Author Archive for Alexandra M

Thomas Jefferson


Thomas Jefferson was the third President of the United States and the primary author of the Declaration of Independence. The Virginian was an integral part of the American Revolution (SOL VS.5b, USI.6c) and the establishment of the new American nation (SOL VS.6b). Jefferson was an advocate for liberty and his contributions can not only be seen in the aforementioned Declaration of Independence but also in the Virginia’s Statue for Religious Freedom. The resources listed below are helpful in the study of Thomas Jefferson and his contributions to our history.

 Book Resources for Teachers and Students:



Thomas Jefferson by Jacqueline Ching is great biography on the third President’s life. This book is filled with archival photographs and great facts about Thomas Jefferson to help introduce students to his life and important accomplishments. The book covers everything from Jefferson’s childhood to his involvement in the American Revolution and the Declaration of Independence. The pictures alone make this book a must read for students and adults studying Thomas Jefferson.



Did you know that Thomas Jefferson resigned as the governor of Virginia during the Revolutionary War? Thomas Jefferson by Carol H. Behrman and Martha Cosgrove contains great facts, like the one above, about the author of the Declaration of Independence. This 112 page hardcover is a comprehensive look into Jefferson’s life, having each chapter represent a theme and time within his lifetime. Many pages contain “It’s a Fact” boxes that contain uncommonly known facts at Thomas Jefferson. This book is great supplement in the study of one of our nation’s founding fathers.



 Thomas Jefferson by Cheryl Harness, published by the National Geographic Society, highlights the many sides of Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson’s life and accomplishments are highlighted in this 48 page book. Quotations are embedded in the text along side mixed-media illustrations to help promote a full understanding of our third President. A few highlights are Jefferson’s part in the Revolutionary War and his controversial use of slaves. This book is a good introduction to the author of the Declaration of Independence.



 John Adams had to push Thomas Jefferson to write the Declaration of Independence. The Virginian refused at first, but then went on to author one of the most important documents in our nation’s history. Who was Thomas Jefferson?  by Dennis Fradin and illustrated by John O’Brien and Nancy Harrison investigates the life of Thomas Jefferson while providing interesting facts like the one above. The author does a great job covering Jefferson’s life, both personal and public. The book also provides a side-by-side time-line of Thomas Jefferson’s life and world history events of the time. Who was Thomas Jefferson is a great resource of information on the famous Virginian. 



 Thomas Jefferson: A Life of Patriotism by Ann-Marie Kishel is a great introduction for students on the life of Thomas Jefferson. Each page as an appropriate amount of text was well as good pictures to help in the understanding of Jefferson and his accomplishments. The author touches on the Revolutionary War, the Declaration of Independence, and Jefferson’s Presidency and includes a important index of main concepts.This book would be great for independent reading and exploration of Thomas Jefferson.


Website Resources for Students:

Thomas Jefferson and the Declaration of Independence 

This website is a great resource for students studying Thomas Jefferson and the American Revolution. The website is broken up into sections relating to the Declaration of Independence and the Revolution. Sections are devoted to such aspects as the Graff House where Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence and Thomas Jefferson’s Constitution for the State of Virginia. Pictures and fast facts are provided in each section. The text may be slightly advanced but with teacher guidance this website can be a great resource of students .

A Day in the Life of Thomas Jefferson 

This site provides a great look into a typical day for Thomas Jefferson at Monticello. Pictures of Monticello as well as pictures of some of Jefferson’s personal items such as his “traveling calculator” accompany information about Jefferson’s daily life. This website is great for independent discoveries as well as guided instruction.

Thomas Jefferson

 This website offers fun facts about our third President in a colorful, easy to read format. Facts include what pets Jefferson had as well as a list of all the offices Jefferson held. This site would be great for a fact hunt for students.

 Liberty Archive: Thomas Jefferson

The Liberty Archive: Thomas Jefferson is a kid-friendly site that provides quick, interesting facts about Thomas Jefferson. The site is colorful and has a fun feel to it. There are also links to John Adams and the Declaration of Independence. The site provides information on how Jefferson and Adams disagreed as to who would write the Declaration and why it was decided on Jefferson as the author.

 Thomas Jefferson: Student Encyclopedia

This site is a great information on Thomas Jefferson, his life, and his accomplishments (both public and private). The sight delivers small paragraphs of information at a time by letting the student push the next button when ready for the next paragraph of information. The information is segmented into themes of Jefferson’s life.

Additional Teacher Resources:

Thomas Jefferson

This educational website provides information on Thomas Jefferson as well as a list of resources. These resources include a Thomas Jefferson word scramble, a Jefferson worksheet, and Jefferson crossword puzzle. The last resource is a printable Thomas Jefferson multiple choice test.

Image Gallery: Thomas Jefferson

This Monticello in the Classroom website offers a range of images pertaining to Thomas Jefferson, his works, and Monticello.  Each image, once clicked on, has a description and facts underneath. An example of an image in this gallery is the original copy of the Declaration of Independence.

 Thomas Jefferson

This website, from the Us History site, includes great information on Thomas Jefferson as well as offers lesson plans and primary resources.  Each link to either the lesson plans or the primary resources have annotations that provide an overview of each link.

 President Thomas Jefferson

President Thomas Jefferson is explored through activities, lesson plans, and games in the great website for instructors. The site includes Jefferson coloring pages, a Jefferson time-line, as well as a Thomas Jefferson interactive word-find. This is site is a great place for teachers to get some ideas when teaching about our third President.

