Saturday, August 31, 2013

Psychologists Identify the Best Ways to Study

Two of the best ways to study are to quiz yourself and to study over time instead of cramming the night before.

This is what psychologists at Scientific American Magazine discovered. To receive their recommendation, a technique had to be "useful in a range of learning conditions, such as whether a student works alone or in a group."

Self testing received the highest marks. "Unlike a test that evaluates knowledge, practice tests are done by students on their own, outside of class." The magazine says that hundreds of experiments demonstrated the success of self testing.

Distributed practice was also highly rated. Students tend to cram, but evidence suggests that "distributing learning over time is much more effective." In one experiment they noticed that kids who reviewed Spanish vocabulary over six sessions instead cramming the night before did much better on the test. They note, "in an analysis of 254 studies involving more than 14,000 participants, students recalled more after spaced study (scoring 47 percent overall) than after massed study (37 percent)"

I guess that this is our answer to kids who ask, "how do I study for the test?"

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

Great Overview of Syria Crisis

Here's a great overview of the civil war in Syria from the Washington Post--why it started, why the US might intervene, why Russia opposes intervention,  and why there are no good choices for the US or any other country.

It's great for students if you cover current events and it's great to use during the end of World War II when the boundary lines of Syria were drawn.  Thanks to Bridgette Wagoner for tweeting the link.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Crash Course Playlist for World History

Here's a link to the play list for all of John Green's World History videos, starting with the Agricultural Revolution and ending with Globalization. He has 42 episodes for World History.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

How to Start Your Students on the Flipped Experience

So yesterday when George Coe and I were teaching how to flip, Frank Franz was sitting on the sidelines and occasionally answering questions.  One of the best questions was how do you get your students to accept the concept of flipping.  Well Frank is more than on top of this as he has a Google Sites page you will want to check out as well as a video for students to be introduced to the concept as well as parents (above).  But it is better than that as Frank is flipping his back to school night (in VA we have the parents come in and meet the teachers for 10 minutes).   So Frank (and I this year) are e-mailing our parents our flipped video and then giving them a Google form for their questions.  Then, for the 10 minutes we see them will give go over the questions and additional ones that come up so the parents can actually experience what their kids are doing in class.   Frank is also doing standards based learning this year which he also explains in the video. 

Reading Like a Historian: Sourcing a Document

How do you teach point of view or the "sourcing" of a primary source?  In the video above, a teacher models how she sources a primary source.  The documents are from the Stanford History education Group's Reading Like a Historian (SHEG).

Lascaux Cave

Here is another example of a virtual tour, this one to Lascaux, France where you can look at their infamous cave paintings - which are no longer open to the public (thankfully my parents dragged me there in high school).  

Virtual Sistine Chapel

There is nothing like seeing the real thing, but putting this virtual tour on a LCD can make the Sistine Chapel seem amazing.   You can also let your students use it on their tablets and laptops.  There are an abundance of virtual tours out there, just Google what you are studying and you will probably find it. 

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Free Access to JStor

JStor (stands for journal storage) is a collection of thousands of academic journals which I used to have to climb library stairs to get.  Fortunately my school gives free access to it, but not everyone has that.  Now JStor is offering free access to 1200 journals to anyone who is willing to register and then have their user information will be shared with JStor's partners.   The other limitation is that you will only be able to read three journal articles every two weeks.  But it's not as if you are going to be sharing lots of these articles with your students, so if you do not have access, the limitations certainly seem worth it.  I found out about this from a Google+ post from

Roane Beard.  

Intro Video for Your Students on Flipped Learning


Today George Coe, Frank Franz and I did a presentation on flipping the classroom.  One question that always comes up is how do the students receive the idea if they have never done it before.  Frank actually has his students watch a flipped classroom introductory video and then uses a Google form to answer their questions in class.  What I find is that all students like how they can "control" the teacher by stopping the video and going back and forth.  Having said that AP/IB students are the ones most likely to give a little flak, but the majority are on board from the get go. 

