Primary Sources: NewseumED Tools

Your class may not be able to travel all the way to Washington D.C. to visit the Newseum–the museum of news–but you can still take advantage of the Newseum’s archive through NewseumED Tools! NewseumED offers a wealth of tools for teachers, but one thing that sets it apart is its primary source material.

NewseumED’s search engine allows for you to search for materials by state, time period, topic, type of artifact, and more. You can access Life magazine covers from the 1930s; you can have access to international newspapers.  Primary sources are easy to access.  

NewseumED also has suggestions for how to best incorporate their artifacts into your lesson plans, including media literacy activities. The EDCommunity allows you to communicate with other teachers. EDCollections contains curated groups of artifacts on a variety of potential topics, including the First Amendment, the Civil Rights Movement, and Women’s Suffrage.

Getting Started

  • Dive into a historiography lesson by exploring how different news outlets from different regions covered the same event
  • Spice up a foreign language class by accessing real historical documents in their original language
  • Teach your students the difference between primary and secondary sources–and what can be learned from each

Foster a Life-Long Love of Stories with Storybird

Simply put, Storybird uses beautiful images to inspire students to write.  Choose one of three formats: picture book, long-form, and poetry. With the picture book format, choose images from Storybird’s enormous image library. By arranging these pictures thoughtfully, a story forms. 

The poetry format allows students to drag and drop words anywhere onto Storybird’s artwork. This encourages students to draw connections between words, images, and the emotion that both evoke in tandem. Finally, long-form allows students to really push their writing skills. While Storybird’s image library provides creative scaffolding, students may use an image to write a chapter that is thousands of words long, which in turn may be tied to other chapters to form a whole book.

Storybird Studio was made to be teacher-friendly.  You can onboard your students, assign projects, and review their work all in one secure place.  The feature that really sets Storybird apart, however, is its fundraising capability. Storybird will actually professionally print and bind your students’ stories for parents to buy, and 30 percent of the profits will go right back into your classroom.

Getting Started

You can sign up for Storybird, for free, right here.

Incorporate Storybird into your next lesson plan:

  • Use Storybird’s image library to create a story skeleton and teach students about fundamental plot elements (rising action, climax, falling action, denouement, etc.)
  • Make poetry more fun and accessible by using Storybird’s poetry form
  • Encourage creativity and a life-long love of stories by encouraging your students to share their creations with the class

Bring Adventure to the Classroom with Classcraft

Classcraft is one of many tools available to teachers and educators that “gamifies” the learning experience. But what sets Classcraft apart is that it’s more than a technique applied to one lesson–Classcraft gamifies the entire classroom experience.

Here’s how it works: students create their own role-playing game (RPG) style characters and form collaborative groups or “parties.” Classcraft helps you to create an enthusiastic, motivated, cooperative classroom by rewarding positive behaviors and punishing negative behaviors through a graphically beautiful and highly immersive system. Award your students experience points for turning in homework on time, answering a question correctly, or making an encouraging remark to a classmate. After accumulating enough experience points, students can purchase “abilities” that are tied to real-world rewards such as getting to turn in an assignment a day late or getting a hint on an exam. Bad behaviors such as tardiness can be punished by taking away “health points.” If a student loses enough health points, just like in a video game, they “fall in battle.” What’s more, when one student falls in battle, everyone in their party loses health points. This incentivizes students to work together and hold each other accountable for keeping the class on track.

classcraft treasure chest
This is just the beginning of the adventure with Classcraft.  Transform your lesson plans into interactive “quests.”  Use a “volume meter” to keep your students working diligently and reward treasure to a silent classroom.  Convert grades into experience points to further motivate students. You can present formal assessments as exciting boss battles!

Getting Started

Request a free trial of Classcraft here.  Once granted access, you will be able to do a host of exciting things, including:

  • Reward experience and deducting health points for effective behavior management
  • Transform your lesson plans into interactive “quests”
  • Use a volume meter to keep your students working diligently
  • Convert grades into experience points to further motivate students
  • Present formalized assessments as exciting boss battles

Related Resources

Educators interested in adding even more gamification into their classroom may also be interested in: