Saturday, March 30, 2013

Cold War Stations Activity

Here is a Cold War Stations activity that I use with my AP world students when we cover the Cold War.

One of my colleagues developed it several years ago. It includes seven stations, each of which has either cartoons, documents, or photographs for students to process. I printed it out for seven different stations but students could also work on it online as well.

Here's a  google link to the handout that students complete. If that does not work, try this dropbox link to the student worksheet. And here is a link to the activity on google slides. You can simply print out all the material for the different stations. 

All Mesopotamia

Great Tumblr site for Mesopotamian maps, images, etc.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Sunni & Shi'a: What is the Difference?

What's the difference between Sunnis and Shi'as? A Georgetown professor explains it in two minutes in this video I found on the Odyssey Network. You can find more entries about Islam and other religions on my World Religions blog here.

Chromebook vs. iPad

Thanks to Houghton Mifflin Hartcourt (HMH), I have started the process of comparing the iPad to the Chromebook.  HMH gave my frosh 35 iPads to use for two months as well as their iPad e-books. Certainly (and we have the US, WH and government ones all loaded up) the e-books on the iPads are superior to the Internet based ones.  The kids love being able to move easily around the pages, blow up videos, toggle easily back and forth between items (four find swipe) and so on.  I also like how they can instantly get on on the Internet as opposed to the 3-5 minute loading process it takes for our normal netbooks.  I also have dramatically improved my skills on the iPad (as you can see from my expanding tips here).

But, and I know you will find this shocking, but my own kids do a lot of their homework using laptops (grades 3 and 2x5th) and are well versed in Google Drive.  So needing more computers I bought the $250 Chomebook a week ago.  It is 11.6 inches (1.5" larger than the iPad) and has a little storage, but is basically a way to get to the Internet.  Certainly using the Internet textbook is not as rich an experience on a Chromebook, but you also have full functionality of Google Drive and are not married to the same device for the e-book. It also fires up in seconds and can run many programs at once (far better than the earlier versions).  At 50% the price of the e-book, right now I have to err on the side of the Chromebook.  If you agree I have a video of tips for it above.

Jeopardy Labs

While we are reviewing, here is a Jeopardy Lab game on the Byzantine Empire.  You can create your own, use others or even edit someone else's for your own use. 

The Blogs Make the News

Here is a nice newspaper story on our three blogs.  Frank Franz, George Coe and I are all featured.  Thanks to all of you for making them such a big success.  Keep the e-mails and the hits coming.   The picture is actually from my classroom last year.  You might notice one of my students at the
"teacher desk" as I usually only use it to do attendance and show the kids their grades and then do a lot of walking around the room to help the students on their work. 

Byzantine Empire, Russia and Islam Quizlet Cards

Above is the best Quizlet I found for my students as we get set to complete the Byzantine, Russia and Islam unit this week. 

Rabbi Herschel Schacter Is Dead at 95; Cried to the Jews of Buchenwald: ‘You Are Free’

 Here's an fascinating obituary about the one of the first  Jews in the recently liberated Buchenwald concentration camp. On April 9, 1944,  Rabbi Herschel Schacter, attached to the Third Army’s VIII Corps, commandeered a driver and jeep and headed to Buchenwald where Allied tanks had already broken through the gates. Looking for survivors, he yelled, according to this story in the New York Times about the Rabbi's death, “Shalom Aleichem ihr zint frei!” (“Peace be upon you, Jews, you are free!”).   Here's another obituary you might enjoy.

The rabbi was recently honored for his work just last Friday in Israel in a meeting with President Obama.  If you're studying the Holocaust,  your students might find this article interesting.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

World History & Twitter

Want to find out what other teachers are doing in world history or social studies? Want links to some of their video clips, web quests, Google document assignments? You can find all this and more by participating in weekly discussions on world history on Twitter.

All you need is the hashtag--#wrdlchat--which allows Twitter to collect all tweets with that hashtag. The world history discussion takes place every Tuesday night from 8:00- 9:00. For the first couple of weeks, you can just "lurk and learn."  Just type in the hastag--#wrldchat" into search and Twitter will take you to the discussion.

Here's what  a discussion looks like. This one is about geography in social studies. You'll see a link to some great AP World resources and another link to some  neat geography quizzes.  And here's another chat history from a discussion about standard-based grading at-- #sbgchat-- that the moderator "storified" for easier viewing. Rick Wormeli, the redo and retake proponent, participated in this discussion.

You can also find a social studies discussion on Monday evenings at 7:00PM at--#sschat. Here are easy to follow Twitter dos and don'ts.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Bar Graphs to Compare Items

This is a nice video on how to create visual charts (all the nicer because as a runner it discusses running times!).  Perhaps you want to compare class average across the year on different tests or test results between teachers or even different levels of test questions.  Well now you have a very easy way using Google Drive excel sheets. 

