Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Taylor Swift 's Glamorization of Colonialism

Studying imperialism? Here's a interesting hook.

Taylor Swift's newest single, Wildest Dream, is set in 1950 in colonial Africa. Swift is dressed in colonial garb and "plays an actress who's having a love affair with her co-star in a film."

The problem, according to NPR, is that the video glamorizes colonialism. "Critics took the video to task for its mainly white cast and for presenting a "glamorous version of the white colonial fantasy of Africa..."

Thanks to Bram Hubbell for posting the story on Facebook.

Monday, August 31, 2015

3D Anne Frank House and Video of Her

Thanks to Open Culture for this one.  Above is the only know video of Anne Frank looking out of her hiding place.   Here is a 3D tour of the apartment which I got to see something like 36 years ago! Many museums now have 3D tours.  Just Google a name + 3D and you'll be surprised what you find. 

Friday, August 28, 2015

What Shape Will Your Classroom Be in this Year?

For the first 24 years of my teaching career, I have had my classroom in a U shape an idea I took from my 10th grade English teacher.  The thought was to facilitate discussion in the classroom.  This year, though, I am trying a new idea.  I am using a much smaller desk so that I be out of the way and my students will be seated in groups of four.  While I do use the front of the room to bring context, with flipping, my students are doing much more work on their own (or in groups) while I move around the room to check for understanding and to see if they need help on what is being done.  I am curious to see how this set-up works.

If you want to change your room, here and here are two ways to lay out your room to see if it will work for you before you move the actual desks.  

Trevor Noah on British Colonialism


This is hilarious! And maybe a good hook for imperialism!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Catching Cheating Using Google Drive

Now that Google Classroom is finally getting better than using Google Drive, I will tell you how to catch cheating in Google Classroom later in the fall, but for now if your students turn in assignments using Google Drive below is a very quick video showing how to catch copying in your class and between sections of different teachers.  Of course, most just copy from the internet which means you only have to copy a short questionable portion and put it in a Google search which is almost as effective and a lot cheaper than things like  If you are in Fairfax County, I am doing two technology in-services at our social studies in-service gathering on Wednesday September 2nd in room 447 at West Potomac H.S. during sesions A and B.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Facebook AP World Page

With over 2700 members the Facebook AP World page is, I believe, the largest AP one online and stacked with great ideas, answers to questions, resources, etc.  

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The Stone Age: Great Review Clip

Here's teacher Tom Richey reviewing the Stone Age. It's only eleven minutes and would be great for students. I put it on my Pinterest board for prehistory and it got a lot of repins.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Screencastomatic for Flipping Your Class

I have made every single one of my flipped videos with Screencastomatic. It is entirely free and while you can set up an account, I never have as it uploads your videos straight into YouTube.  The only limitation is that the free version only allows you to create 15 minute videos, but if you are going over that, you are breaking the rules for flipping (since it takes double or more the time to watch and, if necessary, take notes on flipped videos.  If you want to see what they look like, you can look at my Playlist.

The video above shows you how to create a video and get going. 

Friday, August 14, 2015


Students live on their smartphones.  Use Remind to reach them.  The video above explains all of it in four minutes. 

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Google Classroom

Until recently I was not convinced that Google Classroom was any better than Google Drive.  But Google recently announced that you can now add apps on it and one might assume that it is going to get better.  The best part is that the students can see the due date and you can share either a link or anything you have in Google Drive (be it your Google Apps for Education or your personal account). Above is a video showing how to set up the classroom and here is the help center.  Look for me to have more videos and tips on Google 's Chromebook and the Google Classroom as we move into the fall.

Below is how you can add items from the web to Google Classroom. 

Using Socrative as a Formative Assessment

If your kids like Kahoot, they will also like Socrative. I plan to try it this fall.

Like Kahoot, Socrative is way to get questions to students who can answer with their smart devices. You can develop open ended questions, multiple choice questions,  true false questions, or short answer questions.

Answers come immediately and you can project them because student names are not attached. Students can even "vote" on their favorite responses. 

There are lots of applications across disciplines. I want to try it in my AP World History classes with thesis writing. After we review how to write a thesis, I could give them a prompt and ask them to respond on Socrative.  I could then project and review the responses and have students then "vote" on their favorite.

Here's a clip explaining how to get started with Socrative.

French Revolution Images

Stanford University Libraries and the Bibliothèque nationale de France have digitized over 14,000 French Revoltuion images.

You can search the images by event. For example, you can search for events related to religion, or to the king, or to France at war.

The images might be used for a QRCode activity.

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

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Diigo for Bookmarking & Class Groups

Long ago I stopped putting my bookmarks on Explorer, Chrome, etc. as I didn't not want to be married to one laptop.  Think about it.  Your school laptop is re-imaged probably once a year and each time you have your bookmarks deleted.  There is a way you can suck in your Chrome, Mozilla or Explorer So Diigo is a great way to save your bookmarks on the cloud.  You can set up your own account or login using Google, Twitter, Facebook or Yahoo.

Below this is a video explaining how to sign up and above is one showing how you can use groups in a class.   If you use it with your students they do not have to have a Diigo account nor even share their email (although that allow them to be updated with alerts). 

Hiroshima First Hand

With the 70th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki now upon us, this site, called "Hiroshima and Nagasaki remembered, on first person accounts might help you as you teach it to your students this year.  

Friday, August 7, 2015

The African Diaspora in the Indian Ocean World

The New York Public Library has a terrific online exhibit about Africa in the Indian Ocean from the 7th century through the early modern period.

The exhibit includes short essays, images, video clips,  and maps.

Click on essays, then East Africa, and you can read about the Swahili and the trading networks in which they were involved.

You can also read about the influence of the Arabian Peninsula,  especiallly Yemen and Oman, on the Swahili coast.

The exhibit covers the other major players inthe Western Indian Ocean network including India, Sri Lanka, and the Maldives.

Some of the maps show African migration across the Indian Ocean.

It's absolutely worth exploring and might make for a great webquest