Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Civil War in Four Minutes

I've posted this before but since this site keeps getting lots of new viewers, I wanted to put it up again.  It is a great way to review the war once you are done. This video shows the battles, ongoing casualties, which side controlled which side and more.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Google Apps for Education Learning Center

In October my county became a Google Apps for Education (GAE) county which means, among other things, that my students are now completely virtual.  But for those who have are still making the adjustment to GAE, here is a site that might make your transition smoother. 

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Crossing the Delaware - Incorrect Painting

It's not a new thought that the iconic painting of Washington Crossing the Delaware has fraught with mistakes, but below the original above is a new view of how the painting should have been done.  Here is a new article on the subject and here is a more academic one. 

Saturday, December 24, 2011

East India Company

This week's Economist has a nice article (and not too long for students) on the East India Company.  It makes some comparisons to today's companies, but mostly it is a summary of its rise, spread (and the politics it used to do so) and demise. 

Friday, December 23, 2011

Share Your Computer Screen or Take Over Someone Else's

Sometimes my students need help with something technical we are doing.  Well now I can take over their screen or they can see mine.  Well now I can easily take over their computer screen.  From the same makers of Screencastomatic (which I've blogged about before), you can now use Quick Screen Share to let someone else see what you are doing or even to take over their computer screen.  As with Screencastomatic you do not  need to set up an account and only need to let a small java file run to be able to do it.  A big thanks to Notanotherhistoryteacher for this heads up. 

Thursday, December 22, 2011


Edusitement is a webpage that has hundreds of lesson plans and resources to go along with them for US history.  Here are three that go along with my post below on Reconstruction.  Finally here is a page dedicated to teaching just AP US history. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A Little Fun

I am one of those teachers who actually teach all the way up to winter break, but I do allow kids to bring in "learning food" so that we can relax a bit, but still learn.  Being a techie we spent a few minutes with "tech fun" as well.  For example if you go to Google, type in "let it snow" and after your screen has fogged up, use the cursor to write as if it were a fogged up window.  Other fun can come from writing "do a barrel roll" in a Google search engine or even seeing what you get when you write "where is Chuck Norris" in the search engine. Have fun and know that I will continue putting up updates over the winter break. 

Prezi's New Features

Perhaps capitalizing on the growing popularity of the +1 button on Google, Prezi has made it easier (and it was fairly easy to begin with) to create a Prezi as they too have a "+" button to add in the new features in your presentations.  Here is what I have posted in the past on Prezi.  

Friday, December 16, 2011


Here is an pictoral outline of the Reconstruction period.  If you look at it there is a picture for each part of the timeline, but if you click on each picture, there are a bunch more under it.  There are also nice explanations of each.  

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

How To Download Everything At Once in Google Docs

This year my county has introduced Google Apps, but due to our interpretation of COPPA, we are not letting our students (and since they can not be separated out, our teachers & administrators) share with someone outside of our domain.  If you have the same issue where you teach, it might be a concern for students who are graduating or leaving your school system.  Well a bunch of engineers at Google have a site explaining how to download any of their products in batch download.  Here is how you can do it for Google Docs.  Then, of course, you could tell your students (or fellow teacher) to turn around and re-upload it in a free Google Docs, so they take it with them to their next school. 

Calling Long Distance Parents

Increasingly my students' parents have long distance numbers that I need to call to reach them.  While my school will provide me with a long distance calling card, it is much quicker to just go into my gmail and call from there.  As you can see in the picture above, you need to download a small file and then simply hit the "call" button and a dial pad appears.  Then you dial in the number and call from your computer.  Google just announced that they are allowing free calls (they keep extending it) through 2012. 

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Youtube Blocked At Your School? - Here's a Solution

Thankfully my principal has finally agreed to unblock youtube at my school, but if that is not the case for you, then you should watch the video above. Youtube has tagged (so far) about 200,000 videos that they deem educational which you can see here.  Additionally there are no other videos to see afterwards.  Youtube allows you to see short video clips that back help the students visualize what you have just been teaching.  

