Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Monday, October 29, 2012

For Students, Why the Question is More Important Than the Answer

The authors of Make Just One Change: Teach Students to Ask Their Own Questions, think Socrates was all wrong. Instead of using questions to get kids to think more deeply, Dan Rothstein and Luz Santana, the authors and co-directors of The Right Question Institute, argue that we should ask the student to come up with the questions that speak to the core of a topic. They want us to flip the Socratic method on its head.

Here's what they say about their method: “What happens is the teacher plays a different role,” Santana said. “They lead students into thinking. The process of teaching students to ask their own questions allows teachers to communicate what they need to around curriculum. The difference is that the students are thinking and doing more, rather than the teacher.”  They offer some interesting ways to to begin the process.

Tell a Story with QR Codes

The blog, Instructional Design Fusions, has an interesting story on how to use QR Codes in the classroom. The video above is a bit long and takes a minute or so to get used to the accent, but you'll get the general idea after a couple of minutes. It's got me thinking how I might use QR codes in world history.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Helen Keller

This is a fascinating look at Helen Keller.  You can see both her teacher "speaking" to her as well as see her "listening" to music.  It is a fascinating look at the woman who believed that that her limitations were not that at all.  I found this on Open Culture.  

Friday, October 26, 2012

FakeTweet Assignment

Andrea Parent is a fellow social studies chair and a teacher-student in my class learning to integrate technology into the classroom.  She just made this very nice assignment for her students using FakeTweet.  You could copy it and completely change the assignment to match your needs as it has a link to a great how-to video (made by a former student of mine) as well as an example of her FakeTweet and, of course, a link to the FakeTweet maker. 

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Easy and Noodle Bibs

So last night my oldest daughter was working on her timeline on Richard Nixon and she said she had to citations for her pictures.  She started to login to her Blackboard site to go to the MLA maker site.  Instead I had her Google "MLA maker" and we found EasyBib which allowed her to just put in the website for the picture and come up with the citation.  Of course it also allowed her to put in an author and all of his/her books came up.  Magazines, interviews, etc. are also out there.

If you want a free site for MLA, APA or the Chicago methods of having citations then NoodleBib is free and here.  

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

War on Film from The UK National Archives

The UK National Archives, celebrating the 70th anniversary of the beginning of World War II created a series called "War on Film" in which military records specialist, William Spencer, "explores the true stories behind popular war films and uses original records to depict actual events." The clips are all less than five minutes each, like the one above, deconstructs one of the war films like The Great Escape, The Man Who Never Was, Hope and Glory, and Carve Her Name with Pride. Thanks to my colleague, Jeff Feinstein, for sending me the link.

Art Catalogs from the Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Met has uploaded hundreds of art catalogs which you can read online or download as PDFs. Here are some of the titles which I copied directly from Open Culture's posting about the catalogs. The catalogs span both world and US history.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Getting More Out of an Essay

One of the most frustrating exercises I have had as a teacher has been to get my non AP students to write essays.  First off, I have to hear the line, "This isn't an English class."  Secondly so many students simply do not write their essays, instead choosing to take the grade hit.  Well I believe I finally have found a successful way to get the kids to write essays.

  1. Help the students find background information by setting up categories for the students or even asking questions about documents if you are doing a DBQ.
  2. Put students in groups and use Google Drive to share their background notes
  3. Go over the fundamentals of writing and then have students write lots of the essay in class and share parts of it with the students
  4. E-mail parents that the essays are due and use Remind101 to tell remind students that it is due. I even, this time, had students share the essays with partners so they could give feedback.
  5. I made the essays due by 6 pm Sunday night and then put comments (note, no grade) all over everyone's essays.  When the students got to class I actually gave them a quiz on the main points of an essay (see #3) and then let the students look at my comments and then ask questions about it.
  6. Let my many ESOL students write their essay in their native language and then translate using Google Translate
  7. Then I told the kids they can fix my comments and share them with me using Google Drive by Wednesday.

The upshot is that almost all of my students wrote their essays and wrote a substantial number of points.  

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Interactive Whiteboard with your Ipad

Doceri turns your Ipad into an interactive white board and screencast recorder. You can download a free trial but the real app costs $30. But it might be worth it. It allows you do what the Khan Academy teachers do, which is to annotate the presentation.  For example, lets say that you have an outline map of India and you want to explain the direction of the monsoon winds, you can actually draw arrows onto the whiteboard.

Doceri connects your laptop to your ipad.  You can project your laptop and control it from your Ipad.

Itunes U and History Courses

ITunes University (which you can download as an app) and access through ITunes on your laptop has scores of courses in history as well as in most other disciplines. Some of the courses (I found a couple in religion) with embedded video clips that were quite good. Some are worth exploring. You can also access K-12 listings. To find  ITunes U, open ITunes  and click on Itunes Store, then click the pull down menu on the last tab called ITunes U.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Google Drive Presentations

Google Drive (formerly Google Docs) has its own version of PowerPoints called Presentation.  Here is a tremendous e-sheet showing you everything you ever wanted to know in terms of using it.  Above is a video showing some of the cooler features of Google Drive Presentation. 

