Sunday, April 29, 2012

Ted Talks Manipulated For Your Classroom

I love looking at cutting edge ideas on Ted Talks.  By going here, I can take the Ted Talk, or for that matter, any video on Youtube and create a lesson with multiple choice and short answer questions to go with it.  When that is done you will be given a unique url which you can then give to your students.  The videos will then be aggregated into one social studies page.

Here is a Ted Talks video on why we vote on Tuesdays and when you go to it, you will see the video, multiple choice questions and short answer ones. By the way I learned about this idea on Edudemic

Saturday, April 28, 2012

History Simulations

The HS "History Simulations" webpage just upgraded their page in time for your classes to look at their simulation on the Cold War.  If you like that one, you can also get one from each of the two world wars.  As everyone knows, one retains information better when one interacts with the information rather than just having it presented.  

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Gilder Lehrman

The Gilder Lehrman website (and group) is a huge help for US history teachers.  The site has 60,000" 60,000 letters, diaries, maps, pamphlets, printed books, newspapers, photographs, and ephemera that document the political, social, and economic history of the United States."  There also have presentations, contests, etc. and even more benefits if your school becomes a member (and at $0.00, the price is right).

An overview of all of the great new resources and tools is available here. Some of the highlights of the new site include History by Era section, which includes podcasts, interactive features, online exhibitions, timelines and terms, primary sources, teaching tools, and content spanning all of American history. 

The new website also includes 10 Common Core units by 2009 National History Teacher of the Year Tim Bailey. For more literacy-based learning, you can also take a look at our new Featured Primary Sources, from the Gilder Lehrman Collection, annotated and accompanied by teaching guides and questions. Our Collection search.  Ten new short-videos, “Essential Questions in American History,” which features ten essential American history questions and in our multimedia section you can find nearly 40 under five minute video clips, great for use in the classroom!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

More on the Dustbowl & CCC

The folks (actually it is just one hardworking person!) at EDSITEment likes to post comments when he sees a post for which their site has some lesson plans.  I really like their lesson plans as they are essentially webquests and have guiding questions, learning objectives, background, preparation and extending instructions.  Here is a GREAT one on the Dustbowl (it says grades 3-5, but for my money it can be used for much higher grades or amended for your purposes) and here is one on African-Americans in the Civilian Conservation Corps. 

Cloud Storage

So I have every single course and its contents and all my personal items in Google Docs and was only using 45% of my free space.  Now (as of a few hours ago) I am using Google Drive and have an additional 5 gigabytes (with more coming soon) so I have TONS of space.  But having said that there are plenty of other places where you can put your content such as Dropbox, Amazon (where Netflix stores all of its movies), the iCloud, Skydrive (Microsoft)  and two other lesser known ones.  Here is a very thorough account of all of them in today's WashPost.

The video above, from Dropbox, does a great job of explaining cloud computing.  

20th Century Heroes and Villains from the National Archives

My colleague, Jeff Feinstein, who teaches US and European history, sent me this awesome link to the UK's National Archives.  It deals with 20th century heroes and villains: Winston Churchill and the  bombing of Dresden, , John Kennedy and the Cuban Missile Crisis,  Joseph Stalin and the industrialization of the USSR,  Benito Mussolini  and the invasion of Abyssinia, Harry Truman and the atomic bomb,  Martin  Luther King and the civil rights movement. 

Click on each name and you'll find a treasure of sources, photographs, charts, graphs, and posters. The site's design is great and the sources for each individual are quite manageable for the kids.

I think that this site along with the curriculum sources  from Stanford are among the best for their ease of use in the classroom.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Civilian Conservation Corps & The Dust Bowl

Watch Surviving the Dust Bowl on PBS. See more from American Experience.
Above is a PBS documentary on the Civilian Conservation Corps which you can watch in its entirety or in parts. Below it is the PBS movie on the Dust Bowl of the Great Depression.

