Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Iowa (Shift) Happens

This video reminds me of the Shift Happens ones.  It has a little bit on Iowa's digital age (first 53 seconds), but it is still fine.  You can skip the last part.  I found it today and showed it to my class of teachers as I believe it shows why it is so urgent that we use as much technology as possible with our students.  I then showed the video on this video (first 3 minutes) as it shows where we are going (and some lucky few schools already are in terms of customizing classes for their students. 

NT Times: Bismarck's Voice Among Restored Edison Records

Interesting story about Bismarck's voice among Edison's restored recordings. In it, he advises his son to live a life of moderation (unlike the life he lived).

Thanks for the Hits - All 20,000 This Month!

When I began this blog (and its companion ones on US history and US government) in April 2008 I had no idea how many hits it would start getting (not to mention the opportunities it would bring me).  Thanks to your interest we should hit 20,000 hits this month which is a new record.  Indeed in the last several months we have been really increasing.  Thanks also for the e-mails giving me information for the site and for posting your ideas on the comments (and for all the great thank you notes I receive).

If you want, you can sign up for an e-mail for each of the new posts (no more than one a day) by putting your e-mail address in the box above "submit" on the right side of the blog and pushing enter.  Alternatively you can look for me on Twitter under "kenhalla" or under Google+, also under "kenhalla."

In case you were curious about the fourth name, I raise money for William and Mary's track/cross country teams and do an alumni blog for them called the Spiked Shoe Society

Every Coin Tells a Story

According to this site, every coin tells a story, giving us clues about the past. Click on any coin between 100 and 400 and watch the flash reenactment analyzing the coin. Thanks to my colleague, Cynthia Hawkins for sending me this site.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Greek Mythology Encyclopedia

The Theoi Project is an awesome site that explores Greek mythology and the gods in classical literature and art. It is a very comprehensive and well-organized site with more than 1500 pages profiling Greek gods and would be great for a web quest.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Here is Sugata Mitra talking about the ideas in his book, "Beyond the Hole in the Wall." Kids learn how to use a computer on their own and teach others. His talk is part of the TED Talks series. See Ken's post below about the book.

Sharing igoogle Links

I've written about the weblinks' aggregator page called igoogle (see how to video below).  It is great as I can quickly see a number of blogs that I follow.  If you have an igoogle page and want to see what I follow, then go to this link (I did take off the Tweetdeck, Google Docs, etc.).  To allow others to do the same for your page, go to the "home" tab in the upper left side and then hit the "share this tab" on the drop down (see picture above).  Then you can send an e-mail to whomever you want to share your page.
WARNING: If you do this, it will create a new homepage for you, but yours will still be intact.  Both of them can be seen if you look on the left side of the igoogle page where each will have a "home" tab.  If you then want to get rid of mine, you could right click on the "home" for mine and then "delete the tab." Or you could just look at the things you like from my account and add them to your page. 

Beyond the Hole in the Wall

Oddly enough I have found that kids are exactly LESS inclined to move off task than if they were a digitized class than a traditional paper and pen one.  To that end I just finished Beyond the Hole in the Wall (only $2.99) which looks at kids in very impoverished areas and how  much they were able to intuitively learn using laptops. Here are his quantitative papers and here is his blog. Yes, it is a long way from just giving a kid a computer to learning our mandated content, but I believe we are in the early stages of an educational revolution where teachers are moving more to facilitators and students will be doing more work at the higher end of Bloom's and then (and this is the one that is still in the very early stages) have a way to reprocess information they did not learn well as they move ahead (Knewton is one company working on this).  

Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Roman Army

The armor and weapons that the Roman legions used. Filmed in South Wales during an annual Roman reenactment day. It runs about 10 minutes. Shows what made the Roman army such a successful fighting force.

Hannibal's Elephants

Great clip from the BBC about the Hannibal's elephants and how the Carthaginians plied them with wine before battles. The kids will love it and it's only 3.5 minutes long.

Peloponnesian War

While we are at it, as long as you can stand a computer reading to you, here is a Qwiki describing the Peloponnesian War between Greece and Sparta. Using a Qwiki is a great way for you students to see a visual, audio and video presentation of a topic. 

Athens vs. Sparta

Once you get beyond the metallic sound of the narrator this is actually a great video detailing the differences between the two civilizations. 

Contributions of Greek Culture to Western Civilization

Well almost as soon as I did the post below, I found a very nice lesson plan of ancient Greeks who contribution  to western civilization.   It involves having students make a simple video.  Since it also includes EXACTLY the descriptions I want, it will form the basic of my students assignment which will probably be a simple movie made on movie maker or more likely on Wevideo.com.  Here is another summary, if you want just a link to the information and not an actual assignment. 

