Saturday, March 31, 2012

ChronoZoom A New Kind of Timeline (Amazing)

This is a fascinating time line. Watch the short video clip to see how it works and then go to the site and play around. Looks like students can create stories using it. It's really cool. Thanks to Daniel Beylerian on Twitter for the link to ChronoZoom and to this Microsoft website which explains the vision and research for ChronoZoom. David Christian, who wrote This Fleeting World and An Introduction to Big History, is a consultant.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Collaborate in Google Docs While in Google+ Hangouts

This video does a great job of going through all of the new parts of Google+ hangouts such as how to edit Google Docs, diagrams and doodles together with others in the hangout.  If you have not heard of "hangouts" it allows you to meet with up to nine other friends in a video chat.  If you have a Google account, you have a Google+ account in which you can go into a hangout.  It can be used to collaborate with colleagues in different locations.  I found out about the video from a G+ post from Jason Mayes who is an engineer for Google. 

Thursday, March 29, 2012

From the Model T to the Google Car

The top video is a very good overview of the Model T assembly line with great video of the actual building of the cars as well as some amazing shots showing its versatility on the road.  On the bottom is the first video I've ever seen of the Google self driving car.  The company and the US Army are the only two who have one right now.  Google's car has driven across the US and back and its only accident came when it was rear ended.  Above it drives a blind man1

Tablets in the Classroom


My colleague, Jeff Feinstein sent me the link to this All Things D article about digitizing the classroom. The FCC and the Department of Education met today along with reps from Apple, Intel and McGraw Hill (to list just a few)to discus the idea that digital textbooks save money. Interesting story.

Japanese Internment Website

One of the largest black eyes against the US was when we imprisoned Americans of Japanese descent during WWII and then upheld that right in Kormatsu v.US. Well here is a tremendous website detailing camp life, the background to the arrests and the impact of it today.  The site not only has the history, but also pictures and a large amount of video.  As an example here is information on Executive Order 9066 which allowed the internment as well as video. 

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Creating a Hanging Indent in Google Docs

A hanging indent is used in bibliographies where you do not want to indent the first line, but you do all the other ones.  Above is a nice demonstration of how to do that.  Just skip to the one minute mark and begin. 

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Tips for Teaching in a Connected Classroom

I read with great interest this article from the WashPost telling readers that South Korea was scaling back its digital e-book use.   When I hear complaints the two at the top of the scale (and so it is in the article) are that kids can't concentrate online and the screen time is bad for them.  But, from my experience, students can be trained to stay on task and honestly if they are not on their laptops they will be on a smaller screen (esp. in South Korea which is much better connected than the US) called a smartphone.

But I have created an e-sheet with some of the tips for better teaching for connected classrooms.  If you bookmark it (and I suggest Diigo), I will make changes as I figure them out.  For example, three weeks ago I started allowing quiet music (defined as the teacher can't hear it) to be played while the students are working on their work.  Since then productivity has gone up! 

Monday, March 26, 2012

Timerime for Timelines

I used to use Timerine on a regular basis as an alternative for my students who didn't want to put a timeline on paper or Google Docs. Well tomorrow my technology integration students will be watching the above video and teaching it to themselves (part of my class is making sure that they can figure this out after they leave the class) with me jumping in to help when needed.  Timerine allows for you to have short descriptions, then links to much longer ones, Internet links as well as video. Click on the pictures above to see all of the features.  It really has come a long way since I first posted on it in 2009

Civil War Prezi

This is a great Prezi that Sarah Olson, who is taking my technology integration course, did as part of one of our assignments. Her students have a real tech wizard leading them. 

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Use Google Docs in Google+ Hangouts

While people still love their Facebook, Google+ is starting to have lots of amazing features that Facebook doesn't have. For example I have written about how you can have a video chat with nine others (and I've seen some Google people doing it with up to 30, so look for that soon enough).  But now you can bring up your Google Docs documents and look at them on the screen as you work as well as make phone calls from within a G+ hangout to a phone.  To look at the documents in a hangout, just click on the "docs" button.  Fellow blogger used to have get togethers for AP teachers but it proved to be a problem due to the sheer size of our county (we have 27 high schools).  Well now you can get your fellow educators in one room online and meet and collaborate on documents at the same time!