Friday, December 9, 2011

Give Google Docs a Try

Have you been reading this blog a while and wondered why I talk so much about the virtues of Google Docs.  Well without even getting a free account, you can go here and see of the great tools that come with Google Documents, Presentations (PowerPoints), Spreadsheets and Drawings.   The great thing is that you can do most of what you pay for with Windows and you can do it on any smart phone, tablet or laptop and collaborate with up to 100 people anywhere, instantly for FREE.  

Another Free e-book

The state of Texas has two e-books online for US history.  They are not as long as the ones you have for your students, but they cover many of the basic points.  Here is the regular one and here is the advanced one.  If their AP book is any indication the FlatWorldKnowledge one coming out in February will be amazing (as their government one has great pictures, video and a very comprehensive text).  

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Exam Review ipad App

In Virginia our end of the year exams are interestingly enough titled the SOL tests (Standards of Learning).  Here is an ipad app for reviewing material on the SOL exam.  Since our test is similar to most other states (in terms of coverage) this might be a useful app for any students.  There is US history as well as World History I (prehistory - Renaissance) and World History II (Renaissance - present). 

Monday, December 5, 2011

Archie Bunker Learns About Manifest Destiny

This is a great video on the definition of manifest destiny from All in the Family.  It goes from 1:30 to 4:00.  You can also use the video to teach something about Americana.  Thanks to Maggie Tran for the heads up on the video. 

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Annotate Any Videos on Youtube

From time to time I have my students build simple PowerPoint projects (naturally using Google Docs).  I always like them to insert a video as part of it, but I have never been able to know if they actually viewed the video (short of putting comments in another slide). Now students can annotate any video on youtube and even decide where the video will start and end by using EmbedPlus.  For example above is the video from the Apollo 11 video (post below).  I have added four comments in the first 20 seconds.  Also here is a link to the video.  Additionally here is a video I just made on how to use Embedplus

Sunday, November 27, 2011

High Def Video Montage of Photos from Apollo 11

I found this at OpenCulture.  They are photos taken by the Apollo 11 astronauts which are remarkable.  They take me back in time as I was not quite six and living in Tehran.  Later that year the three Apollo 11 astronauts visited the US embassy there. 

Consulting for Your Department, School or District

Have led 15 district-wide, in-services for Fairfax County, VA (12th largest district in the US), as well as international conferences such as the Global Education Conference.  Initiated, piloted and implemented e-books for Fairfax County Public School (FCPS) district.  Teach a technology integration course which is applicable to all content areas.  Advise school districts regarding converting to teaching entirely online, including network requirements, preferred interface (laptops v. tablets) for student use and best websites to enhance online learning.  Featured in the Washington Post (here and here), in Education Week and cable television.  Worked with e-book companies, created an online course, am a national board certified teacher and have a Ph.D. in my primary content area (full C.V).  For consultation services for your department, school or district, e-mail me at  

Civil War Photos

I found these great Civil War pictures from a tweet from KevinLevin.  To see them all, go here

Friday, November 25, 2011

US and AP US SIte

This site is well known to NewYorkers for its PowerPoints for regular and AP US classes.  If you teach using the Americans (for regular US) or Brinkley for APUS, then it is a great site to visit as it has the previously mentioned PowerPoints as well as organizing questions, quizzes and a tremendous number of weblinks including ones for DBQs. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


I love Qwikis as they give your students a short video, pictorial and written definition of a word.  Above is a Qwiki on Marbury v. Madison. 

Gadsden Purchase

Gadsden Purchase from Michael G on Vimeo.

For some reason a lot of people like to search for my old post on the Gadsden Purchase which was done on the Jimmy Fallon show.  It is well done and will help you teach it. 

