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The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be kindled.
- Plutarch


History, U.S.

Including Civics, Government, and Historical Fiction

A Guide for Using: My Brother Sam is Dead
By Patty Carratello

A study guide for use with My Brother Sam is Dead.

WEB LINK: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1576905071?ie=UTF8&tag=classkidshome-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=15769

A Spy at Ticonderoga
By Clavin Fisher

A very compelling story written by a CT author in West Simbury. This book is based on the life and adventures of America's first spy, Captain Noah Phelps. You need to buy it from the Simsbury Historical Society at the link listed here.

WEB LINK: http://www.simsburyhistory.org/store.html

American History Lessons
By American Heritage

FREE American history lessons for K-12.

WEB LINK: http://www.americanheritage.org/index.html

American Presidents
By Miller Center of Public Affairs (UVa)

American President: An Online Reference Resource is a comprehensive collection of material about the U.S. Presidents and the history of the presidency. This web site features essays about each President and their lives before, during, and after their presidential terms. It additionally provides information about the First Lady and cabinet officials of each administration.

WEB LINK: HTTP://www.millercenter.virginia.edu/academic/americanpresident/

America's Homepage
Take an interactive field trip to our nation's Capital. Using a map of buildings and monuments, students can tour Washington, DC from their computer.

WEB LINK: HTTP://ahp.gatech.edu/dc_map.html

Bills of Rights Webinars for Teachers and Students
By Bills of Rights Institute

A wonderful, free site that offers information about the constitution and webinars for both teachers and students. Subjects include landmark cases, founding documents, games for students (ages 9+), and teacher materials and lesson plans. The organization also sponsors an essay contest each year.

WEB LINK: http://my.billofrightsinstitute.org/page.aspx?pid=1272&srctid=1&erid=2312020&trid=22741e79-16df-4f59-8362-466a8a820006

Civil War Footage Soldiers Reunion Gettysburg
Actual footage from a Civil Wars Soldiers reunion at Gettysburg -- hear the Rebel Yell.

WEB LINK: http://www.schooltube.com/video/a088eb35599e46dd5552/Civil-war-veteran-soldi

Digital History
By University of Houston

An amazing resource, complete with teacher plans, online textbook, online investigations and exhibits, e-lectures, games, etc, and it is FREE.
College level but very adaptable for high school (U.S. History).

WEB LINK: http://www.digitalhistory.uh.edu/

Electoral College Map
WEB LINK: http://www.worldatlas.com/webimage/countrys/namerica/usstates/electorl.htm

Exploration and Conquest: The Americas After Columbus (1500-1620)
By Betsy and Giulio Maestro

Book two of a six book series on America by the Maestros. A wonderful series for younger kids to learn about our country. This book discusses the conquest and settling of America after Columbus.

WEB LINK: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0688154743?ie=UTF8&tag=classkidshome-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=06881

Fight for Freedom: The American Revolutionary War
By Benson Bobrick

A wonderful book that outlines all the major battles of the Revolution. It includes beautiful graphics, maps, images, and timeslines. If your child wants to understand, in more detail, the major events of the war and the main players in the conflict, this is the book to get. Very accessible for younger readers, and can even serve the older student.

WEB LINK: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0689864221?ie=UTF8&tag=classkidshome-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=06898

George Washington: First President
By Mike Venezia

The series is called: Getting to Know the U.S. Presidents. Mike Venezia, the author of the series, is also known for Getting to Know the Great Artists, and Getting to Know the Great Composers. All his books are entertaining, full of cartoons, jokes, and puns, while also full of interesting facts and stories about the subject. We buy all his books because my kids read and re-read them again and again.

WEB LINK: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0516274759?ie=UTF8&tag=classkidshome-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=05162

George Washington's World
By Genevieve Foster

A WONDERFUL book that presents a slice of life, or picture of what the world was like during Washington's lifetime. Grades 5-8

WEB LINK: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/096438034X?ie=UTF8&tag=classkidshome-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=09643

Government & Civics: AP Government and Politics textbook list
By College Board

The College Board has a list of textbooks recommended for AP Government and Politics.

