Friday, February 28, 2014

Free PDF Converter

For years I have used Pdftoword to convert pdfs to word documents.  Google Drive also now does it, but not as consistently well as Pdftoword.  But the problem with the latter is that it only lets you convert a few pages.  Well Free Online PDF Converter just wrote me to say that you can convert with them an unlimited number of pages.  Just upload the document and put in your e-mail and push go and you will get a word document shortly thereafter. 

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Friday, February 21, 2014

Research Tools in a Google Drive Document

I watched this video from FreeTech4Teachers and was inspired to see more on how to research inside a Google Drive document. The best one is above. It shows the amazing things you can do by going to "Tools," and then "research."  You can do things like
  • do a Google search
  • find scholarly articles
  • find images and choose between ones that need citations or not
  • how to drag images into the document
  • have MPA, APA, Chicago style footnotes automatically embedded into the document

Interactive Review for US History

Thanks to my social studies specialist, Craig Perrier, for this list of online interactive review materials for US history.  Each one has a visual, written, is narrated, has vocabulary and extra resources.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Split Screen

We have a paper shortage in my school!  Yes I know that sounds funny from me, but we also have a laptop shortage as not every teacher has as many as we want for our students.   So one of my jobs has been to try to figure out how to conserve paper so this video is one thing I have shared with my department as it allows you to copy one browser to another without printing! 

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Wright Brothers' Flight Footage

The Wright Brothers first flew in 1903, but above is some great footage of them flying five years later in 1908.

This is a great overview from PBS of why the brothers were successful when others were not.

For those of you, like me, who enjoy teaching from primary documents, here are a number of short documents on the amazing achievement of first flight. 

Presidents' Day History

The video above is great, but this article is better.  It describes how the day started as a tribute to George Washington (whose hayfield is where I teach - hence our name, Hayfield).  What is interesting that a DC store started calling it Presidents' Day and not Washington.  More for your students can be found here.   Thanks to Bill Chapman for the heads up on the story. 

History of the White House

This is a very interesting history of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Screencastify for Chrome/Chromebooks

I am sitting here enjoying the Olympics (long track is my favorite) and figuring out new things for the classroom/grading student assignments.

One thing that has been missing from Chromebooks has been a way to make screencasts.  Enter Screencastify!  While you still cannot record just a portion of the screen, it is huge step.  It also works on Chrome.  You can either download it onto your laptop or put upload it straight onto YouTube.

By the way Chromebooks are a great way for your school to get a sub $300 laptop for your students and works well if you are comfortable on the cloud.  I like them so much that we have two here at home for my kids.  

Jeopardy Game Templates

Here is a template for a Google Drive Presentation.

If you want other templates that are not for Google Drive, but you can use for free, go to Jeopardy Labs.  

Flipcon14 2014 Conference

The Flipped Learning Network is a great place to learn about new flipping techniques and connect with others are trying out the methodology.  This summer they will have both an in person and a virtual (makes sense!) conference you can attend from June 23-35 in Pennsylvania.  You can see some of the videos from last year's conference here.

Thanks to Hip Hughes for the heads up on the conference. 

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Twitter, Hashtags and FakeTweet

My "teacher-students" have a snow day today which means they are looking at two flipped videos for their assignments today so I thought I'd share it with all of you.  The video above is 11 minutes and goes into how to set up a Twitter account, how to use it.  Secondly it looks at hashtags and when and why you might want one and finally it looks at FakeTweet which is exactly what it says it is.  

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

WWI History in Six Minutes

Thanks to Larry Ferlazo for the G+ post on this video giving a cartoon history (with high school level information) on World War I. 

Monday, February 10, 2014

How to Search My Blogs

It is hard for me to believe that over the course of the nearly six years of my three blogs (US, world, government) that there are now over 5000 posts.  So if you ever want to search for content or technology, just go to the upper left hand side of the blog and enter in what you need to find and all the appropriate pages will come up.  

28 Black People You Might Not Know

For Black History Month, The Good Men Project is highlighting a different black historical figure each day. Toussaint L’Ouverture, above, was the slave leader who led the Haitian slave revolt, which was the first successful slave revolt in history.

Bayard Rustin is pictured below. Ruskin worked in the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. He also spent time with Gandhi and learned non-violence from him and convinced Dr. Martin Luther King to adopt nonviolence as a political strategy.

Thanks to @RaisingGreatMen for tweeting the link.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Flipping the Class Presentation

Tomorrow I am doing a presentation for my county on flipping the classroom.  If you can make it it will be at the Leis Center at 1-3:30.  For those of you who can't here is what we will be doing.

  1. What will be taught:  We will learn how to record lectures for students to watch at home, how students can be accountable for that information and how to flip one’s classroom to do the “problem sets” in the classroom.
  2. Tutorial steps that will be finished in the class (each underlined item is linked to a tutorial)
    1. will learn  how to use Screencastomatic to learn how to record a ten minute lecture
    2. will discuss what can be done in the classroom
    3. will learn how class activities can be put on a Google Drive document and linked into Blackboard
    4. How to create a question sheet with embedded video. 
    5. learn how to split the laptop screen so students can see the video and their notes or you could use (tutorial)
    6. If you accumulate lots of videos, here is how you create a youTube Playlist 

Explaining the Cloud

For the sixth straight semester I am teaching my integrating technology into the classroom class to teachers starting this Thursday.  One of the things I do is start with a few videos for those visual learners like myself.  One of the ones I might show explains what is meant by "the cloud" in a fun way as you can see above. 

Life on a Midwestern Farm

I think that one reason kids don't like history is that their only exposure is to boring textbooks that are essentially written to meet state requirements.  Real history is the story of people's lives and not just the elite that students are mandated to study.  This is why I like to spice up what we are doing with primary source items.  For example here is a nice description of what life was like on a Midwestern farm in the 1800s.  It has both a description as well as diary entries of the daily drudgery of the farmer.

Here is a virtual tour of a farmer's home that includes some oral histories of living on the farm. 

Sunday, February 2, 2014

German Bombs Change British Golf Rules in 1940

Thanks to my colleague, Jeff Feinstein, for sending me the link to this tweet originally posted by @HistoricalPics. Please let your students know that they can ask for a penalty shot if their original stroke is affected by a bomb!