Take My Technology Integration Course

I will be teaching the fifth version of my technology integration course with Fairfax County Public Schools this fall.  We will learn about such items as webquests, pacing your students individually using technology, flipping the classroom, using electronic textbooks, collaborating online, how to use Google Drive and lots more in a ten week course.  You can get more details here on page 43.  To sign up go to MyPLT (if you need help go to page 76) and put either the title or just a few words from the title or even e-mail me and I can add you to the class.  The deadline for signing up is this coming Monday (Labor Day).

The class will be on Thursdays from 4:30 to 7ish at Woodson.  It is free to FCPS employees, but if you live in the areas and are not in FCPS you can take it, but you have to pay for it (page 9).  The class fills up quickly in the fall, so if you are interested I would sign up sooner rather than later.  If you have questions, please e-mail me at ken.halla@fcps.edu. 

VoiceThread, Blackboard Blogs & Discussion Boards



I was part of a group this summer that is came up with lesson plans and ideas for VoiceThread.  VoiceThead is a collaborative tool used to have students comment on a picture, PowerPoint or document. One can comment by typing, using your cell phone, talking or even video recording.  It is a good way to have an asynchronous discussion with your class.  Perhaps you want to get their opinion on a recent event in the US or the world or you want them to provide additional research.

Here are 26 interesting ways to use VoiceThread in the classroom and here is a great introduction page with lots of links for teachers.  Here (and above) is VoiceThread's how to page with lots of written how to sheets complete with pictures to guide you through the process.  On top is a VoiceThread on pictures from the Great Depression.

Here is our outline sheet along with multiple links to different VoiceThread items.  We also have how to create a Blackboard Blog and Discussion Board as those are other ways to use student collaboration in the classroom. 

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Using Google Drive in Your Classroom

One of my former teacher-students, Amanda Lombardi has been proving for a long time that special education students are great for using technology in the classroom (and this year I am going to prove that with ESOL kids).  Tomorrow she is doing an in-service for our county on using Google Drive documents and PowerPoints (Google calls them Presentations).

Here is Amanda's e-sheet on creating a document and here is one on sharing documents.  Here is how you create a Google Drive Presentation (PowerPoint).

The video above gives you an overview of the different things you can do in Google Drive and this video tells you how to have your students turn in assignments and grade them and this one tells you how to link it to Blackboard. 

How to Use Prezis


Jason van Cassell is doing an in-service for social studies teachers tomorrow on how to use Prezi.  Prezis are a cool alternative to PowerPoints.  I like them best as they force the creator to think about a more enticing PowerPoint that can add items such as video, documents, pdfs, pictures and do some interesting maneuvers. Above is a short introductory tutorial and here are others to do more advanced things such as importing from a PowerPoint and creating a Prezi collaboratively.

Here is Jason's how-to e-sheet on creating a Prezi.  Here is one on how to upload a PowerPoint into it and finally here is how to register for a Prezi. 

Monday, August 26, 2013

PollEveryWhere and Quizlet


Kim Belknap is doing a presentation for our social studies in-service later this week on PollEverywhere which allows the teacher to quiz students using a phone (doesn't have to be a smartphone) or a laptop.  Above is how you do it.  Kim has also created a how-to sheet here.

Another way to quiz students is using Quizlet which lets students create flashcards for smartphones or laptops or you can use the many ones others have created.  Just search for your topic and your type of test.


Quizlet for Teachers from Quizlet on Vimeo.

Remind101 To Communicate w. Students

When I speak to groups Remind101 is one of the items that gets the best reception.  It allows teachers to text willing (they have to sign up themselves) students and parents to receive homework reminders.  I usually set it so that students receive it around 6 pm when I know they are home.  I also suggest that students use a name such as "K Halla" and that parents go by "Mr. Halla."

Above is a video made by Matt Levi who took my teacher class on integrating technology two years ago.  If you work in FCPS schools you can sign up for it too.  Look for "Enhancing the Social Studies Class with Technology" in the Academy listing.

Next week Matt will be giving a presentation to other teachers using the PowerPoint below. 

Sunday, August 25, 2013

How to do a Webquest


Sarah Olson does a great job of integrating technology into the classroom and is doing a presentation on how to a webquest with your class at our county's August in-service.  Webquests are a great way to have the students learn the information in a hands-on approach and very much go with flipped learning.

