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ALEX Lesson Plans


Subject: Social Studies (5)
Title: A Look Inside the Reconstruction Era 
Description: This unit will introduce students to the period of 1865-1877 known as the Reconstruction Era. Students will learn that after the Civil War, Reconstruction failed to transform the South's wealth and social system. Students will discover by research how legislation brought about a new change primarily for African Americans. 


Subject: Social Studies (4 - 5)
Title: The Effects of the Civil War
Description: Students will work in groups to research the causes of the Civil War, events during the war, and Reconstruction. They will compile their information into a multimedia presentation. They will use research to answer the essential question, "How did the events of the Civil War affect our society today?"


Subject: Social Studies (5), or Technology Education (3 - 5)
Title: Exploring the Reconstruction Era
Description: This unit introduces students to the Reconstruction Era (1865-1877) of American history. Students will discover that Reconstruction failed to alter the South's social structure or its distribution of wealth and power. They will conclude through their research that legislation passed during this period eventually prevailed and brought a change of life for African-Americans and women.


Subject: English Language Arts (3 - 4), or Social Studies (4 - 5), or Technology Education (3 - 5)
Title: Famous African-Americans
Description: During this unit students will study the lives of famous African-Americans who have had an impact upon history or present day society. This interdisciplinary hands-on unit will incorporate the subjects of social studies, reading, language arts, and technology. After studying African-Americans and viewing a presentation, students will select (or be assigned) a person to research, write a biographical sketch about, and then create a newsletter depicting facts from that person's life. The entire unit will cover a two- to three-week period.


Thinkfinity Lesson Plans


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: Arts, Social Studies
Title: Harriet Tubman: An Informative and Impressionistic Look      Add Bookmark
Description: Students take a hands-on approach to examining the life of Harriet Tubman through a comparison of informative resources and impressionistic art.
Thinkfinity Partner: ArtsEdge
Grade Span: K,1,2,3,4



Subject: Social Studies
Title: Digital History      Add Bookmark
Description: This website is a comprehensive set of web based resources and activities suitable for students at every grade level. Produced through a collaborative partnership including the National Park Service, the University of Houston, The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, and the Chicago Historical Society, t he site features a digital textbook with hypertext links, virtual exhibits featuring letters, artwork and artifacts, an interactive timeline, a collection of e-lectures, inquiry based learning units, and an extensive collection of online resources like maps, charts, and primary sources.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: K,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: Inaugural Words 1789-Present (Word Cloud)      Add Bookmark
Description: This website, from the New York Times, allows students to read the texts of every American president's inauguration speech. The site creators clarify each address by highlighting words that appear the most often in each president's speech. The site also includes related multimedia from President Obama's inauguration and links to news items from the event.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: 2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: U.S. Civil War Colored Troops Medal      Add Bookmark
Description: During the American Civil War, General Benjamin Butler so appreciated the heroic actions of African American soldiers under his command at the 1864 battles of Fort Harrison and Fort Gilmer that he commissioned a special medal for them. Designed by Anthony C. Paquet and realized in silver by Tiffany, the U.S. Colored Troops medal had no official status. After General Butler was relieved of his command in 1865, the 300 U.S. Colored Troops who had received the medals were forbidden to wear them on their uniforms.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: K,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: The Presidential Timeline of the Twentieth Century      Add Bookmark
Description: This resource, designed by Learning Technology Center in the University of Texas at Austin College of Education, features an interactive timeline that tells the stories of the American presidents of the twentieth century, from Herbert Hoover to William Jefferson Clinton. Each presidents biographic information is included along with interpretation of the major issues and events of their presidencies. The site also allows students to view special exhibitions relating to twentieth century events like the Great Depression and the Vietnam War, and a gallery of personal images from the lives of each of these twelve presidents.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: K,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: The Smithsonian's First Ladies Collection      Add Bookmark
Description: This website includes 10 objects from the Smithsonian's First Ladies Collection supplemented with contextual information. Part of the online exhibition entitled Legacies: Collecting America's History at the Smithsonian, this resource will give students a unique look at the life of some of American's First Ladies.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: 4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Language Arts,Social Studies
Title: Go West: Imagining the Oregon Trail      Add Bookmark
Description: In this lesson from EDSITEment, students compare imagined travel experiences of their own with the actual experiences of 19th-century pioneers. After writing stories about contemporary cross-country journeys, students learn about the experiences of the emigrants who traveled on the Oregon Trail. They then create works of historical fiction in the form of picture books or letters, drawing upon the information they have gathered.
Thinkfinity Partner: EDSITEment
Grade Span: 3,4,5