Publishing a Screencastomatic in Google Apps

One interesting thing about doing three blogs (US, and government besides this one) is that I get to watch the activity and I must say while at the beginning lots of people went from one to another, now they just go straight to their page.  So I am putting this post from George Coe below as it is a super one that he posted on the world history page.

I am asking the kids to create a screen cast covering different topics in their contemporary AP World Unit (1900-present). The problem is that they cannot upload their screen cast to You Tube within the school’s network. Consequently, they have to save it as a video file (MP4). They can then open it in QuickTime or Real Player. The problem was how to share the file so that I or others could view it. After a couple of trials, I figured out how to insert the file into a goggle presentation. Here are the steps that I included in this 3 minute presentation.

For those not in FCPS, I (this is Ken) should add that you can upload a Screencastomatic straight into Youtube, but (as George notes above) this is not allowed in all school districts.  If you have a closed Google Apps, this is a GREAT way to share a video.  

Friday, March 23, 2012

Civil War Photography

My son is playing computer games so I am left to my wife's laptop and for some reason she had the above video on it (so thanks Deb!).  It shows the process for making Civil War photography. Considering how many of us use Matthew Brady's photos, I thought it might be interesting to show your students the process. 

Animated Map of WWII

Rebecca Lacquey sent me the map above as part of our contest to give out the Alger Hiss book.  With each click you can see the expansion of the German advancement and then the backwards trend. But there are also cool things like planes that fly around the map.  It makes for a great way to summarize WWII.  I'll be taking submissions through Wednesday of next week if you can find an interesting site for us to promote and attach an explanation with it. 

Thursday, March 22, 2012

PollEveryWhere Adds Picture Component to Questions

Image Support for Multiple Choice Options from Poll Everwhere on Vimeo.
I just taught my tech integration class how to use PollEverywhere this past week and along comes their newest innovation which is to add pictures to the questions.  Frank (Panterfan) starts every class with five review questions from the day before.  Polleverywhere allows students to text answers to multiple choice questions so you can instantly see if the kids have learned what is needed.  For those without a phone, you can do it from a webpage.  Also it is insanely easy to use. Skip to 1:38 in the video above to see how to write questions and ask pictures.   Then stop spending money for the "clicker system!" 

Hall of Mirrors at Versailles - Virtual Tour

Anyone teaching US or world history has to venture to the Hall of Mirrors where the Treaty of Versailles was signed to end World War I.  Here is a great slide show on it form the NYTimes.  This, though, is the most amazing virtual tour around since the Hall of Mirrors is amazingly spectacular.  

Problem Based Learning and Video Games

James Gee discusses learning with video games in this interesting eight minute lecture. And here's a blog at Edutopia about gaming and learning. Not sure if any of this fits in with history but it's still interesting and reminds me of Jane McGonigal's lecture on Ted Talks. See post above above about the Top Ten Ted Talks Posts.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Page Snooze on Chrome

One of the great reasons for using Chrome or Google Docs/Apps is that you do not have to wait around until a new version comes out in a six months to a year. For example, Google announced that their dictionary will be continually expanding as languages grow.

Another new feature of Google Chrome is that it allows you to download an app (to the browser and not your laptop) which lets you "snooze" an article if you don't have enough time to read it right now and want to save it for later.  What is also great about Chrome apps is that you download it on one laptop, it will be on the next one when you go login there. 

Top Ten Ted Talks For Education

Here is the link for the Top Ten Ted Talks for Education. The videos include Ken Robinson, above, Salmon Khan, Jane McGonigal, Shulka Bose, Adora Svitak, and Richard Baraniuk. I haven't listened to them all but I have listened to Robinson and McGonigal and find their arguments fascinating. Robinson, for example, thinks we need to move from a linear view of education to a more organic view. He argues that now everything in education is standardized like fast food and does not account for diversity of talent. McGonigal sees kids who are involved in gaming concentrating with an intensity that she rarely sees in school kids. How can we get that same degree of inspiration, collaboration and motivation that kids apply to online gaming to problems in history or math. Check out a couple of the videos The speakers offer some great ideas.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

How and When To Use Pinterest In the Classroom

Pinterest is growing like a virtual weed and is now in the top 30 of all websites in the US.  If you have no idea what it is or how to use it, this five minute video will be very helpful for you. Here, and here ways to use it in the classroom. This is the best link, though, has it has 37 ways you can use Pinterest and has links to show you each example. 