Sarah took my class a few years ago. During the class one of the things teachers will develop is a webquest. If you are interested go to page 43 and sign-up starting August 19th at 4 pm.  The class will be Thursdays at Woodson from 430 to 730 pm starting 19th. 

Quick Video of All Points Needed in World History I

In VA our students take two years of world history in high school (pre-history through the Renaissance and the Renaissance through 21st century).  The main points we are slated to teach our kids is called the Essentials of Knowledge (a little background for this video).  At any rate I found two short videos which I shared with my students right before our state exam this past spring and above is yet another one. 

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Byzantine Art at The National Gallery

If you teach in the Washington, DC area, send your kids to the National Gallery of Art in October to see their collection of Byzantine art.  The exhibit opens on October 6th and continues until March. According to the museum, "the exhibition explores the coexistence of paganism and Christianity, secular works of art used in the home, the intellectual life of Byzantine scholars, and the art of the Palaiologan dynasty before the fall of Byzantium." My thanks to my colleague, Jeff Feinstein, for sending me the link.

Fakebook and FakeTweet


If you follow this blog, you know I like Fakebook and FakeTweet which allows students to create facsimiles of Facebook and Twitter without having to create a login/password.  Above is a video on how to create a Fakebook page.

On our county in-service next week Karen Kratz and Katherine Lorio is going to teach a class on how to create both items.

Here is a written tutorial that she created for teachers and here is the assignment she wrote up for her students.  Finally here is what she gives her students to explain how to create a Fakebook post.

For FakeTweet, Katherine and Karen have created this document to explain how to use it.
Below is a Matt Levi video on how to create a FakeTweet.  Here is what she gives her students to help create the FakeTweet account and here is her example.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Online History e-Textbook

Years ago I worked with a group that was trying to get interactive textbooks up and free online.  We managed to get the textbook up, but not the funding.  But, for those of you who want to share a great e-textbook with your students, here is our ancient world history textbook.  I have my students use it as another resource, esp when their main one goes down a couple of times a year. 

Twitter for Your PLN


During our first week of school  (not until next week) I am doing a presentation about Professional Learning Networks to other teachers in my county.  I am going to focus on Twitter.  So to start off on top above is how to set up a Twitter account and below that is a great video on how to use Twitter (no, it has nothing to do about getting married).  I would suggest your watching it as it tells you how to do everything you'd want to do in Twitter such as set sending Tweets, direct messaging someone, following lists, getting help and on and on.  If you prefer seeing it all written out, here is a great set of written instructions and below is a summary of them:

To see everyone you are following (and your own Tweets), hit the “Home” button.  If you want to see your own Tweet, tap on the “Me” link.  If you want to see if people are enjoying and passing on your Tweets, go to “@Connect.”  If you hit “#Discover,” an algorithm will promptly deliver you some people on Twitter to follow.  When you are in the “Home” tab, just below your picture it says “Compose new Tweet.”  

Secondly we are going to look at lists of educators to follow.
Ken Halla @kenhalla
Cool Cat Teacher @letytijerina
We Are Teachers @WeAreTeacher
Larry Ferlazzo @LarryFerlazzo
Eric Sheninger @NMHS_Principal
Richard Byrna @rmbryne
Shelly Terrell @ShellTerrell

Next we are going to look at how to set up a hashtag and how to use it in class.  As you might remember from my posts, my students have Tweeted the election returns, State of the Union, presidential debates and reviewed for the exams using hashtags.  Below is a list of hashtags you might want to follow.  Some other useful ones are #SSChat (social studies), #HistoryTeacher and #GeographyTeacher.  To find a hashtag, type in the # symbol plus the name in the search engine in Twitter and the conversation will appear.  If you want to be really blown away go here for the 300 most popular hashtags for educators.
Educational Chats: #edchat, #schools, #lrnchat, #TT (Teacher Tuesday), #GlobalEd
Technology Chats: #edtech, #elearning, #mlearning (mobile learning), #edapps, #gbl (games based learning), #islide2learn (iDevices & learning), #vitalcpt (effective use of tech in the classoom)

If you want to both follow a hashtag and Tweet at the same time, I'd suggest you use TweetChat.  Below is a video on how to use it.  

