Archive for the 'history' Category

Ulysses S. Grant

Ulysses S. Grant

The following resources are relevant when teaching about Ulysses S. Grant and his contributions to the United States of America (VA SOL United States History to 1865 USI.9 d).  He was a war hero during the Civil War, leading the Union Army in victory over Robert E. Lee and the Confederate Army.  He would go onto become the 18th President of the United States, serving from 1869 until 1877.

Relevant Children’s Literature


Ulysses S. Grant: Union General and U.S. President
Written by Brenda Haugen

Ms. Haugen does an excellent job of detailing the life of Ulysses S. Grant in this biography.  Aimed at young adults this book is suitable for strong elementary readers; the lack of illustrations and detailed writing style will deter young/inexperienced readers.  Nonetheless, the work does a terrific job of giving the audience a strong foundation of knowledge about the life of Mr. Grant both in regards to his time in the military as well as his two terms as President.  Perhaps the most valuable segment of the book is the detailed, easy-to-follow time line which can be used in any classroom teaching VA SOL USI.9 d.


Ulysses S. Grant: Eighteenth President 1869-1877 (Getting to Know the US Presidents)
Written and Illustrated by Mike Venezia

Venezia’s mixture of lively text and humorous illustrations makes his book a must-read for the young learner.  Aimed at the upper elementary grade levels (ages 9-12) Venezia does not shy away from Grant’s alcoholism and corrupt Presidental cabinet; however, he treats both situations with respect and sensitivity.  Parents and teachers should not be alarmed by this books subject manner, Venezia does an excellent job of keeping his work mature yet interesting.  This book is the most effective work available for teaching children about Ulysses S. Grant — it details all the courageous actions he undertook to help his country while at the same time not turning a blind eye to the imperfections of the man.


Ulysses S. Grant (Let Freedom Ring Series)
Written by Susan Gregson

Susan Gregson has written an informative biography of General Grant, suitable for ages 9-12.  To insure accuracy Ms. Gregson consulted one of today’s most prominent Grant scholars, John Y. Simon, during the writing and editing of the work.  What this book does better than the other works available is provide many photographs of Grant.  Evidence shows that when a child is shown a picture of someone they can relate to them better than if they merely read or see cartoons portraying that same person.  The value of actual photographs is immense; they allow children to see the actual man and, consequently, make President Grant seem more like an actual person — it allows the children to relate to the man.  Moreover, teachers can use the photographs provided in a primary source activity.


Ulysses S. Grant (Profiles of the Presidents)
Written by Jean Kinney Williams

Ms. Williams work is one of the more detailed biographies available for young readers.  When compared with similar works, this one is more detailed and covers a greater variety of information.  Nonetheless, the book is easy to follow in large part because of the inclusion of a glossary, index, fast facts about Grant, and a parallel time line of world events.  Teachers should take advantage of the well-written glossary when teaching students vocabulary.


Ulysses S. Grant (Presidential Leaders Series)
Written by Kate Havelin

This work is interesting because it focuses more on Grant’s failures than his successes.   The tone of the book, however, is not pessimistic but rather manages to be uplifting.  Ms. Havelin details how Grant had to constantly overcome his failings before finding immense success on the battlefield and in politics. Unlike many books on Grant, this particular one does address his alcoholism.  But like Mr. Venezia’s work above, Ms. Havelin addresses the issue with maturity and understanding.  What is unique to Ms. Havelin’s work is that she does defend President Grant to a great extent, arguing the rumors about his rampant overuse of alcohol (particularly during his presidency) has been greatly exaggerated.

Relevant Websites for Students

 USA 4 Kids

This website provides students with some fast facts about the president (ex., where was he born, where did he die, who did he marry, what political party was he a member of) while also including a brief, but comprehensive biography.  This website is valuable because of its brevity, which will make it approachable to students.  When given a book of over 100 pages many children panic; however, this website provides a lot of information in a short amount of reading.  I would encourage teachers to have their students read this website for homework, perhaps assigning a fill-in-the-blank sheet to go alongside. Also, teachers could use the brief biography provided as a template for interactive note taking.

Grant the Artist

One of Grant’s lesser known attributes was his artistic talents — this website shows a few of Grant’s paintings. Teachers could also pull this website up during class and show the paintings on a projector.  I would encourage students to view this website because it shows a different side of the man they will be studying.  It is important to recognize that there is more to Grant than his time as General and then later as President.  Some may argue this is irrelevant to the SOLs; however, students will benefit from knowing the President in a more complex manner.   It will help them think deeper on Bloom’s taxonomy, one of the ultimate goals of education.

 President Ulysses S. Grant Word Search Puzzle

This word search does a great job of incorporating important vocabulary. Teachers can make the activity even more worthwhile by having students explain why each word is in the word search (for example, when the student finds Methodist they would have to explain Grant’s religious beliefs).  Students are bombarded with lots of reading, particularly in the social sciences, so this activity provides a fun alternative.

The Political Machine

The Political Machine 2008 is an award-winning videogame which allows the player to create a politician (or choose from a real one) and run for the office of President.  There is a fee of $9.95 to download the game but for those parents who can afford the cost, the game is remarkable.  Students will learn the tasks and responsibilities of the President, but chances are they will be having too much fun to notice. Additionally, the studio behind the game has included facts and lessons about every President, including Grant.  Learning cannot stop at 3:00 when school ends — it must continue at home.  The Political Machine will make children want to learn.   I can speak personally on the matter because my 12-year old brother cannot stop raving about the game.  It amazes me how much he picks up from the game (for example, when he learned that I was researching President Grant he asked me, “Did you know he was born in Ohio? Or that is what the game said…”).  The game is rated E10+, meaning suitable for ages 10 and up.

Ulysses S. Grant Game

This quiz is too difficult for use within a classroom; however, for students truly interested in Grant this quiz offers a great place to learn interesting trivia.  In a diverse classroom with a variety of different skill levels, this game could be offered to advanced students who have already grasped the basic material and want to learn more.  Also, a teacher could challenge his students to go home and take the quiz once alone and see how they did and then to ask for help from their parents and see if they could do better.

