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'Every Day' Activities:
Today in History

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Many sites offer "This Day in History" resources that are a great way to teach current events, history, and cultural literacy. Imagine a classroom timeline that highlights current events or events connected to historic periods. Add pictures collected from Web resources such as the Library of Congress and LIFE magazine. A great opportunity for learning!

Everyday Activities Graphic
Editor's note: Daily reinforcement of basic skills can go a long way toward ensuring that kids learn and retain the skills you teach. You'll see the results of daily reinforcement in end-of-year test scores too! This week, Education World highlights a couple of dozen Web sites that are perfect resources for developing activities to reinforce needed skills on a daily basis!
In this story, you'll find "every day" resources connected to history and current events. If you're looking for additional "every day" ideas, don't miss Education World's other two LESSON PLANNING stories this week: "Every Day" Activities: Language (including activities to help develop students' vocabulary, writing, and reading and listening comprehension skills) and "Every Day" Activities: Across The Curriculum. (Check out the introduction to the "Every Day" Activities: Across The Curriculum story to learn more about the benefits of daily skills reinforcement.)

The first and most obvious "every day" tool for classroom teachers is one that many already use -- the daily newspaper. Teaching students how to read a daily newspaper is an essential skill for developing lifelong learners. And teaching this skill using an actual hard copy of a daily newspaper is still the best way to teach news reading. But most schools don't have the budgets to provide daily newspapers for their students all year long. In those cases, Internet editions of major or local newspapers are a rich resource for educators. Most of the major daily newspapers, and many local newspapers, have an on-line presence. If you haven't checked out those papers, you should make a point of doing so. Some newspapers have even developed lesson plans for students to accompany their daily editions!

If you're looking for a place to start, the on-line newspaper with terrific teacher resources is The New York Times. Check out the New York Times Learning Network. Among the great features you'll find are daily lesson plans (and an archive of past lesson plans) and a daily news quiz -- and that's just the beginning of this most amazing teaching resource. You'll find great activities, crossword puzzles, and much more!

THIS-DAY-IN-HISTORY ONLINE RESOURCES

Many sites offer this-day-in-history resources that creative teachers can use to teach history and social studies in the classroom. (They're also easy to adapt for use in teaching reading and listening comprehension; all teachers need to do is create questions to accompany a news story of the day.)

In addition, these resources can lead to all kinds of classroom projects, from creating simple or complex timelines to preparing full-scale research projects. Teachers can use one of these resources on a daily basis, or they can assign groups of several students to follow the daily postings on different Web sites. Some of the sites listed below are suited to young learners; others are perfect for high-school students studying world and American history. In the descriptions that follow, I've highlighted the best features of each of a dozen different this-day-in-history on-line resources.

On This Day from the New York Times Learning Network
Here, students will find a dozen or so news headlines for each day. The headlines date back to the 1800s. Students will also find a list of living people who are celebrating birthdays on the day. An archive enables students to search for news headlines for any date.

This Day in History from History.com
This Web site provides historical headlines for each day of the year. Video clips relating to historic events can be downloaded from the archive of the History Channel. The reports on this site are a bit more detailed than those found on most other sites; each event is explained in a paragraph rather than in a simple headline statement. Birthdays and hit songs for the date are included. A search engine enables students to search for any date. The site also includes links to special pages that highlight This Day in Automotive History, This Day in Civil War History, and This Day in Stock Market History.

Yahoo's This Day in History
A headline event from each date is highlighted and briefly explained. Then Yahoo provides links to the archive of the History Channel for additional events.

Today in History from the Library of Congress
This daily page is perfect for high-school history classes. It offers in-depth coverage of a couple of stories each day. The best part is that each story links to the vast collection of historical documents and photographs that are part of the Library of Congress's American Memory collection.

Today in History from TheHistoryNet
This site is a great resource for world history teachers, because events from throughout the millenium are highlighted here. Just click the Today In History button at the top of the page for a long list of "news headlines" from the past.

Those Were the Days
Have students click on a date to read about a dozen events highlighted and explained in a few brief statements. Also included are the day's birthdays (of current and historical people) and music chart toppers over the years.

Anyday in History
Click on any date to link to a long list of births, deaths, events, and holidays and other observances associated with that date.

Article by Gary Hopkins
Education World® Editor-in-Chief
Copyright © 2010 Education World

Originally published 06/07/1999
Last updated 08/21/2010

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