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Angela Lee Duckworth: The Key to Success? Grit

IQ does not define success. Grit does, as Angela Lee Duckworth so eloquently explains in this short clip.

Take My Technology Integration Course

I will be teaching the fifth version of my technology integration course with Fairfax County Public Schools this fall.  We will learn about such items as webquests, pacing your students individually using technology, flipping the classroom, using electronic textbooks, collaborating online and lots more in a ten week course.  You can get more details here on page 43.  To sign up go to MyPLT (if you need help go to page 76) and put either the title or just a few words from the title or even e-mail me and I can add you to the class.

The class will be on Thursdays from 4:30 to 7ish at Woodson.  It is free to FCPS employees, but if you live in the areas and are not in FCPS you can take it, but you have to pay for it (page 9).  The class fills up quickly in the fall, so if you are interested I would sign up sooner rather than later.  If you have questions, please e-mail me at ken.halla@fcps.edu. 

Monday, August 19, 2013

Remind 101


When I speak to groups Remind101 is one of the items that gets the best reception.  It allows teachers to text willing (they have to sign up themselves) students and parents to receive homework reminders.  I usually set it so that students receive it around 6 pm when I know they are home.  I also suggest that students use a name such as "K Halla" and that parents go by "Mr. Halla."

Above is a video made by Matt Levi who took my teacher class on integrating technology two years ago.  If you work in FCPS schools you can sign up for it too.  Look for "Enhancing the Social Studies Class with Technology" in the Academy listing.

Next week Matt will be giving a presentation to other teachers using the PowerPoint below. 

How the Khufu Eqyptian Pyramid Was Built Part II


Jean-Pierre Houdin speculates that the pyramids were built "with an external ramp, and the upper portions with internal ramps." You can read more from the Open Culture post where I found this clip. You can also read more about Houdin's theory at  Open Culture. 

27 Maps: New Ways to see the World

Pangea with modern political boundaries and the true size of Africa, from Buzzfeed's "27 pictures that will change the way you look at the world."

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Visualizing How a Population Reaches 7 Billion

Cool clip from NPR showing how a planet reaches 7 billion people.  Thanks to Emily Haug for tweeting the link.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

40 Ways to Use Google Apps

Great presentation on ways to use Google apps. Saw it here on edgalaxy who writes that it was created by Becky Evans. There are some great ideas even for those of us who know a lot about Google.

Regents' Review

Thanks to Frank Franz for this one.  If you ever need great test questions, go to the NY Regents' page.  If you want great review for you classes, here is one that goes with the Regents' exams. 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

A Short How to Flip Post


At the end of the month, George Coe and I are co-presenting on flipping the classroom.

Below is the PowerPoint we will be using.  The hardest thing to do is to cut what you want to lecture to ten or fewer minutes.   To create the lecture watch the video above and then either use some PowerPoint slides or line up some slides, pictures, and slides on different tabs on your Internet page and then start your video.  Once the kids have watch the video, you will want them to be able to ask questions.  They can do it via Google Drive forms which you can learn by going here.  Then during class you will need to come up with an activity that is on the higher end of Bloom's taxonomy where the students can get help from each other and/or you.



Finally here is an example of a flipped video, the actual Google form we used and the interactive assignment that followed in class

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

John Green: An Open Letter to Students Returning to School

Another great John Greene video! Thanks to Summer Carter for tweeting the link.

Neanderthal Tools: New Evidence

Archaeologists recently discovered evidence that they believe shows that Neanderthals were making specialized bone tools before Homo Sapiens Sapiens arrived in Europe.  They made the discoveries in France.  They have come up with several possible theories, according to this CNN story.

  • Maybe modern humans "learned this tool type from Neanderthals." That's the view of one archaeologist. 
  • Another  group thinks that maybe modern humans "arrived earlier than scientists thought, and influenced Neanderthals' tool-making."  
  • Finally, maybe this kind of too-making developed independently
Great story for the first unit on prehistory. Thanks to Lisa Kapp for tweeting the link.