WEB LINK: http://www.collegeboard.com/html/apcourseaudit/courses/us_government_textbook_list.html

Government & Civics: Constitution - That Delicate Balance
By Annenberg Foundation

A video instructional series on the American Constitution for college and high school classrooms and adult learners; 13 one-hour video programs and coordinated books. Most videos are free.

WEB LINK: http://www.learner.org/resources/series173.html

Government & Civics: Constitution Quiz
By National Constitution Center

Take a quiz or play a game. An easy way to improve your child's knowledge of the Constitution. Four levels: 5th grade, 8th grade, 11th grade & 12th grade.

WEB LINK: http://www.nccs.net/constitution/

Government & Civics: Hippocampus Government
By Monterey Institute

A free, public website for high school and college students and instructors that provides NROC multimedia content. A complete course with graphics, text, more. Site includes written explanations and video. Topics include:
  • the constitution & civil liberties
  • founding documents
  • political parties
  • elections
  • the branches of government
  • civil rights.

    An AP version is available.

    WEB LINK: http://www.hippocampus.org/American%20Government;jsessionid=9C8D112DC71D6D83B6362C7F54B57B35

  • Government & Civics: Teaching the Constitution using C-Span clips
    By C-Span

    Register as a teacher (its FREE!) at the C-SPAN site to access a great resource.

    Click on a portion of the Constitution and click on link to show congress in action acting out the provision.

    Click on thumbnail and ask student what clause in the consitution it relates to.

    WEB LINK: http://www.c-spanclassroom.org/members/constitution-clips.aspx

    Government & Civics: The Supreme Court Timeline
    By C-Span

    C-SPAN link for Supreme court timeline (under C-SPAN websites) or Video Links.

    WEB LINK: http://www.c-span.org/

    HippoCampus AP History
    By Monterey Institute

    A free, public website for high school and college students and instructors that provides NROC multimedia content. A complete course with graphics, text, more. Begins with pre-Columbian times through the modern era.

    WEB LINK: http://www.hippocampus.org/US%20History

    Joy Hakim on Book TV
    Joy Hakim, a former teacher and associate editor and editorial writer at Norfolk's Virginian-Pilot, is the author of the 10-volume A History of Us for children ages nine and older and the 3-volume The Story of Science. She is also the author of Freedom: A History of Us, which was made into an eight-part PBS series of the same name.

    Joy Hakim talks about her life and career. Topics include how she became involved in writing textbooks, the textbook industry, and school curricula. She responds to telephone calls and electronic communications. A video clip is shown of the attack on Pearl Harbor from the PBS series Freedom: A History of Us. Ms. Hakim is shown interacting with students at the Greenbelt (MD) Middle School on March 24, 1999.

    WEB LINK: http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/290457-1

    Landmark Supreme Court Cases
    from the site
    This site was developed to provide teachers with a full range of resources and activities to support the teaching of landmark Supreme Court cases, helping students explore the key issues of each case. The "Resources" section features basic building blocks such as background summaries and excerpts of opinions that can be used in multiple ways. The "Activities" section contains a range of short activities and in-depth lessons that can be completed with students. While these activities are online, many of them can be adapted for use in a one-computer classroom or a classroom with no computer.

    Depending upon the amount of time you have to teach the case, you may want to use one or more of the "Resources" or "Activities" in conjunction with one or more of the general teaching strategies.

    The general teaching strategies include moot court, political cartoon analysis, continuum exercises, and Web site evaluation. Instructions for these strategies can be found at the site.

    WEB LINK: http://www.landmarkcases.org/

    Liberty or Death: The American Revolution (1763-1783)
    By Betsy & Giulio Maestro

    Book five of a six book series on America by the Maestros. A wonderful series for younger kids to learn about our country. This book discusses the American revolution.