Helpful Resources for Educators

Ulysses S. Grant Timeline (Simple)
Ulysses S. Grant Timeline (Advanced)

I have linked two separate timelines above.  The first, labeled simple, can be modified and made into a great homework assignment: print out the timeline, white-out over a few of the important Grant entries, make copies, and then have the students fill in what is missing.  To make the assignment easier, leave the dates and provide a word bank if necessary.

The second, by PBS,  is much more thorough and could be assigned as a reading assignment.

Facts About Ulysses S. Grant
More Facts About Ulysses S. Grant

These websites contain a wealth of interesting trivia about Grant.  As a teacher you could use a fact to begin or continue a lesson in a more captivating manner.  Instead of saying, “Okay, now we are going to learn about Ulysses S. Grant,” you could say, “Did anyone here know that former President Ulysses S. Grant was actually born named Hiram Ulysses Grant but he did not like the initials H.U.G.?”  Fun facts will help keep the students interested and engaged.

Background for Teachers

For teachers who do now know much about President Grant, the linked article is comprehensive, relatively brief, and will give the reader a good foundation of knowledge.  It is important when teaching Grant to understand the controversy surrounding the man, particularly his alleged alcoholism and well-cited corruption, in case parents are worried how you will approach teaching these facets of his life and career.

Susan B. Anthony

Susan B. Anthony (1820-1906)
was a civil rights leader that played an important role in the 19th century women’s suffrage movement. Although she died fourteen years prior to its passing, her work was pivotal to the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote. The resources posted below are intended to be used in an elementary level classroom to teach students the significance of Susan B. Anthony’s life and work.
(VA Social Studies SOL 2.11)

Text Annotations-
If You Lived When Women Won Their Rights
by Anne Kamma
A story that allows readers to find out what life was like for girls during the suffrage movement. Along with Susan B. Anthony, you meet other figures of the movement such as: Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Sojourner Truth, and Alice Paul.

Susan B. Anthony: Fighter for Women’s Rights
by Deborah Hopkinson
A quick and easy to read book about the like of Susan B. Anthony. It follows her from her Quaker upbringing to her teaching career and beyond.

Susan B. Anthony: Champion of Women’s Rights
by Helen Albe Monsell
This is a great book for higher level readers. It follows Anthony throughout her life and the difficulties she had in.

Susan B. Anthony: A Photo-Illustrated Biography
by Lucile Davis
This is a book that shows the life of Anthony in photographs. It is a great resource for early readers that is simple and to the point.

Susan B. Anthony
by Martha E. H. Rustad
This is a great book that provides a time line of the important events in Anthony’s life. It also provides a summary of what was covered on the last page.

Web Annotations-

Not For Ourselves Alone- The Story of Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton
This is a site that can used to explore what it was like to be a kid back in the early 19th century.

Girls Explore Susan B. Anthony
A short, easy to understand biography on Anthony.

Susan B. Anthony- Garden of Praise
Provides a slide-show on Anthony’s life.

Kids.Net.Au- Susan B. Anthony
This site provides a short bio on Anthony’s life along with interactive links.

Women’s Fight for the Vote: The Nineteenth Amendment
This site provides an overview on the creation and passing of the 19th Amendment.

Teacher’s Resources-

Susan B. Anthony Coloring Pages
This site provides many different printable pages to use as handouts in the study of Susan B. Anthony.

Susan B. Anthony Resources
This site provides different links to information about Anthony and a few lessons plan from multiple grade levels to use in the classroom.

Susan B. Anthony Day
This is a lesson plan that is intended to be used on Susan B. Anthony’s birthday, February 15th, which is now a commemorative day to remember the great leader and work she did for the women’s right movement.

Susan B. Anthony House
This is a link to Anthony’s home located in Rochester, New York. It is now a historic landmark and tourist destination that provides information on Anthony’s life.

Eleanor Roosevelt

This blog post includes resources regarding the 1st Grade Social Studies SOL on American leaders and their contributions to the United States, specifically, the life of Eleanor Roosevelt (VA SOL 1.2).This post includes five different books that are great for the first grade level. These books provide the teachers and students with great information about this amazing first lady. The blog also includes five kid-friendly websites and five extra teacher-specific resources. I hope these books and websites are helpful in teaching a lesson(s) about the great Eleanor Roosevelt!BOOKS Eleanor (Picture Puffins)Written and Illustrated by Barbara Cooney


 This book, written by the award-winningauthor Barbara Cooney, is a storybook biography about Eleanor Roosevelt’s childhood and all of the hardships she had to deal with, such as being orphaned at the age of nine and being made fun of for being unattractive. This book also briefly illustrates some of her achievements that she made later in life. This is a great book to use when introducing this great American leader.A Picture Book of Eleanor RooseveltWritten by David A. Adler & Illustrated by Robert Cassilla


This biography provides great insight into Eleanor Roosevelt’s life. Key parts of her life are highlighted and written in a way that is easy to understand and great for early elementary schoolers. The pictures are beautiful watercolors and make the book very enjoyable to read aloud to students.


Stateswoman to the World: A Story About Eleanor Roosevelt

Written by Maryann N. Weidt & Illustrated by Lydia M. Anderson



This book is fictional in the beginning, but ends up being a biography summing up her strict childhood and life as the first lady. It includes quotes from primary sources, such as letters.  The black and white drawings are a great addition to this informative book about the great Eleanor Roosevelt.


Eleanor Roosevelt: A Photo- Illustrated Biography

By Lucille Davis



This biography explains the amazing life storyof Eleanor and her huge influence on human rights.

Eleanor Roosevelt

By Sally Lee



This biography illustrates Mrs. Roosevelt’s childhood, education, and life as the first lady and all that she accomplished. Kids will really enjoy this book because of the great photographs.




Kids Konnect: Eleanor Roosevelt

This website is very kid-friendly and includes many important dates and facts starting from her childhood through until after President Roosevelt died.


Dear Mrs. Roosevelt

This website includes examples of letters written by thousands of young people during the Great Depression. Many sent Mrs. Roosevelt requests, asking for clothing, food, and other forms of assistance. This website is very informative and helps the students to understand what it was like during the Great Depression, while Mrs. Roosevelt was the First Lady.