Ancient Greece Website

I am struggling right now to figure out a good way for my students to look at key cultural figures in ancient Greece while getting their main points and doing it in a way that is better than a straight lecture.  In that search I found this is a fantastic site with succinct coverage of everything that your kids needs for ancient Greece.  In addition to having descriptions of the key individuals it also has a section on the Olympics, geography, art and architecture, history, wars and more.  If someone as a good lesson plan for these individuals, I'd love to see it on the comment section. 

Thursday, January 26, 2012

World History PowerPoints

One thing I like to do when we hire brand new teachers is to give them as many resources as possible so that they can focus on learning the content, getting to know one's students and to grade creative assignments. Here, then, are a number of PowerPoints for world history including Greece, Egypt, Absolutism and much more. 

Online Project Rubrics

I have written on some rubrics, but here is another one from Effective Online Teaching and Training. There are a variety of categories including blogs, wikis, e-portfolio, Twitter, online discussion and more.  I found the item from a Google+ post from Eric Sheninger

Still Room in my Social Studies Tech Class

I am teaching a technology integration course (p. 42)  for 7-12th social studies grade teachers (despite the heading above) for Fairfax County, VA teachers.  It will start January 31st (so sign up soon) and run for 10 Tuesdays from 4:30 to 7:30.  It filled up very quickly in the fall, so please sign up early. To sign up go to MyPLT, then put "social studies" in the search box and look for the title "Enhancing the Use of Technology in the Social Studies Classroom." 

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

World War I - Animated Battle Maps & Much More

Here is an animated map of each of the years in WWI that show the major movements of both sides.  But there is much more on this BBC site including the human experience, international view, virtual tours of the trenches, Versailles and more.  While we are at it, there is also a WWII and Cold War page

Stickies on a Virtual Wall

Just the other day I was at an in-service where the presenter suggested one technique where students could write one question on a wall and others could answer it.  Then he said that during a test students could look at the wall for a minute or so.  Obviously the point was that kids who are less reticent to ask a question would feel more inclined to do so.  Well, while Wallwisher has been around for a few years, it allows students to put stickies on a wall and others can edit (i.e. answer it).  So in the case of my kids who often take e-tests, this would be one way to get a lifeline.  

Who Wants to be a Cotton Millionaire

Studying the Industrial Revolution? Take your kids to the computer lab and launch this site and have them play this game. It allows them to evaluate the different factors that entrepreneurs had to make if they wanted to make money in the new cotton industry. It's a BBC site, of course and is terrific and is a fantastic introduction to the textile revolution. My thanks to my colleague, Jeff Feinstein, for sending me the link.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

NY Times Story: "Istanbul Yields a Treasure"

Archaeologists discovered a harbor town dating from the second century and the remains of a 5th century Byzantine church. The discovery is a big deal and some say it has the potential to become "the library of Constantinople." The story might add a bit of relevancy to our study of the Byzantine Empire. Here's a short video clip showing the harbor city that was discovered, Bathonea.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Geography Book Online

If you look at my government blog you can see that Flat Knowledge already has a US government (AP) out (and next year a two part US one), but here is a world geography - the entire book! They are banking on people wanting to buy the paper copy so if you need it for your classroom, it is free for anyone. 

Digital Books & A Little Self Promotion

Today the DC metro affiliate of NBC news came to my classroom (and one other) to talk about digital textbooks which you can guess that I have been pushing for years up until this year when our entire county (27 high schools) went digital from 6-12th grades.  If you want to be an advocate I should say that it started with my getting  a few teachers and 1/3 to 1/2 of their students on board, then an entire grade pilot and that led to 18 middle and high schools doing it with a great deal of help from our curriculum great teachers, curriculum specialists and other administrators.  

Tremendous Study Guide

We just had our January re-testing for the students who failed the state exam over the summer or last spring.  I gave the kids outlines found here on world history through the Renaissance and from the Renaissance to the present.  While they are for VA tests, they are a great review for any world history class. 

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Interactive Assignments + Greek Government

Tomorrow, assuming we do not have a ice storm that is forecast, I have a local affiliate of NBC coming to  film my freshmen using their e-books.  Here is what I have prepared.  It is a combination of our e-book as well as a number of different sites on the Internet, several of which you might recognize if you have been following this website recently.  I use Google Docs for all my assignments and have the students open their accounts first, then my assignment and then go to "file + make a copy."  They put their names in the title and since it is digital they can do things like upload pictures as I have asked and write answers as long or short as needed.  We will then go over it and I will grade it before the next class at which point they will be allowed to use it for a short quiz.   Using the e-book as just one of several sites is fairly standard fair for me.  Using Google Docs, by the way, has tremendously helped all my students with their organization (and yes I do have some kids without the Internet at home and have had to do some fancy differentiation to accomodate them). 