    WEB LINK: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0688088023?ie=UTF8&tag=classkidshome-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=06880

    Lincoln-Douglas Debates
    A comprehensive site dedicated to the Lincoln-Douglas debates. The site includes actual text of the debates, commentary from newspapers of the time, maps and other images, and lesson plans for teachers.

    WEB LINK: http://lincoln.lib.niu.edu/lincolndouglas/

    My Brother Sam is Dead
    By James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier

    A historical fictional account and Newbery honor book about the American revolution.

    WEB LINK: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0439783607?ie=UTF8&tag=classkidshome-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=04397

    Of Courage Undaunted
    By James Daugherty

    All of James Daugherty's books are well researched and well written. This biography tells the story of Lewis and Clark's westward expedition. The story is written for the middle schooler, but younger kids would enjoy it as a read aloud and high schoolers would not be bored either.

    WEB LINK: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1893103021?ie=UTF8&tag=classkidshome-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=18931

    PBS Video
    Watch free video from your favorite PBS programs, including American Experience.

    WEB LINK: http://www.pbs.org/video/

    Poor Richard
    By James Daugherty

    All of James Daugherty's books are well researched and well written. This biography tells the story of one of America's most important founding fathers: Ben Franklin. The story is written for the middle schooler, but younger kids would enjoy it as a read aloud and high schoolers would not be bored either.

    WEB LINK: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/189310303X?ie=UTF8&tag=classkidshome-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=18931

    Presidential Campaign Ads since 1952
    The Living Room Candidate contains more than 300 commercials, from every presidential election since 1952, when Madison Avenue advertising executive Rosser Reeves convinced Dwight Eisenhower that short ads played during such popular TV programs as I Love Lucy would reach more voters than any other form of advertising. This innovation had a permanent effect on the way presidential campaigns are run.

    WEB LINK: http://www.livingroomcandidate.org/

    Presidential Campaign Slogans
    This site lists the presidential campaign slogans since 1840 and give brief explanations of their meanings.

    WEB LINK: http://www.presidentsusa.net/campaignslogans.html

    Remembering Pearl Harbor
    By History Channel

    Videos, photos, more.

    WEB LINK: http://www.history.com/topics/pearl-harbor/videos#attack-pearl-harbor

    Revolutionary War
    Take a look at countless Revolutionary War websites.

    WEB LINK: http://www.kidsclick.org/cgi-bin/searchkids.pl?searchtype=subject&keywords=revolutionary+war&title=Revolutionary+War

    Salem Witch Trials
    By The Discovery Channel

    The following site has a great step-by-step factual story about The Salem Witch Trials in 1692. There is also a slideshow with audio account of the story. A very good site to explore to celebrate Halloween!

    WEB LINK: http://school.discoveryeducation.com/schooladventures/salemwitchtrials/

    Science in Colonial America
    By Brendan January

    Studying the progression of scientific thought and discovery is key to our kids' understanding of both history and science. Each book in this series documents scientific discovery from a historical and cultural perspective, along with brief biographies of key players. One civilization is explored in each book, with each chapter devoted to a different discipline of science: medicine, astronomy, etc. Each chapter is filled with photographs of artifacts, paintings, or other art-work depicting the time and culture, along with drawings to help in the explanations. The books also contain easy-to-do experiments that replicate the work of early scientists. Also check out the glossaries and the lists of resources, including books and websites, found at the end of each book.

    WEB LINK: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/053115940X?ie=UTF8&tag=classkidshome-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=05311

    Slavery in America
    A site from the Library of Congress. Includes photographs, first person accounts, etc.

    WEB LINK: HTTP://memory.loc.gov/learn/features/timeline/expref/slavery/slavery.html

    Struggle for a Continent: The French & Indian Wars (1689-1763)
    By Betsy and Giulio Maestro

    Book four of a six book series on America by the Maestros. A wonderful series for younger kids to learn about our country. This book discusses the French and Indian Wars.

    WEB LINK: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0688134505?ie=UTF8&tag=classkidshome-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=06881

    Teaching with Historic Places
    By National Park Service

    from the site
    All lessons are based on sites listed in the National Register of Historic Places, which include historic units of the National Park System, National Historic Landmarks, and places with state and local significance.

