Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Thomas Edison Film

Above is a movie made by Thomas Edison in 1894.  The color was added by painting. For more on early films, go here.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Split Screen on a Mac

So whenever I go to the mall (which is not often), I like to stop by the Apple store and play with the new gadgets.  While I prefer a Mac, I have never been able to easily (yes you can drag the windows and re-shape them) split the screen in half the way you can on a Windows based computer (go here if you don't know how).  Well (and I am getting no $ for saying this), but you can try new software (for a temp fix) or pay $7 to be able to easily snap (as you can on Windows 7) the screens in half on your Mac.  It comes from PC World, so I think you can trust it.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Edit Google Docs From Your Phone

Last year one of my AP students actually did her entire assignment on a smart phone when her power was out.  I, of course, praised her, but now it is even easier to do from a phone, an ipad or if you have an Android, you can do write a document simply by speaking. 

Friday, November 26, 2010

Charlie Chaplin Film

If you mention him at all, you probably only pay passing attention to Charlie Chaplin in class, but you might be discussing films and culture.  Above is an entire Charlie Chaplin film (or here) that you could show a portion of in class.

Donald Duck WHII Propaganda

This film is from Open Culture (yes it is one of my new favorite sites).  It is a 5 minute Disney film which tried to get Americans to pay their taxes to pay for the cost of WWII.  According to the link, 90% of Disney employees produced war propaganda films.


Several of my students have added themselves to my Twitter (kenhalla) feed.  When I tell them that I only put up content and technology links through it, they seem somewhat saddened that I don't put up anything personal.  That, is, of course, the same belief that many educators have of Twitter when I tell them how many resources I get on it.  If you want to get free information quickly, I'd suggest setting up a Twitter account, watch minute video above (taken from web20classroom on Twitter), go here for suggestions on how to get a group of people to follow (I started by plugging in "education," "social studies," "history," and other items like this.  You can also go to my Twitter list and look at the people I follow and follow the ones you like.

Free Phone Calling Through G-Mail

If you are like me then you are having to call many long distance numbers just to reach parents who, like their kids, are increasingly keeping their old phone numbers when they move.  My school district gives us a long code we can use for long distance numbers, but now I am going to use the new feature in Gmail as it allows people to call anyone's phone (be it a land line or cell phone) for free anywhere in the US.  I used it yesterday and it is as clear as a normal phone call.  Looking at the picture above, just click on the part on the left side of the Gmail where it says "call phone" and a key pad will appear on the left side of your screen.  Just type in the number, press return and the call will be made for you.  For those of you who have no land lines, this can also save on your minutes.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Learn US History Through Games

Here are a number of games (and they keep adding more) to learn US history.  There are also quizzes you can take.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Google Earth "How To" Videos

Wow, these videos are tremendous, short and informative.  Learn how to make a short Google Earth tour, add video, recording options, add place marks, descriptions, embedding, etc.  Thanks for the heads up from a Tweet from "web20classroom." Above is a video on how to make a Google Earth tour.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The History of Us

The History of Us is from a movie by PBS, but if you go here, you can get short snippets of a number of parts of US history overladen with pictures, movie scenes and interviews with historians and prominent Americans.  You can also do a search of the PBS site and find lots more short videos beyond the History of Us ones that you can use in class.   If you click on the picture above, you will get a short on the Boston Massacre as one example.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Google Docs

I had a student tell me today that he was so happy I had helped him with Google Docs and that not only does he use it in every class, he can't imagine how he existed without it.  While this video is for Google Apps (the paid version), you can do almost everything in the video for free.  For example, I have the my kids' schedules on one of my calendars, my wife's on another and mine on the last one.  About the only thing you can't do for free is to e-mail or give access to every teacher in the school or district.  Beyond that you can do all of this. If you are into Google Docs or the power of cloud computing this 12 minute video is well worth it. I found this at FreeTech4Teachers.com , but I find most of my Google Docs info at the blog for it and in the upper right hand site of my account where it says "New Features."

