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.