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ALEX Lesson Plans


Subject: English Language Arts (1), or Social Studies (1 - 2)
Title: All- American Diva, Ruby Bridges
Description: In this lesson, students will discover the impact Ruby Bridges made in history when she became the first black child to attend a white school.  Your students will be sure to fall in love with the story Ruby has to tell and how this child's courage changed life in the United States.  This is a College- and Career-Ready Standards showcase lesson plan.


Subject: English Language Arts (2), or Social Studies (K - 1)
Title: Listening Comprehension Read Aloud- Who Was Ruby Bridges?
Description: Listening to narrative text offers students a chance to go beyond decoding and word meaning. Listening as the teacher reads a story gives gives students an opportunity to appreciate, draw significance and meaning as well as informal practice using  story elements. Listening read-a-louds gives the teacher the opportunity to model "close" reading skills as well as model thinking. This is a College- and Career-Ready Standards showcase lesson plan.


Subject: English Language Arts (2), or Science (2), or Social Studies (1 - 2)
Title: The Life and Contributions of George Washington Carver
Description: This cross curricular lesson is a look into the life of George Washington Carver and the difficulties he overcame to be an important figure in Alabama and United States history. The students will explore and discuss the contributions he made through his studies and inventions. Students will also explore the structure and parts of a sweet potato plant and a peanut plant.   This is a College- and Career-Ready Standards showcase lesson plan.


Subject: Social Studies (K - 11)
Title: African American Honorees in Alabama History
Description: Students will create a PowerPoint slide show presentation and brochure on a famous African American icon from the Alabama Calendar. Students may select famous African Americans from Alabama such as Rosa Parks, Vonetta Flowers, Dr. Mae Jemison, Joe Louis, Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth, Rosa Parks, Hank Aaron, Dr. Regina Benjamin, Dr. Ethel Hall, Judge Oscar Adams, Billie Jean Young, George Washington Carver, Booker T. Washington, or Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. This lesson was created to accompany the Alabama African American History Calendar Project.


Subject: Character Education (K - 12), or English Language Arts (1), or Social Studies (K - 1), or Technology Education (K - 2)
Title: Helen Keller
Description: During this lesson students learn about the life of Helen Keller and how she communicated with others. Students have the opportunity to use sign language to communicate with others. Students gain an appreciation for their sight and hearing, as well as admiration for those who do not have these senses.


Thinkfinity Lesson Plans


Subject: Social Studies - Geography
Title: What's Your Favorite Place?      Add Bookmark
Description: In this lesson, from Xpeditions, students are asked to think of their favorite place or a place they find particularly interesting. They draw pictures of that place and share information about it with a partner. They conclude by designing monuments that showcase their favorite place.
Thinkfinity Partner: National Geographic Education
Grade Span: K,1,2



Subject: Social Studies
Title: Meet Your Local League      Add Bookmark
Description: Take a trip or conduct a phone interview with a member of the League of Women Voters. The League of Women Voters was created in 1920 to help organize women voters and encourage their active participation in civic life. Part of an OurStory module from Smithsonian's National Museum of American History entitled Winning the Vote for Women, this activity includes recommendations for learning about and contacting a local chapter of the League of Women Voters, along with suggested discussion questions for either a trip to a meeting or a phone interview with a local member of the League. OurStory is designed to help children and adults enjoy exploring history together through the use of children's literature, everyday objects, and hands-on activities. National Museum of American History
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: K,1,2,3,4



Subject: Language Arts,Social Studies
Title: Visit Your Government      Add Bookmark
Description: Find out about your local government through planning a short field trip, and then think about how you could make a difference in your community. The activity guide also includes tips for reviewing the experience once you're back at home or in the classroom. Included in an OurStory module from Smithsonian's National Museum of American History entitled "Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Nonviolence'' , this activity is designed to help children and adults enjoy exploring history together through the use of children's literature, everyday objects, and hands-on activities.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: K,PreK,1,2,3,4



