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Liberty Kids

What it is: Liberty Kids teaches about Colonial life in America through a variety of educational activities.  Students can explore the animated “Now and Then” segments which compare and contrast various lifestyles, cultural, technological, and health issues from the Revolutionary War period and life in the 21st century.  The Liberty News Maker lets students create newspapers that include headlines, stories, and pictures.  Students can engage in games and activities that allow them to discover important information about how the United States was founded.  The Revolution Archive allows students to learn more about historical figures of the Revolution.  Here students will find artists renderings and historical facts about important people, places, and events from the time period.  The site also includes a great teacher section that includes ideas for making the Colonial period relevant to your students, on and off line activities for students to complete, and scripts for short plays that students can perform where they will hear the voices of slaves and free men, American Indians, women, and a poor immigrant. How to integrate Liberty Kids into the classroom: My 5th grade students LOVE Liberty Kids.  They especially enjoy watching the “Now and Then” video clips together as a class.  (In fact, their homeroom teacher has started using these clips as a reward in her classroom.)  This site bring history to a kid level and helps them understand history as it relates to them.  Students get a great view of what life was like during the Revolutionary War as well as learn about key events, people, and places of the Colonial period.  Use the play scripts to connect your students to the lesser known voices during the Revolutionary War.  Let them explore the site individually on classroom computers or explore as a class with an interactive whiteboard or with a projector.  The animated video clips and Revolution Archive can be used with the whole class but the games are best for students to play individually on their own computer.  After students have a good understanding of Colonial Life, they can create and print out a newspaper cover that they create. Tips: There are some CBS advertisements on this site that will be very appealing to students. Make sure that they know which portions of the site are advertisements and which are part of the Liberty Kids website.  This is a great opportunity to teach students about how to spot an advertisement and why websites use advertising. Leave a comment and share how you are using Liberty Kids  in your classroom.

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If It Were My Home: Compare Countries Visually

Posted by admin | Posted in Analyze, Anastasis Academy, Evaluate, Foreign Language, Geography, Government, Interactive Whiteboard, Knowledge (remember), Language Arts, Math, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Social Studies, Understand (describe, explain), Websites | Posted on 11-02-2013

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What it is: We are just heading into a new inquiry block at Anastasis Academy.  The kids are exploring world communities and our interdependence on each other.  If it Were My Home is a fascinating website that asks students to consider what their life would be like if they were born in a different country.  Would they be the same person?  If it Were My Home is a country comparison tool where students can compare living conditions in their own country to those of another.  When students select a country, there is a visual overlay comparison of maps.  Students can easily visualize relative size of another country based on their own state or country.  Students will also see a break down of death rates, HIV/AIDS, birth rate, electricity availability, oil consumption, economic comparison, health care, and class divide.  Students have the ability to compare the country they selected with another country of interest.  Students can learn additional information about the country and vote to show if they would rather live in the chosen country.  Additionally, most countries offer a recommended reading list with books about the selected country.  When students click on the mini-facts, they get a full description of the fact along with the original source.  SO stinking cool!

How to integrate If it Were My Home into the classroom: If it Were My Home is an outstanding way for students to visualize and compare other countries to their own.  I love that this site helps students with geography, but also reveals that there is a real world community that is interdependent and diverse.  This site helps students recognize the unique place they are in the world and how it relates to other countries.  I love the added awareness of human rights and social justice issues that this site encourages.  In our inquiry unit, we are looking at what the facts listed on the site mean about the government, belief systems, human rights, equality, social justice and landscape of the countries they represent.

This is a site that can be used to help students ask bigger questions.  To see a fact about another country, and ask what bigger problems might be revealed, what we can learn from other countries, and break down some stereotypes that students may have about other countries.

Ask each student to choose a country to compare to their country of origin.  Have students pair up with a partner and compare their chosen countries to the country of origin.

Choose “Disasters” from the menu at the top of the screen to view some natural and man-made disasters that affected the lives of millions of people.  Students can view the scope of the disaster in relation to where they live, helping them to better visualize the impact that man-made and natural disasters can have on a population.

Tie in a creative writing project and have students imagine that they are moving from their country of origin to their chosen country.  Students can use the information and comparison as inspiration for their fictional story about what life would be like in their new home.   Students could also write a short autobiographical story about growing up in their country of origin, followed by a short “autobiographical” type story about their life growing up in a different country.

Use the statistical data in If it Were My Home for some real world mathematical comparison between countries.  If Rwanda has a 10.7 times higher chance of dying in infancy, how many infant deaths does it expect on average per year?  If Rwandans make 98.06% less than Americans, what would you expect an average salary to be?

I used Rwanda as my example because Rwanda is where we started our first Anastasis sister school.  Our 2nd-3rd grade class has been absolutely fascinated with Rwanda and poured over this site to learn more. :)

Tips: Encourage your students to read one of the recommended books about the country they chose. This will help them understand more about the country they chose, and give the people in that country voice beyond the facts listed.

Leave a comment and tell us how you are using  If it Were My Home in your classroom.

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