Monday, November 21, 2011

App for the American Revolution

I received an e-mail from a UPenn frosh who developed an app last year as a high school senior for the American Revolution.  Any student who loves technology and history is worth listening to!  Since I do not have a tablet, would some readers please try it out and tell me how well it works for them.  

Friday, November 18, 2011

Teaching with Documents

If you are ever in need of some primary documents for your class, the National Archives has done a nice job of finding documents and labeling them by eras.  They also have analysis sheets for such items as written documents, artifacts, cartoons, movies, and more. 

Comprehensive Site of Presidents

This is an amazing site that has found a ton of sites about US presidents from the expected things such as biographies, first ladies, pictures, but also cabinet members, presidents of the Continental Congress, presidential libraries, recordings from Cleveland to the present and so much more. 

Election of 1800 in their own words

Thanks to the great US team in my school for this and the two videos below it.  People think that today's campaigns are hard, but the early US ones were more harsh especially with the two New York City newspapers dueling it out (and not even trying to be unbiased).  Above is what Adams and Jefferson said about each other. 

Alien and Sedition Acts/XYZ Affair

Sorry to have so many videos in a row, but there are some good ones out there.  Here is one from the movie John Adams on the Alien and Sedition Acts.   The one on the bottom is cheesy, but it will get the kids to watch. 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Classtools to Make Learning Fun

Just a week or so ago I posted on Fakebook which is built by "Classtools."  Well I finally got around to looking at that site and was impressed as there are a number of games (most of which I had not heard of - but that will make it even more interesting for your students).  There are also more traditional items such as a Venn diagram which you can write upon the computer screen and then turn into the teacher.  Above is a video explaining how to use the site. 

Smart Song Raps

Tim Busch, one of the teachers in my department, just told me about SmartSongs which has a bunch of raps on US history and government.  Above is one on the three branches of government. 

The Library of Congress - Thanksgiving Pictures

The Library of Congress has a rich number of pictures in their online files.  Here, for example, are all the ones that they have pertaining to Thanksgiving.  

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Want to Blog?

Two weeks ago, creating a blog came up in tech integration course and it made me think that I have never had a post on how to create a blog such as this one.  The real question is what could you use it for.  It would be a great place if you do want to put up current assignments in a very easy way.  The only thing that is not on the blog entry is how to embed a video in it which means I will have to do another post on that soon.  

We Didn't Start the Fire

Every once in a while I like to see where people who come to my site are coming from (site and country wise).  One person clicked on this link I did a few years ago, so I thought I'd show it again since so many people like using "We didn't start the fire" by Billy Joel as a lesson plan.  Here is an outline of everything he discussed.  Also if you do a search for "Billy Joel we didn't start the fire lesson plans," you will see a ton of them out there. 


There are many myths out there about Thanksgiving such as it was not officially celebrated until 1863 when it was the last Thursday in November thanks to Sarah Hale (who also wrote "Mary Had A Little Lamb").  FDR moved it back a week to help boost spending by giving people an extra week for their Christmas shopping. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

I'm Presenting at the Global Education Conference

At 7 AM EST (on Wed) I am making an hour presentation on the the Global Education Conference.  Here is what I will be attempting to show the participants.  I will be covering  splitting your laptop screen, igoogle, Google Docs, Screencastomatic and Remind101.  It is overly ambitious, but if you want to know how to do any of those things you can either go on Elluminate by clicking here to join the free class or go to my link and look at the how to sessions.  

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Ideas For Using Google Docs

My county is switching to Google Apps so I made a short video cast above to show our social studies teachers some ways they can incorporate Google Docs in the classroom and with fellow collaborators.  If you want to know how to do each of the items go here, here and here for written how to sheets.  Here are videos explaining how to use Google Docs. I made the above video "on the cloud" using Screencastomatic.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Tripline for Mapping With Students

I just found Tripline where you can put pictures on a map (from History and Geography in the 21st Century) and have it follow from one place to another. The above clip is about a 16th century Spanish explorer who came to the Americas. Here is a great video on how to make one and include slideshows, videos, etc. 