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Google Keep

I have been using Evernote for a while, but have never really gotten into it even thought it is a very hot app and has come up with many cool ideas.  What I really need is just a place to quickly list items such as what I need to buy at the grocery store or a quick picture.  

So along comes Google Keep which is very much an Evernote lite that seems perfect to me as it syncs with the page online, but on the smartphone it lets you take pictures and even record your notes.  So if you have some quick teaching ideas and don't want to take much time with them you might want to try it.  Here is the Android App.

Crash Coure on Islam

We just studied Islam's founding and Pillars so tomorrow this will be a nice way to summarize what we have learned. 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Big History: David Christian Covers 13.7 Billion Years of History in 18 Minutes

Historian David Christian, the proponent of Big History, a discipline that "examines long time frames using a multidisciplinary approach based on combining numerous disciplines from science and the humanities,” explains world history in 18 minutes. You can read more about Christian here at Open Culture, where I found this clip.

Sal Kahn's Tips on Flipping Your Class

Sal Kahn has put together a ten minute video on what he believes is important in making his videos.  His tips include
  • be yourself (my students love when I put in personal items)
  • don't make it too professional
  • talk directly to the students (not too far above or below the students' intellect)
  • use colors and visuals (but not too fancy)
  • Keep the video under ten minutes
  • I would add that you should either have your PowerPoint points cued up or even better have a number of webpages ready with perhaps images, sounds, major points etc. that are lined up and ready to go. Kahn says (and I agree), do not script it out beforehand.  You do not have to be perfect.
We have a lot of posts on flipping your classes which you can find by going to the search engine in the upper left. 

Friday, March 15, 2013

Filamentality for Webquests

I have posted on all three blogs defining what is meant by a webquest and how to do it, but one of my teacher-students, Jim Novak, found a site called Filamentality which takes you through the individual steps on how to do it, literally helping you search, find urls, etc.  

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Guernica in 3-D

Here's a nice 3-D clip on Picasso's "Guernica" that Open Culture posted a couple of years ago. In April of 1937, Franco, with help from Hitler, bombed the remote Spanish town of Guernica. Hitler got to see his latest military technology in action. In his gigantic mural, Picasso captures the devastation and sorrow.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Faketext SMS Generator

I would love it if my county went to an opt out for login/password much as we do with Family Life Education as it would open so much more to my students.  But until then it is great to have British teacher Russell Tarr and his great inventions such as Fakebook (my posts on how to do it), Faketweet (some of my posts on it) and now the SMS Generator as none of them require a login/password and yet each can be saved and re-edited and give the user a unique url.  One of my teacher-students came up with the great idea to use a Google Form and had her students turn in their links to Fakebook that way.

Well now you can do a similar fun exchange between two people and have your students pretend they are texting.  It is amazingly easy.  At the top of this post is a very simple example I just did.  When you look at the bottom of the SMS Generator, you will see on the left (under #1) a "+" which you click to have a text appear on the left and #5 above will make another person's appear on the right.  The gear (#3) gives you the option to get the embed code as well as a QR picture (which you can also see above).  The "new" icon lets you start a new set of texts.

Incidentally I found out about the SMS Generator from a G+ post from Richard Byrne

Korean War for Dummies

Here are two Korean War primers that I found on the CNN site. With all the press about North Korea, news organizations are writing a lot about the origins of the conflict. You can see more here at Free Technology for Teachers.

WWI Webquest, e-book, QR codes

Kim Belknap is taking my integrating technology in the classroom course (which I will be offering this summer to people who want to take it virtually - details will come out in early April).  She just did a great webquest on World War I using her e-book (and if you don't have Patterns of Interaction, you could use any of the e-books I have listed on the side of this page under the links) as well as QR codes.  The nice thing about the QR codes is that her students used their smartphones to see the Internet page and save her use of laptops (on which they also could answer their questions using Google Drive).  I should add that you can now get the Patterns book for your iPad as well (which is what my students are using for the next couple of months). 

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Visible Learning: What Increases Student Achievement

Larry Ferlazzo shared this John Hattie video on his blog, noting that Rick Wormeli shared it with him. John Hattie is an Auckland professor who researches the different influences on student learning from class size to student disruptions. In this video, he argues that when people suggest that class size improves student achievement, they are making a mistake (he calls it the stupidest, craziest, most puerile argument). He says that they are comparing it to the zero point, smaller versus larger classes. Instead they should be comparing class size to all the other influences. It's an interesting argument that will make sense as you listen to the first five minutes.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Tools of the Historian

Each year I have my world history students complete at least one document based question which we just did one on Rome.  Well I was looking at the post below where I put the e-book and noticed a link from it called "Tools of the Historian,"  which is a great resource which I will use the next time we do a DBQ as it details how historians write their books.  It also talks about the construction of historical timelines and uses Rome as an example.  Finally it has the themes of geography.  

Friday, March 8, 2013

International Women's Day

Today is International Women's Day and Atlantic Magazine put together this montage of current elected or appointed heads of government. Can you or your students name them all? You can if you click here on the Atlantic magazine story.

