Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Teachable Moments: The New Deal

The Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum has a You Tube Channel with short clips like the one above "that provide a quick overview of important topics and events from the Roosevelt Era."

Thanks to my collegue, Jeff Feinstein, for sending me the link.

Jamestown's New Mystery Box


As we know the colonists in Jamestown came after the Protestant Reformation, but just recently four new graves were found from the "starving time" and one included what it seems is a box put in Catholic burials.  It might be interesting for your students that Jamestown is still a live dig even though it has long been a recreated (since the real Jamestown is mostly underwater) site.  You can read the WashPost article on the dig here

National Archives: Flickr Account

Wow! You should see the photos and resources at the National Archives Flickr account. They already have over 9,000 followers.

Thanks to Ryan O'Donnell for tweeting the link.

The Zimmermann Telegram: Awesome Clip

Here's a terrific clip from BBC about the Zimmermann telegram.

Thanks to my collegue, Jeff Feinstein, for sending me the link.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

British Pathé: 85000 Newsreels on You Tube

The cross-media company British Pathé, released 85,000 historic films onto its You Tube channel, in high resolution.

It's an absolute gold mine for both US and World history.

The two-minute clip above is about the first man in space, Yuri Gagarin. And here is the D-Day landing.

My thanks my collegue, Jeff Feinstein, for sending me the link to British Pathé.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

How to Draw Using Google Drive


I have been having my students draw on a Google Drive document for the past few years.  Above is the video that I give my students to learn how. 

Thursday, July 16, 2015

TodaysMeet as Alternative for Twitter

Richard Byrne and I started teaching a class together online tonight.  One of the things we spoke about what using Twitter in your classroom.  Several of the middle school teachers were understandably hesitant.  So I suggested something we also use at Hayfield called TodaysMeet.  The beauty about this site is that there is no login or password required for the kids.  You can also set the time paramaters and share the link only with your students.  It is can be used to have a discussion.  You could use it if you want the students to watch something at home and have a live chat. Alternatively you could use it so students could carry on a conversation during a portion of a movie giving them some active participation skills.  Believe me they are used to using two devices at once and will find this easy to do.

Above is a great tutorial about it. 

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Google Chrome Split Screen Extension


I am slowly gearing up for having Chromebooks in my classroom this fall and will also be testing (since I haven't felt it was good enough until now) Google Classroom.  In that endeavor I found Alice Keeler's Chrome extension (her blog is also very helpful) to let you split your window so you can have your gradebook on one side and the student work on the other.  Of course if you don't want her extension, just watch my video video below on how to do it by opening up two windows.  

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Primary Documents and Your Class

It seems that many of our students think that history is what is in our textbooks, when they need to be shown that they are the careful work of many historians and often have a distinct point of view.  So adding primary documents to your history class can provide some relevance and show how hard it is to write our past history.

For example, right now I am reading An Empire on the Edge: How Britain Came to Fight America .  It is different than most revolutionary stories as it tells it from the British perspective and argues that the war was essentially a long term prospect that could have been avoided, but once it started was already a lost cause for our colonial mother.

At any rate it mentions that Boston had five newspapers, when a city its size normally had one.  One of them was the Massachusetts Spy.  You can see an original copy here and blow it up large enough for you and your students to read.

Along those lines here is a WashPost article arguing that Southern writers have succeeded in getting textbooks to state that the Civil War was over states' rights and not primarily slavery.  Considering how our textbooks can sway people one way or the other this would be a great discussion to have in class. 

Friday, July 3, 2015

Who was U.S. Sam?


Today the NYTimes has a short article on Samuel Wilson was many suspect was U.S. Sam because of the U.S. he stamped on meat that was sent to troops in the War of 1812.  Here is an article on it from the History Channel.  He was drawn by Thomas Nast as well as James Montgomery.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Shift Happens


When I do in-services I used to start with Shift Happens, but then it wasn't updated for a while.  Well I just found s 2014 version of it which is still quite good, even if it is a bit old given how fast technology moves in a year.  If you haven't seen the series before, you will be somewhat amazed at the statistics for learning in the 21st century.  

Monday, June 29, 2015

Google Classroom is Growing


Until today Google Classroom has been little more than a souped up way to use Google Drive to organize your students.  But starting today, it has added twenty apps to the suite.  So if you use or are thinking of using Google Classroom above is how you can add the new apps and here is the list. 

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Ancestry Maps

This series of maps from the WashPost is a good one to use when teaching about immigration in US history.  It shows the percentage of people (above) that have foreign born parents (of which I am one), maps showing ethnic background and much more.  

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

State Flags That Still Display the Confederacy Today

South Carolina is under scrutiny because it still flies the Confederate flag at its state capitol, but a number of other southern states go further incorporating it in their state flags, as this WashPost article points out, in subtle and not so subtle ways.  Mississippi leads the way (above) while Arkansas hides it as one of the stars in their flag and Florida has adopted a more modern flag.

I have long asked my students what the long lasting implications of the Civil War are and start it by looking at the southern flags (and remember the Confederacy has several flags).   If you want to go higher on Bloom's taxonomy, the question that many Americans are facing today is should we still allow it to be part of our state flags and why are they even part of it.  The Post article points out that a number of the southern state flags were adopted shortly after Reconstruction ended.  Students will undoubtedly will be surprised how much Confederate history is still alive today. 

FCPS Personalized Learning In-Service


I am giving a hands on presentation at Fairfax County, VA's Advanced Academic Institute at South County HS from 8:30 - 11:30. If you work for FCPS and would like to sign up go into MyPLT and type in summer into the search box and the AAP courses will come up.   Mine is half way down and titled Use of Technology in the Social Studies Classroom (Secondary (this is a link to it).  See you next Tuesday.

The participants will learn
  • first about flipping important contextual information, 
  • then how to use Google Drive for constant feedback in the classroom 
  • and finally how to lead by facilitating and having small group discussions with students (or teachers in this case) rather than whole group presentations.  
  • how to start the school year with an actual online way to showcase personalized learning
 We will start by taking a survey at http://bit.ly/fairfaxjune23
  • then have the teachers come up with a concept or methodology they are going to use in the 2015-16 school year that they might like to give their teachers about by using the flip design.   For example here is a real example of flipping faculty meetings, personal development or even flip when administrators go over the school rules. (here are some reflections by a principal on flipping meetings). Here and here are some other tips you might consider in flipping a school. 
  • next be learning how to create a short flip (defined) using Screencastomatic and what images, slides, short video and information might go into it.  
  • discuss that you can always use others' videos such as (history and government).
  • contemplate how to make sure students are watching the video in part using a Google Drive form
  • discuss how flipping a meeting/classroom allows for one on one discussions between the class leader and the pupil.  For the teacher leader we will discuss how to use one on one conversations and formative quizzes to measure learning and give teachers feedback with some examples of classroom time found here.  
As you might expect I will be modeling all of the items above as we go through the lesson starting with a flipped video, questions and individual discussions.  

All of the steps above can be found in much more in depth by reading my book Deeper Learning Through Technology: Using the Cloud to Individualize Instruction.  Ken Halla can be reached at kenhalla@gmail.com for in-services at your school.