One of my colleagues recently asked students to research what important events occurred in history on their birthdays. I can’t tell you how fun it was to see young students learn about the ancient past in a way that they felt connected to – even if it was just because it was their birthday!
Students were able to learn about all kinds of events, from celebrity birthdays and popular music releases to major wars and political events. Then, they were able to share these new historical learnings with their peers. It was a nice break from reading from a textbook or learning about events in chronological order!
In developing this lesson with my colleague, I conducted quite a bit of research on websites that allow students to take a glimpse into the past, one day at at time. Here are 5 of my favorite “This Day in History” websites:
- New York Times: On This Day
Type in the day and month and NYT churns out a front-page listing from an archived New York Times, as well as other major events from the day.
- BBC: On This Day
Choose the day and month and BBC will provide a list of major, front-page events from that day. Additionally, you can search the news archives for that date by year, and even see other major events around that date range.
- History Channel: This Day In History
Get a list of lead stories for the date chosen as well as one major focus piece featuring video content.
- HistoryNet: Today In History
Timeline of events for each day with brief, one-sentence summaries.
- FactMonster: This Day In History
Kid-friendly list of events for younger students with links to brief summaries of major events and figures.