    All of the lessons are available free of charge on the Web. On-line lesson plans are ready for immediate use in the classroom. They can be used directly on the computer or they can be printed out, photocopied, and distributed to students.

    You can browse the collection in various ways, each of which includes a short description of every lesson:

  • Location/State;
  • Theme;
  • Time period;
  • Skill;
  • National Standards for History;
  • Curriculum Standards for Social Studies.

    Although designed for middle school students learning history, social studies, geography, and other subjects, Teaching with Historic Places (TwHP) lessons are easily adaptable from upper elementary through high school, and even for college courses. Each lesson includes maps, readings, and photographs, all of which are accompanied by questions. At the end, activities pull together the ideas students have just covered and require them to initiate their own research.

    Each TwHP lesson plan links both to relevant United States History Standards for Grades 5-12 and also to relevant Performance Expectations for Middle Grades from the national Curriculum Standards for Social Studies.

    WEB LINK: http://www.nps.gov/history/nr/twhp/descrip.htm

  • The American Presidents Song
    Created by Genevieve Madeline Ryan, 19, of Potomac, now a student at Princeton University. When she was 12 or 13, her dad asked her to memorize the order of the presidents as a Father's Day gift. With the help of presidential historian Hugh Sidey, she came up with rhymes to help her remember. She then got former National Symphony Orchestra conductor Leonard Slatkin to help her put her rhymes to music.

    Click on site below to hear the song and see a visual presentation by going to the White House Historical Society's Web site. Clicking on The American Presidents. Site contains other information on U.S. history.

    WEB LINK: http://www.whitehousehistory.org

    The Conspirator
    The movie is set with the assassination of Abraham Lincoln on April 14, 1865 the conspiracy which planned it, and the ensuing military trials of the conspirators. The conspirators aimed to kill Vice-president Johnson and Secretary of State Seward in addition to the President and narrowly missed these goals. When John Wilkes Booth was killed, four conspirators were brought to trial including a woman, Mary Suratt, who kept a boarding house where the conspirators, among them her son, met to plan their activities. Mary Suratt's trial and the young lawyer who defended her, a Union officer in the War named Aiken, are the focus of this movie.

    Mary Suratt was not an appealing defendant in any circumstances, let alone under the fear which gripped Washington after the assassination. She was an avowed Confederate sympathizer and did little to help her pleas of innocence. She argued essentially that keeping a boarding house is no crime and that she was unaware of what her boarders may have been doing behind closed doors in their rooms.

    The movie moves back in forth between testimony at the military hearing, the underlying events on which the testimony is based, and Aiken's efforts on behalf of Mary Suratt. In general, the story line is easy to follow. The portrayals of Aiken, Mary Suratt, and Secretary of War Stanton are good as are the depictions of Civil War era Washington, D.C. The scene in which the four conspirators are hung is particularly effective, especially in its use of the photographer Matthew Brady. Brady took a famous grizzly picture of the four conspirators hanging from their ropes which is echoed well in the movie.

    The movie can be viewed on several levels. The film offers a good portrayal of the trial of Booth's conspirators, an event which may be unfamiliar to many Americans. The movie's sympathy towards Mary Suratt does not deprive it of accuracy. The Conspirator also has a contemporary focus. Redford draws parallels between the denial of civil liberties and fair judical process in the period following the assassination on the one hand and events in the United States following September 11, 2001, on the other hand. Viewers of the film may work through and consider the parallels.

    For mature middle-school-aged children through adult.

    WEB LINK: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004LWZVZC/ref=as_li_tf_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=classkidshome-20&linkCode=as2&camp=217145&creative=39937

    The Discovery of the Americas
    By Betsy and Giulio Maestro

    Book one of a six book series on America by the Maestros. A wonderful series for younger kids to learn about our country. This volume discusses the pre-history of America.

    WEB LINK: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0688115128?ie=UTF8&tag=classkidshome-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=06881

    The First Thanksgiving
    By Scholastic

    Student activities that explore how the pilgims came to America and how they celebrated the first Thanksgiving.

