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Great Sites for Teaching About ... Biographies

Education World's Great Sites for Teaching About ... pages highlight Web sites to help educators work timely themes into their lessons. Internet educator Walter McKenzie selected this week's sites, which are among the best on the Web for teaching about biographies.


  1. Academy of Achievement
    This hall of fame highlights important figures of history and the contributions they made to society in a true multimedia format. The site includes a Gallery of Achievers, containing interviews with individuals in the arts, public service, sports, business, and science; Achievement TV, an electronic forum featuring text, video, and audio highlights of Achievement TV broadcasts; the Library, in which visitors explore the books that influenced some of the world's great achievers; and the Achievers' Club, a subscription-only area, in which members can chat with Academy of Achievement inductees and other club members. Although some of the areas are slow to load, they're all well worth the wait!
  2. Biography
    The A&E television network maintains this site containing a database of more than 25,000 biographies. The site is totally searchable by name or birth date. The Classroom section includes tips for using the site, related links, and a Biography of the Year contest. You might want to screen the biographies before using the site with students, however, because many of the featured bios are graphically candid.
  3. Biographical Dictionary
    This searchable database contains more than 28,000 biographies of major figures from world history. Although search results produce only the basic facts about each personality, the information can be helpful for beginning research or for corroborating facts found in other sources. The site also includes ideas for using the resource in the classroom and the Master Biographer challenge, a very tough biography-based quiz.
  4. Who Is That?
    This Funbrain game asks visitors to identify famous individuals in two categories, United States Presidents or Famous Scientists and Mathematicians, from pictures and historical clues. Simply select a category and a level of difficulty, then choose from among four possible answers. What a great review for students!
  5. Living Legacy Awards
    The Living Legacy Awards are given annually to recognize those who make important contributions to society. This site lists the award recipients, linking many of the names to their online biographies. Because all the recipients have been honored since 1984, the biographies often provide information not yet available in books.

Walter McKenzie is a former classroom teacher, a consultant, and editor of the Innovative Teaching newsletter.

Walter McKenzie
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