Visual Digital Library

WDL

So often my Jr. High students seem to lose interest in their research and begin to complain that they can not find any good information. Wikipedia and other informational websites by their nature are not designed for younger students. So after the first few minutes of searching student interest is lost and they are off task. So I began looking for another website that might hold their interest a bit longer and found one that seemed to fit the bill, “World Digital Library“. This site provides images and a timeline that students can use to search for information on historical topics world wide. The great thing about this site is that it is very visual and seemed to captivate and keep student attention. There was a good amount of information on the website and I found it be a great starting point for students with research projects.

Check it out at World Digital Library http://www.wdl.org/en/

Below are some resource for other historical resources.

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Making Citations A Breeze (Three Great Resources)

Cite This For Me

Helping students with their bibliography for their papers is always frustrating and confusing for my Junior High Students. So this year I had them use three great resources that helped them to create their bibliographies without all of the usual headaches. The three sites caught my eye this year they were CiteThisForME, Easybib and Bibme. Not only did these sites really seem to alleviate many of the citing issues for my students they were easy for them to use and created great bibliographies for my students. These sites makes it simple for students to select the correct source and enter needed information to create their citation. Then students just click on the copy and paste button and paste the citations into their works cited or bibliography page. Many of the students said that they will bookmark these sites and use them again in the future. These tools will be helpful to all students check them out at the following addresses:

  1. Cite this for ME: http://www.citethisforme.com/
  2. Easy bib: http://www.easybib.com/
  3. BibMe: http://www.bibme.org/
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Free Survey Creator “Obsurvey”

This past week as our semester came to a close I began looking to create a survey to see what my students are thinking about the year so far. I have always found these types of surveys to be very reveling and enlightening and because of this have made them a regular part of my classroom routine.

The issue every year is what service to use? Survey Monkey is the most well known but like many other survey creators they require a monthly fee and since I am only creating 3-4 surveys a year a monthly fee of $20.00 is just not worth it. Many of the survey sites do offer a free version but only allow a certain amount of questions or responses which will not work for me either since I have almost 200 students. So I began the search to find a survey creator that is simple to use and unlimited in it application for free.

The best thing was I found one “Obsurvey”. Obsurvey is a great survey creator. It is very simple to use and has a wide variety of questions types to ask such as multiple choice, short answer, essay and others. It provides many different ways to present your audience with the survey by providing code to embed the survey, a link or in a java application. It has many other options like pass wording your survey and a print version as well. You can also print your results in an organized easy to read PDF document. So if you are a teacher on a budget and looking to create a survey for your students at no cost check out “Obsurvey”.

Click here to take a look at their site.

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Locating Primary Resources for Students

Over the past week my students began our states Classroom Based Assessment known as a CBA for the state of Washington called Digging Deep. This project requires them to do the following:

1. Develop a historical question.

2. State a position on the historical question.

3. Provide reason(s) for your position that include:

  • An explanation of how two or more primary sources support your position.
  • Additional evidence from one or more of the following social science perspectives:
    • geographic
    • cultural
    • political
    • economic
    • sociological
    • psychological.

4. Make explicit references within the paper or presentation to three or more credible sources that provide relevant information AND cite sources within the paper, presentation, or bibliography.

One of the biggest stumbling points for my students was locating resource that they could use to find primary sources to support their position. So as the students worked I began collecting resources that they found to be useful in locating primary sources. This is not an exhaustive list by any means but was one that allowed my students to find the needed information on many different topics. As always if you know of a great resource that I have not mentioned please drop me a line and let me know so I can add it to the list.

Searchable Primary Sources Sites

These sites can be used to search for primary sources on American History.

  1. Yale University-Three ways to search for Primary Source Documents at Yale University.
  2. Library of Congress collections and searchable database.
  3. New Deal Network collection list and a searchable database.
  4. Northern Nevada Primary Source Catalogue Search.
  5. Smithsonian Institute search for primary source documents.

Primary Source Site Lists

These links provide you with many resources to locating primary sources on a variety of topics.

  1. Here is another great Primary List Resource for the Library of Congress thanks to Julie
  2. Primary Source Sets – Each set collects primary sources on a specific topic, all as easy-to-use PDFs, with historical background information and teaching ideas.
  3. Primary Sources by State – Selected primary sources for each of the fifty states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. territories.
  4. Browse by Topic in the Library of Congress- Easy browsing for primary sources across all the digital collections of the Library of Congress.
  5. Web Guides – List of primary documents arranged by topic.
  6. From Revolution to Reconstruction: http://odur.let.rug.nl/~usa/usa.htm
  7. The University of Oklahoma Law Center: A Chronology of US Historical DocumentsThis site offers a great set of historical documents from pre-colonial days to the present. http://www.law.ou.edu/hist/
  8. Repositories of Primary Sources great list of primary sources.
    1763-1815: Primary Sources: The American Revolution and the New Nation
  9. 1815-1860: Primary Sources: National Expansion and Reform
  10. 1860-1877: Primary Sources: Civil War and Reconstruction
  11. Primary Source Documents: A very extensive list of Primary Resource websites. Treasury of Primary Resources pertaining to early American History.
  12. Top 100 links for Primary sources
  13. American History Primary documents categorized list of documents by era in American History.
  14. Historical Scene investigators 13 topics and primary resources on each topic.
  15. The Valley of the Shadow searchable database for the Civil War.

 Other Primary Source Helpful sites

  1. Historical Scene investigators 13 topics and primary resources on each topic.
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14 Ways For Students To Create Timelines

CSI timeline

Image via Wikipedia

Timelines are a great way to teach history. Students in my classes often use them to create projects on a given time period or event with great success. I have found that for all students putting events in order helps them to understand the overall development of a particular event like WWI, WWII, and to understand the development of an historical era like the Cold War. It also allows them to see how historical events are related and points out the cause and effect relationship between historical events. Below is a list of 14 great website that will allow students to create excellent interactive timelines.

  1. xtimeline – Explore and Create Free Timelines

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Free Xbox 360

Image representing Xbox as depicted in CrunchBase

Image via CrunchBase

Wow, Microsoft is offering a free Xbox to any student who purchases a new PC. To get this deal you must the purchase a PC priced $699 or more and prove that you are a student with a photo ID or an .edu email address online.  This is a great promotional tool for Microsoft.  It even got me thinking about purchasing a new PC.  For more information check out the following address.  http://edudemic.com/2011/05/microsoft-students-xbox/ If you have not bookmarked Edudemic yet it is a great informational website for education and I highly recommend it.

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Help Students Find Their “True Swing”!

Wow! Time flys! With the school year coming to a close and state testing taking place I have been a bit overwhelmed. So I apologize for being off task and not posting as regular to this blog.

Over this past week as I have had time, I was reading my regular blogs and came across a post that, of course, I cannot find now which mentioned the movie, “The Legend of Bagger Vance“.  It got me to thinking about this movie and its many different messages. One that I feel is so important for students and teachers is to help students find their “True Swing”.  Their true passion in life.  Every student has a gift in a particular area, and it is so important for educators to help students find that area they are gifted in and have a passion for.  This is the key to success for many students.  Unfortunately, many time students do not find it until later in life and miss out on much of their education.  Watch the video clip below, and as I said to my colleagues at our school lets make this one of our new goals to help students find their “True Swing”!

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