Thursday, June 30, 2011

More of Jaycut

This is a great video I found on the Jaycut website.  It is nine minutes long, but it is really worth the time if you want to learn how to about how to do their free equivalent of Movie Maker.  The best part is that you can start on one computer and then go to another one to finish.  

Free Maps

Classzone Maps
Why pay for the expensive hanging maps when you can show these on your television or LCD. This has US and world maps and has them in political and physical ones. You can also move the maps around and zoom in and out. When you get to the site, you will need to click on your state and subject and then look for the "Rand McNally" link at the top in the middle and click on it

Monday, June 27, 2011


This afternoon I spent several hours at the Google station at the ISTE conference.  Part of that time was spent working with one the people whose job it is to improve Chromebooks for educators.  He showed me Jaycut which is basically a movie maker online that is free.  Students can put their own videos on it, pictures, audio, image and slides.  You can also create a narrative of your own film. I also noticed that also has a segment on making videos using Jaycut which is on page 24 - 31

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Bloom's Taxonomy Via Google

Yes, I have a few days of vacation sandwiched in between shuttling my kids to all their summer sports.  I just found this great picture of all the ways you can carry out student learning via online tools from Google.  Go here to see a bigger version of Kathy Schrock's picture.  Definitely take a look at the close up as it is amazing what you can do to enhance your students' learning via the Internet.  Each picture can be clicked on and will take you to the site where you can create it.  

100 Chromebook Tips

Okay, so perhaps not all of you are jumping to get the Chromebook by Google, but I just got mine in the mail yesterday.  If you are into "the cloud," it is a cheap ($500 for the version that gives you 100 mgs of free access a month and it obviously has wifi).  It turns on in less than 10 seconds, and I quickly found an app that lets me split my windows so I can see two screens (which is big with me).  It is a bit slow occasionally and you can't get Netflix (which my kids will care about) yet although that is coming, but if live on the cloud as I do it is 1/3rd the price of the Macbook Air (although you can't manipulate the screen as you will be able to do when it comes out in a few weeks).  For my money it is also forcing me to do the few things I wasn't doing online (screen capture of pics and how to movies) on the Internet.  Yes, I know I am ahead of people who still like to put their files on their computers, but the Chromebook is where we will all be in a few years.  FINALLY, if you do purchase it, I found this lengthy document explaining how it works.  

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


I just found these "Howcasts" which has a nice video on how to use Twitter.  I know I have given you information on Twitter before, but please know that it is not just about what people are doing at any one time.  I actually delete people who do that.  I use it because I want to get a lot of education ideas quickly.  Here is mine.  Click on the ones you like and you can follow them.   

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


This is a site out of George Mason University that has a number of lesson plans, suggestions for innovative webpages, links, "ask a historian, etc. 

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Teaching 2011 Style - Digital Integration

Two months ago one of my colleagues, Monte Bourjaily (AP US), and I were talking about what to do after the AP exam.  We both had to balance some local requirements (state exam for juniors and state/local govt requirements for seniors + FLE for both of us).  But we were determined to have a joint project that would be both content focused on government (since all of Monte's kids are taking government next fall) and would be completely digital in its presentation.  I insisted on the latter since it's obviously my thing, but also so I could watch from FL while I was grading the AP exam.  Monte had three AP US classes who joined my two AP Govt classes.  While two of our classes met at the same time of the day, one did not and even some in our same periods wanted to work with ones in other times, so going digital allowed for grouping across periods and days!   We created our assignment in Google Docs since we kept thinking of new ideas and resources and didn't want to keep e-mailing them back and forth.  The students (in groups of 20-22, but broken into sub groups of 5) choose to then create their own Google Docs pages so they could put what they were doing as the project went along.  After that each group was asked to create a webpage and put all of their content in digital format.  Most of the groups (this is the best one) were fantastic (yes, remember we were working with seniors after the AP exam was over!) and many went way beyond what we asked for.  This group, for example, sent some kids to DC to interview tourist on the debt.  They produced videos (see the DC inteviews above), Prezi, PowerPoints, webpages (here, here, here , here, here and here), quizzes, debates).  Most importantly our students learned a great deal about the national debt, Medicare and Social Security.  I am also happy that when the juniors reach my room next year, I will have to worry less about teaching those topics and additionally can require even more digital assignments.  As if all of this was not enough the legislative assistant and correspondent for US Senator Mark Warner came out and spoke to and answered (and dodged some) a ton of questions from our students. Likewise nationally know Washington Post reporter Robert Samuelson came out and did the same as Warner's two employees. All three were impressed with the knowledge of our students which we believe came from our learning by doing exercise.   Finally we had to grade these assignments in a short window as my government students ended their school year a week before the juniors. So we used Google Docs and called each other up one night and literally graded together in real time from our respective homes.We hope this exercise inspires you to "jump off the cliff" (yes, we already have spoken about how we will do it differently next year) and use more digital learning.  I should add that my principal and my county have been very helpful in getting us enough laptops to actually make this project work.  You can see some of the pics of our combined students in the post below

