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Scholastic’s The First Thanksgiving

What it is: Scholastic has amazing resources all year long but the interactive on The First Thanksgiving is topnotch!  Students learn about how the Pilgrims reached America, and what daily life was before the First Thanksgiving.  Students can take a tour of the Mayflower, take the virtual journey to America, compare and contrast modern life with when the Pilgrims lived (housing, clothes, food, chores, school, games), and the Thanksgiving feast.  There is a great slideshow and play a webquest feature where kids can learn more about the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag and the famous harvest feast.  The site includes audio for every page and activity.  This is great for younger students. How to integrate Scholastic’s The First Thanksgiving into the classroom: The First Thanksgiving is a collection of great activities for students to learn about Thanksgiving and the Pilgrims.  Students can use this site independently as young as first grade because of the audio features on The First Thanksgiving.  The site can be used as a center activity that a few students can explore together, independently in the computer lab setting, or as a whole class with a projector or interactive whiteboard.  The webquest at the end of the activity checks for student understanding with a quiz.  Increase students participation further with some The First Thanksgiving bonus features and extras.  Print out a Thanksgiving Readers theater, door signs, a fact hunt, a vocabulary quiz, and some letters from historical figures.  There are also research and historical fiction journals that students can continue learning with.  These range from a Plymoth Colony research starter to Our America: Colonial period. Tips: Check out Scholastic’s Teaching resources for The First Thanksgiving as well as the literature connections that are available. Leave a comment and share how you are using The First Thanksgiving  in your classroom.

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512 Paths to the White House Interactive Infographic for the Election #election2012

Posted by admin | Posted in Analyze, Evaluate, Geography, Government, Interactive Whiteboard, Math, Middle/High School, Secondary Elementary, Social Studies, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), Websites | Posted on 05-11-2012

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What it is: Tomorrow is Election day!  I couldn’t be more excited to see an end to the obnoxious political ads. Living in a swing state means that EVERY commercial I see is a political ad. At this point, all I have been convinced of is that the world may in fact be ending…the choices here are dire. One thing I am now passionate about: campaign reform. I digress.

512 Paths to the White House is a super cool interactive feature on the New York Times website.  Students can test out selecting a winner for the swing states and see the paths to victory available to either candidate.  Students can also mouse over the infographic and see what happens in the breakdown of each option.  According to the infographic, there are 5 paths to a tie.

How to integrate 512 Paths to the White House into the classroom: This really is a cool infographic to explore before the election.  Students can explore this infographic on classroom computers as an Election Day discovery center, as a class on an interactive whiteboard or projector-connected computer, or individually on computers.

This site makes a wonderful opening to discussion about the electoral college, the election process for the US, and why the swing states determine the outcome of the election.  At the bottom of the page, there are some specific scenarios for students to explore.  These scenarios also open up great conversations about economies in different states, beliefs of each party, political advertising, liberal vs. conservative states, etc.

In the secondary math class, students can explore probability, statistics and unpack the data offered here.  It is pretty interesting to see the paths each candidate has to winning based on who wins each battleground state.

Tips: Follow up on Wednesday, November 7th with how accurate the 512 Paths to the White House was.  Students can use this tool as they watch the election to predict who the winner will be.

Leave a comment and tell us how you are using  512 Paths to the White House in your classroom.

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Comments (2)

Dear Mrs. Tenkely,
I think that is a great learning tool. I would have loved to predict the swing states if I would have known about it. Hopefully, I will be teaching in the next election and can use that in my classroom. I bet the ads become so annoying because we are not even a swing state and they drove me crazy!

Hi! My name is Brittany Leavitt, and I am a student in EDM310 at the University of South Alabama. I was assigned to your blog through this class to read and comment on. I have never been very interested in politics myself, but I find this blog post extremely informative. I loved the infographic, and the different ways that you thought to use it in the classroom. Thanks for sharing! Hopefully, as a secondary educator in history, I can use this and similar things to get my students involved in elections and politics! Thanks for sharing!

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