Subject: Geography,Social Studies
Title: The Underground Railroad Route      Add Bookmark
Description: Activity. Students will identify slave states and free states during the time of the Underground Railroad, explore the challenges of escaping, and choose the route they would have taken.
Thinkfinity Partner: National Geographic Education
Grade Span: 1,2



Subject: Arts,Social Studies
Title: Portrait of a Hero      Add Bookmark
Description: Through the series of interactive activities in this EDSITEment unit, students explore their beliefs about heroes and heroism. They share names of familiar figures they consider to be heroes, and then closely examine their reasons for believing each one is a hero. Students then view portraits of heroes from American history and glean a bit of background information on each one. They identify the heroic personality traits and characteristics of each hero. Students also broaden their understanding of what makes a hero, enabling them to identify the real-life heroes who surround them each day. Finally, students consider ways they, too, may become everyday heroes.
Thinkfinity Partner: EDSITEment
Grade Span: K,1,2



Subject: Social Studies,Geography
Title: Time Warp Trio      Add Bookmark
Description: ' Time Warp Trio'' is an NEH-funded television program on PBS. The animated series follows three children who travel through space and time to explore world history and cultures. The website features games and lesson plans.
Thinkfinity Partner: EDSITEment
Grade Span: 1,2,3



Subject: Language Arts,Social Studies
Title: What Is History? Timelines and Oral Histories      Add Bookmark
Description: This lesson, from EDSITEment, aims to help students understand history and recognize that the past is different depending on who is remembering and retelling it. There are four activities, in which students construct a timeline based on events from their own lives and family histories, construct a class timeline through comparison with each other's histories, research oral history by interviewing family members, and study primary sources to write their own history of the Great Chicago Fire.
Thinkfinity Partner: EDSITEment
Grade Span: K,1,2



Subject: Social Studies - Geography
Title: 'Adopt'' a Geographic News Story      Add Bookmark
Description: In this lesson, from Xpeditions, students are introduced to some stories from National Geographic News and then invited to discuss the reasons why it is a good idea to follow the news. The class adopts a geographic news story, designs posters to illustrate it, and researches related topics.
Thinkfinity Partner: National Geographic Education
Grade Span: K,1,2



Subject: Geography,Social Studies
Title: Introduction to the Underground Railroad      Add Bookmark
Description: Activity. Students learn about the Underground Railroad and why slaves used it.
Thinkfinity Partner: National Geographic Education
Grade Span: 1,2



Subject: Social Studies
Title: Reel History      Add Bookmark
Description: In this activity, children will watch a short silent film recorded in 1930 and get a sense of a Harlem club during the Jazz Age. Part of an OurStory module entitled Duke Ellington and Jazz, this activity includes a link to a newsreel video from the Smithsonian Archives Center, discussion prompts, and background information. OurStory is designed to help children and adults explore history together through the use of children's literature, museum collections, and hands-on activities.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: K,1,2,3,4



Subject: Social Studies - Geography - Social Studies - Urban Studies
Title: Your Changing Town      Add Bookmark
Description: In this Xpeditions lesson, students discuss the reasons why cities change over time and investigate how their own town has changed. Students conclude by drawing pictures of the town's past and present.
Thinkfinity Partner: National Geographic Education
Grade Span: K,1,2



Subject: Language Arts,Social Studies
Title: Remembering King      Add Bookmark
Description: Think of three symbols to represent Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and create a window decoration with those symbols. Included in an OurStory module from Smithsonian's National Museum of American History entitled "Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Nonviolence'' , this activity is designed to help children and adults enjoy exploring history together through the use of children's literature, everyday objects, and hands-on activities.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: K,PreK,1,2,3,4



Subject: Language Arts, Social Studies
Title: Musical Harlem      Add Bookmark
Description: Students will learn to identify musical styles and musicians associated with Harlem, focusing on jazz.
Thinkfinity Partner: ArtsEdge
Grade Span: K,1,2,3,4



