Saturday, December 20, 2014

William Harvey & Human Anatomy: Great Clip

Try to explain the importance of William Harvey to students and their eyes glaze over.

This great video from the Smithsonian Science Festival helps explain his significance, suggesting that he "literally wrote the book on human anatomy."

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Learning Pod Needs Test Question Writers

Learning Pod has a tremendous number of resources including AP practice questions for your students.  But they are also a way for you to make extra money.  So if you go here you can apply to write questions for the AP content areas for social studies.  If you want to go to their site and see their resources, go here

Fakebook and Greek Gods


I have used Fakebook for a few years with my WHI kids to have them make comments between the gods.  Fakebook lets students create comments and posts, upload pictures (or have them chosen from the Internet) and even add in video.  If you watch my video above, it explains how to do all of this.   For what it is worth  there is also a FakeTweet and a FakeText.

The whole idea behind using Fakebook is having the kids summarize and synthesize what people might say to each other.  So here is my assignment (which you could copy and tailor to your own needs).  The kids really enjoy the assignment and the best part is that the Fakebook site creates a unique url and lets the kids add in their own password so they can work on the site on multiple occasions. 

Monday, December 15, 2014

VideoNot.es for Flipped Video Notetaking


Normally I ask my students to split their screen, but this relatively (it came out last April) new app called Videonot.es that does that for you, putting the video on the left and the notes on the right.  It is then synced with Google Drive so it automatically (if you approve it to do so) puts the notes in your Google  Drive folder.  You will also note that whenever you begin taking notes, it shows where you are in the video and if you click on that line of  the notes, it will take you back to the relevant place in the video.  

It is also available for Google Apps so your students can get it in the free or paid Google Drive.

Above is a video showing you how to use it.

WeVideo for your Video Creations


My daughter is working with a friend of a class video for tomorrow. They took their video clips using my wife's smartphone and then uploaded them onto WeVideo and very easily combined their clips into one video. You can add music, words, images, fade in/out, cut items out, etc. It also is an app in Google Drive so you can then upload it straight into your account (to add it to Google Drive, go to "more" under docs, presentation, etc. and then it will always be on your drop down for programs with Google Drive.

Join Me in Spain for an In-Service

This July 12-13 I am teaching a two day institute on the Mediterranean Sea coast near Marbella in Spain (very near Gibraltar).  The course will be two full days in which where we will be designing lesson plans to personalize learning for your students.  This means we will learn how to create a flipped video and what to do in the classroom once that is done including giving immediate feedback as well as giving formative evaluations.  Finally we will expand your own school PLC to one online so that you can follow-up the session with more collaboration and ideas well after the institute is over.  If you are interested, please go here to sign up for the course.  There is a considerable discount if you sign up by the middle of February.  

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Education Week Post

Way back in August Larry Ferlazzo asked me to respond to one of his reader's queries which was posted today.  The post looks at "interactives"  which allow students to work in class on "problem sets" where the teacher can walk around the room and act as a facilitator rather than as a passive lecturer.   Interactives are which are explored in my upcoming book Deeper Learning Through Technology: Using the Cloud to Individualize Instruction.  The quote above is from the article but it really comes from a wonderful woman who taught my methods class back when I was learning to be a teacher.  While I have long since lost forgotten her name, the charge she gave us to keep up with student learning as it has evolved as not been forgotten by me in the twenty-five years since she said it to me.  

Intellectuals who Remade Asia: Great Book

Looking for a good book over the holiday break? Pankaj Mishra's From Ruins of Empire: The Revolt Against the West and the Remaking of Asia provides a fascinating study of the 19th and 20th centuries from the view point of non-Europeans.

Through the eyes of a Chinese intellectual and a Muslim journalist at the turn of the 20th  century, Mishra shows how "some of the most intelligent and sensitive people in the East responded to the encroachment of the West." He describes how they responded to major events like the Indian mutiny, Ottoman modernization, the Russo-Chinese War, the Chinese revolution, and World War 1.

What a different view Asians had of the West! In short, they viewed the West much as the West view the Mongols--as uncivilized!

For example, the Hindu thinker Swami Vivekananda  "articulated a widespread moral revulsion among Asians for their European masters."

Intoxicated by the heady wine of newly acquired power, fearsome like wild animals who see no difference between good and evil, slaves to women, insane in their lust, drenched in alcohol from head to foot, without any norms of ritual conduct, unclean, materialistic,, dependent on material things, grabbing other people's land and wealth by hook or crook...

The moral revulsion common in the 19th century turned to hope early in the 20th century. That's when an Asian power defeated a white Western  power for the first time in centuries.