US History Webquest: Eleanor Roosevelt

This Webquest is fun and helps the students master the material. It was created for grades 4 and up and is very informative and forces the students to work together and come up with their own opinions and impressions from a radio program and photographs.


Eleanor Roosevelt Online Quiz

This quiz includes questions regarding facts about Eleanor Roosevelt. Students may work alone or in groups to complete this short 10 question quiz. This can be used as a form of summative or formative assessment.


A Student’s Summary of Eleanor Roosevelt’s Life 

This great and short summary will definitely help the students to easily understand the great Eleanor Roosevelt and her life. It includes important facts and dates that would be very helpful for students learning about this First Lady.

ADDITIONAL TEACHER RESOURCESLesson Plans- Eleanor Roosevelt website offers a handful of very helpful lessons, this one in particular is great for younger primary school students. This lesson compares the popular picture book series, Olivia, to Eleanor Roosevelt. It is a very fun and interesting way to teach the material that the students will love.Lesson Plan: A Leader Who Helps People website provides a series of great lesson plans regarding the great Eleanor Roosevelt. This lesson, in particular, includes a few of the books that are listed above. This is the perfect lesson to use when introducing this material to the students.Who is Eleanor Roosevelt? website helps the teachers to get a better grasp on this American leader. There are many sections to this site such as: biographical essays, Q&A’s, quotations, and a glossary.Lesson Planet- Eleanor Roosevelt Lesson Plans Planet is a great resource that provides ten lesson plans regarding Eleanor Roosevelt. This site is very helpful for teachers who need to find some fun and interactive activities dealing with this well-known American leader.Youtube Video- Eleanor Roosevelt Story five minute video clip sums up Eleanor Roosevelt’s life and is very helpful for both teachers and students when learning and/or getting ready to teach a lesson on Mrs. Roosevelt.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

The following resources are appropriate to help teach third graders about the contributions Martin Luther King, Jr. made to the Civil Rights Movement in the United States (Virginia Social Studies SOL 3.11 b).  Following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather, Martin became a minister after graduating from Morehouse College.  His charismatic speeches from the pulpit garnered much attention, and he was asked to lead the Montgomery Bus Boycott.  From then on, King was an influential leader in the Civil Rights Movement until his assassination in 1968.  The non-violent ideals that Martin espoused, and the dream of equality that he propagated live on through his legacy.

Relevant Children’s Literature


Who Was Martin Luther King, Jr.?
Written by Bonnie Bader
Illustrated by Nancy Harrison

This beginner chapter book is punctuated by beautiful black and white pictures on each page.  Spanning Martin Luther King, Jr.’s life from birth to death, the book is divided into chapters based on aspects of his life.  These chapters can individually be read and understood if there is not enough time during class to read the entire book.  Perfect for a strong third grade reader who wants to delve more deeply into King’s life, the last chapter of the book even talks about King’s legacy after his death, and the lives of his wife and children.  Who Was Martin Luther King, Jr.?  is very well organized, and the time line in the back of the book will further help students to arrange the details of King’s life in their minds.


Martin’s Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Written by Doreen Rappaport
Illustrated by Bryan Collier

“He said “together” when others said “separate”. He said “peace” when others said “war”(p. 9).”

Martin’s Big Words is not about the long vocabulary words that Martin Luther King, Jr. used in his speeches.  Rather, the book emphasizes the words that encompass the big concepts that King stressed through his leadership and oration.  These concepts include, “together”, “love”, “freedom”, and “peace”.  The actual print in the book is typed with different fonts and sizes, highlighting some of the important concepts. More impactful than the changing fonts, the beautiful illustrations set the tone of the book.  Created by using a mix of collage techniques with original drawings, the illustrations catch the feeling of the era.


If A Bus Could Talk: The Story of Rosa Parks
Written and Illustrated by Faith Ringgold

Martin Luther King, Jr. became a Civil Rights leader when he was asked to direct the Montgomery Bus Boycotts.  However, the Boycotts would never have occurred if it had not been for the courageous stand of Rosa Parks, who refused to get to the back of the bus.  Marcie is a little girl waiting for her school bus, when a talking bus pulls up to the stop instead.  Boarding the talking Cleveland Avenue Bus, Marcie embarks on an adventure to learn about the life of Rosa Parks, and the 381 day boycott that initiated Martin Luther King, Jr. into the Civil Rights Movement. With beautiful pastel pictures, If a Bus Could Talk: The Story of Rosa Parks, whimsically describes Parks and the important stand she took.


Martin Luther King, Jr.
Written by Mary Winget
Illustrated by Tim Parlin

Using a mixture of primary source pictures and drawings, Martin Luther King, Jr. is a very accessible biography for elementary students.  The primary photographs accurately show what the world looked like to King.  Students are shown pictures of him attending a birthday party as a child and giving speeches as an adult.  Such pictures help to bring King alive to students who never saw him during their lifetime.  The drawings help take complicated concepts and simplify them by enacting the concepts through the artwork.  The drawings and pictures enhance this biography that extends from Kings life to his life’s work.  Special people and events in his life are highlighted and explained in separate sections, such as a page on Ghandi and Rosa Parks.


My Brother Martin: A Sister Remembers Growing Up with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Written by Christine King Farris
Illustrated by Chris Soentpiet

Unlike many books on the life of Martin Luther King, Jr., My Brother Martin focuses not on his life as a Civil Rights leader, but on his childhood years.  Written by his eldest sister, the book shows a mischievous but thoughtful young boy growing up the son and grandson of ministers in a world rampant in prejudice.  Children can easily relate to the child that they read about, but the book also paints a picture of the injustices of segregation from a child’s point of view.  Particularly moving, and often cited as the catalyst that made King so passionate about desegregation, is the vignette when the two white boys that the King brothers play with tell them that they can not play with them anymore because they are black.  All children understand the sting of rejection, making this story extremely powerful.

Relevant Websites for Students

 “I Have a Dream” Speech

This YouYube video begins with pictures from the March on Washington on August 28, 1963, overlaid by the spiritual song, “We Shall Overcome.”  In only seventeen minutes, Martin Luther King, Jr. delivers the most important speech of his life, and inspires millions to share his dream of equality for all.   Students should hear the cadence of his voice, and will feel like they are on the front seat of history as they see and hear this famous leader talk.