Subject: Social Studies
Title: Protest Signs      Add Bookmark
Description: Protest signs are a powerful and important way for people to express their feelings. In this activity children will compare 2 protest signs from the civil rights movement and then create their own expressive chalk art or poster. It is included in an OurStory module entitled Students Sit for Civil Rights. OurStory is a series of modules designed by the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History to help children and adults enjoy exploring history together through the use of objects from the Museum's vast collections, quality children's literature, and engaging hands-on activities. Ideal for afterschool use, OurStory resources allow children to think critically, to be creative, and to achieve academic standards both in and out of the classroom. National Museum of American History
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: K,1,2,3,4



Subject: Language Arts,Social Studies,Science
Title: Exploring the Sky Homepage      Add Bookmark
Description: People around the world have studied the stars and shared stories through constellations and astrology. By using this OurStory module from the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History, children and adults can enjoy exploring history together through children's literature, everyday objects, and hands-on activities. Focused around "Maria's Comet'' , a work of children's literature about a young girl who longs to study the stars, the module includes links to hands-on activities and a list of recommended readings for further exploration.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: K,1,2,3,4



Subject: Social Studies
Title: Students Sit for Civil Rights Homepage      Add Bookmark
Description: Students Sit for Civil Rights is an OurStory module that includes activities based on reading Freedom on the Menu, a work of children's literature about the Greensboro sit-ins that played an important role during the civil rights movement. OurStory is a series of modules designed by the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History to help children and adults enjoy exploring history together through the use of objects from the Museum's vast collections, quality children's literature, and engaging hands-on activities. Ideal for afterschool use, OurStory resources allow students to think critically, to be creative, and to achieve academic standards both in and out of the classroom. National Museum of American History
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: K,1,2,3,4



Subject: Social Studies
Title: War of Independence Activity: Who's in Camp?      Add Bookmark
Description: Use artifacts and historical literature to bring the War of Independence to life for elementary students. By playing the "Who's in camp?'' card game, students develop a deeper understanding of the many civilian and military roles that supported the War of Independence, then use their knowledge for a role-playing writing assignment. This lesson plan, which includes background information and printable artifact cards, was produced to accompany the exhibition "The Price of Freedom: Americans at War,'' by the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History. National Museum of American History
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: K,1,2,3,4,5



Subject: Social Studies,Language Arts
Title: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Nonviolence      Add Bookmark
Description: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is one of America's celebrated heroes for his use of nonviolent protest strategies during the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 60s. By using this OurStory module from the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History, children and adults can enjoy exploring history together through children's literature, everyday objects, and hands-on activities. Focused around "Martin's Big Words'' , an illustrated biography of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the module includes links to hands-on activities and a list of recommended readings for further exploration.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: K,PreK,1,2,3,4,5



Subject: Social Studies
Title: Coming to America      Add Bookmark
Description: Almost all Americans have family histories that trace back to other countries. By using this OurStory module, children and adults can enjoy exploring the experiences of immigrants who came to America and the ways that immigration has changed life in America through children's literature, museum objects, and hands-on activities. Focused around Feivel's Flying Horses, a historical fiction picture book about an immigrant who comes to America in the 1800's, the module includes links to hands-on activities and a list of recommended readings for further exploration.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: K,1,2,3,4,5,6



Subject: Physical Education,Social Studies
Title: Running the Blockade      Add Bookmark
Description: Calling all ships! Play an outdoor game loosely based on Civil War signaling and navy strategy. Part of an OurStory module entitled Full Steam to Freedom, this activity includes game instructions for groups of 3 or more players, discussion questions, and historical background information. OurStory is designed to help children and adults enjoy exploring history together through the use of children's literature, everyday objects, and hands-on activities.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: 1,2,3,4,5,6



