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ALEX Lesson Plans


Subject: Character Education (K - 12), or Social Studies (7 - 12)
Title: Famous Failures
Description: The students are shown a video of "Famous Failures" which provides examples of famous people who failed many times prior to becoming successful. The students are encouraged to discuss the different people in the video and are asked to think about the famous person's contributions. Was Walt Disney's impact greater than Henry Ford's? The students then (teacher facilitated) list the ten famous people they would put on a “Top 10 list." This is a College- and Career-Ready Standards showcase lesson plan.


Subject: English Language Arts (8 - 9), or Social Studies (11)
Title: Fried Green Tomatoes & Cultural Crossroads
Description: Having read Fannie Flagg’s Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café, students will conduct research through an interview with an elderly person from the community (a field trip to local nursing home facility) to determine the validity of the author’s message (setting, cultural, and historical observations).  They will develop interview questions derived from observations and events from the book as a large group. Small student groups will use iPods/MP3s, laptop computers with webcams, or digital cameras to capture pictures, videos, or audio clips from their interview, as well as take notes. On their return, groups will compare facts from the book to findings during interview and collaborate to create a presentation that finds Flagg’s depiction of the Alabama of the Great Depression days credible or not.


Thinkfinity Lesson Plans


Subject: Social Studies
Title: National Archives and Records Administration      Add Bookmark
Description: NARA makes available to the public the historically valuable records of the three branches of federal government: executive (including the President), legislative, and judicial. National Archives holdings include textual; audiovisual; cartographic and architectural; and electronic records.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: K,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: "Migrant Mother" by Dorothea Lange      Add Bookmark
Description: During the Great Depression, government photographer Dorothea Lange took this picture at a migrant farmworkers' camp near Nipomo, California. Lange's brief caption recorded her impressions of the family's plight: "Destitute pea pickers ... a 32-year-old mother of seven children." First published in a San Francisco newspaper, this poignant image became one of the most famous photographs of the Depression era, emblematic of the hardships suffered by poor migrant families. The "migrant mother," anonymous for many years, was later identified as Oklahoma native Florence Thompson.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: 9,10,11,12



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: United Farmworkers Poster      Add Bookmark
Description: Cesar Estrada Chavez, the founder of the United Farm Workers of America, is one of the most recognized Latino civil rights leaders in the United States.
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: Be a Movie Director      Add Bookmark
Description: In this interactive game, students develop research skills and explore the Museum's collections as they create a movie using images from an online image database. This interactive is included in the online exhibition entitled America on the Move, which focuses on transportation in US history.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: 9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: Pismo Beach, California, 1 Dollar, 1933 (clamshell)      Add Bookmark
Description: When the Depression and resulting banking crisis hit their community, the residents of the coastal town of Pismo Beach, California picked an unusual but logical medium of exchange. Perhaps with tongue in cheek, the merchants and officials of Pismo Beach decided to make the best of a bad situation, and to make the humble clam shell into an object of trade.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: K,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: Preparing for the Oath: The 1900s      Add Bookmark
Description: Use short videos, mini-activities, and practice questions to explore American history from the 1900s in this segment of Preparing for the Oath: U.S. History and Civics for Citizenship. The nine questions included in this segment cover topics such as World War II, the Civil Rights Movement, and September 11, 2001.This site was designed with the needs of recent immigrants in mind. It is written at a low-intermediate ESL level.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: 4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: 1970s-2000 Global Economy Classroom Activity Guide      Add Bookmark
Description: In these classroom activities, developed for the exhibition America on the Move , students will use visual, analytical, and interpretive skills to examine primary sources including a historical map and answer questions about them to learn more about global consumption, production, and transportation and the impact of globalization in their own communities. The activities provide opportunities for historical analysis, interpretation, evaluation, analyzing cause/effect relationships, understanding multiple points of view, performing original research, debating and persuasive writing will help students develop and strengthen map-reading skills and identify issues and problems in the past and connect the past to the present.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: 5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: 1930s and 1940s Highways Classroom Activity Guide      Add Bookmark
Description: In these classroom activities, developed for the exhibition America on the Move , students will use visual, analytical, and interpretive skills to examine primary sources including a historical map and photography by Dorothea Lange and answer questions about them to learn more about road travel and the role highways played in 1930s. Students will also conduct research and answer questions about the impact of the Great Depression, WPA and CCC on their own communities. The activities provide opportunities for historical analysis, interpretation, evaluation, analyzing cause/effect relationships, understanding multiple points of view, performing original research, debating and persuasive writing and helps students develop and strengthen map-reading skills. Students also will employ research skills to obtain historical data, analyze and make decisions, identify issues and problems in the past and connect the past to the present.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: 5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Arts,Language Arts,Religion,Science,Social Studies,Geography
Title: Encyclopedia of Alabama      Add Bookmark
Description: A free, authoritative source information about the history, politics, geography, and culture of the state of Alabama; updated regularly to ensure that the content is accurate and accessible. The editors are continually adding new entries, photographs, and maps, so check back frequently to see what's new.
Thinkfinity Partner: EDSITEment
Grade Span: C1,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: 1920s Industrial America Classroom Activity Guide      Add Bookmark
Description: In these classroom activities developed for the exhibition America on the Move , students will use visual, analytical, and interpretive skills to examine primary sources including historical maps and answer questions about them to learn more about railroads, transportation, racism, Jim Crow, travel in industrial America in the 1920s, as well as the impact of the Great Migration (1915-1940) and changes in transportation had on their own communities. The activities helps students develop and strengthen map-reading skills, provide opportunities for historical analysis, interpretation, evaluation, analyzing cause/effect relationships, understanding multiple points of view, performing original research, debating and persuasive writing, and help students identify issues and problems in the past and connect the past to the present.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: 5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: E Pluribus Unum      Add Bookmark
Description: This EDSITEment-reviewed Web site, from Assumption College, focuses on three key decades during which Americans found it challenging to determine the meaning of the country's defining concept of '' e pluribus unum'' -- '' one from many.'' In addition to being arranged by period (the 1770s, the 1850s and the 1920s), resources on this site are also arranged in topical clusters. The site includes introductory essays, resources (including e-texts, digitized artifacts, and links) to facilitate online research, sample student exhibits and questions for discussion, writing and research.
Thinkfinity Partner: EDSITEment
Grade Span: C1,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: America on the Move Homepage      Add Bookmark
Description: This online exhibition explores the role of transportation in American history. Students will learn about communities wrestling with the changes that new transportation networks brought; how cities change, suburbs expand, and farms and factories become part of regional, national and international economies; and hear the stories of people who travel for work and pleasure, and move to new homes.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: 9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: Transportation in America Classroom Activity Guide      Add Bookmark
Description: This activity guide accompanies the exhibition America on the Move . It delivers a variety of historical primary source materials from the exhibition directly to your classroom. Through these documents and activities, students can build a deeper understanding of how transportation shaped American commerce, communities, landscapes, and population migrations. It is one of the many resources connected to the online exhibition entitled America on the Move , which focuses on transportation in US history.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: 5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: Postwar Disillusionment and the Quest for Peace, 1921-1929      Add Bookmark
Description: In this lesson, students examine the rise of antiwar sentiment in the United States, as well as some of the concrete measures taken during the 1920s to prevent the outbreak of future wars.
Thinkfinity Partner: EDSITEment
Grade Span: 9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: Lesson 2: NAACP's Anti-Lynching Campaign in the 1930's      Add Bookmark
Description: In this lesson students participate in a role-play activity that has them become members of a newspaper or magazine editorial board preparing a retrospective report about the NAACP's anti-lynching campaign of the 1930s.
Thinkfinity Partner: EDSITEment
Grade Span: 9,10,11,12