Google Drive

Google just announced that you will soon be able to soon upload 30 different types of digital media into Google Docs.  You will then be able to manipulate and share them with others.  So, forget about having to e-mail large files as you can just share it in Google Drive.  Here are more details. You can also download the Google Android App (did I say that I am so glad I bought Android and not iPhone?!).  If you want to be e-mailed when you can get Google Drive, go here.

Finally WeVideo will be integrated with Google Drive so you can create your videos in the cloud and be able to share them with even more people using Google Drive.   Here are my posts on WeVideo.

Education Technology

Mohamed (Med) Kharbach, an educator and tech geek, has a great website with all kinds of technology for teachers. It includes goggle tools, video tools, organizing tools, search tools, and sharing tools. The site won't win awards for design, but its got a lot of good stuff and well-worth exploring. Thanks to Jeff Feinstein for sending me the link.

Six Examples of IPad Integration

Andrew Marcinek,an instructional technologist at Burlington High School, in Burlington, MA has a great article in Edutopia with six examples of IPad integration in the classroom. He includes an interesting lesson on the Enlightenment using blogs and also talks about flipping. It's a great story with great examples. Thanks to Alex Case for sending me the link.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Homework App That Has A Reminder Alarm

I have been looking for a homework app for my students which will set an alarm for them to remind them to do it (forgetting that most of them have also signed up for a text from me from  Well, thanks to Android4Schools, I have finally found an Andoid App called Studious which does just that.  It also allows one to enter in each class as well as when they meet and then lets students set the time for each assignment and set the alarm. Unfortunately it is not yet available for iPhones.   The video below shows you how to use it.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Khan Academy: Best Posts

California teacher, Larry Ferlazzo has aggregated on one site all the best posts about Khan Academy. He linked about ten such articles, from the wrath of Khan Academy to the wonders of Khan Academy.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Outline Maps

Arizona State Universityhas a great collection of outline maps--physical, political, regional, continents, rivers, etc--that might come in handy for many units in both world and US history.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Study Blue Flashcard App

I have blogged about Quizlet before, but here is a new app called Study Blue which lets you do the same things as Quizlet except you can also speak the flash cards instead of just typing them out (as you can see above).  Also, it lets the card hang between front and back so you can ponder the answer (it that is any incentive!).  You can also add pictures which is important since so many state exams have lots of them.   Here is the Android app and the iPhone one.  I found out about the app on Mindshift

My Homework App

I have become an avid user of Evernote from everything for notes teachers give me in the hallway to   shopping lists from my wife.  It can be accessed from iPhone, Android and the web.  But for my students I think they need something that looks like their course schedule.

So today I noticed that NotAnotherHistoryTeacher had a reference to MyHomework.  So I checked it out! It, as you can see from the video, allows students to set up their classes with pertinent information (subject, place, etc.) as well as giving them a calendar to set the information (although I am still waiting for any group - even Evernote - to attach to it an alarm (can anyone help me) so, for example, the homework would go off to remind the kids (although I do use Remind101 to do this, but it doesn't come from their calendars).

At any rate, MyHomework can be accessed from an iPhone and an Android and when the kids are home they can look at it on their laptops.  The video shows one how to set up the app on one's phone.  There is also a blog - probably a feature more for the teachers, but it is nice for students to look at when setting up an account. 

Conclusions So Far On Flipping The Classroom

In my 27 high school county, there are only five of us (that I know about) who have tried flipping the classroom.  We collaborated and came up with a document that might help those looking to do the same.  It includes lessons we have learned, sites that discuss flipping the classroom (and in great detail) as well as the videos we have created so far.  It, though, is still early for us, so any thoughts you can add to the discussion (in the comments below) would be much appreciated. 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Inside a Flipped Classroom

Another story about a flipped math classroom. Waiting to see more stories on flipped history classes.

PowerPoints, Webquests, Review Guides, Video Lectures and Primary Documents All in One Site!