Rags to Riches

When you play Rags to Riches, for every answer you get correct about the life and work of Martin Luther King, Jr., you will advance to the next level of the game.  Just like the television game show, I Want to be a Millionaire!, this game has helpful hints that you can use if you choose, and each level you play is for a certain amount of money.  The amount increases incremently until you reach 1 million dollars.   If a student does get a question incorrect, the correct answer is shown, and this way students will be playing a game, and learning new facts about King.  A wonderful review of King’s life, the fun game allows you to start over as many times as you need until you become a millionaire!

 The Life of Martin Luther King, Jr. 

The Life of Martin Luther King, Jr. is an online comic book starting at King’s birth and continuing until his assassination in 1968.  The colorful and provocative comic book is especially interesting because students have the opportunity to begin imagining what King was thinking throughout his life.  While it is impossible to know King’s actual thoughts, the thought bubbles that float above his head throughout the comic let students imagine what he could have been thinking.  In truth, this is the same as imagining his motivations, and helps to create empathy for his cause by having students put themselves in his place for awhile.

 Martin Luther King, Jr. Quiz

This quiz, created by the Seattle Times, gives students the opportunity to test their knowledge of Martin Luther King, Jr..  Unlike most online quizzes that just tell you the answers after you submit your guess, this quiz goes one step further.  After you submit your answer, a dialogue box comes up with the correct answer, and a short explanation of the answer.  This deepens understanding and and allows students to understand why or why not their submission was correct.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Time Line

Created by students, this time line is a slide show, in chronological order, of the important events in the life of Martin Luther King, Jr..  Each slide has the year across the top, a short description of the event at the bottom, and a picture created by students describing the caption.  All of the slides are signed by the pair of students who created them.  Students will love seeing a product created and published completely by other students!

Helpful Resources for Educators

Biography of Martin Luther King, Jr. 

Before teaching a subject, it is important to delve into the material and become as informed as possible with the content.  This biography of Martin Luther King, Jr. is from the Official Site of the Nobel Prize.  As a Nobel Prize recipient, King has a biography on their site that details the work that led to his awarding and acceptance of the Nobel Peace Prize.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Printable

Perfect for morning work, or as review at the end of the unit, this printable has a picture of Martin Luther King, Jr. at the top for students to color in, and lined space at the bottom for a written response.  The writing could be in response to any number of questions, including a synthesis of all they have learned about King, what they feel his most important contribution was, or what characteristics he had that made him such a charismatic and effective leader.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Online

A one stop website with quotes, speeches, videos, and  pictures of Martin Luther King, Jr. that can be used to supplement any lesson plan, this website is very user friendly and accessible.  One of the most interesting features of the site is that relatable current news items are added to the site regularly.  For instance, President Barack Obama spoke at the Ebenezer Baptist Church a day before the Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday, and his speech was uploaded to the site.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Lesson Plans

This page provides links and materials with lesson plans and ideas for teaching about Martin Luther King, Jr. for kindergarten through fifth grade.  This is a great resource to look for lessons, and to find creative ideas to teach about King.  The top five lessons are listed with a brief description of the lesson and the suggested grade levels to use the lesson with.  When you click on the lesson, a new page appears with the lesson objective, vocabulary, content, and assessment. In addition, lessons of interest from other websites are listed at the end of the page, again with the suggested grade level.

Robert E. Lee


This blog provides teachers with a wealth of resources to draw from as they delve into the strategic brilliance and leadership of Robert E. Leea pivotal player in the Civil war. Children come face to face with E. Lee as they tackle the Civil War component of SOL USI.9d). As you journey through the realm of information that this website has to offer open your minds to the endless opportunities that you as a teacher have in teaching this content to your children in an exciting and fun way. Gone are the days where history has to be boring. It is all about how you present the information to your children.

Text Annotations

The Picture Book of Robert E. Lee by David Adler 51sqe0vmpal_sl500_aa300_.jpg

Through the use of great pictures this book presents the stories of war along with numerous quotes that will help its readers understand our history. It explains the Civil War so that it is easy for the kids to understand. Alder did a wonderful job of displaying the war and allowing children to understand the concept on a very neutral level while also outlining his life. In doing this he helps children really visualize the order of events.

Robert E. Lee: Brave Leader by Rae Bains 51b7wc6n1kl_bo2204203200_pisitb-sticker-arrow-clicktopright35-76_aa300_sh20_ou01_.jpg

This book traces the life of the highly respected Confederate general, with an emphasis on his difficult boyhood in Virginia. It presents the content in an interesting manner and encourages its readers to love history.

Promise Quilt by Candace Ransom 51st6dm25yl_bo2204203200_pisitb-sticker-arrow-clicktopright35-76_aa300_sh20_ou01_.jpg

This picture book is told from the point of view of a Virginia girl, Addie, during the Civil War. When her father leaves the family farm to be General Robert E. Lee’s guide, Addie finds ways to remember him–even when he does not return at the end of the war. The author’s note describes the issues of slavery and states’ rights that divided the northern and southern states and that led to the war.

Robert E. Lee, young Confederate (Childhood of famous Americans) by Helen Albee Monsell  books.jpeg

These classics have been praised by adults, parents and teachers alike. They bring the biography of Robert E. Lee to life in an inspiring, believing way, sweeping young children right into history.

Robert E. Lee: Southern Hero of the Civil War by Mona Kerby 9780894907821.gif

This biography describes the life of the famous Confederate general who fought for Virginia during the the Civil War. It provides children with all the information they need to know about this figure in a clear and concise manner.

