Saturday, February 28, 2015

Read My Book, Earn Graduate Credit


Thanks to Julie Halse for the heads up on this one.  You can now earn graduate credit by reading my book Deeper Learning Through Technology: Using the Cloud to Individualize Instruction.

The book has multiple practical ways to help teachers and administrators develop online professional learning communities, flip the classroom, use Google Drive, evaluate students’ ability and much more.  Most importantly it shows teachers how to set up their own classrooms so the needs of each individual student can be better met and so all students can more easily meet their full potential.  

It also has examples of how technology is being used in classrooms to personalize instruction and gives teachers and administrators “Educator Challenges” that can be used to integrate the learning models in the book into the classroom.  

So if you are interested, buy the book (and go here if you want discounted volume purchases) and go here to learn how you can complete an assignment and earn graduate credit.


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Life in a WWI Trench


Here's great four minute clip about life in a trench from the History channel. And here's a link to several other History Channel clips about the war, from U-Boats sinking the Lusitania to the two minute clip on the Treaty of Versailles, which you can see below.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

The Most Important Invention in Modern History - the Clock?!


This is a fascinating video arguing that the invention of the clock lead to a completely changed way of life for all of us, changing our sleep patterns, hurrying our lives, but also making us think more in terms of accounting for all part of our life and even leading to such inventions as the Industrial Revolution.  It gets me thinking that after the VA Standards of Learning exam, this would be a nice basis for a project - namely to find one invention that changed our history and led to multiple other changes.  The kids could make a video such as the one above and show their writing skills, arguing ability and synthesis.

I found the video on OpenCulture

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Heaven on Earth: The Rise & Fall of Socialism

Teaching the development of socialism and communism. The first ten minutes of the PBS documentary, Heaven on Earth: the Rise and Fall of Socialism, describes the attempt to develop a perfect society, based on equality, at New Harmony, on the banks of the Wabash in Indiana.  That's followed by a short biography of Karl Marx and Frederic Engles.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Mastery Learning

One of my students came back the other day lamenting that colleges do not offer second chance tests! Another teacher said, "As it should be!" But I was reminded that the doctor who helped bring my son Grant into the world had only delivered ten kids prior to us and while he came out just fine despite her having to push awfully hard on my wife's stomach. Lawyers who can't win for their clients the first time, can appeal and law makers often have to try year after year to get their bills or amendments through.  But as a father of two middle schoolers, I see how motivated students can be and how much they (my girls) want to improve their scores if they didn't do well enough the first time.

I have been transitioning (I have not yet gone to pinpointing parts of a summative test and only re-testing on that) the last few years to mastery teaching.  Rich Hoppock first convinced me to give second chance tests, which led to unlimited formative quizzes and my now late principal Dave Tremaine convinced the entire school to cut late grades to 20%.  I have gone even further cutting out all late grades, but then again I won't allow anyone to take a test until they turn in their study guides.  I even let students turn in assignments multiple times if they want to raise their grades.  Believe it or not I have not had any more late grades (yes I use Remind the night before an assignment is due, send weekly grade reports and call lots of parents when students start slipping), but the bottom line is that as a parent I see the need to master the material, not figuratively beat up students.  Sure I am frustrated with some of my students for whom mastery is "just passing," but I see them as a challenge to teach better rather than give in.

I think mastery teaching has also been possible as I work more one on one with each of my kids than I have ever had time to do before.  Of course this is in large part thanks to the help of technology. It has also been possible by staying after school a great deal more, but here is the bottom line: if the kids are learning better for longer periods of time and in a timely fashion, isn't that better for us as educators?

If you want more detailed research on all of this here is a nice Ed Leadership article going all the way back to 2003!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Kahoot for Competitive Quizzes

I really enjoy the way the Internet works.  I just finished watching a movie with my girls and now that they are headed to bed, I just checked Twitter and found a new follower on my account by named Mr Koz who in turn led me to Glenn Wiebe both of whom had posted on Kahoot.  That made me wonder if Richard Byrne had posted on it and sure enough he just did a few days ago.

So what is Kahoot.  It is a bit like PollEverywhere which I have posted on in the past which lets you put up questions in front of your classroom using your LCD and your students can answer quick review questions using any Internet connected device.

