The Civil Rights Movement is one of my favorite eras to teach in US History. There's so many compelling stories and it's easy for students to connect with the young people advocating for change in American society.
There's also a lot of events to cover. A great way to either introduce students to the era or review the Civil Rights Movement as a whole is with a timeline. This gives students a broad perspective of what was going on and how long it took from Claudette Colvin and Rosa Parks first refusing to give up their seats in Montgomery until the Civil Rights Act finally ended segregation.
I use this set of timeline activities in my US History classes.
First, students paste into their notebooks a 2-page timeline that covers the height of the Civil Rights era. Once completed, it will look like this:
Students respond to the prompts for each event after reading short overviews that are placed at stations around the room. The 10 events we cover in this timeline are:
The Age of Absolutism is a great unit in World History. My students love learning about the rulers who held absolute power in Europe and seeing pictures of their great palaces.
In my World History curriculum, I have a great Absolute Monarchs activity to get things started. Students receive worksheets with Europe's most well-known absolute rulers to cut out: Louis XIV, Philip II, Henry VIII, & Peter the Great.
They also receive an interactive map of Europe that will go in their notebooks. We'll then go through a PowerPoint. As they learn about each monarch, they cut out the figures and glue them on the map so they pop-up. So it becomes a literal "Rise of Absolute Monarchs" right in their notebooks!
Students love the hands-on nature of this activity. It keeps them engaged during the PowerPoint and helps them better connect with each leader.
Next, students analyze a primary and secondary source on King Louis XIV's daily routine as Versailles and...
A great way to review Ancient Rome in World History is with an interactive timeline that covers early Rome through the Republic, Roman Empire, and finally the Fall of Rome.
I use this set of timeline activities in my World History classes. The variety is great for differentiation and making the lesson engaging for all the kids in my classroom.
First, students are provided with the reading activity on Ancient Rome. This is condensed so that it focuses on the most essential information students need to know. The download includes a 2-page PDF version for printing and a 3-page Google Doc version (this one can also be printed but it includes some more pictures).
Students also receive a printable timeline that goes across 2 pages in their notebooks. The timeline features boxes with headings on the major events they need to know along with guiding questions. Students sometimes draw an event or analyze the text for their response.
Students can work independently,...
Some of the most important concepts for students to understand about the American Revolution are the causes and events leading to the war and then the battles and key events that took place during the Revolutionary War.
Timeline activities are perfect to help students grasp the significance of each of these and are a great in-class activity. I combine activities that students complete in cooperative learning groups, digital timelines that kids work on with computers, and teacher-directed overviews of the most import events. This way, you ensure that students have a thorough understanding of each significant event of the Revolutionary War era.
The first activity students complete is a cooperative learning activity where students read about and sort 10 events on a two-page interactive timeline. The activity includes PDF printable cards about each of the following events:
The Enlightenment, Salutary Neglect, The French & Indian War, Proclamation of...
One of the most important lessons we can teach high school students now is how to critically view media and news in order to understand what is true, what is biased, and what is outright "fake news".
My new lesson plan on Media and Fake News is a perfect one to use for this in any of your social studies classes. Included in the lesson plan download is a complete teacher instructions page for the lesson, an engaging warm up activity, presentation, group activity, videos homework, and more!
For a warm up, students are given 4 blatant fake news articles. In groups they analyze these and look for clues as to why they might be real or fake and how they can tell.
Following a discussion on why articles like this exist and how to recognize them, you transition to a PowerPoint on the role of the media. This visually engaging presentation covers the function of the media in society, bias, and how to recognize fake news. Both a printable guided...
This great new lesson for a Cold War unit in US History covers President Eisenhower's People to People Program. I created it because I found I spent most of my unit on war, paranoia, & civil strife and wanted to a lesson on what America did to promote peace and positivity. That lead to an Essential Question for this lesson of: “What did the US do to promote peace during the Cold War and what more can be done today?”
The download includes multiple primary source documents from different program committees on music, sports, books, business, education, and more. Students then work on a brief Project Based Learning (PBL) activity to develop their own plans to promote peace and cultural connections in the world today!
In addition to a full lesson plan detailing how to conduct the whole lesson, you also get ALL of these great pieces as well:
Speech excerpt from President Eisenhower & analysis worksheet
Project introduction page
Among my favorite activities to do in all of my social studies classes are interactive notebook pages! I have used them successfully for years in Civics, World, and US History (you can download some free pages using the green download button to the right).
History Alive was one of the early leaders in promoting the use of Interactive Notebooks in social studies classes. Now, they have grown to become a staple of many teachers' middle and high school classrooms. And for good reason - they work!
Interactive Notebooks and journals are an amazing tool to help students engage with your history content and make better connections with the material. There's also lots of different ways they can be used based on your teaching style and your students' needs/ability levels.
Some teachers like to use them as guided notes with their PowerPoints. Students cut and paste the pages into their journals and as you progress through the content in the presentation,...
If you are a middle school social studies teacher, I have a TON of awesome worksheets and resources to use in your classroom! No matter if it's US History, World History, or Civics, our site is your "go-to" for engaging 21st Century activities!
As I'm sure you know, middle school students need a variety of activities to keep them engaged. You can't rely on doing the same thing every day and expect students to stay interested. That's not to say that worksheets aren't effective, however. They are a great way to introduce primary sources, promote reading and writing, and gauge student understanding.
Our curricula include a variety of activities, so each day is a little different, even while you keep students on a routine to manage their behavior. For example, one day they might be going through a primary or secondary source in groups, the next day in mixed pairs, or individually.
All of our worksheets for our lessons are clear, with easy-to-follow directions and engaging...
One of the biggest topics in US History that you'll be covering is the Civil War. In my American History curriculum, I spend at least 10 block classes on it which comes out to about a month.
Before we get into the battles of the war, students create an interactive timeline of the events leading up to secession. These include John Brown's raid, the publication of Uncle Tom's Cabin, Dred Scott Decision, and other key events.
Students read about each and decide if it pleased Northerners or Southerners and then place it above or below the timeline based on their analysis of it:
Next, we'll spend several classes looking at the major Civil War Battles, especially Ft. Sumter, Bull Run, Antietam, Gettysburg, Sherman's March, and Appomattox. Students create a Civil War timeline of battles and events in their notebooks and also an annotated map of the war with notes about the key battles and events.
The annotated map features a 2-page spread in their notebooks with...
Do you use a textbook in your US history classes? If so, I have a TON of amazing resources that will work perfectly with your textbook but are far more interactive, rigorous, and engaging than any supplemental resources you may currently have.
In 10+ years teaching American History, I created my own lesson plans and activities that engaged my students, had them critically analyze history, and were creative so they were never bored with regular textbook materials.
These resources are amazing for 8th grade United States History but also work well from 7th grade to 10th grade or 11th grade as well.
Now, you can use ALL of these amazing resources in your American History classes! I have organized all of them perfectly into lesson plans and units for the entire school year in US History. You can download a PDF of free activities here and test them out for yourself!
The resources in our complete US History curriculum include:
If you're not sure about signing up, why not try out some of our resources for free? Sign up to download over 30 pages of awesome free activities for social studies!