Friday, June 17, 2011

A Little Plug!

This week Education Week has an article which gives me a few paragraphs and I owe you all a lot for it since your continued attention to this blog is what drew the author to interview me.  Above are two of my students working on a project I had my government students complete with another teacher's US ones.  Early next week, I'm going to post the experience and let you all see the results - since all the kids had to complete their work in a digital format. 

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

77 Web Resources

I love going to the site FreeTech4Teachers and will be going through the resource above to see what more I can add to my repertoire.   The resource above is for content delivery, not social studies content, and has many many excellent resources.  You can see a full blown version of it here.

Saturday, June 11, 2011


Two years ago I had the opportunity to pilot online books w. our students and now thanks to some innovative county leaders, we are, as a county, mostly going to e-books next year for our high school social studies classes.  When people ask me why I would want to do so, the video above is one good example from a company called Inkling which works w. McGraw, Pearson and other textbook leaders to produce interactive e-books.  Even better the e-books come with a ton of ancillaries such as links, video, and other "tools in a box" one can teach with interactive ideas using nothing other than the e-book. Throw in the Internet and you are talking about an amazing way to teach.  Also, you can see a competitor of Inkling, called Kno that has some of their own amazing wizardry on their single and double tablets as you can see below. (Thanks to Kleininspiration for the heads up on Inkling)

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Overview Videos on US History

This comes from Bill Gates' site and has lots more in math, science, etc.  It does have about 20 15-18 minutes videos (see one above) on US history that would be good for review.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Searching This Blog and I'm Offering A Tech Course This Fall

When I first thought of this blog (and if you are new to it, remember there are three: government, US and world and the links are in the upper right hand corner), I was happy just to be able to get a few posts up (total on all three) each week.  Now I just looked at combined there are 1900 posts in the last three years. So if you are new or want to look for help in your class be it content or technology, just go to the search engine in the upper left hand corner and you should find lots of good things.  In fact, not to be conceited, but I use it all the time as I obviously can't remember all of the posts. 

By the way, if you are in or near Fairfax County, VA, I will be offering a 10 week course on Tuesdays in the fall at the Leis Center (Falls Church) on integrating technology into the classroom with the aim of having you learn by doing how to use all the tools I will show. 

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Watch Know US History Videos
Here is a site that brings together many different (416) short films on US history. Increasingly I have started linking my students' webpage to short video and then showing them in class to highlight a concept I am teaching. For those of you who have been around a long time (like me), you don't have to worry about the students staying after school since they can watch it at home if they miss a particular class. Topics include colonial, founding fathers, constitutional history, westward expansion, civil war, civil rights, Native Americans, Jamestown, Dust Bowl, female pioneers, 1929 Wall Street Crash and much more. Above is a rather cool video take by Thomas Edison of the Statue of Liberty in 1898. For my money you can use the video to highlight immigration, Edison and early movie making.

Friday, June 3, 2011

School's Not Out For Summer Here

I still have my students until June 20th and then 10 days later start my with my online summer kids, so if you like this blog, you can come here all summer for ideas.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Shameless Self-Promotion

I'm at the AP US History reading this week, and I like to comment about the event via Twitter. Last year, I posted a ton of (how shall I phrase it?) "colorful" readings of the past. Check out my Twitter feed at Also, I will be using hashtag #apreading.