Explore a Google Data Center

If you want to control your walk through a data center, you can go here to a Street View panorama.  Thanks to a Tweet from Alex Couros for this video. 


One of the things I teach my teacher students is how to have their students create fake Tweet streams.  You can use it to have conversations between historical figures, add in pictures and generally make your students condense their comments to a very well thought out series of concise statements.  Above is a video made by one of the teachers in my course last year, Matt Levi.  The best part about this is that while you can set up an account, you do not need to and once you are done it gives you a unique url which your students could e-mail or put on a Google Drive document to share with their teacher.  

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Clouds Over Cuba from The JFK Library

Fiftieth anniversaries create lots of material. This month the John F Kennedy Library released a new interactive documentary on the Cuban Missile Crisis called Clouds over Cuba. This is the teaser for the documentary. As the documentary rolls, it asks the viewer to access their collection of documents and photographs.

Twitter Hashtags for Educators

Popular Educational Twitter Hashtags
Compiled By:
Click on the poster to see a larger version of it.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Jeopardy Labs for Jeopardy Review Games

Talk about a fast learner.  One of my "teacher-students," Rebecca Small, just created two Jeopardy games on Jeopardy Labs.  When I asked where she had found out about it, she said one of her students told her about it and added that I would like it since it is "on the cloud."

Not only can you create your own, but they have a search engine so you can see what others have done.   For example, here and here are ones on the American Revolution. 

Monday, October 15, 2012

More on the Cuban Missile Crisis

This National Archives (UK National Archives) site has some great stuff for the Cuban Missile Crisis. I know you are months away from the topic but the 50th anniversary is this month. My colleague, Jeff Feinstein sent me the link with this description.

It lets students learn about the background to the crisis, the key players and the issues. Students learn by studying primary sources arranged around four organizing questions: 1. What triggered the Cuban missile crisis? 2. Why didn't the Cuban missile crisis lead to nuclear war? 3. Did international relations improve? 4. How does Kennedy's death affect our view of him?

Sunday, October 14, 2012

The Gettysburg Address delivered by Charles Laughton

Here is Charles Laughton delivering the Gettysburg Address in its entirety in Ruggles of Red Gap, a 1935 "screwball Western." It's quite a performance and maybe worth showing when you get to the Civil War. You can see the excellent write-up about the film here at Open Culture. The actual speech starts at about 2.27 minutes in the video but the two minutes before is entertaining. Try this link if the video will not work.

Bloom's Taxonomy

Above is an eleven minute video that uses The Andy Griffith Show to explain each of the levels of Bloom's Taxonomy.  I found it at EducatorsTechnology through a feed I get on my Netvibes account.

An amazing explanation of how to use Bloom's comes here from Kathy Schrock who has several pictures that show how you can use technology at every level of Bloom's.  Below is one of them.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Book Suggestion on 1862 & Lincoln

One of the many perks of doing a blog is that publishers send you books to read and right now I am getting some great ones.  For example this summer I was sent The Graves are Walking (which was highlighted this week in the NYTimes) and is about living in Ireland during the potato famine.  My favorite recent book, though, is the one pictured above which gives a very detailed account of Lincoln's view of 1862.  The details are extraordinary starting with what it was like to live in DC and the conflict between McClellan and Lincoln (even at the beginning of the war the former refused to more more than at a snail's pace). I almost think the original title of "1862, Abraham Lincoln and the Making of America," is a more apt description of the contents, but nonetheless it is a great read. 

Friday, October 12, 2012

Another Twitter Hashtag Chatting Device

While it is hard for me to believe, not all of my students have Twitter (about 1/5th).  But when we Tweet about the next debate I told these students they can simply go to TwitterFall which does many things, but among them, it lets you watch a hashtag live if you enter it with a "#" or "@" and the title in the search box.  If you are logged into Twitter (for the other students) it also lets you put up your own comments.  You can also follow lists and trending topics so it has a bit more than TweetChat which I mentioned in a post earlier today. 

Popular Educational Hashtags

Now that Frank has me doing hashtags, I am glad I just found this Edudemic list of educational hashtags.  Here are ones that can help you:

The Most Popular Hashtags

  • #edchat - education for teachers worldwide
  • #schools - far ranging education topics
  • #lrnchat - learning chat
  • #TT - Teacher Tuesday where educators suggest others to follow
  • #GlobalEd - education w. global dimention
  • #edtech - wide range of tweets relating to technology in education
  • #elearning - eLearning topics
  • #mlearning - the use of mobile technogies in education
  • #edapp - educational apps
  • #gbl - games based learning
  • #slide2learn - iDevices and learning
  • #vitalcpd - effective use of technology in the classroom
  • #sschat - social studies chat

Map of Every War Ever

Saw this in the Smithsonian Magazine blog. Scroll along the dates at the bottom, click on the location, and you'll see brief descriptions for thousands of conflicts overlaid on a zoom-able map.

