Social Studies Links to Enrich Your Curriculum
You can have access to primary sources for your social studies classroom
that were undreamed of by previous generations of teachers. All you
need is a computer and an internet connection.
But where should you look? What is a good source? How will you
use it? Is the website for your use or for your students? When the
students use it, what will they do with it?
There are several identifiable types of web resources for social
Uses range from printing a document to share with your class, to putting
the students online to examine websites themselves.
- Historical documents are being catalogued and made available
on-line at a phenomenal rate.
- Geographical information spans the globe, from major tourist
sites to out-of-the-way small towns that want to be on the internet
- Economic data and insight is provided by both governmental and
- Government at all levels is providing access to their deliberations
for a global constituency.
- Best of all, teachers are creating lessons using internet resources
and sharing them with others.
If you plan to set up learning stations in your classroom, web
resources printed from the web can be useful. When studying the
Cherokee and the Trail of Tears, I printed a half dozen of the best
resources, combined this with some of the books available, and sent
pairs of students to these 'learning centers' posted around the
room to gather data about the event and the history of the Cherokee.
This discovery method worked much better than passive learning,
and the students stayed engaged better than with a lecture.
You could just print out the url (web address) of each site you
want your students to use. This invites frustration, as they mis-type
the addresses, but it's good experience for them.
Or, you could put the links you want on a web page so that they
can simply point and click to access. If you don't wish to do this
yourself, find a high school student who does web pages, and ask
for a simple page with links. Doing it yourself isn't difficult
if you have Microsoft Word, or any of the simple web page programs.
If your school district has a website, ask the person who manages
it to link your page (lesson) from there. Then you can have access
any time you wish. If not, put the page on a disk, or multiple disks,
and have students use the disk to access your page when they go
on the internet.
Is the additional time spent searching for websites and creating
access for your students worth it? Most certainly if you want to
get out of the text and out of the lecture mode. Besides, others
have done much of the searching and have already created lessons
that are readily available to you. Check out some of these links
for a head start. Then share what you find with others on the New
has lesson plans
Studies Resources from the Crossroads Project at Georgetown
Discovery Channel School
National Archives and Records Administration
Social Studies Resources
The New Deal Network
The History Net
Studies Web Site for K-12 Teachers from Dennis Boals
Studies School Service
WWW Virtual Library
The History Index
and Resources for Social Studies Teachers from csun.edu
NCSS The National Council for
the Social Studies
Plans from EdSitement
and Resources for Teachers from Paul Hewitt