Monday, August 12, 2013

40 Maps That Explain the World


These are two of the 40 maps that Max Fisher of the Washington Post compiled to help explain the world. Some of the other maps include: A political map of the world, circa 200 A.D., The countries where people are the most and least emotional, Who loves and hates America, or Languages and dialects of the Middle East and Central Asia, to name just a few of these entertaining maps. The map of Africa above shows a missionary's view of Africa in 1908 and the lower map shows the reach of North Korea's missiles. Thanks to Kay Connors for tweeting the link.

Historical Thinking Matters

The James Madison University Center for History and New Media has a great site called "Historical Thinking Matters."  The site includes an interesting video about why historical thinking matters. The video opens in a separate window and uses flash player.  It debunks the notion that history is a bunch of facts and names. The site also includes inquiry assignments dealing with several topics in American history like the Scopes trial, the Spanish American war, social security and Rosa Parks.

The video is interesting in itself for those of us teaching world history.

Has Mona Lisa Model Been Found


Scientists have dug up three Florentine skeletons and have taken their DNA matching it to an Italian family.  If the DNA matches computer artists will then reconstruct the female skeleton's face to see if it matches the painting.  Of course that won't explain the smile. 

Remind101 For Homework Reminders

I have been using Remind101 since its conception two+ years ago to text my students their homework assignments.  What I have learned is that kids do not do their homework mostly because they forget, not because they don't want to.  Remind101 is not only a new sponsor of this blog, but it is incredibly simple.  If my students (and most do by the second week of school) decide to sign up then I tell them to use their first initial and last name and ask the parents (and lots of them sign up as well) to use Mr/Mrs/Ms/Dr so I can tell whether it is a student or parent.  The only pitfall is that if I forget to text students a lot of them forget their work the next day.  

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Horrible Histories

We done a few posts on Horrible Histories, but thanks to Rebecca Small for reminding me of them how many there are.  Some of the videos are great and some not so, but your kids will like the ones you use in class as a review of content.  Above is one about the history of the British Empire. 

The Modern Silk Road: Hauling New Treasure

The Silk Road of camels and caravanserais that once connected China and Rome faded sometime in the 14th century. Hewlett Packard is bringing the trading route back to life! They revived the route, according to the New York Times, as "an overland alternative to shipping electronics from China to European markets by sea."

The New York Times has nice online  photographic exhibit of one section of the route now traveled by train instead of camel and an excellent related feature article called "Hauling New Treasure Along the Silk Road." The story and photographic exhibit might be good for students to read when we cover China and the development of the Silk Route. My thanks to Jeff Feinstein for sending me the link.

Welcome to the Teacher Blogs

Welcome to the World History Teachers' blog.  It and the US History Teachers' and US Government Teachers' blogs have been around for 5-1/2 years now and have 4200 posts between them and 65,000+ pageviews a month.  If you are new to the site know that 2/3rds of the posts have been content which you can find by going to the search engine in the upper right and putting in a topic.  The rest are posts on how to use technology in the classroom.  If you have sites that you think we should know about, please contact me at kenhalla@gmail.com. 

Friday, August 9, 2013

Flipped World History Videos

Thanks to Kat Stankiewicz for finding all these flipped world history videos (44 of them).   Above is one of the Mauryan and Guptan Empires. 

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Differentiating Your Classroom

For the last few days I have been working with a colleague (Jessica McHie) on coming up with ways to differentiate in the classroom.  Here is the e-sheet that we developed complete with lots of links.  I plan on starting the year with asking my department to test our students on reading level and learning type.  The students will then put their responses in a Google Form so we can look at it during the school year to evaluate the best type of learning for the students.  All of that is on the e-sheet and if you wanted to present it to a group, you could use the PowerPoint above. 

Maps of Empires That No Longer Exist

Thanks to Ken Wedding for giving me this site, nicely named - Maps of Empires That No Longer Exist - that has many of the maps that you will want to use as you go through the year. 

