Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Best Sites For Teaching
Tomorrow morning I am doing three in-services for our county's social studies teachers. One of the in-services will be "The Best of the Teacher Blogs." If you go here, you will see what I will be going over. Here are the individual topics on the attachment:
E-mail to Text
Free Computer Access
Google Docs
Organizing Using Technology
Social Networking
Student Mastery
Teacher Mastery
Making Student/Teacher Blogs
Just yesterday one of the teachers in my department was asking me about how he could make student blogs for his kids' writing assignments. He believes that making them "live" will motivate them more. I use blogspot.com (hence the name), but there are wordpress.com is also excellent. A cool new find (discovered at freetech4teachers.com) is BlogBooker which allows you (or your students to covert a blog into a pdf document. You can also use Pdftoword.com to change a pdf into a word document. Finally the problem with blogs is that you do not want to have to go a different url for all of your students. I use an "aggregator" which allows me to have all of the sites in one place. The best one for teaching is Bloglines.com which allows you to see when each student has updates their blogs. For more on HOW to do this go here (to a short sheet I created and will highlight later today) and look at social networking.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

New Blogger! National Archives on YouTube!

Hello all! My name is Christopher Lee, and I am one of the new contributing bloggers here at US History Teachers Blog.

I figured I'd start my tenure with some solid primary documents: footage from the National Archives on YouTube.

Private SNAFU is but one example of the bevy of interesting videos from the National Archives. (I can hear Bugs Bunny through and through.)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Blogger Wanted
While we have had a few people help w. posts here and there, we would like to find one or two more regular bloggers to add to the quality of this site. If you are interested, please e-mail kenhalla@gmail.com.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Today's Meet
I have always struggled w. how to connect students outside of the classroom. Obviously Facebook has negative connotations within a school and frankly students do not want you have school intrude there or only want to use it on their terms. But Today's Meet is a great way to set up a chat room for your students to communicate in class or outside of it. You can set it up for anywhere from two hours to a year. Also if you want students to have the space for a url and a comment, you can send them to TinyUrl and it will truncate the url. Finally Today's Meet allows you to set up a hash tag within Twitter (more on that above this post). Above is a five minute video explaining how to do all of this. Others like it can be found at LearnItInFive. I found out about this idea from FreeTech4Teachers.com.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Rap History of Alexander Hamilton
This was performed by Broadway star Lin-Manuel Miranda at the White House recently for President Obama.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Free Video for Teachers
The Annenberg Foundation Trust at Sunnylands is releasing a 23-minute documentary for Constitution Day. The documentary tells the story of Thaddeus Edmonson, an African American construction worker whose personal injury lawsuit in 1991 became a Supreme Court landmark case on the right to an impartial jury.

As with all Sunnylands Trust videos, this documentary is extremely well-produced and classroom ready. While supplies last, it will be sent free of charge to teachers, schools and libraries that become part of the Sunnylands Classroom community. Please sign-up at http://www.sunnylandsclassroom.org/ConstitutionDay/Registration.aspx. Remember: Constitution Day is September 17th.

Teacher Tech Tool: Tagxedo
There has been much talk about Wordle of late and now there is a new tool on the block -Tagxedo: Like Wordle.net, Tagxedo creates word clouds, but unlike Wordle, Tagxedo allows users to save their documents. It also allows users to format the cloud into a picture. For instance, if you were creating a cloud about Che Guevara, you could create it in the shape of his face.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Interactive Immigration Map
Wow! I am from the DC area, but increasingly I find myself reading the New York Times because of graphics such as this one. It shows for immigration to the US from 1880 to the present from individual countries as well as the aggregate. You can also look at the immigration over time or at one point in history.

Friday, August 6, 2010

I cannot tell helpful Twitter has been to me in the past 10 months as a research tool for teaching and technology. I just found "Twhistory" on Twitter and here is their website. It is a site that is devoted to teaching history on the Internet (not unlike this site!). Obviously one of the items they like to do is to re-enact events using Twitter. One of the items I found on the site is Prezi presentation (also above) of creating historical re-enactments on the web. Prezi is a type of PowerPoint presentation on steroids. It is a great way for students to present topics. Press the arrow button and be impressed!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Since we are all starting to think about getting back into the classroom around this time of year (where did the summer go?) I figured I'd start posting a few tools I have used that have been helpful in one form or another. Today's installment is called Wallwisher.

Wallwisher is a simple collaboration tool that allows you to create a "wall" where students can post 140 character "stickies" on the wall for all to see. It's a dynamic tool that can be used for brainstorming, reaction to a reading, exit slips, feedback, or various other ways. As the creator of a wall, you are also able to moderate what gets posted and what does not. For more ideas on how to use Wallwisher, check out this presentation for ideas. I used it last year as a way for my students in my AP Economics class to leave suggestions on how to survive AP Econ. That example can be found here. For examples of how other colleagues are using it, check out high school English teacher Nora Bowers' example.

If you have any questions, you can find me on Twitter @jjanczak

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Mixbook - Create Beautiful Photo Books and Scrapbooks! | View Sample Photo Books | Create your own Photo Book

Digital Storytelling
I have spent part of the last three days working on ways for teachers to better use technology. This is what we have so far (check back later as I am doing an in-service in September and will be improving this over the next few weeks). But in the process, I just found Mixbook which is set up for commercial use, but also if you go here, they have a site for teachers as well. Above is a nice piece by a high schooler writing about the year 1951.
Online University Resources
A few months ago, I started getting e-mails (yes, thankfully sometimes people just e-mail me items they want to see and while I do not put them all up, I do add a number of them) from Online University. While it is an interesting way to promote an online learning center, they do have a number of historical items as well as technological help. For example, their penultimate post was on myths of US history (how Thanksgiving came about, Washington and the cherry tree, Pocahontas, Columbus and others), 100 sites for military history and many useful technology in the classroom. Now be cautioned as there are other things not related to either (job hunting skills, for ex.), but it is certainly worth a look.

Monday, August 2, 2010

National Endowment for the Humanities Site
I received an e-mail from the NEH the other day telling me about their site. It is great as it has interactive maps, games, quizzes, lesson plans, etc that are really technically saavy. It is great for both US and World History teachers.