While it is numbered for Virginia's state requirements, this amazing resource has video lectures, powerpoints for each unit, outlines, webquests, primary documents as well as every assignment for the year.  If you are new to US, this would be an invaluable resource in teaching the course. If you want review material for your students, it would also be excellent.  

Even More Interactive Quiz Reviews

 Years ago I taught in Loudoun County, VA and when I left I was replaced by Mike Fitzgerald (who is now an AP).  While he was teaching he created these great interactive quizzes for US  history

Great Video on Using Mobile Devices in the Classroom

I will be soon highlighting some of the sites mentioned in the video above, but it is well worth the six minutes to watch it for the new learning ideas.  It goes through using sites like Instagram, Twitter, PollEverywhere as well as many ones I haven't mentioned before on this blog.  Additionally it discusses how to use the smartphone, tablets and computers in the classroom.  I found it on a site I have marked on my iGoogle page called Mindshift.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

US History Scrolling Timeline

This is a pretty awesome US history timeline which one drags from one end of history to the other. It breaks US history into states, territories, presidents, society, Native American, world, science and culture.

Start the Video Where You Want

Up until now I have used Splicd to set my Youtube videos to where I want them for student viewing.  Splicd still is useful if you want to have a beginning and an end of the video.   As you can see above you need only go to the video, click on "share" beneath it and then hit the tab besides "options."  Then you enter the time you want the video to begin.  If you want a truncated url (perhaps for sharing on Twitter) do not click besides "long link."  Then copy the link in the box above the word "close" (see above picture).  Now when would you use it.  Well the worst thing that social studies teachers do is show long videos.  This lets you show a short snippet and then move on.     If you want more tips on how to use Youtube, you can get them from the Google+ page for it.

A Search Engine for US Maps Made Using Google

This is a twofer that I got from Larry Ferlazzo's G+ tonight. The best part is that it has a search engine for Google maps.   Type in any subject into the search engine, US or foreign and you will get Google maps (such as the civil war ones below) on any topic.  Alternatively you can hit on the red lettered "history engine" and search through American maps collected by the University of Richmond.  

Battles and Casualties of the Civil War

This is an amazing map where you can push the go arrow and see where and how many casualties occurred at what points all through the Civil War.  The page is also linked to three of three other timelines of the Civil War: road to war, the beginning of the war, Northern resurgence, 

Monday, April 16, 2012

Standard US History Review Page

I have done a number of posts recently to help your students study for the AP exam, but I have also put together a page for my school (and a lot of schools in my county) for standard (ie, non AP) students taking US history.  There are a ton of interactive (only one of which I have posted about) sites for students to review as well as study guides and other goodies for preparing for the standard end of the year exams.  I actually have my students use them for their unit tests as well. 

The Holocaust: Two Websites

My colleague, Jeff Feinstein sent me these great links. Two museums about the Holocaust, one in Israel and one in the US at the Holocaust Memorial. Both are outstanding. I explored the the one in Israel maintained by the Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority. It's got a digital collection, a photo archive with thousands of photos, video lectures, and podcasts. In addition, it has a great history of the Holocaust by event. If you are teaching this part of World War II, you should check it out. It could make for a great web quest.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

SparkNotes App

A few posts ago I wrote about the SparkNotes website for US history which your students can use for review.  Well here is the Android app and here is the iApp

Chrome on the Cloud

This weekend when I took my daughter to her gymnastic meet (where she qualified for the state meet!) I used a Google Map direction and then pushed "Chrome to Phone" on my browser which I then opened on my phone and it directed me (with a voice) successfully to the meet.  Well if you watch the short video above you can see how Google Chrome (and even more so with Chrome Beta) can be synched between smartphone, tablet and computer.  This means all of the apps you have added to the webpage will come up as well. It also means if you leave your browser open on your laptop, you can open it on another device (and close it remotely if you choose).  In other words cloud computing is letting you be anywhere and everywhere and not miss a beat. 