Slave Codes

Here is an excerpt on slave codes from the US history e-book I posted on below and here is an actual one from South Carolina. Here is another resource that talks about the history of the laws in the US. 

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Screencasts To Help In The Classroom

I love Screencastomatic as it allows you to record and very quickly upload into Youtube a screencast of up to 15 minutes.  Thursday one of my colleagues will be at a meeting and so he actually recorded two fifteen minute lectures where we spoke while showing the screen to his students.  So the kids will bring in their ear buds and once they are done presenting their projects, they will not miss a beat without their teacher.

As if that is not enough above is a video detailing how a friend/colleague can record their screen and send you a link to see what problem they might be having.  The site is called "show me what is wrong." For me this is perfect for students who are having problems accessing their e-books or really any problem they are having.  I found this video along with a bunch of other ways to create screencasts on FreeTech4Teachers.

Are You Adjusting Your Teaching?

This video is quite excellent and leads me to ask how you are adjusting your teaching in the 21st century. It is a take off on the very popular Shift Happens videos.  Yes, a baby did really Tweet as you can see here

Stopwatch and Slitting Your Computer and LCD Screens

I learned a trick from a 7th grade teacher in my building that if you want students to work more quickly - esp. using technology, give them a clock and break the assignment up into parts.  My favorite clock is this one.  It both counts up and down.  Also, if you have the new Windows on your computer, you can go here for an explanation of how to put one thing on you LCD monitor (the clock, perhaps) and another on your computer.  That way you could help a student with his/her work while the clock was on the LCD. 

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

PBS' War of 1812

I just received an e-mail from PBS telling me that their entire new movie, "The War of 1812," is now online.  Additionally there are lesson plans here.  Have at it! 

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Jamestown Interactive

Well this marks a milestone as I found this interactive on Jamestown from work my 9 year old daughters had done for their class.  But don't let their age deter you from using this great site for your class as it is from the National Geographic and is great.  It includes a magnifying glass that you can move around the Jamestown site to get close-ups as well as videos, maps, etc.  and has information on the Powhatan - which is what my daughters were using to prepare for the quiz they had this past Thursday. 

Presidential Election of 1800

Here is an interesting site on showing the actual tally sheet from the US Senate for the election of 1800.  Here is a nice electoral map showing the where the 73-73 electoral votes came from.  The site 270 to win from where it came is a great resource for electoral college results. 

Friday, November 4, 2011

Hippo Campus Free e-textbook for US and AP US

While we are at it, Hippo Campus has both US and APUS history e-books online and are completely free.  The e-books have both video and audio files. 

Online e-book

Fortunately my school district adopted an online e-textbook this year, but if it is ever down we go to this free online e-book.  It was made in the 1990s so has most of US history and is in a very easy to follow format.  

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Instant Quiz for Your Students Online and on the Smart Phone

I am teaching a technology integration course right now for teachers (and will be again in the spring if you work in Fairfax County, VA).  One of my students, George Coe, found this new site which is similar to  Both all teachers to pre-make questions and have the students answer questions using their cell phones and computers.  So using Socrative or, if a student has an ipad or a laptop, but no smart phone, then they can still take the quizzes.  Now if a student has an ipad or a laptop, but no smart phone, then they can still take the quizzes.  These are a great way to start or end a class and they also allow the teacher to instantly (either company) see what percentage of students selected each other for immediate feedback for the teacher.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Recording Using Your Cell Phone

It used to be that we had our students get a video camera from the library to take movies for their projects. With (yes it has been out a while), students can record (and even stream live) to the Qik site and instantly download it onto  (here is a post on how you can download from youtube) so you can use it as part of a presentation.  Qik is compatible with 200 types of phones and probably many of your students already have the app.  

Constitution Game

This will allow students to draw parts of the to the different parts of the Constitution such as preamble, articles, etc. 

