myHistro: A Great Teaching Timeline Tool

Tallinn, view

Tallinn, view (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One of the great things that I have enjoyed about blogging is communicating with people all over the world. Recently, I had a message from a reader  Valeria from Tallinn, Estonia who brought to my attention a great website called myHistro. This is a great site that combines maps, timelines, images, video and puts it all together in a presentation format. This is a great tool to teach students about a sequence of events like battles and other historical events.  Click the link below for an example of a basic myHistro presentation on the battles of the Civil War.

Click here to see a good basic example of a myHistro presentation.

This is a great tool to be used in the classroom. Check it out at www.myHistro.com and thanks again to Valeria for bringing it to my attention.

Click here to read about other great timeline tools.

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Videos that Make for Great Teacher Professional Development

education

education (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)

While I normality like to post my ideas and thoughts on education and technology. Occasionally, however I come across a post that is just so outstanding and on the mark that I feel it is just too good not to pass on to my readers. “Ten Videos Every Educator Should Watch (and Reflect on)” was written last February and while I have written about and discussed many of the videos contained in this post I really like the fact that they are all placed together for teachers to look at and think about. This is the time of year when many teachers have the time to look at and think about new ideas and teaching strategies. So I encourage any teachers looking to expand their teaching techniques, philosophies and teaching strategies to look through these outstanding videos and reflect on them.

Click here to read Ammar Merhibi’s “Ten Videos Every Educator Should Watch (and Reflect on)”

And Ammar thanks for taking the time to put this post together. To read more from Ammar Merhibi check out his blog “Eductechnalogy

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Don’t Forget You Need a Foundation!

John Wooden at a ceremony on Oct. 14, the coac...

Image via Wikipedia

Education is in a state of flux all across the country. Districts are looking for new ways to improve learning and meet the state and federal guidelines for education. As districts look at these different techniques and technologies, what is often overlooked is the foundation.

There is a great story about the famous basketball coach John Wooden. One of his first lessons that he taught his college players when they came to UCLA was how to put on their socks and shoes. He told them that this game requires you to move and change directions quickly and if your shoes and sock are not on correctly, you could get blisters or your shoe could come untied. In both cases you are then out of the game. If you are out of the game, you cannot be successful.

Today in education teachers are often overlooked as these new approaches and techniques are implemented in their schools. As districts mandate these techniques, they do not consult the fundamental aspect of their educational process, their teachers. Techniques do not teach kids, teachers do and they can often can provide valuable assistance on implementation of these new techniques.  When districts overlook the fundamentals in applying new techniques and programs, they are often met with failure and frustration adding to the dilemma of education today. True change in education today cannot be successful unless it has been built on a good foundation.

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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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AR Your Worksheets

Worksheets have been a big part of school for years.  They can be found in virtually all subjects and in every school in America. With the advent of Augmented reality you can now make your paper worksheets interactive and more engaging for students. In the following video Johnny Kissko demonstrates what a worksheet can look like with this new technology.

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Create A QR Treasure Hunt! Simply and Quickly!

QR Treasure HuntI have come across many different websites that help teachers incorporate technology into the classroom but the QR Treasure Hunt Website simply is one of the best. It is engaging, different and really captivates students attention. It is a win win for any teacher to use.

QR

Teachers can use this website to create a series of questions which are then converted into QR codes, (like the one above) that contain text files for your students to read. Then you simply place these QR codes around the room or school and give them a time limit to answer all of the questions. The student back with the most correct answers at the end of the time limit wins. It is a fantastic first week of school exercise to get students thinking about a specific topic. This website does all of the work for the teachers. Just simply type in the questions and the site creates all of the QR codes. If you are looking for some QR code readers for the students to use see the list below. This is a must try in the classroom for all teachers.

QR Code Reader List: If I am missing one please let me know.

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A Ray of Hope For Educators

Well, I am back from a great vacation and feel rested and recharged.  Over the past few days as I began to catching up on my reading and correspondence it did not take long for my frustration with ed-reform and other educational issues to once again frustrate me. Then I found a ray of hope.  Matt Damons speech over the past weekend on saving our schools and his defense of teachers really made me feel better as an educator. If you have not seen these videos I have embedded them below for you to watch. I highly recommend you watch them.

Matt Damon‘s Defense of Teachers

Matt Damon’s speech at the Save Our Schools March in DC

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