Primary Sources: Teaching Students to Think

Stanford University has created over 75 lessons for high schools based entirely on primary documents. No textbooks, no lectures. The lessons are all about diaries, journals, pictures, documents, speeches, songs and photographs. The lessons are all in American history, although the World Wars and the Cold War lesson could work for world history. The curriculum was introduced in 2008 in California but is now available to any teacher who wants to use it. You can check out the lessons here.

Friday, April 13, 2012

The Sinking of the Titanic

The National Geographic just released this animation of how the Titanic sank, at least according to the director, James Cameron. This is a clip from The Titanic: The Final Word With James Cameron.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Learning Though Spatial Organization

Any good teacher will tell you that students learn best when connecting items together rather than when learning one after the other.  Thus studying vocab words by themselves is less effective than using them (as do my 4th grade daughters) to tell a story.  Well Doug Kerner, one of my now former  teacher-students, sent me a link for Visuwords which lets you input a word and then builds a word cloud.  But it goes further than that.  When you click on each word cloud, it then gives you a meaning.  All it needs is a picture and it would be the complete learning tool. Above, for example, is part of what you get when you input "World War II." 

Paying for Emancipation

This is a fascinating WashPost article that discusses how the slaves in D.C. were emancipated in the spring of 1862, nearly a year before the Emancipation Proclamation.  But the key in D.C. is that slaves were released (as  opposed to the Jan 1963 document which initially only released those in the southern held territories), but the slave owners were compensated for each slave.  Slaves only received compensation for themselves if they agreed to leave the country.  

Online Interactive Online Tests For Your Students

I have never met Tami Maloney, but have followed her work for years and it keeps getting better.  She has put a tremendous number of questions into databases so that your students can take practice tests in civics, US and world history and instantly get answers back.  She has done it for the old VA Standards of Learning (yes we DO refer to them as officially as SOL test - someone wasn't thinking on that one!) as well as a ton of NY Regents exams.  Truthfully there are so many that your students won't be able to get through them all.  Thanks Tami! 

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Review for US History, Part II

AP Study Notes has a 40 question test for your students to take (and then it gives you the answers) as well as outlines for each chapter.  

New Google Changes

Google has been making a lot of changes recently to streamline all of its offerings into one area (part of CEO Larry Page's design) and in turn get people to join Google+.  I've read that it is up to 100 million, but my sense (and it is just that) is that people are using it as a souped up Twitter.  That, of course, is not a bad thing.  I, for example, get a lot of items from others that I follow in Google+ that I use in the classroom.  But recent inventions also allow you to have video chats with 9 others and be working on a shared Google Docs item.  Think about the fact that you can have a virtual meeting with other educators (for free) and work on common documents.  G+ is now also connected to the new Google Play that synchs your Internet devices (assuming you have an Android smartphone).  So when I have my free periods at school I turn on my Google music (where I have my entire collection uploaded for free), pony up my Google Docs and get to work.  When my students come in they share their assignments with me and I split my screen so I can record the grades in my gradebook (which unfortunately is NOT on the cloud - yet!). 

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Images in Virginia History

Images play a very important role in both teaching as well as testing in US history.  This site called the Virginia History Series is broken up into the standard US history sections and has pictures for each part from Virginia.  For those of  you outside the Commonwealth, remember how important VA is in US history, so hopefully everyone will find these helpful. 

Monday, April 9, 2012

Five Best Practices for Flipping the Classroom

For all you flippers out there, Andrew Miller has just compiled (and published in Edutopia)a list of what he thinks are the five best practices for flipping the classroom. He clearly does not believe in flipping for the the sake of flipping and offers some interesting insights.

How Fast is Your Cell Phone Dataplan Being Used Up?

Since I have written so much about cell phone apps and their usage in the classroom, this site might be useful for you to look at to understand how much a gigabyte (most plans give you two) can give you in terms of video and music.  Additionally this and especially this one is helpful as they tell you how many things you can do for one gigabyte on your smartphone (10,000 webpage views, 2 hours of video, streaming of 200 songs or 2000 e-mails).  You will note that there is some discrepancy between the two sites, but hopefully it will help you tell a bit of how fast you are using your data. If you want more background, here is a helpful article from today's NYTimes. 