Primary Resources for the Constitution

Here are a bunch of primary resources such as a picture drawn of the Philadelphia state house at the time, newspaper articles from the time, diary entries of George Washington, 

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Spark Notes

Spark Notes has a nice overview of most of US history.  It is broken up into the standard units you would cover such as revolution, building a state - two you might be doing right now.  Within each unit is an overview, a timeline and then notes on each subsection of the era.   

Sunday, October 23, 2011

DIgital US History

This site has a ton of pictures as well as a description of the era that each is from.  One example is the Reconstruction period which is broken up into six sections, with pictures and descriptions. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

I like making screencasts to show my students what they should do and/or teachers I am working with for in-services.  Above is a how to video I made for which allows you to make up to 15 minute screencasts (movies of what you are doing on the computer screen) and instantly upload them into Youtube.  Since you do not first need to download onto your computer (as you might do for Snagit) and then upload, it can all be done very quickly.  Finally it is entirely free which makes the price just perfect. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Prezi and Bloom's

Here is a great way to get teachers to think of all the levels of Bloom's taxonomy and a super example of how you can use Prezi.

Friday, October 14, 2011

The Library of Congress has tons of political cartoons online which you might find useful in your classroom.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

150 Civil War Anniversary Extravaganza

The WashPost has an amazing Civil War supplement in today's paper.  There is an endless supply of items you can use in your digital classroom.  As a start, here is the main page and here are the timelines of the battles and casualties of the war which you can stop and start (picture above).  For each major point,
here is an explanation as you can see in the picture above.  Other treasures include a Civil War app for the battlefields.  There are also quizzes and a ton of essays on every aspect of the Civil War. 

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Readapting Our Learning

Because I have been pushing e-books for four years now, I get lots of good and some negative comments (the positives have greatly increased with this article from the WashPost on my classroom).  One negative comments is that it is harder to focus using online books.  Of course I point out that the kids' cell phones are never far away and that they already do so much of their work online anyway.  But the temptation is still there for sure.  Well I just read this post on FreeTech4Teachers for the site StayFocused which allows students to set a time limit for how much a person can be on a site before they will get kicked off and not allowed back until tomorrow.  If the kids are sure that it is a serious problem, then they will use it or perhaps their parents will have them do so or I could just be dreaming! Above is a video explaining it. 

Short Videos on the American Revolution

Today I tossed my last movie that I could still hold (and it was old as it was a DVD).  Now every snippet I use is on the cloud.  Above is one example of a history of the American Revolution.  At the end of it, or here, are a bunch of others you might like to use. 

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Tweeting the American Revolution

Most kids now know about Twitter as they like to use it to communicate with their friends.  Well one of the teachers in my department is using that fact to her advantage.  She found out about FakeTweetBuilder which allows the kids to create characters, add images and Tweet what they would have said.  So you could take an historical figure and have them Tweeting back and forth with someone else.  The nicest thing is that there is not login, password or e-mail needed to do the exercise and at the end you have a url to send the teacher.  Here are some great directions she wrote up to help out her students - and you.  The one limitation is that you can only do six Tweets per time, but you could have your kids each do it twice.  Here is actually a very nice site that has built its own historical examples which you could show your students before asking them to do the project. 

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Audio and Written Notes in an e-book

Kno is a start-up that is just about two years old, but is already working with tons of e-books to make them even better.  If you are toying with buying e-books, you can see what is starting to be out there.  In the above video, one sees how a journal is kept of pictures and notes the student takes so that one does not need to go back to each page.  Additionally a new feature allows students to quiz themselves on any picture that includes text.  As I tell my students and their parents e-books do not equal textbooks.  Above is proof. 

US History e-books

For those of you who do not yet have e-books, Hippo Campus has a complete AP and standard US history book.  Each e-book has both video and written parts and is broken into the normal sections one would expect to find in a textbook. 