Subject: Educational Technology,Social Studies
Title: Slideshow Storyteller       Add Bookmark
Description: Explore the Web to dive deeper into the story of Robert Smalls, escaped slave and fighter for the Union cause during the Civil War. Part of an OurStory module from Smithsonian's National Museum of American History entitled Full Steam to Freedom , this activity includes recommended web resources, tips for using picnic or Microsoft PowerPoint to create an image slideshow of your findings, and historical background information. OurStory is designed to help children and adults enjoy exploring history together through the use of children's literature, everyday objects, and hands-on activities.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: 2,3,4,5



Subject: Educational Technology,Language Arts,Physical Education,Social Studies,Geography
Title: Full Steam to Freedom      Add Bookmark
Description: Robert Smalls was born a slave in South Carolina, but made a daring escape to freedom on the ship CSS Planter and joined the Union in fighting to end slavery in America. By using this OurStory module, children and adults can enjoy exploring one aspect of the Civil War. Focused on actively reading Seven Miles to Freedom , an illustrated biography of Robert Smalls, this module also includes links to a related outdoor game, classroom-based newspaper investigation and online exploration.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: K,1,2,3,4,5,6



Subject: Arts,Language Arts,Mathematics,Physical Education,Science,Social Studies,Geography
Title: Great Websites for Kids      Add Bookmark
Description: Created by the American Library Association, this portal website helps parents and children find age appropriate educational materials on the Internet.
Thinkfinity Partner: EDSITEment
Grade Span: K,PreK,1,2,3,4,5,6,7



Subject: Social Studies
Title: Tracking the Buffalo: Stories From a Buffalo Hide Painting Homepage      Add Bookmark
Description: In this interactive website, students explore the role buffaloes played in the lives of Native Americans of the northern Plains. The website includes: online interactives, printable activities and a map of the Plain Indians, information about the art of buffalo hide paintings, a teacher's guide and student worksheets, and a bibliography of related books and online resources appropriate for all ages.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: K,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8



Subject: Social Studies
Title: Women's Role in the Civil War      Add Bookmark
Description: Women served in the Civil War as nurses, spies, and vivandieres. Explore these stories with students through a video clip and close examination of two dresses and a woman's uniform. This lesson plan (which includes background formation, guided analysis questions, and full-color primary sources) was produced to accompany the exhibition "The Price of Freedom: Americans at War,'' by the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History. National Museum of American History
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8