Subject: Arts, Social Studies
Title: The Story Behind the Song: Brother Can You Spare a Dime?      Add Bookmark
Description: When Americans were humbled by the Great Depression, this song gave voice to their fears and feelings of loss.
Thinkfinity Partner: ArtsEdge
Grade Span: K,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Arts,Language Arts,Social Studies
Title: Exploring Ancient World Cultures      Add Bookmark
Description: This site, from the University of Evansville, presents a collection of essays, images, and primary and secondary sources focusing on the ancient world. It includes chapter-length histories for each of the eight '' cultures'' represented: The Near East, India, Egypt, China, Greece, Rome, Early Islam and Medieval Europe.
Thinkfinity Partner: EDSITEment
Grade Span: 3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: History Now      Add Bookmark
Description: This EDSITEment-reviewed Web site, from the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, is a quarterly online journal for teachers and students. The site features lesson plans, reflections from leading historians, multimedia interactive resources such as audio clips and slideshows and an '' Ask the Archivist'' section where teachers and students can send questions and see the answers posted on the site. Users can find information on Abraham Lincoln, national holidays, elections, voting rights, immigration, the American West, slavery, abolitionism and the Civil Rights Movement.
Thinkfinity Partner: EDSITEment
Grade Span: 3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Arts,Social Studies
Title: Worth a Thousand Words: Depression-Era Photographs      Add Bookmark
Description: The goals of this lesson, from EDSITEment, are to gain insight into New Deal programs and the experience of Depression-era Americans, to recognize the distinction between observation and inference when drawing information from documentary photographs, to recognize some ways the photographer can influence interpretation of documentary photographs, and to gain experience in critical thinking about media.
Thinkfinity Partner: EDSITEment
Grade Span: 9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: Lesson 1: NAACP s Anti-Lynching Campaign in the 1920s      Add Bookmark
Description: In this lesson students participate in a role-play activity that has them become members of a newspaper or magazine editorial board preparing a retrospective report about the NAACP's anti-lynching campaign of the 1930s.
Thinkfinity Partner: EDSITEment
Grade Span: 9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: NBC "Fireside Chat'' Microphone      Add Bookmark
Description: On March 12, 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt delivered the first of about thirty informal "Fireside Chat'' addresses over the radio. His ability to communicate over this new medium directly and personally, addressing each listener as a respected friend, gave FDR a powerful tool to shape public opinion.
Thinkfinity Partner: Smithsonian
Grade Span: K,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Alabama Virtual Library
Alabama Virtual Library

Hosted by Alabama Supercomputer Authority
The University of Alabama at Birmingham
The University of Alabama at Birmingham
The Malone Family Foundation
The Malone Family Foundation
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