Saturday, October 1, 2011

NOTA Student Posters

NOTA is a new collaborative poster maker similar to Glogster.  The added benefit is that it can add Google Maps in addition to pictures, video, words, etc.  Here is a video showing how to make a post.  One disadvantage is that it does not come (yet) with a way for teachers to create their own page for their students which Glogster does.  I found out about this a Tweet from "HPTeacherExchange." 

How to Create a Quiz in Google Survey

This week or next I am showing my students how to make a simple quiz in Google Survey.  Above is a short video explaining how to create a Google Survey (quiz) which I found using a simple search on Youtube. Below is a video that tells you how to correct it automatically.  It is only 4 minutes long.  I know social studies teachers tend to recoil when they see math formulas, but it is an easy one and might save you a lot of time in the long run.  I found it by using the search engine on FreeTech4Teachers.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Diigo (or Goodby Delicious)

Diigo V5: Collect and Highlight, Then Remember! from diigobuzz on Vimeo.

After three years with I am leaving.  Two days ago Delicious announced their changes.  I initially didn't want to change and even taught my teacher students last night in my class with them about it.  But after getting some time today to look at the changes, I am finally going to Diigo.  Diigo is a much more intuitive way to put your bookmarks on the Internet.  It also allows you to take pictures of websites and write on them and/or put digital sticky notes on them.  Also if you are a Delicious user you can import all of your sites (locks and all) and can do the same if you have been storing them on a browser on your laptop.  Above is a video showing you the features and below this is another that shows you how to use it.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

AP US History Multiple Choice Question of the Dat

If you go here, you can have your students sign up for a multiple choice question of the day.  There are also quizzes from each era of US history that they can take to prepare for you own tests. 

Monday, September 26, 2011

Sharing Google+ Circles

Google+ finally went public last week and has already gone up to about 40 million members.   If you want to share your circles with others, above is how you can do it. 

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Online Maps for Your US Class

This fall one of the new (albeit experienced) teachers in our department came to me asking for some new maps.  I told him to here (among other places) to get his US maps (physical, expansion, political, etc.  Since we all have a LCD, I figured it was reasonable to save the $ and use the free ones online!  By the way different people (depending if you have a cookie for the site) will see different things on this link.  You may have to input your state and grade and then look for the book titled The Americans.  When you get to the ancillaries' page you will see much more than maps as there are quizzes, reviews, etc. 

Saturday, September 24, 2011

US Energy Consumption Versus the World

So I am here at our Google National Geographic institute and we are learning Google Earth.  One of cool features is that you can see energy consumption in the  world.  Above is a youtube video on it.  I always tell my kids that the US is 1/25th of the world's population, but consumes 1/4 of the world's products as the video above graphically shows. 

Friday, September 23, 2011

The First Map of America

I am in the midst of a Google National Geographic institute here in D.C. this weekend.  Besides getting to do Google Earth and Sketch Up we have been given a bag of goodies.  One of them is a book called "The Fourth Part of the World" by Toby Lester.  Perhaps I had been living too much under my "tech rock," but it is a fascinating story (so far) of the Waldseemueller map which gave us the name of America (Amerigo Vespucci).  Certainly we all teach that in world and US history, but the book starts off recounting how while Columbus made it to the islands first, Vespucci said he made it to the mainland one year before Columbus - and now I'm hooked.  If you are interested in a short (3 page history of this map - see above) summary of the map, click here.   I also included a very short video by the author on the map. Finally here is a Google Literature link which includes a Google Earth view of the trip. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Online Study Groups For Your Students

My students are not old enough to use Google+ (18 years old), but TinyChat will allow them to create chat rooms and have as many people as they want in it.  Then kids can set up a room and then get to work on their project or studying for a test.

Alternatively your students can use a 12 person free room called Oovoo (which may be their answer to G+ since they just jumped to two more).