Subject: Social Studies
Title: By Popular Demand: Portraits of the Presidents and First Ladies      Add Bookmark
Description: The Library of Congress presents Portraits of the Presidents and First Ladies through this website. A great resource for students who are looking for images to help with presidential research, this site also includes advice on how to understand and work with the collection of portraits.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: K,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: Centro de Estudios Puertorriquenos      Add Bookmark
Description: The Centro de Estudios Puertorriqueos is a research center dedicated to the study and interpretation of the Puerto Rican experience in the United States. Operating out of Hunter College, the City University of New York, the Centro is committed to making their research available and useful to those in community organizations, public policy, academia and the public at large via their website.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: K,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: Forty-Saw Cotton Gin      Add Bookmark
Description: This 40-saw cotton gin and the wooden gearing came from a farm formerly owned by the Augustus C. Smith family in Monroe County, Georgia. The gin shed was built around 1840 and operated until approximately 1900. The gin stand was probably built in the decade following the Civil War; it bears no manufacturer's name or other identification. National Museum of American History
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: K,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: March on Washington Handbill      Add Bookmark
Description: The March on Washington, August 28, 1963, was the largest civil rights demonstration the nation had ever witnessed.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: K,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: Remembering Jim Crow      Add Bookmark
Description: In the documentary entitled Remembering Jim Crow , Americans—black and white—remember and reflect on life in the time of Jim Crow. The accompanying website breaks down the documentary into sections, and features audio clips that accompany each documentary section. Students and teachers can read personal histories of segregation, and can also access a sampling of repressive Jim Crow laws by individual southern state. An excellent link to various resources is included for students wishing to research the topic further. Remembering Jim Crow was produced by American Radioworks and American Public Media.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: K,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: Manabi and Sumi Hirasaki National Resource Center      Add Bookmark
Description: The mission of the Hirasaki National Resource Center at the Japanese American National Museum is to provide access to the Museum's diverse collections related to Japanese Americans. The National Resource Center develops a collection of secondary materials that document the Japanese American experience. Access is provided not only to this reference collection, but also to the Museum's collections (primary materials) and to the institutional archives. Because education is a life-long pursuit, the Hirasaki National Resource Center is committed to providing service to all ages and skill levels.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: K,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: Japanese American Digital Archive      Add Bookmark
Description: A core component of the California Digital Library, the Online Archive of California (OAC) is a digital information resource that facilitates and provides access to materials such as manuscripts, photographs, and works of art held in libraries, museums, archives, and other institutions across California.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: K,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: Japanese American Documentary Collection, National Museum of American History      Add Bookmark
Description: The collections of the American History Archives Center complement the Museum's artifacts and are used for scholarly research, exhibitions, journalism, documentary productions, school programs, and other research and educational activities.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: K,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: National Japanese American Historical Society      Add Bookmark
Description: The National Japanese American Historical Society (NJAHS), founded in 1980 in San Francisco, is a non-profit membership supported organization dedicated to the preservation, promotion, and dissemination of materials relating to the history and culture of Japanese Americans.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: K,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: National Endowment for the Humanities Constitution Day Portal      Add Bookmark
Description: This website from EDSITEment and the National Endowment for the Humanities provides documents, background essays, and a bibliography to help educators celebrate Constitution Day, and deepen their understanding of the United States Constitution.
Thinkfinity Partner: EDSITEment
Grade Span: K,C1,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: Japanese American Citizen's League      Add Bookmark
Description: The Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) is a membership organization whose mission is to secure and maintain the human and civil rights of Americans of Japanese ancestry and others victimized by injustice. The JACL has 112 chapters nationwide and eight regional districts with over 24,000 members found in twenty-three states. In addition to its national headquarters in San Francisco, the JACL has five regional offices (Los Angeles, Fresno, San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago), as well as an office in Washington D.C. and an organizational newspaper, the Pacific Citizen, distributed nationally from its office in Los Angeles. In addition to legislative efforts, the organization offers educational scholarships, and has developed a curriculum and resource guide that has been adopted by the California school system and is available for purchase.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: K,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: Stubby      Add Bookmark
Description: While training for combat on the fields of Yale University in 1917, Private J. Robert Conroy found a brindle puppy with a short tail. He named him Stubby, and soon the dog became the mascot of the 102nd Infantry, 26th Yankee Division.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: K,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: SmithsonianJazz.org      Add Bookmark
Description: Explore jazz through listening activities, interviews with musicians, and background information on SmithsonianJazz.org. Prominently featured on this site are two suites of learning activities: one focusing on Duke Ellington for elementary students and one focusing on Louis Armstrong for middle and high school students. Students can also hone their skills at analyzing oral histories with a collection of over fifty recordings of jazz composers, arrangers, and performers.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: K,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: Portrait of a Civil War Soldier      Add Bookmark
Description: Ambrotypes were most popular in the mid-1850s, and, therefore, are less common than other formats for portraits of Civil War soldiers. Ambrotypes are cased collodian negatives backed by dark cloth, paper, or varnish. In this example, pink coloring has been applied to the subject's cheeks to make the portrait feel more warm and human. National Museum of American History
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: K,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Arts - Photography - Social Studies - Geography
Title: Tell a Migration Story...with Photos      Add Bookmark
Description: In this Xpeditions student activity, students take pictures that tell the story of their community's cultural heritage and the story of human migration that is unique to their area. They consider how they can tell a story with a sequence of photographs, and then put their thoughts into action by creating photo essays.
Thinkfinity Partner: National Geographic Education
Grade Span: K,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



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