Wednesday, August 31, 2011

SOL Pass

In Virginia our state exams for World History I, World History II and US history are called the SOL exams (yes it's a bad name for a kid who fails!).  Here is a great site that gives an outline for the courses.  Even if you are not in Virginia, the outlines provided are great.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Great Collection of Web Tools for Students

This is a very nice collection of webpage tools all nice and neat in one place. It includes Fakebook (which I have commented on before), Glogster, Jeopardy, Doink (for creating animations), Artpad, Fotoflexer (which allows you to edit images online), Prezi (a cooler way to present than PowerPoint), Storybird (which allows you to make short books online), Youpublisher (where you can make your pfds into little booklets that have page turning), Voicethread (where you have have animated slides and make them with people in different locations), Wordle and several other items. Soon I will be doing more in depth items on several of these. 

Sunday, August 21, 2011


This is a way to make a time line.  I used to not like that it required a short tagline for each picture, but over time I have come to enjoy the fact that kids have to think about what they are writing it.  So students get to write a few lines on Timerime and create a picture as well.  Above is one I did. 

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Blackboard Quiz Converter

We are mandated to use Blackboard and while I link a ton of things to it, here is an easy way to create a file which you can import into Bb for a pre-made quiz.  Just cut and paste the quiz in the box and push the bottom to convert it.  Then you input it into Blackboard and you have a quiz ready to go. 

Monday, August 15, 2011

Splitting the Screen on a Mac

I have put several posts up about the importance of being able to split a screen especially in my county where all 6 - 12th grade students have e-books in social studies.  Here is how I do it in Explorer and Firefox (you can't do it in Chrome without their insert) and here is how you can do it easily by dragging it to a corner on a Mac (as opposed to taking the time to resize it.  I will tell you that it does cost $7 and I get nothing from Cinch (who makes it) by telling you about it. 

Monday, August 8, 2011

A Word of Caution

Certainly there are millions of tremendous website on the Internet.  But here is a great one that shows a super looking website that most people students (and some adults) would immediately  think it is a super site. But when you look more closely it is riddled (on purpose) with mistakes.  Check on the first few lines on Jacques Cartier or the one on Columbus. Granted there are very few forgeries like this, but it is a good lesson that students should read carefully and consider who is making an Internet page they are working on.  


Okay, so it was at the end of our meeting when Blabberize came up.  However, it is very easy to use and it a fun way to present students with questions and only take seconds to make.  Above is one I made for Christopher Columbus which can also be found here.  

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Civil War Simulation

I have written about Russell Tarr before as he developed a Facebook simulation called Fakebook.  Now he has a new (free) one on the Civil War which your students might like to try.  Thanks to Larry Ferlazzo's G+ heads up for telling me about this. 

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Convert Tons of File Types

So last night I was helping a friend with his band's website and was unable to get their songs in a usable format to upload.  Well I found which converts any file you would ever want to use.  Sure you can convert files within Google Docs, but this goes way beyond what you would typically find there or with your Microsoft's files and includes video, audio, e-book, images, archiving.  Best of all it can serve as a depository as I have used it (for free) for my friend's band and just connect it to their site.  You can also upload the files, once converted, to your site - or others including youtube. Here are all the conversions possible.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Just Since I've Been Married!

Google is one year older than my marriage.  Like the company my life has changed a lot during that time fromadding one cat, then a dog, then three kids and finally another dog, Google has changed a lot as well as you can see from the graphic.  I'm not putting it up to promote Google, but rather to show that if you aren't promoting the technology bandwagon, you're going to have to chase your students down to understand how they are creating their projects and working with their peers. If you click on the image it will get bigger. By the way I found the picture on a link from one of my new favorite blogs, Not Another History Teacher.

Last Living Witness of Lincoln Assassination

No, the person is not still alive, but I found this clip on Open Culture.  It is a five minute video from 1956 that is a CBS interview with James Seymour, who at the time was the last living witness of the Ford's Theater assassination of Lincoln.  Talk about bringing history alive. 

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

"Push Pop" Is A Cool Way To Read A Book

Facebook just bought Push Pop which is a tablet and smart phone e-book producer which pushes the boundaries of what an e-book is.  One of the reasons I have been a huge proponent of students using e-books is because of the amazingly quick changes that are occurring all the time.  We really are to the point where people need to rethink what a "book" really is.  Please take a minute to watch the short Ted Talks video above to see some of the potential of books.  Of course the question here is why did Facebook buy this company?!