Google Plus Huddles

If you have been following the changes to your Facebook page closely recently, you might have noticed that many of the new changes have been to mirror what one can do in Google+.  Of course Facebook has 750 million people and after just 90 days G+ is some where around 20 million.  One thing Facebook can't touch though is the "hangout" feature where you can have a video chat with up to 9 others.  Soon it is going to be doubled to 20 and I've even noticed that one Google person I follow had a huddle with 31 others.  But if you go here you can see some other additions.  For example if you are a school that wants to stream an event you can be both in a huddle and stream it online.  You can also stream with others and be looking at Google Docs. Best of all you no longer need an invitation, but simply can go here to sign up.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

This spring a colleague in my department and I collaborated on a project for our AP US and AP Government students who were in different days and periods to turn in an amazing project on Medicare, Social Security and the debt.  The kids who an amazing array of digital tools and put it all together using Google Docs.  George Mason University just wrote about it on their Teaching Digital Classroom site which you might want to visit as there are many lessons showing how teachers have integrated technology into the classroom.  Our write-up has links to our actual assignment as well as much of the student work product. 

Deliberating Democracy

One of the teachers in my department just did a demonstration for all of us on "deliberating democracy" that has been around, I believe, for about a year.  The point is to have kids discuss differences on a wide variety of subjects and come to a consensus.  The technique involved all kids in the classroom as opposed to a debate which only involves a few outspoken students.  The methodology can be used to say compare two leaders in US history or an issue in government. Above is an explanation of it. 

Sunday, September 18, 2011

List Sync Btw Phone, Tablet and Computer

If you are a regular visitor to this blog, you know I like delicious.  But if you aren't saving codes or want visuals, a new site to try is Springpad which allows you to save links (and icons of the webpages which you can move around), keep lists (don't we always think of something we need to do when we are out and about).  You can also get the items on your tablet, phone and webpage as they are all synched together.  The video above gives you a nice short overview. 

Saturday, September 17, 2011

What is cloud computing?

I do a bunch of in-services a year (and if your district is interested in having me, please e-mail me) and one of the first questions I get is "What is cloud computing?"  If you don't know (and I believe it is too important not to), then the above video might be helpful to you. 


I like to go to one place to find all of the websites I use.  For that purpose I used igoogle which allows me to see both a RSS feed as well as the top three titles of each recent article from the blog or website that I am following.  Since I look at it before my morning run, I also have the weather embedded as well as my Twitter feed.  Above is a video I made a year ago detailing how you use iGoogle. 

Friday, September 16, 2011

History of Colonial America 1497 - 1763

This  is a short video on US history from 1497 to 1763.  If you are using Google Docs' Presentation mode, you can go to "insert" and then "video." Type in the name of the video and it will appear.  Double click on it and then you can drag it around your page or even grab a corner and stretch it. 

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Since I am getting new viewers all the time I will soon repost my video on igoogle which is where I get my RSS feeds (i.e. I look at my choice of blogs).  If you are a regular viewer of blogs, you probably are like me where you see lots of things you like in a short period and then go a few days or weeks where you do not use something.  At any rate, I have found several items recently from FreeTech4Teachers such as the editing additions to Youtube.  What I am hoping youtube will do one day is to make it so that one can record screencasts (such as Jaycut used to do before it was bought out).  For now, please see the wonderful ways you can edit your video in youtube above. 

I like Timerime as a timeline as it allows students to put in both a short description as well as a date.  The hardest part (which I like) for the kids is that they have to be concise on what they say.  Above is an example of what the timeline looks like.  Click on the dates and the full pictures and descriptions will appear. 

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Instant Reponse

Two years ago fellow blogger Frank Franz turned me onto where students can answer multiple choice questions using their phones.  For those who do are not allowed to have their students text, they can use  The teacher would send out a Tweet and the students would then answer and you can get an instant poll.  This is the perfect way to create an "exit ticket" and have the kids answer several multiple choice answers and show you and the entire class (if you are showing it with a LCD) the percentage that got each question. Above is a video explaining it as well as giving a little history how a company begins. 