    WEB LINK: http://www.scholastic.com/scholastic_thanksgiving/

    The Flag of the U.S.A.
    Includes history of the flag, how to care for flags, the Pledge of Allegiance, and more!

    WEB LINK: HTTP://usflag.org/

    The New Americans: Colonial Times (1620-1689)
    By Betsy and Giulio Maestro

    Book three of a six book series on America by the Maestros. A wonderful series for younger kids to learn about our country. This book discusses colonial times.

    WEB LINK: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0060575727?ie=UTF8&tag=classkidshome-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=00605

    The Signers: The 56 Stories Behind the Declaration of Independence
    By Dennis Brindell Fradin

    A biographical account of all the signers of the Declaration of Independence. The biographies are organized by state and shows the actual signature that appears on the document. It is interesting reading to learn how many of these men were true patriots who continued to serve their nation.

    WEB LINK: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0802788491?ie=UTF8&tag=classkidshome-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=08027

    The Voice of the People: American Democracy in Action
    By Betsy & Giulio Maestro

    The final book in the series on America by the Maestros. A wonderful series for younger kids to learn about our country. This book discusses how democracy works in our country. A great introduction to civics.

    WEB LINK: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0688106781?ie=UTF8&tag=classkidshome-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=06881

    The Voyage of the Slave Ship Sally: 1764-1765
    By Brown University

    Potential source for some hard-to-find primary sources on slavery for older students. This project is another well-done endeavor created by the Center for Digital Initiatives, and it merits several visits.

    In 1764, a one hundred ton ship called the Sally set sail from Providence, Rhode Island to West Africa on a slaving voyage. The vessel was owned by Nicholas Brown and Company, which was a local merchant firm run by four brothers. The records of this particular venture are preserved in the John Carter Brown Library at Brown University and this remarkable website offers all of the records that remain from this journey. First-time visitors should peruse the History area to read a few thematic essays on different aspects of the Sally's journey, which cover topics like On the African Coast, The Middle Passage, and Fitting out the Sally.

    After that, they should visit The Documents area. Here they will find letters, invoices, legal documents, and trade books that tell the story of how the ship was outfitted, who sailed aboard here, and what cargo she carried.

    WEB LINK: http://www.stg.brown.edu/projects/sally/

    Three Spies for General Washington
    By Clavin Fisher

    The sequal to A Spy at Ticonderoga. This story was written by a CT author in West Simbury. You need to buy it from the Simsbury Historical Society at the link listed here.

    WEB LINK: http://www.simsburyhistory.org/store.html

    U.S. Constitution Virtual
    By C-Span

    C-SPAN is working to create a virtual U.S. Constitution featuring video clips taken from C-SPAN's Video Library with prominent political figures and political experts illustrating or discussing various parts of the Constitution. The goal of this project is to provide teachers and students video examples of key Constitutional principles at work in our modern government.

    WEB LINK: http://www.c-spanclassroom.org/Lesson/170/The+US+Constitution.aspx

    U.S. Documents: Top 100 Primary Source Documents in Civics Education
    The National Archives conducted a recent poll asking Americans to vote on which historical document has had the most significance in American History. The winner & is the Declaration of Independence.

    The National Archive website has a treasure trove of original documents. Using this link, the student may read and overview of the document, click on images and zoom in to specific areas of the document, and read a typed text of the document. A great resource!

    WEB LINK: http://www.jackmillercenter.org/2010/05/civic-education-top-100/

    You are the Historian: Investigating the First Thanksgiving
    By Plimouth Plantation

    Children may investigate what the first Thanksgiving was like.

    WEB LINK: http://www.plimoth.org/education/olc/index_js2.html


    Audio & Video

    CK Publications


    Homeschooling Organizations


    Tools for Parents


    NOTE: Descriptions of programs and resources have been submitted for your information. They are passed on to you as a service. No endorsement by Classical Kids or its administrators should be inferred.