UT Literacy

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“Famous Americans” Multimedia Bibliography

By Sarah Traugott

This is a multi-media bibliography for elementary school social studies teachers.

The concept behind this bibliography project is to provide interesting electronic and written resources for an elementary school classroom that may be investigating “famous” Americans as a part of their curricular studies.  The Texas Essential Knowledge (TEKS) for social studies at this level expresses the goals for this unit as follows:

1.1 The student understands how historical figures helped to shape our community, state, and nation. The student is expected to:

(A)  identify contributions of historical figures such as Sam Houston and Abraham Lincoln who have influenced the community, state, and nation;
(B)  identify historic figures such as Alexander Graham Bell and Thomas Edison who have exhibited a love of individualism and inventiveness; and
(C)  compare the similarities and differences among the lives and activities of historical figures who have influenced the community, state, and nation.

Therefore, in an effort to provide academically appropriate and relevant information, I reviewed several links to websites that discuss various points in our nations history.  I have decided to categorize my findings into six sub-headings on Texas History, Women’s History and Black History, Colonial History, World History, and US Political and Presidential History.

Texas History

Texas Beyond History—http://www.texasbeyondhistory.net/

Created by the Texas State Archeology Department and the Department of Anthropology at the Texas State University, this site is dedicated to interpreting and sharing the results of archeological and historical research on the cultural heritage of Texas with the citizens of Texas and the world.  They imagine themselves as an on line museum with six special exhibits to express the story of Texas from its very early beginnings.  The site also provides lesson plans for teachers as well as a games and learning page for students.

Texas State Capitol—http://www.tspb.state.tx.us/tspb.htm

While the State Capitol is a favorite destination for all Texas students at some point in their school career, it is also an interesting and informative on line destination.  The website offers a great deal of information on the history of the Capitol as well as an on line virtual tour, an on line gallery and links to historic documents that not only discuss the history of Texas, but provide visual evidence of the actors in that history.

Texas Independence–http://www.txindependence.org/

This visually appealing and historically specific website offers a good deal of detail on Texas history at the time of the battle for Texas independence.  It specifically addresses the role of Washington on the Brazos as the birthplace of Texas democracy.  But it includes the timeline of independence, a movie about Texas independence, links to primary source documents, teacher resources, and a 3-D game about the revolution.

Women’s History

National Archives— http://www.archives.gov/research/alic/reference/womens-history.html

The National Archives has compiled a great list of websites, databases and other historical information on women’s history.  You can go to this address and explore all the possibilities for learning more about women’s significant contribution to our nations history.

Time for Kids– http://www.timeforkids.com/minisite/womens-history-month

This is a very colorful and energetic site that provides a great overview to women’s history and particularly the effort to secure the vote.  There are other interesting features on women leaders, including an interview with the first woman leader of Brazil.

National Geographic– http://kids.nationalgeographic.com/kids/photos/women-scientists-explorers-pioneers/

This website addresses women pioneers in science and exploration.  The front page highlights women like Jane Goodall and Diane Fossey as two scientists who made especially important contributions to the field of zoology and wildlife conservation.

Carol Hurst’s Children’s Literature– http://www.carolhurst.com/subjects/history/women.html

This is a collection of reviews of great books for kids, ideas of ways to use them in the classroom and collections of books and activities about particular subjects, curriculum areas, themes and professional topics.

Black History

National Geographic– http://kids.nationalgeographic.com/kids/photos/black-inventors-and-pioneers-of-science/

This page offers biographical information and photos of black Americans who have made significant contributions to the field of science.

Time for Kids– http://www.timeforkids.com/minisite/black-history-month

This website bright, colorful, and eye catching.  It has a section that examines black inventors.  And it features interviews with current, modern famous Americans like Kareem Abdul Jabar discussing their favorite books about black Americans.

Reading Rockets Books– http://www.readingrockets.org/articles/books/c384/

The Reading Rockets Books website compiles a list of favorite books for many different subjects.  The list I’ve linked to is for Black History Month. Some of the books included here describe our different histories while others show the joys and challenges that are shared by children of all colors as they learn and grow. All are recommended reading with kids ages 0-9.

Rosa Parks Bus– http://www.thehenryford.org/exhibits/rosaparks/home.asp

The Henry Ford museum uses the transportation emblem of the civil rights movement to describe the history of that era and the valuable contributions to our history that were made by famous American’s like Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King, Jr.

Library of Congress– http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/browse/ListSome.php?category=African%20American%20History

The American Memory project at the Library of Congress details the history of African American experience through primary documents.  This collection may be of more interest to older students 4th and 5th graders.

Colonial History

Williamsburg– http://www.history.org/kids/index.cfm

The Kids Zone at the Colonial Williamsburg website has a number of fun interactive games and lessons for children in primary grades.  The website offers history told through colorful and cartoon like animation which will appeal to younger students.

America’s Story– http://www.americaslibrary.gov/

The Library of Congress presents a page of games and interactive fun all based on stories from America’s past.

Smithsonian Education– http://smithsonianeducation.org/educators/lesson_plans/history_culture.html

The Smithsonian Education website offers lesson plans on various elements of American history for K-12 students.

Kids.USA.Gov– http://kids.usa.gov/

The government’s official website for kids offers some really interesting and fun games and lesson plans on various points in US history.  The site offers a special “Cooking with Martha Washington” video segment which gives a visual tour of Mount Vernon while teaching about aspects of social and cultural history during colonial times.

World History

United Nations Global Learning Project– http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/walk/

The United Nations Global learning project has put together a website dedicated to addressing some of the difficult issues in world politics.  They address issues like peace, poverty, human rights, native people and racial and ethnic discrimination.

BBC— http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/walk/

This website is a walk through time.  It’s an interactive graphic that encourages students and teachers to play games, choose lesson plans, print out worksheets and create timelines all based on historical information.  The website is identified as being appropriate for 7-9 year olds.

Carol Hurst Children’s Literature– http://www.carolhurst.com/subjects/history/history.html

The Hurst website again offers a survey of World History through children’s books. They offer a list of kids’ historical picture books, novels and nonfiction for Preschool through 9th Grade.

On line Encyclopedias

Britannica– http://www.britannica.com/

World Book– http://worldbook.com/home?wbredirect=1&Itemid=111


Getting to Know the U.S. Presidents—video series

Getting to Know George Washington: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e2_mIqwZ0gM

Getting to Know Thomas Jefferson:


Getting to Know Abraham Lincoln:


School House Rock: American Revolution


School House Rock: Tea Party


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