Monday, September 12, 2011


My social studies technology integration course is almost full and so I am finishing up what I will have in the course (actually I am mostly finishing up, but will tailor it to my students' needs once we begin).  One of the items we are going to do is Quizlet.  It is rather amazing as you (the student) enters in the word and the definition and then it lets you test yourself.  Then it mixes up your definition, then it can play a scatter match game.  It also keeps track of what you get right and incorrect so that you can go over those tough items later.  I am actually going to ask my own children's teacher if they can use it for their class as one of their weekly assignments.  

Google Plus How To Articles

This is a very nice resource that is continually new articles on such items as how to keep your pictures private when someone forwards your them through Google+ or how to put a blogpost (on Blogger) and G+ at the same time, how to re-organize your pictures, how to send private messages, how to ignore someone's posts and much much more. 

Downloading Youtube Videos

I just got this from one of our former teachers.  If you cannot show youtube videos in your school, go to the period after the www and write "kiss." So, for example, here is "" where I added in "kiss" and bolded it so you can see what I added into it. You will then be redirected to a new site which will allow you to download it to your computer. 
One of the teachers in my department gave me the video above which is much more succinct than the ones I posted below. It gives all the images of 9-11. 

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Texting Students

Last year one of my fellow teachers starting Tweeting students their homework.  Not surprisingly almost everyone of her pupils signed up.  I've also written about how to set up an e-mail to your students' phones.  But here is a new service where your students can text a code you set up in Remind101 and every time you send out a message it will be sent to your students and/or parents.  The nice thing about this is that it is free and you can use it for multiple students.  I found it at the Pursuit of Technology Integration Happiness blog. 

9/11 Videos

Ten years ago my wife was pregnant with my daughters.  Now that they are 9-1/2 I have been looking for video to show them about 9/11.  Well I findally found a great collection on CNN which you can see here

Friday, September 9, 2011

Nice Translator

Just two days ago I was talking to an ESOL teacher in my school who had no idea about online translators.  I have a number of ESOL kids in my classes and use the translators for essay writing.  My thought is that if I am trying to teach the mechanics of essay writing, then I don't want language to be the barrier. So the kids write in their native language and then run it through the translator before turning it into me.  Here is the one I have been using from Google and here is the new "Nice Translator."  Thanks to a G+ post from Larry Ferlazzo. 

Disney Propaganda Films

I just learned from this blog that Walt Disney made a lot of propaganda films in WWII as the company was nearly bankrupt (imagine that) and needed the cash.  Here is a list of the films and here are some of them on youtube. 


At least once a day I have to remember a password and login combination.  As hard as I might try to keep them similar many of the sites seem to have different requirements (first letter must be capital, one must be a number, etc.) and so I use (others like  First off it is on the cloud so I can use it on any laptop.  Secondly if you save yours on your computer's browser, it can import them into it.  Next you can create folders.  You can also choose to lock the items so no one else can see them (good for the login/password combos) and if you want to share them, you can see who else is using the same site.  The advantage of this is that you might end up finding a whole host of new sites you never knew existed (and is one way I find new sites for this blog page).  If you want to see my unlocked items, go here

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Do You Want to Take My Technology Integration Course?

If you work in Fairfax County, VA, you can take my course this fall called "Enhancing the Use of Technology in the High School Social Studies Classroom."   You can sign up for it in MyPLT.  Simply type in "social studies" into the search engine and it will be the first one that pops up.  Classes will be on Tuesday from 430 to 730 at Woodson HS from Sept 27 - Dec 6.

The course will be designed to go at your pace meaning if you need to go slower, that will be fine and if you are a quick learner of technology, you will be able to do that too.  We will go through a variety of things such as Prezi and Glogster, using Google Docs in the classroom, making blogs, delicious, Poll Everywhere, how to build a webquest, how to integrate our new e-books into your lesson plans.  In the end people will end up with one or two lesson plans where they can use all the items we have learned.