Tuesday, July 22, 2014

In a Nutshell - Who Discovered America


Right now I am working on lesson development for our county, which is always a good way to find new teaching ideas.  Thanks to Ryan Mrowka for finding the "In a NutShell" series which has several great short and information filled videos.  Don't let the one above fool you as it covers Columbus, but also Vespucci, Native Americans, the Vikings and lots of maps.  Check it out. 

Monday, July 21, 2014

My Book Is Coming Out This Fall, But Let's Talk Now!

When I was asked by Corwin Press to write a book last April, I had no idea how long it would take.  But I can assure you that it will be well worth the wait as my editor, Desiree Bartlett and I have shaped it into quite a useful enterprise assuming you want to learn to differentiate using technology and allow your students to be more self paced.  The title is Learning and Leading in a Digital Classroom: A Teacher’s Guide to Pacing the 21st Century Learner and the manuscript is now done as are all the graphics and we are soon going to production. As you will see while I have a ton of research it is a hands on book meant to be used over and over again while you teach as, from the start, I wanted a practical book. But for now I have started a Twitter hashtag (and yes the book explains how to create and use one of your own with your students) at "#pacingdigitallearner" which is where I would like to create a depository of lesson plans and ideas to build on my book.  So for the moment, if you have any lesson plans or ideas on differentiating, working with peers, using instruction, just go to Twitter, and Tweet a comment or link and include the hashtag.  

Saturday, July 19, 2014

New Changes to Google Drive

One of the reasons I really like Google Drive is that I do not have to wait to purchase a new suite such as with Microsoft (although to be fair, Microsoft's OneDrive does automatically update as well).  At any rate, Google Drive has some new changes which are highlighted in the video above. 

How to Set Up a Standards Based Classroom

I wanted to give you a few highlights of the great work Frank Franz has done (and very briefly posted on a few days ago) in the last year as he really is doing what so many people discuss, but few do - that is set up a standards based classroom.   He has written a short tutorial on how he did it last year and how you can as well, complete with lots of links.  For example he discussed
  • setting objectives
  • proficiency scoring - which he based on formative tests.  
  • summative tests 
  • re-takes of summative tests which are only given on the portion of the objective that was not proficient and were not given unless students could show proficiency in a topic
  • what goes into the gradebook (hint - only summative which he explains)

Monday, July 14, 2014

Setting up your Social Studies course using the Standards Based Learning model. Here's how I did it last year.

Live Shot of Mecca during Ramadan


Broadcast live streaming video on Ustream
If you are teaching World History this summer you might want to show the live shot above from Mecca as Muslims spend the month of Ramadan (though July 28th).  

Classroom Management for Dummies


I just saw this on FreeTech4Teachers from Keith Hughes' growing library of mostly content videos.  I wish I had had it my first couple of years of teaching when I played the "who wants to go to the office game!"  Now I can proudly say it has been something like two decades since I sent a student to the office.  But that fact has been because of three of the key items in the list above of ten rules - namely 1) keep engaging the kids in work that is meaningful and connected 2) don't make bad behavior a big deal (I have lightly tapped numerous kids over the years as I have walked around or worked their names into my talking) 3) be fun.  I like to tell young teachers that if you are bored in the classroom then imagine how awful it is for the kids.  If you aren't checking the clock then they probably aren't either.  But Keith has other great tips so enjoy. 

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Share My Lessons

I just noticed that I haven't posted on this blog in a week - chalk it up to readjusting to my summer school class which I am teaching and enjoying for the next month.

I just found this great new site called Share my Lesson that has lesson plans on all parts of world history - written by teachers - and broken up in to the main periods we teach (Rome, Greece, Byzantine, Renaissance, etc.).  Check it out and hope your summer has been going well.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

The Middle East: A Legacy of WWI

Here are a couple great stories about the origins of the conflict in the Middle East that you might want to book mark for next year when we cover World War I.

In the first essay, The Middle East That France and Britain Drew Is Finally Unravelling, John B. Judis traces the roots of the problems today to the way Britain and France drew the borders in the Middle East after the first World War.

"What is happening is that the arrangements that the British and French created during and after World War I—which established the very existence of Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, and Jordan, and later contributed to the creation of Israel—are unraveling," Judis argues.

In the second essay,The Last Crusade: The First World War and the Birth of Modern Islam Philip Jenkins traces the rise of modern Islam, including Islamic extremism, to the fall of the Ottoman Empire at the end of the World War I.

"When the war started, the Ottoman Empire was the only remaining Islamic nation that could even loosely claim Great Power status."

Google Classroom


While Microsoft's OneLive is improving, when you look at the video above, you realize how quickly Microsoft is losing the future.  Assuming more and more kids are learning with Google Drive, then, one might assume they will continue with it in their own post school lives.

The short film above shows teachers how they can easily assign assignments to their classes, or individualize them for certain students, as well as quickly see who has turned in assignments, set an assignment date and all of this is coming to anyone who has Google Apps for Education very soon. 

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Tips to Parents from a Teacher


Recently I finished Think Like a Freak which tries to get people to think differently.  It briefly discusses education and says that if we are ever going to narrow the achievement gap and/or improve individual student performance we cannot do it all in school.  So one think I do a lot of is schedule individual parent-student-teacher conferences (15 out of 60 standard kids had one last year) where, in part, I go over the tips in this video.  Usually kids who are not achieving their realistic success level are ones not following the guidelines in the video.

What I have above is nothing earth shattering, but I think it helps to remind parents, nicely, that even if they are tired in the evening, so are there kids and the parents' job (yes I am bolder as I get older) is to keep their kids on their homework.  So this year I will be sending this video out early and then again to the students whom (no matter the grade) I believe are not up to their ability level.  I'd love to hear your thoughts on it.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Cel.ly's Improvements for Texting Students

Cel.ly is an alternative to Remind to texting your students.  You can choose between a restricted environment where only you see the texts or one where all students respond.  Either way it is an improvement since you can individually text your students, but the conversation is recorded to ensure proper school etiquette is followed.  The nice thing about this is that if your students have questions, you do not need to answer every question, but can rely on the students to help each other.  You can also also send out questions to your students and see an instant poll.  This is useful the night before a test first to make sure they are reminded to study as well as to gauge if they are ready for the test.  If there is a deficiency, then you can send a link to your students for the particular item that needs to be studied.

Above is a tutorial on how to use the basic elements of Cel.ly.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Imperial History of the Middle East


George and I both like these sets of 40 Middle Eastern maps which you can see in his recent post.  But I thought I'd include the video above on the imperial history of the Middle East  

Friday, June 27, 2014

4 Legacies from WWI You Didn't Know


Here are four things the Washington Post says that "we didn't know came from World War 1." 

It's the 100th anniversary of the war which is why there is so much material coming out about the war. 

The best of that material comes from the Wall Street journal which I posted below.

Iraq, WWI and the Ongoing Problems Today


George Coe and I are clearly thinking along the same lines as this is a fantastic article from the NYTimes on how the Ottoman Empire and WWI is still impacting Iraq's problems today.  The video above explains the three groups (Sunnis, Shi'ites and Kurds) and the article includes a visual which allows you to see the changes from the Ottomans until today.