Stanford Point of View Site

While I will may not be able to put up every entry for the book (see post below) contest, here is one from Jamie Wilson who described the site called The Stanford History Education Group's "Reading Like a Historian" resources are excellent.  They incorporate documents that present various viewpoints on a given topic and ask students to explore the documents in a way that requires critical reading and thinking.  The site is incredibly teacher and student friendly and one can modify the lessons for AP students or for ones in standard classes.  We all know that students learn best when they interact with the material and this site makes that easy because the documents are right there.   The lesson Jamie's students enjoyed the most is in Unit 7: American Imperialism, titled Philippine War Political Cartoon Lesson Plan.  Jamie;s students were aghast at some of the portrayals of the Filipinos and the documents opened up many conversations about the media and the evolution of our thinking about race. 

Book Giveaway Contest

One of the perks of doing a blog like this is that publishers like to send me books to read way before they come into print. If I like the book I do a blog post on it and otherwise I just say no.This time I am doing something different. On April 17th a new book called Alger Hiss: Why He Choose Treason is coming out. If you want it sent to your house a week from now all I need is a link idea from you. I will select the best link and explanation for why it is good and you will be sent the book straight from the publisher. E-mail me at if you are interested.

Differentiated Instruction

We have been discussing differentiation in my school.  Above is a super video giving you several examples of what it means to have a differentiated classroom.  The video on top is even better (don't be deterred by its start mentioning math as it doesn't do so in the video).  It begins by talking about differentiation in teacher presentations and then goes to differentiation for student centered learning. To find the videos above I used WatchKnowLearn which I mentioned a few posts below.  Here are all the videos from my search on WatchKnowLearn. 

Monday, March 19, 2012

Plethora of Weblinks for the US in 20th Century World Wars

This is an amazing site put together by Fordham University. It is nicely broken into the typical parts of world history (absolutism, scientific revolution up to WWI, WWII, Cold War, post Cold War, etc.   It is a great resource for both US and world history teachers.  For example under World War I, there are links to life in the trenches, primary resources, lectures on the different causes of the war, Zimmerman Telegram, personal accounts, life after the war and I am just touching the surface on just one of the links. 

Saturday, March 17, 2012

World War I Propaganda Posters

Here is a new site I just found with hundreds of propaganda posters from the US, UK, Australia, Belgium (where I was born!),  France, Germany, Italy and Russia.  Just click on each country on the top right and then a poster will show up in the middle of the page. Then click on the poster and you will a new one with each click. 

WeVideo Android App

Just two months ago I wrote about WeVideo which is in essence a Google Docs of MovieMakers. It allows multiple users to create a video with pictures, sounds, words, effects, etc. The difference with MovieMaker is that it is all on the cloud and can be done collaboratively from different locations. Now thanks to Android4Schools, I just found out that you can get an Android app for your smartphone and upload it straight to the website and even edit it from your phone using this Android app.  You can also edit your Youtube videos using Wevideo.  Unfortunately I can't find it for the iPhone.

I must add that my screen just stopped working on my Andoid (and thankfully it was replaced right away by Verizon for free). But what was amazing is that using Google Play I pushed one button and all my apps were loaded up just like that.  Likewise all my contacts are done virtually since they are the ones in my g-mail contacts, which means I can move seamlessly from my phone to my laptop and the brand does not matter (ie no locked down iCloud). Having said that I am writing this from my Macbook Air!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Historical Simulations

As we all know learning by doing is the best method for learning history. With that in mind, here are three simulations you can get (from a fellow teacher) that will have your students running simulations for WWI, WWII and the Cold War (sometimes collectively referred to as the "Long War.")