 PBS-Thomas Jefferson

This is a great educational website when studying Thomas Jefferson. The information may be a little advanced for elementary students, but for teachers this is an invaluable site. The site includes a link to teaching tips on Jefferson as well as student study sheets.

Oceans: Physical Characteristics

The ocean is always a fun topic for students to study. In fifth grade, the ocean’s environment is investigated. The resources below focus on the physical characteristics of the ocean (SOL 5.6b). There are sources that highlight salinity, currents, and the depths of the ocean water. These resources are intended to help deepen students’ understanding of the vast ocean and its components.

Text Annotations


Oceans by Seymour Simon is a great book to introduce ocean characteristics to fifth graders. As Simon points out, 70% of the earth’s surface is covered by one big ocean. In the book, the moon’s power over the tides is demystified while different types of waves are explored. Through its beautiful satellite and computer enhanced pictures and kid-friendly text, Oceans is a great resource for students and teachers alike.


Eyewitness Books: Ocean  by Miranda MacQuitty and photographed by Frank Greenaway is an extensive and highly comprehensive look at the ocean and its amazing characteristics. Thirty two subjects are visited in two page layouts, including sea meadows and seabeds. Great explanations about waves, weather, sea temperatures are included with pictures, photos, graphs, and pertinent text. Salinity is addressed while ocean depths are charted out with a colorful simulation graph. As aforementioned this book really examines many aspects of the ocean’s environment. This is a must read.


Oceans by Ann Heinrichs examines the physical characteristics of the ocean.  In this thrity-two page book characteristics such as pressure, depths, currents, and tides are highlighted. Heinrich analyzes these characteristics through a mathematical point of view.  Oceans examines why these characteristics are not only important to the ocean but to the planet as well. Heinrichs combines the explanations of the ocean’s pressure, depths, and currents with the examination of environmental concerns. The reading and comprehension level is appropriate for fifth grade students.


Insiders Ocean (The Insider Series) by Beverly McMillan and John A. Musick. This visually stunning book contains fun ocean factoids. The books is split up into three main categories: A Watery World, Ocean Life, and Exploring the Oceans. The first section is especially important when studying ocean characteristics. This section has spreads on underwater landscapes, ocean in motion, and ocean climates. Readers young and old alike will enjoy both the stunning visuals as well as the interesting information provided.


Did you know that there are mountains under the ocean? Science Files: Oceans by Anita Ganeri anwsers this question and many more relating to the ocean. Everything  from currents to the ocean’s ecosystem is covered by the award-winning author. Ganeri provides bonuses such as a website page as well as an “Amazing facts” page in order to entice students further in their ocean investigation. Within the thirty-two pages, the ocean’s physical characteristics are covered in this dynamic format.

Web Annotations

Current Capers
This BBC interactive website is great for letting students explore the ocean’s currents and the animals who take advantage of those currents. A map with moving currents is shown and the point of the game is to guess where certain animals will go along those currents. It is a fun way to get students to think about how the currents effect ocean animals and their migrations.

Ocean Zones
This site is part of the Extreme Science website. This website will allow students to explore the different zones and depths of the ocean. The depths are split up into four zones: Sunlight, Twilight, Midnight and Deep Sea Trench Zone. The depths (in meters) and the characteristics of each zone are investigated. In the Twilight, Midnight and Deep Sea Trench Zone sections, there are videos to accompany the text and picture visuals. Students will enjoy comparing and contrasting the different depths and exploring the characteristics and creatures that live at each zone.

Motion in the Ocean
This site is apart of the Discover Channel website. “Motion in the Ocean” explores ocean currents (Gulf Stream) while explaining the currents and its effect on salinity and temperature of different parts of the ocean. Along with a great description, a 3D globe is used to show the warm and cool currents as well as displaying temperature through color coding. the globe can be manipulated in order to see different currents at different parts of the globe. Not only is this website extremely helpful in explaining currents but also helps show the co-dependency of the ocean’s physical characteristics.

Ocean: Salinity and other Characteristics
This website offers a great explanation of the salinity of the ocean water. The text might be challenging for some but the information is incredibly useful. At the bottom of each page there is an arrow. This arrow will lead students to explanations about water pressure, temperature and, density. There is also a quiz at the end for students to check their understanding of the information provided within the site.

Climate Kids: What is happening in the ocean?
This NASA kids website allows children to put the oceans characteristics into perspective. This website poses and answers about the oceans Conveyor Belt and salinity and their effects on the plant’s climate. The text is easy to understand while covering the important points in relation to the ocean’s water. The relationship between currents and salinity are also highlighted. This website is a good way to put the ocean water’s characteristics into context.

Additional Resources for Teachers

Ocean Currents Lesson Plan
This website provides a quick lesson plan, including two demonstrations, about the ocean currents. The lesson plan includes currents information pertinent to the demonstrations This lesson plan is appropriate for grades 3-6.

Guide to Oceans
“Guide to Oceans” is a great resource for background information and handouts. The website includes a series of websites concerning ocean water. There is also writing summary handouts about oceans and other related resources links.

Water Temperature
The National Ocean Service Education website has many good sites about the ocean and its physical characteristics. The “Water Temperature” website provides great information about the relationship between temperature of water and oxygen levels. The site also has good animation that simulates how increasing temperature affects the concentration of oxygen in water.

Understanding Density and Salinity Lesson Plan
This is a great lesson plan/ experiment in order to teach fifth graders about density and salinity. This lesson will help students understand that density causes a liquid to be heavier and that dissolved minerals cause the density of the liquid to be greater.