Pandas are top of the pops
The Smithsonian National Zoo uses its site to illustrate the fragility of some species. Pandas have always had maximum appeal, and there are webcams here in profusion. If you choose the right time of day and have a good connection you could see some interesting behaviour. The two pandas, Mei Xiang and Tian Tian, have only been in the zoo for a few weeks after their arrival from China. In Smithsonian style this is scholarly and interesting for all ages.
Useful resource for dyslexia
Can you have too much information about dyslexia? Think of the problems it causes teachers. If there is just a slight problem with a child's spelling it leads some parents to diagnose dyslexia. The Bristol Dyslexia Centre's website contains useful information. There is an online questionnaire to test for dyslexia and a chatroom where users can question staff. The FAQ section answers a lot of the more common questions.
20th century literature online
Organised under prose, poetry, non-fiction and reference, the range of 20th century work here is impressive - Virginia Woolf's and TS Eliot's, as well as anthologies like Oxford Mystical Verse and Oxford English Verse. It is a treasure trove of great literature, and every English teacher will find something. A great online library full of quality material.
Who shot JFK?
A remarkable enterprise on the Dallas Morning News website covering one of the most crucial days of the 20th century, the assassination of President Kennedy. It is all here - newspaper coverage, TV, radio, stills, reminiscences. Also included is footage of Lee Harvey Oswald being escorted away before his death. You could even use this as a model for creating a website about the assassination of Caesar.
Evolutionary and cultural biology
This complex exploration of evolutionary and cultural biology was created by three high-school students (Russian and American) as a Thinkquest project. The premise, the theory of replicators, was developed by biologist Richard Dawkins who has praised the site. Replicators are "anything in the universe f which copies are made". Try the activity called Breed Your Own Text. It is based on the idea that a monkey at a keyboard would eventually type the works of Shakespeare.
Holocaust denial on trial
There are still some people who deny that the Holocaust happened. This shows what the Internet can do for the truth. Created by Emory University's Witness to the Holocaust Program and the Institute for Jewish Studies, it covers the libel trial of Deborah Lipstadt, whose book, Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory, described the British historian David Irving as a "dangerous spokesperson" for the Third Reich. A vast collection of documentation presents background, evidence, transcripts, and the full text of the judgment which cleared Lipstadt and Penguin, her publisher, of libel.
A piece of cake
At last a resource that deals with language and phrases that used to be as tight as a drum and are now over the hill. If you are looking for cliches, this is a land of milk and honey. You can thank your lucky starts if your pupils never use cliches. However, the $64,000 question is: would they recognise one if it hit them in the face?
World War One
Set up by an ex-soldier, this looks at the poetry, slang and reality of World War I. One section is devoted to life in the trenches and another to what the area looks like today. There are good links to other relevant sites and many images are poignant.
Codebreaking a speciality
Bletchley Park, near Milton Keynes, was the headquarters of British code-breaking during World War II. Bletchley was "Britain's best kept secret" - the place where the German Enigma service was finally deciphered. Tony Sale, who created this site, was the man who recently re-created the early computer, the Colossus machine, at Bletchley. There are sections explaining how the Enigma cipher machine worked and how the Lorenz code was broken by the Colossus machine. The site is essential for anyone planning a visit to Bletchley.
www.codesandciphers.org.uk Jack Kenny