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Primary vs. Secondary Documents

This is a very nice example on the difference between a primary and a secondary document.  Thanks to Shelly Arlen of the of the Univ. of Fl for the heads up and for creating (w. her colleague) the very helpful video on Captain Kidd.  In addition to this video, here is a great written and video resource on the differences which you could use with your students.  

Everything You Ever Needed on the Titanic

Larry Ferlazzo is a teacher who does amazing things online.   He tweets, Google+s and even has two blog pages which include his "Best Sites."  With the Titanic in the news I thought it would be a good way to introduce you to his resources as well as everything you'd even want on the HMS Titanic

Saturday, April 7, 2012

World War II Database

Thanks to Ron Peck in Twitter for the link to this Worl War II database. You can search it by country, people, events, and through other filters. The site has tons of photographs of ships (carriers, cruisers, subs, etc), aircraft (bombers, fighters, others) people, and events. It's really cool if you're studying World War II. The site is maintained by a group called Lava Development LLC and their goal is to offer information about World War II and showcase Lava's technical abilities, which you'll find quite good.

Download Youtbue Videos

If you have RealPlayer on your laptop, when you run your cursor over the top right side of a youtube video, a little line will appear asking if you want to download the video.  However if you do not then you need an alternative.  If you do not want to download another program (only a small java file) then Saveyoutube is a great alternative.  You simply put in the youtube url and then decide what format you want and you can very quickly download the video onto your computer. 

Friday, April 6, 2012

Google Street View of the White House

This is pretty cool.  Google's "Street View" team was able to get their odd camera setup into the White House so you can take a virtual tour of it here.  Above is how it was done.  Now you can go through all the rooms as if you were on a tour yourself.  Thanks to a Google+ post from Mike Elgan for the heads up. 

Why Shiloh Matters

When I teach the Civil War I concentrate on the three big ones, Antietam, Shiloh and Gettyburg.  Well if you wanted your students to look in a bit of depth on Shiloh here is a great piece in the NYTimes on Shiloh by the author of the new book Shiloh 1862.  While it is billed as "an opinion," it  is just the facts and not only descriptive, but concise and interesting to read.  If you use Google Docs, you could go back to your document and add this for students to read and answer a few questions and have it cued up for next year's students. 

AP US History Exam Prep

With the AP exam in US history just four weeks away, I will be putting up some links in the next few weeks to prepare your students.  Here is the first one from a site of a US history teacher in New York who has an amazing array of information including PowerPoints, assignments, review and more. 

The Titanic and the Library of Congress

The Library of Congress has a nice blog (and you can receive e-mails as well) which gives you updates on how to use the online resources they have.  For example, this week, they have a great post on how to study the Titanic using the Library of Congress

The National Park Service's "Living Classroom"

My family and I just returned from Philadelphia and among other things we dragged the kids to Independence Hall and Valley Force.  That led me to see what they have online and it turns out the National Park Service as an entire site dedicated to teachers.  So if you want to go on a virtual tour of Independence Hall, Appomattax Court House, Brown v. Board of Education historic sites, Central High School (AR), Ft. McHenry, Saratoga Battlefield and so much more.  The best part is that the site links to other ones with even more depth such as The Brown Foundation which is dedicated to preserving the story behind the court case of Brown v. Board of Education. 

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Everything You Need To Know About Google Docs

I've given you various versions of how to use Google Docs, but I just received an e-mail from Online Colleges and they have put together a very nice e-sheet of 52 secrets about Google Docs.  It has a summary of the various options as well as links to the how to pages.   If you are like me and home for spring break, it might be a useful thing to do to go through the list (hey it beats grading as I was doing yesterday!).  