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Box: Access, Edit Share Files

While Box is similar to Dropbox, there are a couple of things that I like better about it. One, different people in different locations can collaborate on the same document AND you can embed any file or pdf into a Google document or Google site, which is what I did with the "End of an Ice Age Cartoon," below. Box also has apps for both the IOS and android devices.

NEA Article on My Class Using Smartphones

The blogs made the National Education Association's site today.  Specifically I was asked about my use of smartphones in the classroom.  If you want some ideas (beyond what I have here on the blogs which you can find by using the search tool), please go to the article. My principal is actually doing a great thing this year as all students can use their phones anywhere in the building except in the classroom where they have to get permission (and yes my kids have them out all the time). 

Bloom's Taxonomy According the Pirates of the Caribbean

Granted these ancillaries are for the old Bloom's, but they still can work if you are trying to explain the levels and want other educators to understand.  Above is Bloom's according to the Pirates of the Caribbean.  Here it is according to Seinfeld and if you are my age, here it is according to the Andy Griffith show

WeVideo Tutorials


If you follow this blog on a regular basis you know that I am a fan of WeVideo as it is a cloud based collaborative video making site.  Think of the problems you encounter when you have your students make a video on Microsoft's Movie Maker or even when your students make one on their Apple computer's iMovie since they can't work with others at the same time and have to be in the same location.  Well WeVideo eliminates that problem so you can do it on any Internet device (Android app, iTunes app).  What I really like is that they now have a YouTube site that has all of their tutorials in one place.   Lastly WeVideo can be an app used with Google Drive so all your videos can be stored and shared from that account. 

Great Site for Books

Before I buy a book, I look at the best seller lists, the reviews from NYTimes & WashPost and look for additional reviews.   I also read the first chapter which I have sent to my Kindle and then if I like it, I purchase it.  But there are three other sites that you might be interested in looking at (and I would love to hear about yours in a comment) that I have added to my list in the last year:

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Africa: The Minerals that Make the World Go Round

CNN's Market Place Africa analyzes the minerals and gems that come out of African countries and power our cars, electronics, jewelry, batteries, and airplanes.  Click on one of the products like batteries, and you'll see a graphic like the one below which shows that 58% of the world's cobalt comes from Africa. The Democratic Republic of Congo produces the most, 48%.  But other players include Zimbabwe, Botswana, and South Africa. This is very cool site and my thanks to the Virginia Geographic (@VAGeogAlliance)  for tweeting the link.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Great Resources: Imperial War Museum

The Imperial War Museum has some great instructional resources on the main historical events from World War I through the Cold War. Simply click on "Events and Themes" and type in a key word like "Cold War" and a series of downloadable PDFs appear. Some of the results for the Cold War include source packs and instructional activities. Here's a link to one called "A Mad World, Why did civilians live in fear during the Cold War?  My thanks to my colleague, Jeff Feinstein, who continually sends me great links.


The museum also has a series of 32 podcasts about World War I. They are part of the museum's exhibit on the centenary of World War I. 

Most Hit Posts from July

Thanks to all of you who keep coming during the summer months.  It is ironic that my summer vacation still has three weeks to go and most of you are heading back very shortly (don't worry as we go until late June!).

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Adapting Primary Sources from Beyond the Bubble

Here are some great tips on how to use primary sources with struggling readers from Beyond the Bubble, which is part of the Stanford History Education Group(SHEG). Although the example they use here is with a document from American history, the tips work for any discipline. Some of the tips include changing tough vocabulary and increasing font size.

How to Flip from Keith Hughes

Last week I asked Keith Hughes if he would consider coming up with a video of how to flip from the definitions to how to to create his own videos.  What he came up with in just three days is great.  Thanks Keith and I might add this is why you should have a PLN so you can work with teachers from other schools to improve your classroom. 

NoRedInk

Yesterday I took part in a webinar with the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. One of the panelists was Jeff Scheur who taught for eight years before creating NoRedInk which lets students play games to improve their grammar and writing.  If you (or English teachers in your school) are so moved, you can also use the site to tailor games for your students.  It begins by asking 10 questions about each student (teachers can get a code so no student has to sign up) and then games are tailored to these interests.