Web Annotations

  1. Seize the Night– Is a website that provides background information on Robert E. Lee, and describes his accomplishments and ventures as a leader. It doesn't just provide information of Lee's leadership but the conspiracy theories of other leaders such as Abraham Lincoln and J.F. Kennedy as well as a wealth of information on other military leaders allowing discussions to be sparked on how Robert E. Lee's accomplishments compare to other  well renown military leaders.
  2. Video on Robert E.Lee– This video walks you through Robert E. Lee’s journey as a confederate. These are facts that our children need to know and so by displaying them in a visual and auditory context it helps children learn their history in a more exciting way.
  3. Powerpoint tutorials– This website walks children through the "how to" of creating a powerpoint. The idea behind this website is that you get your children to make their own powerpoint on the information that they have learned about Robert E. Lee in a learning style that helped them learn the content.
  4. Games– This website provides teachers with a variety of games that they can use to incorporate the information on Robert E. Lee. Learning history doesn't have to be boring when you can provide your children with all these games to play. Encourage them to create their own game to learn the content.
  5. Jeapardy game– By clicking on the icon, Government and Civil War, you will be taken to a jeopardy game that encompasses many social studies questions on a variety of topics including questions on Robert E. Lee. It is a fun way to test your children’s knowledge after the unit.

Additional Resources for teachers

  1. DVD on Robert E. Lee– Another way to make sure that your children are retaining information about important players in the civil war. This dvd could serve as a refresher after a lesson on Robert E. Lee and his role in the war. The biography traces the life and accomplishments of U.S. Civil War general Robert E. Lee – the son of Revolutionary War hero “Light Horse” Lee — who led the ailing Confederacy through a lengthy period of survival long after its last resources were seemingly tapped.
  2. Arlington National Cemetery– The Arlington National Cemetery if close to your school could be an excellent place to take your children for a field trip. The estate has a fascinating history that is tied to the families of George Washington, Robert E. Lee and events of the Civil War. But even if you cannot personally attend this site with your children you can point them in the direction of this website allowing them to explore their own history in a fun and interactive way.
  3. NavSource Online: Submarine Photo Archive– Provides archive information that were attached to Robert E. Lee's Confederate career.
  4. Robert E. Lee– provides a wealth of information from powerpoint presentations, to lesson plans and online games to help children interact with their confederate forefather in an interesting and fun way.
  5. Lesson plan– A well planned lesson that introduces Robert E. Lee and the pivotal role he played in the confederate war.
  6. Thinkquest– It provides a timeline, an all about Lee and Letters by Lee. It presents a wealth of information in a structured way for children to share with their friends.

Ancient Greece

Ancient Greek civilization is an exciting and intriguing part of our history. The Ancient Greeks made many contributions to society from government and sports to architecture and literature. While students will never get to experience first hand the customs and cultures of Ancient Greece, books and activities can better help students to understand the way of life in Ancient Greece. The following books and resources can help deepen a student’s knowledge about Ancient Greece from the city-states to mythology. The books and resources are intended to be used in a 3rd grade classroom (SOL 3.1).

Text annotation:

Adventures in Ancient Greece by Linda Bailey


In Adventures in Ancient Greece, the Binkerton children are taken back in time to Ancient Greece during the Olympics. The reader journeys through the city-states of Ancient Greece with the Binkerton’s as they learn all about Ancient Greek customs, religions and culture. The story is full of facts and excitement as the reader follows the Binkerton’s and learn about Ancient Greece.

Ancient Greece by Anne Pearson


The illustrations in this book will grab everyone’s attention. The book also covers the history, people, customs, religion, recreation and warfare of the Ancient Greeks. The illustrations add to the facts listed in this book for a better visual understanding of the Ancient Greek way of life.

If I Were a Kid in Ancient Greece: Children of the Ancient World by Cobblestone Publishing


This book delves into the lifestyle of children in Ancient Greece from house rules to pets. The books investigates what tools, activities and customs children would have to follow if they lived in Ancient Greece.

The Ancient Greeks (People of the Ancient World) by Allison Lassieur


This book is organized differently from all other history books, instead of looking at the Ancient Greek civilization chronologically like most books, this book looks at Ancient Greece by sociological strata. The book starts at the top of Greek society with the people of the government and then delves all the way down to slaves and workers. This gives the students a good look into how life in Ancient Greece was for each level of society and how the cultures and customs worked.

Pandora of Athens; 399 B.C. by Barry Denenberg


In Pandora of Athens; 399 B.C., the reader is taken back to Ancient Greek society where they follow Pandora a young Greek girl as she fights the roles society and her father have laid out for her. The book while make-believe helps students see the reality of life in Ancient Greece. The story is very well written and will capture students’ attention from beginning to end.

Recommended Websites for Students:

The History for Kids website has tons of information for students about Ancient Greece. Students can learn about a wide range of subjects from clothing and literature to mythology and economy.

The Winged Sandals website is a great website for students. The website offers students “plays” to watch about Greek mythology, games to play, history pages, who’s who among the Grecians and instructions to make crafts.

Adventures in Ancient Greece website is an interactive website which offers students a chance to click around and learn more information and play games while learning about Ancient Greece. At the end the students are able to take three quizzes that test them on their knowledge they learned and opens new activities.

The BBC website offers students the chance to click through and learn more about Ancient Greece, from customs and gods to architecture and wars. The site also has quizzes under each subsection as well as a Greek Hero Game for the students to play.

The Odyssey Greece website is an interactive website in which students are taken back to Ancient Greece. The site lets students click through to learn more about Ancient Greece. Students can learn about chewing gum or constellations and even cities’ names in the U.S. whose origins date back to the Ancient Greek empire.

Additional Teacher Resources

Ancient History website has many links for teachers. The links all offer different kinds of resources from lesson plans and activities to PowerPoint and video clips for the classroom.

Ancient Greece This website is a great resource for teachers, it has a lot of in-depth information about art and architecture, history, wars, people and mythology. The website also includes a photo gallery to offer teachers even more information about Ancient Greece.

Scholastic’s Ancient Greece website offers numerous ideas for teachers on how to teach Ancient Greece to students. The website gives lots of ideas for creative craft ideas to keep students interested while learning about the ancient civilization.

BBC teacher’s website about Ancient Greece goes along with the student resource version. The teacher website has complied lesson plans, tours, time-lines, games, craft ideas and FAQ’s about Ancient Greece to help students further explore the ancient civilization.