How to Make a Medieval Pen

Just what you always wanted to know--how to make a medieval pen! At, this video shows exactly how a 15th century nun made a pen from a big feather from a flight bird like a goose. Might be fun to show to your class when you cover the Middle Ages. It was made by Ferrers Household, a re-enactment group dedicated to displaying skills from the 15th century.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Complete Journey Across Time Online Version

So thanks to one of my teacher-students, Melissa Davis, for finding this.  One of the best special education e-books out there is the 2008 Journey Across Time, but it so happens that the entire text is online in pdf format.  Here, for example, is chapter one and here is the entire e-book + all of the extra ancillaries such as the geography e-book, an atlas and more.  Also, here is the Journey Across Time activity e-book.  

World History iTunes Apps

Last week I did an in-service at Chantilly High School.  The assistant principal in charge of social studies, Shawn, Frank, has a great list of iPad apps which you can see here.  It is broken up into US history, US government and world history.  

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Sephardic Jews invited back to Spain after 500 years

The BBC Magazine reports that today, about 500 years since Spain's Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand threw out Muslims and Jews during the Inquisition, Spain is offering "fast-track" citizenship to Jewish descendants of the original Jewish community. If you teach the reconquista in World history, you might find this an interesting story.

The story profiles one descendant who found the offer enticing but found that she did not qualify. Her descendants converted to Catholicism in order to avoid death or expulsion. Consequently,their descendants are not Jewish, so technically did not qualify for the fast-track citizenship.

Google Launches Art Talk Series

Google's Art project, which I wrote about last year, allows you to create your own art collection using their library of museums.  For example, you could create a gallery for anything you're studying, like Hinduism, or Greece. Tonight, according to Open Culture, Google will announce a monthly series of art talks with renowned educators,  art historians.and museum curators. You can even post questions at their event page.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Quizlet for Review Games

As I like to tell my students, just completing the review guide is not actually studying.  Sure they say it is until I ask them how they know if they know the material.  That is why I link Quizlet cards to our units.  Above you can see one for the Byzantine Empire.  Most of them are made by students, but they are often quite good.  You can have your kids make and/or use them.  You can also play three other games.  Above I also have the same set of words in the game Scatter. 

iPad Help

Back in November I was asked to run an iPad program with the new iPad version of Patterns of Interaction (WHI/WHII).  They also have one for US history called The Americans and Understanding Government. At last count, approval of the entire process involved seven people from my county (beyond me) and a host from Houghton Mifflin Hartcourt as we are not only getting the e-book, but a class set of iPads.  I hope my students love using both as it has become the most asked question in my class.

  • Finally the iPads are on the way and so for the past few weeks I have been working on my iPad techniques (and consulting with my nine year old son) and have come up with this iPad help sheet.  It goes into what I think are all the quick tricks my students will need to do basic operations.  
  • But I also have also had to figure out work arounds since my kids and I are married to Google Drive.  So for that I am using Doceri which does not require a login/password and can connect to Google Drive (see my sheet for how to do so).  I will be using it for presentations by the kids (it does add an oral component that Google Presentations does not have - although we have done using Screencastomatic).  I will also be using it for map making (we do ones on each unit).  Since the free version does not have a keyboard I will make an image with the names of each place I want marked and put a number by each and the students will have to only label their maps.
  • For those who want a presentation mode that does has a keyboard and an oral component (but does require a login/password), you can use Educreations.
  • How to use Remind101 for student reminders is also included
  • Since the iPad pilot will last two months, I will be continually updating my iPad e-sheet so you might want to bookmark it.  I am also doing an in-service today for the social studies teachers at Chantilly High School so imagine I will pick up some new tips there as well. 

Monday, March 4, 2013

John Green's Crash Course

If you are a fan of John Green's Crash Course series, he is now up to 42 of them for world history including the two most recent ones above on globalization. 

Russian Revolution Documentary Clips

Excellent clip on the Russian Revolution. It runs about 9 minutes. You can find part 2 and Part 3 as well and just show one or all.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Timeline of World Religions

While we are at it, if you teach a world/comparative religions' course, you should add George Coe's newish blog to your PN.  I just noticed the great timeline above (click on it to make it bigger) that I will be using with my world religion students.  

Choosing a Pope

This definitely goes beyond what you would teach in WHI/WHII, but if you teach a comparative religion course, it might prove helpful (bigger version here).  George Coe actually has a couple of short videos on his world religions' blog that would also be helpful. 

Saturday, March 2, 2013

The Holocaust Just Got More Shocking

According to the New Times, researchers have discovered and cataloged over 42,000 Nazi ghettos and camps. The numbers are much much higher than previously believed. Here's what the Time said: "The figure is so staggering that even fellow Holocaust scholars had to make sure they had heard it correctly when the lead researchers previewed their findings at an academic forum in late January at the German Historical Institute in Washington."   This story from The Mail Online is also very good and has interesting graphics.