World Connections

I am constantly trying to connect what we are doing to do the lives of my students.  This video on the iphone does a good job of showing kids how it impacts (positive and negative) our economy.  For example we just finished ancient China and so now my students can understand a bit of the connection to that country and the five other ones which makes components of the phone. 

Friday, January 20, 2012

100 years in 10 minutes

Interesting clip produced by Donolinio Studio about the past century. Their choice for what makes the cut is interesting-- mostly war , assassination, and other sad events.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Amazing Video on the Hagia Sophia

This is a super video which explains the history of Istanbul, but also of the Hagia Sophia.  It also show the tremendous mosaics, architecture and windows in it.  Best of all it is only four minutes long! 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Communism and Socialism

If you’re teaching communism and socialism in World 10 or even AP World, you and your kids might enjoy this clip from PBS Heaven on Earth. The clip shows Robert Owen’s model utopia based on socialism in New Harmony, Indiana in 1825.

Monday, January 16, 2012

WeVideo Editor

Ever since Jaycut was bought by Blackberry, I have been looking for a cloud based editor where one can edit videos in the cloud.  Finally I have found it with WeVideo.  Wevideo gives you two options (see video above) to either edit it in your own youtube account or to use their editor.  If you want to collaborate (think student projects) then you can have others collaborate in real time from other locations and computers.  There is a limit to the space, but students could make one video and put it on youtube and then have plenty of space for others.  Cloud based video editors (or any tool) have the advantage over MovieMaker as it can be done on any computer and not lost.  Thanks to Freetech4teachers for the heads up. 

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Great Primary Sources

The History Department and students at Hanover College developed this site with primary sources covering both world and US history. According to the site, "The Project's principal aim is to make primary texts readily available to students and faculty for use in history and humanities courses." The site is not as good as Halsall but definitely worth considering. Thanks to Jeff Feinstein for sending along this site.

Friday, January 13, 2012

3D Sistine Chapel

The Vatican Museum has an amazing 3D visual of the Sistine Chapel.  Turn out the lights, put it on the screen and watch your students be amazed at what one human could paint. It is an awesome website. 

Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Trojan War

This will date me, but one of the biggest songs the summer I went to college was Tainted Love by Soft Cell. Thanks to the comment a few posts ago for this one on the Trojan War. 

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The World in the Last 200 Years

This is a great video that shows ownership of different parts of the world in the last 200 years. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Percy Jackson and the Greek Gods

I like (as I am sure you do) to relate our content to what my students are doing in their own lives.  The Percy Jackson series are a very popular series read by elementary and middle school kids.  So to start the Greek gods of my teaching, I like to show the above clip to help the kids remember what the gods each do. 

Monday, January 9, 2012

Fantastic Digital Model of Ancient Rome

This is a fantastic 3d Digital model of Rome beginning near Rome's height in 320CE and it's only 4.5 minutes long. There is a slightly longer version at the UVA site that produced the model. My thanks to my colleague Frances Coffey who sent this to me last year.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

I've seen a lot of good teacher websites in the ten years that I've been a teacher but this is probably the best one I've seen, especially for maps. This teacher has a map for every event in world history (most are taken from the same textbook we use). He also has outline maps for every civilization we study. In addition to maps, you'll also find primary sources, power points, and worksheets. My thanks to Jeff Feinstein who keeps sending me great sites like this.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Greek Gods

Give the kids a crash course on the heavenly residents of Mount Olympus in this 3.5 minute animated clip.

Industrial Revolution in England

My colleague, Jeff Feinstein, sent me this really cool site about the industrial revolution in England. It includes three interactive journeys through the cotton industry. Learn about the life of a young mill worker in one, how cotton cloth was made in another, and how to create a fashion feature in the third.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Want To Take My Course?

I am teaching a technology integration course (p. 42)  for social studies teachers for Fairfax County, VA teachers.  It will start January 31st and run for 10 Tuesdays from 4:30 to 7:30.  It filled up very quickly in the fall, so please sign up early. To sign up go to MyPLT, then put "social studies" in the search box and look for the title "Enhancing the Use of Technology in the Social Studies Classroom." 

Deconstructing the Acropolis

I love this short clip that deconstructs the building of the Acropolis in an engaging way that students should enjoy. The site also deconstructs other wonders like the Colosseum, the Pyramids of Giza, and Stonehenge.

Animated Historical Maps

This site has over 175 online animated maps. You have to have an account to access the vast majority but many are free. For example there are two great animated maps of ancient Greece. One is an overview of Greece from Mycenae and Greek colonization to the the empire of Alexander the Great. Another free Greek map offers an overview of Greek democracy. Other animated maps include the Age of Discovery, World War I and World War II.