Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Best Sites For Teaching
Tomorrow morning I am doing three in-services for our county's social studies teachers. One of the in-services will be "The Best of the Teacher Blogs." If you go here, you will see what I will be going over. Here are the individual topics on the attachment:
E-mail to Text
Free Computer Access
Google Docs
Organizing Using Technology
Social Networking
Student Mastery
Teacher Mastery
Making Student/Teacher Blogs
Just yesterday one of the teachers in my department was asking me about how he could make student blogs for his kids' writing assignments. He believes that making them "live" will motivate them more. I use blogspot.com (hence the name), but there are wordpress.com is also excellent. A cool new find (discovered at freetech4teachers.com) is BlogBooker which allows you (or your students to covert a blog into a pdf document. You can also use Pdftoword.com to change a pdf into a word document. Finally the problem with blogs is that you do not want to have to go a different url for all of your students. I use an "aggregator" which allows me to have all of the sites in one place. The best one for teaching is Bloglines.com which allows you to see when each student has updates their blogs. For more on HOW to do this go here (to a short sheet I created and will highlight later today) and look at social networking.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Lascaux Cave
The French Government has sponsored a phenomenal website which gives users a virtual tour of the Lascaux cave, including descriptions of each drawing, its importance and meaning, as well as individual breakdowns of specific parts of each drawing. A really cool site that students can explore individually or that you can look at as a class.
The Lascaux Cave

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Blogger Wanted
While we have had a few people help w. posts here and there, we would like to find one or two more regular bloggers to add to the quality of this site. If you are interested, please e-mail kenhalla@gmail.com.

Monday, August 23, 2010

BBC Dimensions

Great site from the BBC that allows you to take " important places, events and things, and overlays them onto a map of where you are." All you have to do is type in an address, state or zip code and the event, or structure, like the Great Wall in this image, is created. This can be used with students to personalize content or events.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Pakistan Flooding and Your Home
This BBC site allows you to see how large the area affected is compared to where you live as you can see above it would cover a large part of the Eastern seaboard.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Today's Meet
I have always struggled w. how to connect students outside of the classroom. Obviously Facebook has negative connotations within a school and frankly students do not want you have school intrude there or only want to use it on their terms. But Today's Meet is a great way to set up a chat room for your students to communicate in class or outside of it. You can set it up for anywhere from two hours to a year. Also if you want students to have the space for a url and a comment, you can send them to TinyUrl and it will truncate the url. Finally Today's Meet allows you to set up a hash tag within Twitter (more on that above this post). Above is a five minute video explaining how to do all of this. Others like it can be found at LearnItInFive. I found out about this idea from FreeTech4Teachers.com.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Teacher Tech Tool: Tagxedo
There has been much talk about Wordle of late and now there is a new tool on the block -Tagxedo: Like Wordle.net, Tagxedo creates word clouds, but unlike Wordle, Tagxedo allows users to save their documents. It also allows users to format the cloud into a picture. For instance, if you were creating a cloud about Che Guevara, you could create it in the shape of his face.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Beautiful Panoramic View of Versailles
Most people should be at or around WWI. Well here is a great panoramic view of Palace of Versailles. When you get to the page click on "panoramique" and you will see it in the middle

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Since we are all starting to think about getting back into the classroom around this time of year (where did the summer go?) I figured I'd start posting a few tools I have used that have been helpful in one form or another. Today's installment is called Wallwisher.

Wallwisher is a simple collaboration tool that allows you to create a "wall" where students can post 140 character "stickies" on the wall for all to see. It's a dynamic tool that can be used for brainstorming, reaction to a reading, exit slips, feedback, or various other ways. As the creator of a wall, you are also able to moderate what gets posted and what does not. For more ideas on how to use Wallwisher, check out this presentation for ideas. I used it last year as a way for my students in my AP Economics class to leave suggestions on how to survive AP Econ. That example can be found here. For examples of how other colleagues are using it, check out high school English teacher Nora Bowers' example.

If you have any questions, you can find me on Twitter @jjanczak

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Digital Storytelling
I have spent part of the last three days working on ways for teachers to better use technology. This is what we have so far (check back later as I am doing an in-service in September and will be improving this over the next few weeks). But in the process, I just found Mixbook which is set up for commercial use, but also if you go here, they have a site for teachers as well. Above is a nice piece by a high schooler writing the five themes of geography.

Monday, August 2, 2010

National Endowment for the Humanities Site
I received an e-mail from the NEH the other day telling me about their site. It is great as it has interactive maps, games, quizzes, lesson plans, etc that are really technically saavy. It is great for both US and World History teachers.