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

How to Set Up a Flipped Classroom

Google Glasses

If there is one main idea I want to get across in this blog it is that teachers should be changing all the time (and I assume in coming to this site you probably are).  While Google's glasses are still a ways away (as are the contact lenses that are also being developed), it does beg the question how will they (esp. the latter) change our classrooms.  My hope is that they will push more educators (be they teachers, administrators or policy makers) to the upper reaches of Bloom's taxonomy and get us to more interactive assignments that focus on using the Internet as a resource to allow our students to create and truly think and not just spit back facts.  Until that time, though, please watch the video above and think how you are working towards a different classroom with our current tools.  If you want more, here is the Google+ page for the project and an article

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

More on Evernote and Reminders

As I said a few posts ago I am really starting to enjoy Evernote.  I asked them if they were contemplating putting an alarm system on smartphones (no answer on that one), but they did give me a great answer.  For those who like Windows and Outlook, the video above will help you tie in Evernote into your calendar so you can have reminders and/or see when you put your items in by each date.

If you have g-mail, then here are ways to tie Evernote into that (and I am quoting now):

There is a way to integrate Google Calendar with Evernote.
  1. If you have enabled the Add gadget features in Gmail and Google Calendar, just input the URL below in the “Add gadget by URL” box and click on add button.
    You would get a window that shows you the information about the Evernote gadget that you are about to add to your Calendar sidebar panel.
  2. Click on “Yes, add this gadget” to enable Evernote in your Gmail or Google Calendar.
This gadget just renders the Evernote Mobile version in the Gadgets Panel. The exchange of data takes place between your computer and Evernote, so it’s completely safe. Just input your Evernote user-name and password and the integration is complete.

Additionally, you can send yourself a reminder e-mail from Evernote using this website.

1940 Compared to Today

The U.S. Census: Then & Now
As you may know the 1940 census was recently released and one benefit is that I just received an e-mail from Home Insurance with a nice comparison of the two eras.  

New Estimate Raises Civil War Death Toll

For 110 years, the numbers stood as gospel: 618,222 men died in the Civil War, 360,222 from the North and 258,000 from the South — by far the greatest toll of any war in American history.

But new research shows that the numbers were far too low. Read more at the NY Times.

Monday, April 2, 2012

1865 to Present New Online US History Book

I love the Flat Knowledge US Government e-textbook and am excited that the AP US, 1865 to Present is finally out (with part one due out next Feb).  I would encourage you to look at it thoroughly if you teach AP US as it might be a nice alternative to your current textbook and it is entirely free (they make their money by assuming students will pay for a paper copy (which ultimately, I believe, will not be a winning way to make money).  

Sunday, April 1, 2012

48,000 Pageviews This Month

Well I am learning there are a lot of ways to look how people look at a website.  For example between the these three blogs (US gov, US history and world history) there were 21,000 visitors in March, but each of the visits led to looking at various pages so that there were 18,400 "pageviews" for the US history blog and and 48,000 between the three sites.

The top pages for the month on the US blog were
  1. Japanese Internment Website
  2. Creating a Hanging Indent in Google Docs
  3. From the Model T to the Google Car
  4. Tips for Teaching in a Connected Classroom (which I have recently updated)

Evernote App for Your Phone, Tablet or Computer

Yesterday I spent some time with my new friend, Evernote, which is why I was delighted when I went to FreeTech4Teachers this morning and found the video above on its new features.  Evernote is an app that lets you take notes, clip webpages and even record items that you want to remember.  I like the latter best because I always have my students write down their homework on their phones or iPod touches.  Well now you can record notes on your phone, iPod, etc. and hear them later on the same device or online.  What is great is that it is synched with the web so a student could go on the site online and also see their homework.  You can also share notes with other people (similar to Google Docs).   You can also create notebooks and put notes in each.

Here is the app for Apple users (iPhone, iPod, etc.) and here.

Finally if you like Evernote, you might want to add their blog to your iGoogle page.