Carving Out a Name for Himself

George Washington Carver made a name for himself with peanuts. He is world-reknowned for having beaten the odds€”as an African-American in the post Civil War era in America in the late 1800s€”to become a scientist and successful inventor. He was director of agriculture at the prestigious Tuskegee Institute (now Tuskegee University) in Alabama and is credited with creating not only 300 uses of the peanut, but also medicines, soaps, buttermilk, ink, shaving cream, and instant coffee, to name just a few. The following books, websites, and resources cover VA SOL 1.5.

Books on George Washington Carver

   George Washington Carver

Written as a Buddy Books First Biography, George Washington Carver by Rebecca Gomez, is chocked full of information for the budding reader. With 29 pages broken down into 8 chapters, this book captures the salient facts on Mr. Carver’s life and accomplishments in easy-to-read prose.

 Great African Americans

George Washington Carver: The Peanut Scientist, one book in a series written about Great African Americans, was written by Patricia and Fredrick McKissack.  This book would best be used by a first grade teacher to introduce the subject of Mr. Carver. It is filled with wonderful black and white photographs of Mr. Carver, depicting him in his various endeavors, that provide good primary resources for examing his life and times.  This book also has the requisite timeline and glossary for young readers if used in a group research activity.

Ingenious Inventor 

Written by Nathan Olson and illustrated by Keith Tucker, George Washington Carver, Ingenious Inventor is a graphic novel depicting the life and times of Mr. Carver. In a clear and visually appealing way, this book sets itself apart from other biographies by its use of first person dialogue and the use of comic book style illustrations. I highly recommend this book to grab the attention of reluctant readers.

 The Groundbreaking, Chance-Taking Life of George Washington Carver and Science and Invention in America

The Groundbreaking, Chance-Taking Life of George Washington Carver and Science & Invention in America was written and illustrated by Cheryl Harnass. The original pen and ink block prints and running timeline along the bottom of every page make this book an excellent resource for teachers. Excerpts can be shared with students as the level of detail in this book is much deeper than in the young reader selections.

A Picture Book of George Washington Carver

Written by David Adler and illustrated by Dan Brown, A Picture Book of George Washington Carver is more than just a picture book. Watercolors depict Mr. Carver’s life and the author cites Mr. Carver’s own words on several occasions. This book is a brief introduction to Mr. Carver’s life and accomplishments.

Websites about George Washington Carver


Excellent resource for quick information on Mr. Carver. This website shows some his artwork and how he used it to teach farmers about pests. It also has some background information on The Jesup Wagon, a rolling teaching cart, that Mr. Carver designed was filled “with soil samples, farm equipment, recipes, plants, and anything else that could have been used as a teaching tool”.


Large type, a well-written first grade script, and an uncluttered page make this website a good choice for first graders studying Mr. Carver. It includes links to discover Mr. Carver’s achievements, like one of the educational booklets he wrote, Help for the Hard Times. At the bottom of each webpage, there is a thought-provoking question for students to consider before clicking to read more (e.g., “What other ways could farmers make money?”).

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This website features an online game called Quia. It is available through subscription, but as one of its complimentary games, there is an excellent, trial version of a Who Wants to be a Millionaire-type gameshow featuring questions about Mr. Carver. Not only does this site provide the question-answer game, but it also provides background and facts about Mr. Carver as well.


Everyone keeps talking about all those uses of the peanut that Mr. Carver discovered, so what are they? This website lists the 105 recipes of Mr. Carver’s from his How to Grow the Peanut and 105 Ways of Preparing it for Human Consumption publication in 1940.


A&E Biography showcases Mr. Carver in a mini-bio. There is a brief history of his life along with a very well-produced (A&E-style) mini-biographical video. Many parts of the video would be entertaining for a young crowd, however it does reveal a striking image of a hooded figure wrapped in a noose when describing a lynching that Mr. Carver witnessed in his early years.

Additional Resources for Studying George Washington Carver



From, this bio-cube is a fun way to help remember the facts about historical figures. Older students will enjoy typing the information online where younger first graders would benefit from a blank printout and entering the information manually. The software asks students to report a notable quote, personality of the individual, pertinent facts, and his/her significance to society. Once the information is entered, the worksheet can be cutout and made into a 3-D foldable of a cube.


Video has a short video with a brief history of Mr. Carver’s life. The video shows rare footage of Dr. Carver receiving an award at the age of 80 in 1941. Students will get a sense of Mr. Carver’s humble nature and hear how his throat was ravaged by whooping cough in his youth leaving him with a high-pitched voice.

Teach the Children

George Washington Carver Song

George Washington Carver Song

From the album, Teach The Children, Medicine Man Ya Ya sings an upbeat song about ‘The Peanut Man’. Playing this little ditty in the classroom, while completing your art activity during your George Washington Carver lesson plan, will surely help kids remember Mr. Carver and the contributions he made to science and society. Click on George Washington Carver Song to hear a 30 second introduction to the song. In addition to the Mr. Carver song, Teach the Children, also features songs about Harriet Tubman and Rosa Parks.

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Coloring Pages

The USDA has a great collection of worksheet activities perfect for ‘morning work’. Among the handouts depicting Mr. Carver himself are the anatomy of a peanut plant (Science SOLs!), a dot-to-dot peanut, food pyramids, and cross-word puzzles for older students.

Veterans Day

Veterans Day is a national holiday that recognizes and honors men and women who have served to protect America and its freedom.  Students in the third grade will learn the significance of this day and the implications of having a republican or representative form of government that work to uphold the peoples’ rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  The following teacher and student resources can be used to support lessons for Veterans Day or VA SOL 3.11.

Books and Literature

The Veterans Day Visitor

This heartfelt and moving story about Veterans Day is told through the lens of Emily’s Pop-Pop who volunteers to speak to her class about this important holiday.

America's White Table

Through the symbolic white table, Katie begins to understand the depths of the sacrifice that her uncle made in the Armed Forces.

H is for Honor

This book gives you a glimpse of all the military branches and military life as it takes you through the alphabet.  This book will not only teach students about veterans day and those who serve in the military, but can also be used to help students in their writing.

The Impossible Patriotism Project

The Impossible Patriotism Project helps readers and listeners capture the meaning of patriotism.  It helps students to see who the real patriots are as we are taken through Caleb’s struggles in finding meaning in his father’s absence.