  • The difference here is that students compete against others in the classroom
  • they can use any name they want 
  • do not have to give anything other than that) 
  • you can take other people's quizzes and use them as well.  
  • you can set a timer
So for example here is one on
Now it is looking less like I will have school in person on Tuesday so I am thinking that I might use Kahoot in my AP Comparative's online classroom (yes we meet on snow days) to see if my students have done their work.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

AP World Essays: Ideas from AP World Chat


Here are some great ideas about teaching AP World essays from Angela Lee's AP World Twitter Chat. You can access the chat with this hashtag #APWHchat.

One teacher shared a link to her amazing page with essay review tips in the form of videos.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

How the Romans Moved Water for Miles


This is a fascinating short video we look at in class describing how water flowed through tunnels, mountains, etc. to move water at an even pace for miles. 

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Cybrary Man for Writing Rubrics

Cybrary Man has an amazing number of lists that can help you, but one that is going to be a super help to you is the list of rubrics.  My favorite is Rubistar which allows you to enter information about your project and then spits a rubric back at you which you can use with your students.  Both of these are featured in my "interactives" section of my book Deeper Learning Through Technology: Using the Cloud to Individualize Instruction.

John Green: Asian Response to Imperialism

Here's a new John Green video about the Asian responses to imperialism. Green bases much of the clip on Pankaj Mishra 's book, From Ruins to Empire: the the revolt Against the West and the Remaking of Asia.

Mishra examines imperialism through the eyes of a Chinese intellectual and a Muslim journalist at the turn of the 20th century and shows how "some of the most intelligent and sensitive people in the East responded to the encroachment of the West."

You can see my post about the book here.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Diigo for Bookmarking


I have been using Diigo for years and have written a number of posts as it allows you to bookmark websites and share them (or not). You can categorize the sites you select and find them on the web or on your smartphone.

Above is a great video I found today on FreeTech4Teachers.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Who Started WWI? 10 Historians Weigh in

Ten historians give 10 different interpretations on who started WWI in this BBC story.

Sir Max Hastings - military historian, argues that Germany was most responsible. "It alone had power to halt the descent to disaster at any time in July 1914 by withdrawing its "blank cheque..."

Another historian, Sir Richard J Evans -Regius professor of history, University of Cambridge, argues that Serbia was most responsible. "Serbian nationalism and expansionism were profoundly disruptive forces and Serbian backing for the Black Hand terrorists was extraordinarily irresponsible."

And a number of historians like John Rohl - emeritus professor of history, University of Sussexe, put the blame on Austria Hungary and Germany. He argues that "the war broke out as the result of a conspiracy between the governments of imperial Germany and Austria-Hungary to bring about war." 

These short arguments might be an interesting assignment for students. They could read the ten arguments and make their own assessment of who or what started the war.

Students will also see that historians do not always agree on causes and outcomes of historical events.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

The Global Nautre of WWI

If you are studying WWI and want to teach students about its global nature, two sites, The Guardian and the British Library, offer both stories and video clips that clearly outlines that global nature.

The Guardian has a three minute clip called "Empire" that reminds us that Britain brought in the most colonial soldiers, conscripting over a million men from their Indian colony and France brought in over 200,000 Africans to work in French factories.

The Guardian clips show how some countries like India saw their participation as a bargaining chip for greater political participation and even independence.

The British Library has a number of stories about racism and nationalism in WWI. The historian, Richard S. Fogarty, suggests in one story that the understanding of race changed by the 20th century, "moving toward a more biological understanding of human difference and its significance, with an emphasis on physical features such as colour."

Fogerty argues that colonial possessions played the most important part in injecting race into military strategy.  Colonial participation in the war often reinforced racial stereotypes as these colonial soldiers became more visible to the European public.

Germany exploited the religious faith of some of it prisoners of war. According to Fogerty, "the German army made much of the ‘exotic’ soldiers it captured from among enemy troops, often subjecting Africans and Asians to anthropological study in the camps and using images of the prisoners in propaganda."

Both the Guardian and the British Library are awesome resources for helping us to understand the truly global nature of the WWI.

Here are some other resources on WWI that I found on Angela Lee's interesting blog about AP World History.

What Did the Romans Accomplish - Assignment


Next week my students are starting our Rome unit.  As part of the class we will look at the Contributions of the Romans and complete this assignment.  At the end I'll show them the video above.