A People's History of the US

Since there is a new biography out on him and lots of teachers like to use part of Howard Zinn's A People's History of the US, I thought I'd show you where you can get it free online

Thursday, October 11, 2012

TweetChat for Discussions on Twitter

Frank (Panther Fan) are currently in a chat discussion in Twitter with some of our students as we listen/watch the vice presidential debate.  To that end Frank just gave me the site TweetChat where you can both watch a hashtag as well as input your comments.  Above is a very short explanation of how to use it.  

I have done a number of other Twitter posts including how to find other educators to follow. 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Diigo for Bookmarking

This week my "teacher-students" will be save webpages on the cloud using Diigo.  They will learn how it can save pages and images and can be shared with others (here are my public items) or you can lock them so no one else can see them (which I use for all my teacher sites rather than writing them down).  The top video tells you about Diigo and the bottom one tells you how to use it. 

Monday, October 8, 2012

Prehistory - 1848

Above is an outline of US history from the beginning until 1848.  It would be perfect if you are doing preparation for a midterm and want to go through the key points fairly quickly. 

US History PowerPoints

If you are looking for PowerPoints for US history, here are a ton (and I mean a ton) of PowerPoints.  It looks like this person has done a ton of searches on the Internet and linked them to this page.  You can do two things to make them yours.  Either download them and then open in Microsoft PowerPoint or if you are using Google, it will copy it into your Google Drive account.  Then you can add or take out slides as you need to to suit your requirements.

If you don't want to be overwhelmed with PowerPoints, here are the basics you will need for US history from another site. 

Cuban Missile Crisis Interactive

One of the reasons I set up this blog was to get people to e-mail me sites they believe will help students in the classroom.  One of my regular contributors to this cause is Joe Phelan over at EDSitement which is a NEH group that helps teachers in the classroom.  Well to go w. the video below on the Cuban Missile Crisis, they have an interactive which lets students make decision and   lean more about the event.  For example the picture above (on their site) lets you mouse over the people and see who the key players are and what they believed about the crisis.   Obviously interactives are a great way to learn something so check out this one on the crisis or their site in general. 

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Crash Course's American History

John Green has an excellent series of mostly world history videos, but this fall he has added some from US history.  Above is one on the American Revolution and above that is one on the Atlantic slave trade. On top is a video on the Columbian Exchange. They are edgy and great reviews of different aspects of history.  

Exploring the West from Stanford University

Stanford University has a great site for high school teachers called "Exploring the West." It has lots of good primary sources and maps. The three learning units include maps, cowboys, and urbanization.  My thanks to my colleague, Jeff Feinstein, for sending me the link.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Cuban Missile Crisis at National Archives

My colleague,  Jeff Feinstein, just sent me this link about the Cuban Missile Crisis. I know it's early to be thinking about teaching the Cuban Missile Crisis but the National Archives has a great exhibit about the event. The video above outlines all the material in the exhibit which features secretly recorded White House tapes from October 1962, original documents, artifacts, and photographs. The exhibit is at  the National Archives October 2012 - February 2013 and the JFK Presidential Library Museum April - December 2013

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

American Revolution Website

Here is a site (TheAmericanRevolution) I haven't seen before on the American Revolution.  If you were thinking of a webquest for your students, this would be a great place to go as it has video, commanders, battles, important people (beyond the commanders), documents and a timeline.  It also has a tremendous number of fairly detailed (but not too much for a high school student) on each of the aforementioned. 

Netvibes to Aggregate the Sites You Follow

Tomorrow I am starting my class for teachers who want to better integrate technology into the classroom.  One of the first thing I will teach them is how to aggregate all the sites you might want to follow so that you can quickly keep up to date.  The site I use to do this is

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Search Engine for the Teacher Blog Sites

I received an e-mail from a former colleague today saying he was enjoying seeing what this site has on it.  You can do it too.  The government teachers blog has 1383 posts in the last 4.5 years while the world history one has 1072 and the US history one has 959 posts.  To do the research just plug in what you are looking (most of all of the subjects have been addressed at one point or another), press enter and lots of links will appear.  You can also do it for the technology that appears to see what has been written about in the past.  With 3400 posts you should be able to find lots of items to help with your teaching.  As always, send us your links and, in most cases, we'll post them. 

Monday, October 1, 2012

Most Hit Posts in September

Hard to believe the first month of school is already over.  As always thanks for coming to this blog page.  We had 42,000+ page views (including the world and government blogs) last month including 14,000 on this site alone   The top three for this page were: