Sunday, September 29, 2013

Overview of Longitude and Laitude

How to Take a Screenshot

I use screenshots all the time for how to items and because I believe students should have several illustrations to make them look more appealing.  Here is how you can take a screenshot on all devices. 

Saturday, September 28, 2013

How Luther Went Viral (Before Social Media)

Here's a fascinating video and article from the Economist Magazine about the impact of the printing press on the spread of Martin Luther's reformation.  Thanks to F.C. Tymrak for tweeting the link.

Great Web Resources on Ancient History and Greece

Edtechteacher has compiled  a great library of annotated web resources for ancient history,ancient Greece, and Rome. They are terrific!   

For example, you'll find a link to a great British Museum site for ancient Greece which is ideal for a student web-quest. On Edtec's ancient history page, you'll find a link to the Evansville University page, Exploring World Cultures which includes pages on India, China, Islam, Egypt and Europe with primary sources, essays and images.

This site is definitely worth bookmarking.

Human Family Tree

Here is a great "Human Family Tree."  Click on each type and it will give you more details.  The site has timelines, images, videos and explanations of our ancestry.  Below, for example is a video telling how you can tell the difference between a rock from a stone tool. 
video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

Friday, September 27, 2013

Using QR Codes to Differentiate Instruction

Edutopia has a great story on how to use QR codes to differentiate instruction.  You can use QR codes to send students to the same website and create differentiated activities or you can create different codes for different groups. The article explains exactly how.  My thanks to Sharon Dickens who sent the link.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Models of the Universe: Primary Sources from the Library of Congress

Studying the Scientific Revolution or the Enlightenment?  Check out these primary sources from the Library of Congress showing Aristotle's early view of the universe with the earth at its center and the later view from Copernicus with the sun at the center.

According to Trevor Owens, writing for the Library of Congress, the sources, "invite students to explore how different models of the universe have developed over time, and to think a bit more generally about interpreting models."  For example, what do the two drawings have in common?  What are the differences? Thanks to Jeff Feinstein for sending me the link.

Using the WHI/II e-book

Today I am doing an in-service using our Patterns of Interaction e-textbook.  Here is a short example of one of my upcoming assignments on Islam and here is a longer one on the Punic Wars.  As with everything, I use Google Drive to make it.

If you use the Patterns e-book, you might want to look at these resources a team I led three years ago put together.  It includes a how to video (see above) as well as a scavenger hunt for students and some assignments.

Finally, a very important thing is that you teach everyone how to split a computer screen so students can see both the e-book as well as a document they be writing upon. 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Digital Study Buddies to Improve Retention

Too many kids do not study for tests and still more think studying is just filling out a study guide. Sure you could argue that our students have become desensitized to them due to the incredible number they take, but I try to get them to get into groups using technology - knowing that not all my students (esp. my 9th graders) can get together with one another.  What I tell them is that studying in a group is going to force the kids to prepare (rather than risk embarrassing themselves in front of peers and then help them work on weaknesses.  Here are the sites I give my students.
  • Free Conference Call - Barack Obama made this famous in 2008.  If could use it on a winning presidential campaign your students can use it to call as many friends as they want which is especially helpful if one or more do not have laptops.  

  • Google Plus Hangouts will allow up to ten students to talk, see each other and share Google Drive documents.  Below is a easy to follow video.

  • Oovoo lets you video conference with up to 11 friends.  Here is a hot to tutorial. 
  • Quizlet and Study Blue allow kids to find already done study cards for tests.  I like Quizlet better as the kids do not even have to join to be able to search.  Both allow you to even put pictures as part of the study cards. 

How Do You Pronounce the World

Well here is another site that is even better than the last post as you go to Howjsay and put in the word(s) and it will pronounce it and even do it in different languages (such as Renaissance).  

Houghton Mifflin World History Pronounciations

I was having problems pronouncing Catal Huyuk today and so found this guide that goes chapter by chapter with your world history book.  Here, by the way is how you pronounce Catal Huyuk. 

Judaism: Virtual Museum

Studying Judaism? Here's a nice website, ideal for on-level students, on Jewish history--the land, the people, the Exodus, beliefs, and artifacts. It's a virtual museum put together by Score (Schools of California Online Resources for Education.)

Thanks to my colleague,  Rob Kerr for sending me the link.

Bitly Tutorial for Weblinks

I did a post a month ago on which allows you to shorten a url (much as Tinyurl and allow you to do).  The advantage of this shortener is that you can tailor (as you can with Tinyurl) your link to something your students can remember (such as  But with you can also save it to a folder in your account so that you can have it as long as you want and you can even see how many times it has been clicked on.

So I have Bitlys saved for my homework pages for my students and did another one for my Back to School night flip.  There is no limit so have at it. 

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Ancient Egypt Web Quest

Check out the material on ancient Egypt from the British Museum. It includes material on every aspect of Egyptian life. It includes pages on geography, gods and goddesses, mummification, pharaohs, pyramids and writing. Here is a web quest we developed to work with the website.