Edublog Awards

So, in a sense this is a shameless plug that if you like this blog, you'll go here and nominate and vote for it for an Edublog Award.  It is quite an award to get and would be a nice reward for the hard work of my fellow bloggers.  If you want mine, I like FreeTech4Teachers as a blog and "ShellTerrell" and "web20classroom" on Twitter.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Origin of the Thanksgiving Day Holiday
Normally I wait until it is too late to put up my Thanksgiving post, so here it is earlier enough to consider adding to your class next week.  Did you know that the author of "Mary Had a Little Lamb" was behind the US making Thanksgiving a national holiday, that Lincoln was the president who initiated this, that there is no proof that turkey was actually eaten on the first Thanksgiving. So many nice tidbits in this video and more of the story here. 
This is an amazing website that looks at every aspect of the Constitution including individually breaking down each part of the document and then doing court cases and much more.

Pictures of Slavery

This is an incredible source from the University of Virginia that has over 1200 photos of American slavery.  It is sobering to see the pictures, but obviously something we have to teach our students about.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

How to Use Google Docs

I am presenting at the online Global Education Conference on Tuesday November 16th at 8 AM EST.  The conference has over 300 free sessions.  If you are interested, I will be doing a session on using Google Docs with your students and peers.  In a one hour session, you will be trained to create a create Google documents, Presentations (PowerPoints), drawings, folders and how to share them with your peers and how to easily grade your students work online.  To get to the session, click here and then put "Halla" in the search engine and when you get to my link, click on the Elluminate session.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

NY Times & Civil War: Disunion

The New York Times has teamed up with History to write DISUNION, a blog about the lead up to the Civil War. Imagine modern web coverage of the U.S. in the early 1860s, day-by-day! I often find that our history textbooks, even the really good ones like Brinkley and Foner, fail to provide students with a sense of the immediacy and uncertainty of the historical present, often because that is exactly what makes for quality history...the distance and perspective to see things more clearly (or at least more fully). Nevertheless, imagining the historical present is a valuable skill for teachers to develop in students. In the NY Times's own words:
One-hundred-and-fifty years ago, Americans went to war with themselves. Disunion revisits and reconsiders America's most perilous period -- using contemporary accounts, diaries, images and historical assessments to follow the Civil War as it unfolded.
It's a really great resource for students to see into the fog of war and the unpredictability of the future.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Treasure Chest for AP US Class

If you teach AP US, you will love this page as it has every single assignment for an entire year for you to pick and choose from. It also has a PowerPoint for each unit.

American Revolution Interactive

This is a nice interactive that is broken into 1775-78, 1778-1981 and the Treaty of Paris.  Each part is broken up into many parts, all of which start w. the kids having to identify a place on a map and then giving details on the battle.  I found about it from a tweet from "mooresclassroom."

Prelude to the Civil War

The WashPost has an amazing series of pages today on what was going on 150 years ago.  Features include what DC was like, lessons, from the Civil War, state by state electoral results of the 1860 election, a piece on Lincoln's speech to start his campaign, Matthew Brady and more.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Rag Linen - Rare & Historic Newspapers

"Rag Linen is an educational archive of rare and historic newspapers, which serve as the first drafts of history and the critical primary source material for historians, authors and educators."

The Gettysburg Address Animated

Gettysburg Address from Adam Gault on Vimeo.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Thursday, November 4, 2010


Every once in a while I look to see where people are coming from who visit our site.  While I am happy that many come because they simply type in our name, it is also nice that so many people come because someone else has put our site on a link from their webpage.  Here is one called "Top 50 American History Sites." Besides being a great resource for ideas, it also, kindly lists ours as one of the sites.  So thanks to all of you who have made our three teacher sites so visited pages.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Global Education Conference

I am presenting at the online Global Education Conference on Tuesday November 16th at 8 AM EST.  The conference has over 300 free sessions.  If you are interested, I will be doing a session on using Google Docs with your students and peers.  In a one hour session, you will be trained to create a create Google documents, Presentations (PowerPoints), drawings, folders and how to share them with your peers and how to easily grade your students work online.  In a few days I will give you the Elluminate link and you can attend the session for free.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Ken Burns' New Documentary on T. Jefferson

Ken Burns has a new film out on Thomas Jefferson and you can find all that PBS has to offer on it (including ordering the film) by going here. You can also find all of his writings online here.  Below is the entire text of Notes on the State of Virginia.

Rubric Maker

When I first became a teacher one of the hardest things I found was how to grade essays and presentations.  Well if you go here, all you need to do is fill in a few parameters and gives you a rubric for literally anything you need (essays, debate, play, brochure, letter and lots more).