Subject: Social Studies
Title: NCHS Social Studies Standards      Add Bookmark
Description: This is a link to national standards of history written by the National Center for History in the Schools at the University of California, Los Angeles under the guidance of the National Council for History Standards. From this homepage, students and teachers can link to US and World history content standards as well as historical thinking skills standards for grades K-4 and 5-12.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: K,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: POTUS.com      Add Bookmark
Description: POTUS.com consists of detailed biographies of every president from George Washington to George W. Bush. Each president has a comprehensive individual section devoted to them specifically. In each section teachers and students can find a great deal of information about the (residents, including dates, cabinet members, general information, video and audio media resources. In addition, the site offers links to other helpful internet resources for each individual president. The site is a great starting point for students wishing to begin researching a specific president.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: K,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: We Shall Overcome: Historic Places of the Civil Rights Movement      Add Bookmark
Description: This resource from the National Park Service offers a virtual tour of historic places related to the modern civil rights movement. The site provides textual information and a variety of images.
Thinkfinity Partner: EDSITEment
Grade Span: 4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: American Presidents: Life Portraits      Add Bookmark
Description: This website was originally designed to complement C-SPAN's 20th Anniversary Television Series, American Presidents: Life Portraits, which debuted in 1999. The American Presidents website, created for the television series, contains a complete video archive of the series, additional resources of biographical facts, key events of each presidency, presidential birthplaces, libraries, and gravesites, as well as reference material. The site is a great starting point for students researching a specific president.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: 4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: National Geographic's Inside the White House      Add Bookmark
Description: This website is a entertaining resource for students researching the history of the White House, and/or the American Presidency. The site contains an interactive map of Washington for students, as well as a section devoted entirely to younger kids. The site also has a section devoted to teachers, where teachers can access teacher-tested classroom activities, suggested readings, and more that will help students learn about the history of the White House and the presidency. Also included is an activity in which students can decorate the Oval office using objects that were favorites of former presidents!
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: K,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: The White House Historical Association      Add Bookmark
Description: This website is a must-visit for students and teachers studying the history of the White House, or the presidency itself. The site contains timelines, historical photographs, historical tours, as well as links for further research. In addition, the site has entire sections devoted to students and the classroom. Information found on this site is likely not easily accessible elsewhere. It truly is a treasure-trove of information for students and teachers alike.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: K,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: The Official Website of the White House      Add Bookmark
Description: The official website of the White House features updated news on the current administration, as well as a history of each past president, administration, and all of the first ladies. A comprehensive history of the White House itself is also presented, with many interactive links for students of all ages. Resources for student research include links to each of the existing Presidential Libraries, Camp David, Air Force One, and Marine One. For any student beginning a research project on the White House or a particular president or first lady, this website is a must see.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: 4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: Treasures of American History: National Challenges      Add Bookmark
Description: The Smithsonian's National Museum of American History provides a broad and complex view of the American experience. The valuable pieces of history displayed in this section of the online exhibition entitled "Treasures of American History'' document some of the struggles, conflicts, and controversies that have shaped the nation. Students will learn that by understanding the challenges of the past, they can draw lessons and inspiration for confronting new challenges in the present and future. The topics discussed in this section are: the American Revolution; slavery; westward expansion; the Civil War, women's suffrage, the Great Depression and World War II, the Civil Rights movement and AIDS. A Spanish version of the exhibition is available on the exhibition's homepage.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: 5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: Inaugural Addresses of the Presidents      Add Bookmark
Description: Complete inaugural addresses of every president from George Washington to George W. Bush can be found on this reference website. It is a very useful tool for students conducting research on a particular president.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: 4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: I Do Solemnly Swear Presidential Inaugurations      Add Bookmark
Description: This website, from the Library of Congress, is a collection of approximately 400 items or 2,000 digital files relating to inaugurations from George Washington's in 1789 to George W. Bush's inauguration of 2001. It includes diaries and letters of presidents and of those who witnessed inaugurations, handwritten drafts of inaugural addresses, broadsides, inaugural tickets and programs, prints, photographs, and sheet music. This site is a fantastic resource for both teacher and students, as it includes many primary source images and text regarding Presidential inaugurations.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: 4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: National Constitution Center      Add Bookmark
Description: The National Constitution Center is an independent, non-partisan, and non-profit organization dedicated to increasing public understanding of, and appreciation for, the Constitution, its history, and its contemporary relevance.
Thinkfinity Partner: EDSITEment
Grade Span: K,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture: New York Library      Add Bookmark
Description: The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture is a national research library devoted to collecting, preserving and providing access to resources documenting the history and experiences of peoples of African descent throughout the world. Their website features online access to digitized images, texts, manuscripts, and archival finding aids. This site is a great for students researching any topics having to do with African-American history.
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: The American Presidency: A Glorious Burden Resources      Add Bookmark
Description: A list of the presidents, a time line of presidential candidates, a summary of the military service of presidents as well as a bibliography and web sites related to the presidency are the resources included in the online exhibition entitled The American Presidency: A Glorious Burden from the Smithsonian's 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: Blog Post: Collecting the Presidential Campaigns      Add Bookmark
Description: In this post, students will learn how political history curators collect campaign memorabilia Democratic and Republican National Conventions. S ince the late 1980s, they have collected more than 150,000 objects. In this video, the curators give a show and tell of some of the artifacts they collected from the 2008 campaigns. This post is published on the Museum's "O Say Can You See?" blog.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: 5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Alabama Virtual Library
Alabama Virtual Library

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The University of Alabama at Birmingham
The University of Alabama at Birmingham
The Malone Family Foundation
The Malone Family Foundation
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