Monday, September 23, 2013

The Egyptian Book of the Dead

Teaching Egypt?  Watch this short clip about the Egyptian Book of the Dead from a BBC story about an exhibit at the British Museum  in 2010. It's a great overview.

Map of Africa

Here is a map of Africa that shows how big it really is compared to the Mercator map. I found it at Collective-Evolution

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Horrible Histories - Stoneages

Thanks to my next door neighbor Janet Babic for this fun on the "Stoneage song." 

Friday, September 20, 2013

Origin of "x"

One of my new teacher-students, Dan Ashley, gave me this 3 minute video on the origin of "x."  It comes from Arabic by way of Spain.  The Spanish could not pronounce the the Arabic word below (meaning "something" so they made it "x" instead and it is not changed since then.  It is a fascinating short video and a good one to explain the influence of the Arabs on the western world.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Reminder Texts for Your Students

Three years ago I started telling teachers in my tech integration course about Remind101 so it was kind of cool tonight when I found out a third high school has now shown their entire school the site based on word of mouth that has been passed around by my former teacher students.  Even more interesting is that they have now secured "Series A" funding for $3.5 million to expand their operation.

While there are certainly other competitors Remind101 remains the simplest one to use to one way text your students reminders for their homework.  But don't limit it to that.  Students can use it to Remind their members about meetings, schools can use it to tell parents about upcoming events, etc.  You can also set the day and time.  If you use it not all students will sign up right away, but if you mention it a few times, it will grow.  Last year I had more signed up then I have students because so many parents wanted the reminders as well.

The video above will show you the easy to set up instructions.   

Not Much Filial Piety

George mentioned Confucianism a few posts below, but this WashPost article details that a lot of elderly do not feel filial piety coming from the younger generations as 1 out of 4 elderly Chinese live below the poverty line.  

Monday, September 16, 2013

Walk Like an Egyptian

Introduce your kids to Egypt with this music clip from Flocabulary where students can also test their ancient Egyptian vocabulary with flashcards or fill-in-the blank questions.  You can even print the lyrics. Thanks to Eric Goldstein for tweeting the link.

The Three Teachings: Confucianism, Taoism, & Legalism

Here is a great teacher site for learning about Confucianism, Taoism and Legalism complete with short video clips, quotes from each of the philosophies, and a chart to analyze the meaning of some of the quotes.  Thanks to David Koerner fro tweeting the link.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Putting the World in Perspective

Thanks to my former colleague Matt Mough for this great resource. It has lots of different countries laid over the US so you can see how they compare to the rest of the world. 

Back to School Flipping

Stealing from Frank's idea to flip by Back To School Night, above you will find the video I am sending my parents.  I am also sending them a Google form so they can think of questions both at home and when they meet me.

To make the film I used Screencastomatic which I have featured a bunch of times on this blog

Library of Congress Launches Twitter Feed

The Library of Congress is sharing ideas on Twitter.  You can follow the library by typing in the Twitter search box, @TeachingLC. 

According to the Library, their twitter feed will be a "great venue for educators to learn from each other and to explore the primary sources and teaching resources offered by the Library of Congress.” 

My thanks to my colleague, Jeff Feinstein, for sending me the link.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Changing Maps and the West Wing

My world history kids will watch this tomorrow (and it would be a good video for flipping) as our introduction for the need for different types of maps. 

Tweeting Your Class Warmup

As our students leave Facebook, more and more are using Twitter, among other social media. One of our new hires, Doug Zywiol, is using Twitter as a warm-up for his students.   Most of our students have phones that can text, but for those who do not, Doug is pairing those kids up into groups.  Doug asks his students a question to begin each class (he teaches US and government) and then the kids answer using his @DougZywiol in their text (as opposed to using a hashtag which would do the same thing).  What is great is that his students have to think (key word) and then write succinctly to answer his students, but it also serves as a way to quickly see what others are thinking.  I should add that Doug has always been a tech integrating teacher, but until this year was a "phone phobic," but very quickly has grown to love it.   If you want to see what he is doing, look at the link. I might add that some of his students from when he was in North Carolina are also participating!   

Adding a Video into Google Forms

Yesterday Google added the ability to insert a video into Google forms.  All you need to do is to go to the "insert" tab and then go down to "video" and then find it on Youtube.  Alternatively you could watch this one minute video to do it.  It is a great way to give your students a flipped video and then give them multiple choice or short answer questions.

By the way it does not yet work in Google Apps.  I should add that Google Apps are always behind the free Google Drive due to the fact that Google Apps just gets things later and school systems in general have to decide whether or not to turn something on for its students/staff and there are a lot of considerations in that prospect which is why I put my materials in my personal one and correct all my students' work in Google Apps.  

Syria: What's Behind the Conflict

Here are two great clips explaining the Syria crisis. The first one is from CNN's Student News and runs about 9 minutes.  The second comes from the Associated Press and runs about 2 minutes. Thanks to Richard Byrne for posting some of this on his blog.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Great Lesson Resources from the Virginia Alliance for Geography

The Virginia Geographic Alliance has developed some lessons for World History based on the essential knowledge of the Virginia SOLs, and often revolving around geography.

