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 kenhalla@gmail.com.  

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 PollEverywhere.com.  Both all teachers to pre-make questions and have the students answer questions using their cell phones and computers.  So using Socrative or Polleverywhere.com, 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.