Educational Video Search Engine

When I interview respective candidates for our department, not surprisingly I do it with my laptop a buzzing.  Last year we had the pleasure of adding Jeannine Cotner to our staff.  I must say that she was the first person who interviewed with us who gave me more sites in the interview than I could keep up with. She has continued that this year flinging the department lists of great sites every other week.  One of them is WatchKnowLearn which is an educational database and an aggregator of educational videos from other sites. For example, here is the list of ones on the Great Depression

Thursday, March 15, 2012

More on Map Drawing

My students today were working on map skills for ancient Rome and they (as you can see below) were working on "free hand" drawing using Google Drawing.  I had them split their screen so they could look at a map and draw it, but one of my students figured out how to essentially trace a picture and then delete when he was done. I loved it and have made a video on how to do it above. 

Drawing Maps

After my in-service yesterday I was contacted by one of the teachers who pointed out that drawing maps (as opposed to labeling ones given to you) is a better way to learn.  My kids always have to label two maps (once at the beginning of the unit and once for review). Now I am going to change that to they have to free hand draw it in Google Drawing the second time. Above is a video that shows you how. Basically you go to "insert," "line" and "scribble" to be able to do it (see picture above).  I partially drew above by splitting the computer screen and laying my drawing and the picture side by side.

The US Melting Pot Map

While you have probably passed it this year, everyone teaches immigration in US history. Well now Bloomberg News has a great interactive map based on the 2010 census that lets you see where 20 different groups of immigrants are in the US. While I could not find my father's (the CzechRepublic), it did include all of the bigger immigrant groups. For examples, above is a picture of where the Dutch descendants are located.  I found the link at Chart Porn. Now for those of you who use Google Docs (see below) and another delivery device for your students (we are mandated to use Blackboard),  you can just go to an assignment where you have information on immigration, add the map above and not have to re-upload it into Blackboard.  

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

How to Integrate Google Docs Into The Classroom

Today I am presenting at Lake Braddock High School (Burke, VA) on how to integrate Google Docs into the social studies classroom.  As part of the discussion I will start with the slideshow above.  Can you answer the questions and imagine if so much has happened so recently, how quickly your classroom will be changing in the next few years.  Then I will essentially (live, not on youtube) show how my department and I use Google Docs/Apps and finally we will use this document to have have everyone learn by doing doing for Google Docs/Apps.  

National Jukebox from the Library of Congress

The Library of Congress has put online over 10,000 recordings made between 1910 and 1925 that cover all eras of US history.  Here is the outline of the recordings, here is the search engine, music from the Civil War eras, old frontier and lyrical music.  For more information you can go to their blog that details how to integrate the Library of Congress resources into your classroom.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Creating the United States - Interactives

This is a very interesting collection of three resources, how the Declaration of Independence, the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights were made. It includes both original language of each part as well as the background for the different sections.   

Amazing Collection of Webpages on The 1920s

Occasionally I like to look and see how people got to this page. One person was looking for information on the 1920 and that led me to do some searches.  One page I found is this one which is a collection of pages that you can use to teach about the 1920s.  It includes the movie above from 1920 on Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde as well as an entire page on the Jazz Age (it's is a companion to Ken Burns' for his documentary), a site for Charles Lindbergh,  the Scopes Monkey Trial,  the Harlem Renaissance, Henry Ford, primary source documents on the period and a lot of other categories. 

Search our Blogs

We have a lot of new visitors coming to the site now so it probably is wise to mention that between the three teacher sites (US, world and US government), there are now over 2500 posts going back four years.   So go to the upper left side of the page and put in a topic and see what you get.  You can do it for both content as well as technology.  

Khan Academy Apps

Admittedly there are few Khan Academy videos relating to history (about 20), but if one is inclined there is now an Android, and iPhone (as well as iPad).  

Containerization of the World & Ted Talks Education

Thanks to a message on Google+ from Larry Ferlazzo for telling me that Ted Talks has now started an education channel.  Ted Talks are usually less than 15 minutes (fits nicely into the flipping the classroom concept) and on some innovation.  Above is one on the innovation of putting supplies that need to be shipped into containers. It is fascinating and can be useful in both US and world history class. 

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Sal Khan on 60 Minutes (Flipping the classroom)

Sal Khan was on 60 minutes tonight talking about his Khan Academy which discusses the philosophy of flipping the classroom which essentially espouses watching 10 minute videos at home and working on assignments in class where the teachers can help the students.  