Pepper's Purple Heart

Pepper’s Purple Heart is about a dog who gets hit by a car while his owner and best friend are playing a game.  Claire’s neighbor takes care of Pepper and gives him the purple heart that he received as a Marine in the Vietnam War.  This fun and informative book will help students understand Veterans Day.

Student Resources

Fun Facts-This site offers cool facts on veterans.

Games and Activities– This site offers games and activities for students.

Trivia– Students can test their knowledge of Veterans Day through interactive puzzles and quizzes.

Research tools– This site provides links to games, coloring pages, and background information for students to explore.

Newsarticle– This is a online news article on Veterans Day for students.

Teacher Resources

History and Background– This site provides the history and background of Veterans Day for teachers.

Lesson Plans– Teachers can find lesson ideas and examples of lesson plans for Veterans Day.

Teacher’s Guide– This link provides you with a complete and comprehensive guide to facts and activities for Veterans Day.

Poster Gallery–  Teacher’s can use this site to encourage students to create Veterans Day posters.

Worksheets–  Teachers can find free worksheets and activity pages for students.

Ancient Egypt

This post discusses resources for the second grade Virginia SOL 2.1. In this unit, students learn about the contributions that ancient Egypt has made to the modern world. Specifically, students study how Egypt helped to develop, and influenced, writing, architecture and a few inventions like paper, the 365 day calendar, and the clock. The following books, websites and extra resources are designed to fit this second grade curriculum, but are varied in difficulty so that they can be differentiated for many different levels of students.



I Wonder Why the Pyramids Were Built: And Other Questions About Ancient Egypt

By Miranda Smith

I Wonder Why the Pyramids Were Built: And Other Questions About Ancient Egypt is a useful resources as an introduction to ancient Egypt as it gives a general overview about the lives and practices of ancient Egyptians. It provides child friendly explanations about tricky subjects like embalmment and mummification while still being an overall funny and entertaining book because of the many “ancient Egypt” jokes. Enjoyable illustrations accompany the text so that students can see what typical Egyptians looked like, and how the landscape and architecture of the time appeared.






The Egyptian Cinderella

By Shirley Climo and illustrated by Ruth Heller

The Egyptian Cinderella tells the familiar Cinderella story with an ancient Egyptian twist. In this version, the Greek slave girl, Rhodopis, is saved from her plight by marrying the Pharaoh, with a little help from the Egyptian god Horus. Students will enjoy this story because they can relate it to what they already know about Cinderella and can compare the similarities and differences between the traditional fairy tale and this Egyptian version. While still being entertaining, this Cinderella story manages to inform students about every day Egyptian life, from the existence and roles of slaves and pharaohs to Egyptian mythology and religion.





Egyptian Life

By Miriam Stead

This book is an excellent classroom resource because it provides examples and descriptions of ancient Egyptian life based upon artifacts currently found in the British Museum. Therefore, this book is different from most books on ancient Egypt because it shows real photographs of real Egyptian objects. Egyptian Life discusses many aspects of the everyday ancient Egyptian experience such as food, family, society, clothing and religion. In this way, this book is a good starting point for students’ comparisons of their modern lives to the lives of ancient Egyptians.







Hieroglyphs from A to Z

By Peter Manuelian

Hieroglyphs from A to Z is similar to the traditional alphabet books, where each letter is given a page and a sentence using a word that begins with that letter, yet it is different in that the letters are also represented in Egyptian hieroglyphs and the sentences are about Egyptian topics. This book serves as a good introduction to the study of hieroglyphics because it provides a comparison between the letters that students are used to, and their ancient Egyptian counterparts. This book presents the ancient Egyptian writing system in an easy to understand format, and also shares a few facts about Egyptian life and mythology.





Ancient Egypt

By George Hart

Ancient Egypt, from the Eyewitness book series, is a virtual encyclopedia of Egyptian knowledge geared towards elementary aged students. This book combines illustrations, photographs and diagrams to explain tricky and interesting subjects like, what the inside of a pyramid looks like, why the ancient Egyptians dressed the way they do, and how the ancient Egyptians made paper. This book may use some vocabulary that is beyond the second grade level, so it may need to be used as a teacher-guided resource or as a tool for differentiation but it provides an expanse of knowledge on practically any topic that you can think of when it comes to ancient Egypt.


Mr. Ancient Egypt

This site, geared at upper elementary school students, explains topics like the gift of the Nile, the land of the dead, the pharaoh, the Rosetta Stone and Cleopatra. It provides detailed maps and clear explanations of why each of these topics is so important to any study of ancient Egypt. The wording might be a little hard for some second graders to understand, and the site is mostly text-based, so this would be a great site for a teacher-led Webquest or class activity where the teacher could guide students’ reading.

Kids Konnect Ancient Egypt

This site would be a wonderful resource for any class studying ancient Egypt since it provides a wealth of information about everything and anything Egypt related. It provides links to information on hieroglyphics, gods, mummies, the Nile, pharaohs, pyramids, Egyptian literature, art, history and more. Teachers and students could use this site to find anything that they might want to know about ancient Egypt, but again, this site may be difficult for second graders to navigate, because it is so expansive, so if students use this resource it should be guided by the teacher.

The British Museum-Ancient Egypt

This website is published by the British Museum’s Egyptology Department but is intended for an elementary audience. It has information about Egyptian life, geography, gods and goddesses, mummification, pharaohs, pyramids, time, trades and writing. This site would be especially useful in light of the SOL because of its explanations about the development of the clock and writing. Each topic contains a story and an exploration link, for example, in the temple section students can “explore” the inside of a temple. This site is easy to navigate so students could traverse it by themselves.

A to Z Kids Stuff- Ancient Egypt

This website acts as an introduction to the history and contributions of ancient Egypt. It discusses the different Egyptian kingdoms and their time periods, as well as Egyptian inventions and some brief information about prominent pharaohs. At the bottom of the page are listed fun activities that students could do to help them learn about ancient Egypt. Since this site is only one page long it would be an easy way for students to learn about ancient Egypt on their own.

