Call us strange, but finding out what happened today in history is one of the first things we do when we “log on” every morning. It’s a routine, a great way to ease into the day, and we’ve found that our students enjoy it as well. Below you’ll find five of our favorite historical websites. If you want to know our personal favorites, we highly recommend This Day in History and Today’s Document.
This Day in History
The History Channel website is always our first stop for a couple of reasons. First, it’s easy to navigate—we don’t have to customize our search or click around to find information. Second, the folks at the History Channel have gone to the trouble of creating a one-minute video that highlights four or five historical events for every single day of the year! If you prefer to read rather than watch, each video has an accompanying 500 word article.
On This Day
If you’re a Times reader, you’ll like On This Day. Customize the historical date and On This Day will highlight two or three important events. If the event piques your interest, you can read the entire article in the New York Times archives.
Let’s keep it simple: A new historical picture. Every day.
Today in History
Of all the sites we’ve listed here, Today in History is by far the most comprehensive. Today, for example, marks the 118th anniversary of Booker T. Washington’s "Atlanta Compromise" speech. Users will find a detailed summary of the event, links to newspaper articles written about the speech, historical photos, and biographical information about Washington.
Life Photo Archive
The Life photo archive contains literally millions of images from the 1750s to today. Most of them were never published and are now available for the first time through the joint work of LIFE and Google. Although the images aren’t catalogued by date, users can customize their search with varied results. You’ll find that although many of the images were taken on the exact date you searched for, others may only have an approximate date.
These are excellent sites. Using these in the classroom would be a great idea to spark discussion with students. It could be a routine on which you could spend a few minutes at the beginning of each day. The teacher could engage the students in discussion about particular events or have the students journal for a few minutes about one of the events in history. While working on discussion or writing skills, the students would also be learning more about history.
That was my thought, too, Kelly!