Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Videos for all US History Topics

Here are a ton of short videos made for "The American Journey," but that can be used in any US history class.  You can't embed them, but you can link invidual ones to a site you might have.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Docs Teach from National Archives

Seems like more than a few government organizations are producing some very high quality U.S. history resources, like EDSITEment's Mission U.S. video game.

Next in line is the Docs Teach website from the National Archives.

As the American Historical Association described in a recent blog post, the site provides an integrated experience of related primary sources, activities, and tools, all of which are designed to give teachers the ability to create their own lessons.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Wiki for Tech Tools

This is one of the nicest assortment of tech tools I have ever seen and since it is a wiki, it is only going to improve over time.  Some of the categories are presentation, collaboration, video, slideshows, audio, drawing, quiz, file storage and more. Each page of tools has a description and in many cases, a video explanation.  I found this from a tweet from "tbris101."

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Splitting A Computer Screen
Last year my department piloted an online US history e-book.  This year it has grown to 18 schools and several different books.  Kids say that they don't like online books because it is hard to look at them and do their assignment.  The video above should help if you are promoting e-books in your school. 

Friday, September 24, 2010

One More e-book
This is the easiest e-book to get around (and it has a browser).  It has everything you will need for a non AP US course.
Rather Thorough Book of US History
Now this e-book is quite well done.  It starts with the major categories and then subdivides them.  It also has primary documents as well as outside links.
Wiki US History Book
Ok, now this really IS a quick review - but not a bad thing for the kids to do before a state exam.  As a wiki resource, it will only grow in the coming years.
Online US History Text
This is probably the length most kids would like (186), but it is not a bad overview.  It's not as great as this one from a Philly group I used to work with, but it might be a nice ancillary or review book.
Online Movie Maker
Most Microsoft based computers have Movie Maker, but go here and you will see an online movie maker that allows photos, movies and then can be downloaded to a variety of other places such as youtube if you prefer.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Google Earth Tours of US History
Here are a bunch of Google Earth tours (Pre-Columbian Sites and Their Significance, The Revolutionary War, The Lewis & Clark Expedition, Indian Removal, The Path to Civil War, The Emergence of a National Park System, Conflicts in WWII: Pearl Harbor, Midway, D-Day, Stalingrad, Okinawa & Others, The Road to Civil Rights, Vietnam Conflicts: Dien bien Phu, Ia Drang, Khe Sanh, My Lai, Kent State & Others and
The 20th Century Power Grid: From Hydro-Electric to Nuclear Power).  You do need Google Earth on your computer to make them work.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Watch & Simultaneously Chat About Videos w. Friends Online
If you have students creating a video online or using clips from multiple sources, this might be helpful for you. Here is a site to explain how it works, but basically if you put the word "social" right before ".com" for any video in, you can then e-mail that link to other people and a new screen will appear for all of you. You will be the moderator (ie only you can start and stop the video) and you can write comments on the side (much as you can in Google Docs) that your fellow video viewers can see as well. So students could "talk" online and decide what captions to put in the video as well as which clips to use. Pretty cool! Above you can see the Common Craft video I cited below and see my comments on the side between two different people.

How Great is Wikipedia?!
I am going on a limb here, but I actually do like Wikipedia and go to it all the time when I have questions. I know this bothers English teachers in my building, but they have never seen the Common Craft video above which essentially says that all entries must have be verified and unbiased (thanks to for mentioning a similar video).

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Facebook and Twitter
Right now I am struggling to find a way (pls. leave a post if you know how) to make Facebook acceptable to use in the classroom. There is Edmodo (read earlier post) that looks exactly like Facebook, but then the kids have to look at it and they are ALWAYS on Facebook. I have figured out that I can create a new organization in Facebook and then the kids can see my posts, but then I could also see their sites, which I don't want to be able to do. In the meantime I have found this post which allows one to post items from Twitter directly onto someone's wall. So the kids could sign up for your school Twitter feed and see it as a "status update" on their site. The problem would be that all of your kids couldn't ask everyone in the class questions (as they could in a Facebook organization) and therefore while it would be a great way to reach the kids, it wouldn't let them work together to answer their own questions. Thoughts on solving my dilemma would be much appreciated as a post or e-mail (

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Mission U.S. and Curricular Video Games

A new product from EDSITEment looks to be a promising addition to the "curriculum as video game" genre: Mission U.S.

It's only in its initial stages of rollout, so keep an eye out for the full release on September 21, 2010.

This move toward curriculum-based video games is being explored by Barry Fishman at the University of Michigan in an undergraduate course, so expect to see more high-quality, interactive gaming experiences of this sort coming down the pipe.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

New Changes to Google Docs
My new students just turned in their first papers via Google Docs. It was fun to watch some of them in class as they found out how they can collaborate and have a free suite of docs, excel, PowerPoint, picture editor and survey monkey. If you follow this site, just go to the search engine and type in "Google Docs" for some of my other posts or for now play the video above to see the new improvements.

Prezi Adds Live Collaboration to its Presentations
Prezi lets you build a multidimensional PowerPoint all on one slide so that you merely need to move the screen up, down, left, right, etc. Here is a student presentation of the Constitutional Convention that includes, pictures, video, graphics, links and even a worksheet all on one slide. Press the arrow to go to each part. Above is a video describing how you can create a Prezi PowerPoint with other people on other computers anywhere in the world at the same time - much as you can do with Google Docs.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Great Divergence Series

For all of you who have trouble, like me, finding some common threads to pull through the last 30 years of US history in those weeks leading up to your AP Review, Timothy Noah of Slate has provided a solution. His new series, The Great Divergence, identifies, what he claims to be, the most significant trend in US history over the last 30 years: the growing income inequality gap. This compelling series should give you something interesting to discuss with your class.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

New Resource from National Archives

The National Archives has created an interactive site that teachers can use to create their own activities (or use ones already made) using historical documents. It's very user-friendly. The site is called

Monday, September 6, 2010

Here is a very quick, yet thorough, look at US history in fifty seconds. Perhaps it would be a quick preview of the year for your students.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Cobo Cards
I have blogged about Quizlet and Study Stack (which gives you a lot of categories for social studies) which are online flash cards. The advantage of Cobo Cards is that you can add pictures to your flash cards.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Watch the full episode. See more Need To Know.

Religious Freedom in Manhattan
This short PBS video starts with the Dutch in New Amsterdam, goes to the first Jews in the area that predated Washington's inaugural. In light of the controversy over the Islamic cultural center, this would be a great precursor for your students.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Free Historical Thinking Poster

"Free? Did someone say free?" So goes the teacher's mantra year in and year out. And this freebie poster is all about history and from the very reputable National History Education Clearinghouse. Just follow the link, and fill out the form to get this very useful classroom tool.
Google Spreadsheets
Click here to see a video I found on this blog that shows you several useful ways to use Google Docs (surveying kids on several field trips, seeing how well students learned information on a unit and more).

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Constitution Day Clips on CSPAN
I just received an e-mail from CSPAN telling me that they attached CSPAN video clips for each part, section and clause of the Constitution which can be found here. Above is a clip talking about "general welfare."