You can broadcast historically based videos that correspond with class lessons on a whiteboard to provide an accessible account of events that are sometimes hard for kids to visualize.
Or, you can encourage students to watch videos at home. Most videos are housed on the site, so students can watch them within their browser without having to download anything. You'll need to send a link to relevant videos through an external email system, however; there's no way to send it directly to students through a virtual classroom or other communication method on the site.Continue reading Show less
Editor's Note: Have Fun with History is no longer available.
Have Fun with History is a website featuring all kinds of historical goodies from the annals of American history. The site highlights video content, which comes from a variety of sources and includes educational videos, vintage filmstrips, and newsreels. Because videos come from public domain sources like museums and government agencies, they’re all free to use, and many would work well for classroom use.
Aside from its videos, Have Fun with History doesn't contain much additional written content. Topic sections and videos include a paragraph or two of explanatory text. Some also feature a timeline graphic. However, the site’s structure, which lists videos by era and subject area, can help provide an overview of events' sequential order and give kids a sense of how they tie together. Students can also access a few trivia and other history-based activities, one- to two-minute history clips, and a store that sells books and other items.
You may have to dig through videos that don’t apply to your current coursework, but for the most part, Have Fun with History's films provide an interesting, often in-depth look at certain aspects of major events and historical figures. The well-organized site offers dozens of supplementary visual materials that teachers can use to spark students' interest in -- and help educate them about -- historical topics ranging from the Old West to the space race.
Some videos may not be an ideal fit. Although the content is kid-appropriate, films that log in at an hour or more pose time and attention limitations; and fictional Hollywood titles may not pack enough of a factual punch to be worthwhile. (As the site says, historically based movies provide a look at the time period they represent and the era the film was created in; but silent newsreels likely offer a more accurate portrayal of an era than, say, the Gary Cooper version of A Farewell to Arms.) But it also depends on your audience; which version will stick in your students' brains? It's up to you; just make sure to talk to kids about what really happened and what's been added for drama's sake.
Key Standards Supported
Reading History/Social Studies
Integrate quantitative or technical analysis (e.g., charts, research data) with qualitative analysis in print or digital text.
Compare and contrast treatments of the same topic in several primary and secondary sources.
Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of how key events or ideas develop over the course of the text.
Analyze in detail a series of events described in a text; determine whether earlier events caused later ones or simply preceded them.
Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in diverse formats and media (e.g., visually, quantitatively, as well as in words) in order to address a question or solve a problem.
Integrate information from diverse sources, both primary and secondary, into a coherent understanding of an idea or event, noting discrepancies among sources.
Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources, connecting insights gained from specific details to an understanding of the text as a whole.
Evaluate various explanations for actions or events and determine which explanation best accords with textual evidence, acknowledging where the text leaves matters uncertain.
Reading Informational Text
Analyze various accounts of a subject told in different mediums (e.g., a person’s life story in both print and multimedia), determining which details are emphasized in each account.