Intellectuals from Sun Yat Sen to Mahatma Gandhi saw Japan's defeat of Russia in 1905 as a sign of hope, noting that  "'the people of the East were finally 'waking up from the lethargy.'"

This is a fascinating book, readable, and only $13 at Amazon.

Mastery Learning Discussion and Examples


I believe watching my own children grow has helped to make me a better teacher.  For example my son is a very good gamer, but he is also very good at failing.  By that I mean he is willing to fail as many times as it takes to master a game which leads to his mastering the material and then moving on to another one.  It strikes me that I need to emulate my son's learning with all of my classes.  By that I mean I have mostly flipped my classes and so have much more time to move around the classroom helping my students.  While we are on a unit I also allow students to correct work again and again and consequently have no late grades and have mostly moved beyond a textbook in three of my four content classes and have set up an individualized learning model (see my book about this).  So it strikes me that I need to fully move to a standards based learning model as the last part of my educational evolution.  So in that move, you are going to see lots of videos and examples of mastery learning as I teach myself and fumble through this process.

So above my musings is a video overview of how mastery learning works in any classroom.  It is a great overview to explain the process and even does something no one has ever done for me which is to define mastery learning.  Below this writing is a video my fellow blogger, Frank Franz, made for his back to school flip parent video.  Watch it closely as it has not only an explanation of flipped learning (which really is the bedrock of mastery learning), but also how he carries out mastery learning, both in terms of objectives, daily learning, grading and, finally showing mastery.  The key, as I am learning, is that if the child is motivated, he/she can redo anything and potentially show better mastery.  But this means that the child might have additional (to the videos) learning and therefore need more motivation.

Friday, December 12, 2014

US, Ukraine Students at Global Summit on Human Rights

IMG_0853 (1) 
Today, my students in the United States discussed human rights and religious freedom during a video conference with students at a school in Ukraine. Our featured speaker,  a human rights officer with the U.S. Baha’i Office of Public Affairs in Washington, DC, spoke to us from New York. Her family fled Iran during the 1979 revolution. She discussed the history of Baha'i persecution and explained her efforts on behalf of that community.

Face to Faith, an organization developed by Prime Minister Tony Blair to bring together students of different cultures and religions, organizes the conferences through a video conferencing service called Bluejeans.

The questions from students at both schools were fascinating, as was the speaker's answers and follow-up discussion. For example, one student asked Ms. Kourosh  if  she had ever been to Iran.  She said that she had never been to the country and that it would be dangerous for her to go. Another student asked how the Baha'i are persecuted today. Ms. Kourosh explained that over 100 Baha'i are currently imprisoned in Iran and that many suffer solitary confinement and physical abuse.

Ms. Kourosh ended the conference by telling our students that  we are all ambassadors for human rights. She urged the students to educate themselves and mentioned a new documentary about  Baha'i persecution called "to Light a Candle." It premieres in February but you can see the trailer here.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Studying for the Test by Taking the Test

One of the best ways for students to learn is by taking frequent tests or quizzes.

According to an interesting story in the New York Times, that's what two psychology professors found out in an experiment. One professor gave a quiz to his introductory class every day. The other professor did not.

Students who took the daily quizzes did better on a bigger  test than the students who did not take the quizzes.

According to the Times, these students did significantly better.
But they did significantly better than a comparison intro psych class, both in their grades and on a larger quiz that included 17 of the same questions that appeared both in the quizzes and on the other class’s midterm. The quizzes were especially beneficial for the type of students — many from low-performing high schools — who don’t realize how far behind they are until it’s too late.
Maybe we should all be thinking of ways to quiz our students more!

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

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Google Classroom

If you have your students work in Google Drive, a new way to do it is through Google Classroom.  It allows you to see who has turned in what and when.  You do have to have a Google Apps for Education account as do your students.  The key to the video above is that you can see both the teacher and the students accounts side by side above. 

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Zaption to Personalize Your Flipped Vidoes


Thanks to Scott Nichols for this tip.  Zaption allows you to take any YouTube or Vimeo video, edit them, add questions, text and images and then share it with your students using a url.  It is also free! Below is a video explaining how to do it. 

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Byzantine Art: Great Review



Here is a terrific review of Byzantine art, especially the development of iconoclasm.

My thanks to my colleague, Frances Coffey for finding the link.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Quizlet for Review


After each unit I talk to my students about how to review for their test - which I point out should be over several days and not just involve reading a study guide. One of the methods I also give them is a link to Quizlet which has a number of completed flashcards which can also be used as various games and even set up as a competition with members of your class. Above is one example for India.  You can also have your students create their own set of cards.