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Depression era Photographs

The Denver Post has this marvelous collection of depression era photographs from the Farm Security Administration Office of War Information and according to the Post "are some of the only color photographs taken of the effects of the Depression on America’s rural and small town populations. The photographs and captions are the property of the Library of Congress and were included in a 2006 exhibit Bound for Glory: America in Color."

Copy and Paste on Your Cell Phone

Another new skill!  The two videos above tell you how to copy and paste - a necessary skill to know. 

Friday, March 9, 2012

Splicd For Showing Parts of Youtube Videos

If you want to show a portion of a Youtube video, all you need to do is to go to Splicd and enter in the url as well as the starting and ending point and you can omit the rest of the video.  For example if wanted to start the video below on the definition of social studies at :20 seconds and finish it at 1:50, this is what you would get with Splicd. 

How the Other Half Lives by Jacob Riis

The bottom video is a collection of a number of Jacob Riis' pictures narrated with the writing by a reading of his writing (by teacher "Mr. Holt.").  If you would prefer short snippets of his pictures, you can go to NPR and Picture History for individual photos.   The video on top is from the History Channel and tells the story of the impact of the pictures. 

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Women's Suffrage

It is appropriate that Marchelle Conway e-mailed me the link to the great video on woman's suffrage today (it's international women's day).  It is by the same group that did Too Late to Apologize.  The other video is the same group's (Soomopublishing) rather nice definition of social studies. 

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

App Sites for Android and iPhone

One of the questions I often get is where do I get my information.  Well I have a Twitter feed, iGoogle page and Google+.  One of my iGoogle feeds is the "Offical Google Blog" which today announced one place to get all your Google products called Google Play.  For example a few weeks ago I uploaded all 4023 of my songs from my iPod (it took two days on an old computer) and now I can get them on my phone, any computer or tablet on Google music (as opposed to using the iCloud which limits you to being used on Apple products).  But I digress!  If you go to Google's site for Android apps, you can find all of their apps and narrow it down by using the search engine.  Here is the site for Apple's iPhone apps. 


One of my teacher-students, Jerry Walsh, just told me about "autosummarizing" which literally summarizes a long passage.  This might work well if you have your students go to a Wikipedia page that has much more information than you want.  I, of course, do not want something downloaded on my computer like Microsoft Word, so I found Tools4Noobs which does the same thing for free. For example here is a Wikipedia passage on Campaign Finance and here is the Tools4Noobs summary. Obviously you would have to look at it yourself first to see if it kept your most important parts, but it's worth a try. 

Monday, March 5, 2012

Google Map for Educators

Really cool clip showing how to use google maps. Shows you how to do a number of cool things like measuring the distance of a lake or a desert.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Civil War Battle Apps

Here are civil war battle apps for Chancellorsville, Fredericksburg, Little Round Top and Bull Run.  You can use them to visit the sites or to take a virtual tour or to hear lectures from experts. 

The Civil War at 150

The WashPost is continuing to write an amazing series on the "Civil War at 150." Today they released a new section on the "Innovations of War."  Here, for example is a story on the Monitor and the Merrimac. If you haven't see the series you will now have an amazing addition to your digital library for Civil War items. 

Friday, March 2, 2012


Quizlet is a site that allows students to create their own flashcards.  It then will shuffle them and allow you to see the front and the back.  If your students are using the site to study, just know that many of the cards were done by students so there might be a mistake or two.  Nonetheless if you broke a unit into parts for different groups, you would have a nice set when you were done wit the unit.  Above is one on the Progressive era. 

50 Sites To Help Your Teaching

50sites ver3
View more presentations from David Kapuler
I will be going through this site soon, but again here is an amazing list of sites that could help you. 

App Search Engine for Educators

I found this from a Google+ post from Judy Arzt.  It is called APPitic and is a search engine for apps for education.  It has both free and paid ones as well as ones for Apple and Android products.  I will be going through here over time and featuring some of what I find, but if you want to beat me to the punch, have at it! 

Thursday, March 1, 2012

The History Place

This is a great site that focuses on American history from the colonial period to the present with short secondary readings, timeliness, and photographs. I used their readings on genocide in the 20th century for my world 10 class. It also has a good section on Nazi Germany.