just facts, facts, facts is Eyewitness History. What is great is that the site contains primary sources and first person accounts! There are also video clips and sound recordings for American History and World History. Lots of literacy standards that could be taught using this site. This would be great practice for paraphrasing and summarizing. Nothing makes me more frustrated than when kids copy directly from the internet! And then think I’m not gonna notice. Let them use sticky notes to record main ideas and connections while they read the articles and then you know they didn’t copy! We used The Battle of Little Big Horn article as part of a station activity last year. These are also perfect as companion pieces to an informational text for a paired passage activity. What about the using an article as an introduction to bias within first-hand accounts? There are ads so you might want to give students a link directly to an article, etc.
3) How about making history more engaging by sending your kids on a mission with Mission U.S. History? Students get to time travel back to The Underground Railroad as a slave trying to escape, Colonial America as a young boy deciding whether to be a Loyalist or Patriot, Life on the Plains as a member of the Cheyenne nation, or as A a Russian boy entering America through Ellis Island. I would follow up these games with a written response explaining the choices they made as they were playing. This would be great for applying those higher level critical thinking skills along with literacy.
4) Remember the movie National Treasure when America’s founding documents were in danger? Well, the real place they are stored is still there and in good shape and it is called the National Archives. They maintain a pretty cool website along with the important task of safe-keeping our national treasures. This is one of those all-encompassing sites that is so overflowing with stuff you may miss something. You probably know that each president has a library in his home state. Guess what? This being the digital age and all many of the libraries have some really helpful sites. Coolest thing ever has to be the FDR Library! There is a virtual tour of the FDR museum, activities for kids, and a Day by Day Calendar of his entire presidency!!! You can see his secretary’s notes and the transcriptions for every single day. I love pulling up December 7, 1941 and have the kids make observations about the events.
5) Are you looking for primary sources? Do you know what they are but need help with what to do with them? Well, Docs Teach solves both of those problems! It is a site that is part of the National Archives just for teachers! The National Archives site alone would be cool for kiddos but if you are looking for lesson plans and activity ideas use Docs Teach. It also analyzes the activities using Bloom’s Taxonomy, which is really helpful when you are trying to differentiate instruction. Here is an example of a search query. I looked up Constitution and this activity is one thing I found. They also have a great iPad app.
6) Are you still looking for primary sources?? I’ve got another place for you to peruse resources! The Library of Congress site is very extensive! You do not need to ever just do a random Google search for primary sources because these sites have already made it fool-proof.
I hope these six super awesome Social Studies sites will be helpful! I would love to hear about how you used one of them! Bonus points if you use more than one!