 Children’s University of Manchester- Ancient Egypt

This website is produced by the University of Manchester as a child’s guide to ancient Egypt. It provides interactive activities that students can do online, like, explore ancient Egypt, Giza pyramid panorama, the Egyptian number system, writing in hieroglyphics, make a mummy and more. These activities have easy to understand directions and are fun ways to explain topics about ancient Egypt.

Other Resources

Why did the Egyptians build the tombs and pyramids? Movie

This movie, presented by BBC Learning Zone Class Clips, shows footage of the pyramids in Egypt and explains why the ancient Egyptians first began to develop the pyramids. It explains the different types of pyramids, which pharaohs preferred which type of pyramid and how Egyptians used the natural resources available to them to design and create the pyramids.

Southlands Elementary Ancient Egypt WebQuest

This WebQuest, produced by Southlands Elementary School, takes students on an internet tour of ancient Egypt to learn about topics like daily life, the sphinx, the Egyptian calendar, hieroglyphics, the pharaohs, the pyramids, the Rosetta Stone and mummification. This WebQuest would be a great review of a unit on Ancient Egypt; it uses clear directions and simple links to keep students from being confused or overwhelmed. The other unique thing about this WebQuest is that it asks students to develop their higher-level thinking by asking questions like “write down some differences between poor and rich Egyptians”, rather than simply asking all explicit questions.





The Ancient Egypt Pack: A Three Dimensional Celebration of Egyptian Mythology, Culture, Art, Life and Afterlife

By Christos Kondeatis

This book combines pull out activities and pop-up diagrams to explain the mysteries of ancient Egypt. There are board games, pop-up pyramids, an ancient Egyptian mask and many more interactive and tactile activities to keep students entertained while they are learning. This pack would be a great way to introduce students to a unit on ancient Egypt, or for use as a center activity, or just as something for the class to read together. It provides a lot of information in a very fun package.



Pyramids: 50 Hands on Activities to Experience Ancient Egypt

By Avery Hart

This book provides educators with many different activities for students to learn about ancient Egypt. There are activities about making mummies, designing Egyptian clothes, discovering what the ancient Egyptians ate, playing Egyptian games like tug of war, and more. This book encourages students to “think like Egyptians”, so they should complete the activities using resources and materials that the ancient Egyptians would have had, which adds a unique twist to simple games and projects. These activities are not just for fun, however, they are very educational and include a lot of factual information that students must understand in order to complete the activities, which makes for an excellent resource for both students and teachers alike.

Abraham Lincoln

The following resources are for teachers and students to refer to when exploring the life and times of our sixteenth president, Abraham Lincoln. The Virginia SOLs included are K.1(a), 1.2, 2.11, U.S. 11.3c, US1.9d.

Abraham Lincoln

Who Was Abraham Lincoln? By Janet Pascal
This "big head biography" is perfect for elementary school- aged children. There are over 100 black-and-white illustrations and maps. The text is easy to read and very informative. Young readers will learn all about Abraham Lincoln in a fun, interesting format and will be encouraged to check out the other historical biographies in this series.

Lincoln Tells a Joke: How Laughter Saved the President (and the Country) By Kathleen Krull and Paul Brewer
This book is not only a great read, but also a great read aloud. The straightforward style and use of humor makes it enjoyable for students in elementary school. There is colorful art on every page and the text completely draws the reader in, making them eager to learn all there is to know about our 16th President.

Abraham Lincoln the Writer: A Treasury of His Greatest Speeches and Letters By Harold Holzer
This book is geared to the older elementary student. It is a compilation of Lincoln’s writings, including personal letters, notes on the law, excerpts from speeches, debates, and inaugural addresses, letters to parents of fallen soldiers, and telegrams to his family. Reproductions of period photos, portraits, and documents illustrate the text effectively. This book is highly interesting and a fine resource for students seeking quotations or for those wanting to meet Lincoln through his own words.

Abraham Lincoln (DK Biography) by Tanya Lee Stone
DK brings historical biographies to life with this new series. Full-color photographs of people, places, and artifacts, and sidebars on related subjects add dimension and relevance to stories of famous lives that students will love to read. This book helps the reader explore the extraordinary life of Abraham Lincoln in a way that is exciting and interesting.

Abraham Lincoln (10 Days That Shook Your World) by David Colbert is an exciting look at our sixteenth president told through an eyewitness account of ten crucial days in his life. This book, part of a series of historical biographies, is best for upper elementary students.

Resources for Teachers
Abraham Lincoln
This site is chock full of links to lesson plans, classroom activities and other educational resources. It is nicely organized and has many historical pictures and references. Everything you ever wanted to know about Abraham Lincoln can be found on this site.
Primary Sources
This site is an excellent resource for primary sources. This site includes interpretive materials, featuring a brief Lincoln biography and discussions of eight major historical themes. This helps visitors raise historical questions and formulate hypotheses, thereby searching the primary materials more constructively.
Lincoln Printables
Here you will find printables, interactive worksheets and activity pages associated with President Abraham Lincoln.
Lincoln Lesson Plans
This website has lesson plans, suggested readings, and primary resources that are helpful in teaching about Abraham Lincoln.
More Primary Sources
This site is helpful for primary sources and what to do with them. It provides the source and activities and other informative links.

Resources for Students
A scrambler is a program that chops up an image and scrambles up the pieces (requires the java plugin). The object of the game is to swap 2 pieces at a time until all pieces end up in position to form the completed picture. These scramblers all come with a 4 minute timer. Can you beat the clock? These games require a keen eye for detail!
An interactive quiz about Abraham Lincoln.
Abraham Lincoln's Crossroads is an educational game based on the traveling exhibition Lincoln: The Constitution & the Civil War, which debuted at the National Constitution Center in June 2005. It invites students to learn about Lincoln's leadership by exploring the political choices he made. An animated Lincoln introduces a situation, asks for advice and prompts players to decide the issue for themselves, before learning the actual outcome. At the end of the game, players discover how frequently they predicted Lincoln's actions. A Resources Page keyed to each chapter provides links to relevant Websites on Lincoln and the Civil War, permitting students to explore issues in more depth.
Lincoln Scavenger Hunt
This is an interactive treasure hunt that students print out and answer as they explore the website.
Lincoln Listen and Read
This is an interactive Listen and Read page that students can use on the classroom laptop or personal computer.