I looked  at two lessons, one for prehistory and one for early river civilizations. The one for prehistory includes eleven images that students use like artifacts and record their observations about the image in one column and whether it is belongs to the Paleolithic or Neolithic period in the next column.  Supplementary maps show the migration paths out of Africa.

My thanks to the Virginia Alliance for tweeting the link.

Auschwitz Commandant's Daughter Hiding in Northern Virginia

Here is Rudolf Höss, Kommandant of Auschwitz. His daughter, Brigitte Höss, 80 years old, lives in northern Virginia and has never talked about her father's role in the Holocaust.

In a remarkable story in the Washington Post Magazine section,  we learn that "it was Rudolf Höss who designed and built Auschwitz from an old army barracks in Poland to a killing machine capable of murdering 2,000 people an hour."

Now, diagnosed with cancer, Brigitte Höss, begins to talk about the story she has kept secret even from her grand children and closest friends.

This is a fascinating story that might be interesting for students later in the year when we study World War II.

The Other Great Khan: Ögödei

German and Mongolian researchers looking for the  tomb of Genghis Khan made a sensational discovery,  the remnants of the palace that Ghenghis Khan's third son, Ögödei, built.

In  an article about the discovery, Spiegel Online International suggests that historians see him as an "ingenious reformer," noting that "he introduced paper currency and even established a postal system."

But the city that he built in the middle of nowhere seems to amaze researchers the most. "Archaeologists have found the remains of large cottage industry workshops on the banks of the Orkhon River, all built by order of the ruling Khan. Agriculture and animal husbandry were also energetically pursued on the fertile pastures surrounding Karakorum."

Friday, September 6, 2013

Educational Hashtags

Cybraryman has an incredible site that has a ton of hashtags and their times if you want to follow different subjects.  These are "live" hashtags where one goes at the time they are live and discusses topics with teachers from around the world.  As with any Twitter hashtag, discussions are limited to 140 characters, but you can add urls (shrunk - look at my recent post on this). 

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Primary Vs. Secondary Sources

Great review of primary and secondary sources that you might want to show your freshmen students or put up on Blackboard.  Thanks to Eric Goldstein for tweeting the link.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Lingro to Translate, Define and Give Part of Speech

So this year two great things have already happened.  1) I decided to improve my teaching by taking on a co-ESOL teacher and taking 10 very new to the US kids in addition to my load of 20.  Secondly my AP and I hired several very tech savvy people for the department including Caitlin Kimak who found Lingro which lets you click on any word on a page and trnaslate it with several examples, lets you hear the word and tells you what part of speech it is.  So yes, while Google Translate lets you look at more at once, Lingro gives you a different angle.  Above you can see what it did for a running site that I like. 

Monday, September 2, 2013

Three Ways to Shorten Your Urls

There are a bunch of ways to shorten a long url which you will want to consider using.  If you use Google Drive, you have some very long urls that you may want to send to your students using something like Remind101 (for homework) or if you want to write it on the board so students can get to a webpage quickly.   Here are some ways to do it:

  • Google's shortener is which not only shortens it, but also allows you to track click on it
  • Tinyurl is the original shortener.  It will allow you to not only shorten a url, but you can also write customized ones (as long as no one else has done so).  This is a good idea if you want your students to go to a page continuously (think homework).
  • Bitly is one where you can shorten, customize and, if you create your own account, you can keep a list of your shortened and customized urls.  So for example here the one for my AP Comparative students for homework.  

Google Forms & Flubaroo

Here is a short video clip on how to create a Google Form and grade it with Flubaroo.

Earlier this week at an in-service , Ken Halla and I demonstrated how to flip a class and create a Google Form to assess the students. Some in the class asked about Flubaroo, which is nicely demonstrated in the clip above by Amy Mayer.

Longitude & Latitude

It seems that one of the hardest concepts I teach is longitude and latitude so assuming my ESOL peer co-teacher agrees, I'm going to let the kids do their learning from this flash page about longitude and latitude that includes not only multiple choice questions, but ones where you have to click on maps as well.  Pretty cool.  So while the kids are working on it, I and JJ (the other teacher) will move around the room.   Once the kids watch it then they will have to do this e-sheet

Why Study History?

Believe it or not I have yet to meet my students, but will finally do so tomorrow and Wednesday (and yes I am excited).   We spend the first day getting to know each other (no rules, threats of state/national exams) as I believe relationships are the most important thing in my class (yes, even more important than technology!).  On the second day I will ask the kids to get in groups and decide why we should study history.  When we are done we will start the John Green clip above at :30 and run it for 2 minutes as it is the best answer I have every heard about why to study history.  Below is a new film by Keith Hughes on what he tells his students.  After all of that then I will finally talk about what we will be learning and the structure of the course.