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Google Add-Ons

More and more of us are moving to tools such as Google Apps for Educators, Chromebooks, and mobile devices. We’re using the Cloud to create and share information. I’m not always convinced that’s a good thing, especially when the bandwidth is minimal and internet speeds are slow. But when it works, I love the ability to write and communicate stuff via the Interwebs.

And Google is working to make it even easier by launching add-ons for Google Docs and Sheets. This basically means that there is now a specific place dedicated to tools and features that can help you and your students do more with Google Drive. It’s basically a Google App Store just for those of us using Drive that’s gonna make our lives just a bit simpler.

Because the Add-On option is fairly new, there isn’t a huge number of choices yet. But Google is open sourcing this so expect more and more goodies to start showing up.

To use the Add-on option and to browse through all the options, Read more

85,000 reasons to head over to YouTube

Apparently going to the movies isn’t the same as it used to be. In 2014, there are no cartoons before the feature film. And no newsreel. At one time, I guess this sort of stuff was a big deal in the movie-going experience. MovieTone News and other companies would create weekly news updates that would run as short video clips before the main event. Sort of the 1940s version of the current social media / 24 hour news cycle.

British Pathe was the British MovieTone News equivalent, known for first-class reporting and a uniquely entertaining style. Reporting on events from 1896 to 1976, their collection includes footage from around the world of major events, famous faces, fashion trends, travel, sport and culture. The archive is particularly strong in its coverage of the First and Second World Wars.

Their collection of 3,500 hours of footage was digitized in 2002 and is now accessible to anyone around the world for free on the British Pathe YouTube channel.

How cool is that? Read more

Books that shaped America. Mmm . . .

As part of the celebration of their 100th birthday, the US Department of Labor recently put together a list titled “Books That Shaped Work in America.” It’s an interesting list. And I will be the first to admit that more than several of the books are unfamiliar to me and that more than several of the books are . . . mmm . . . interesting selections.

I mean, I get why The Jungle made the list. Why Liar’s Poker made the list. Even Busy Busy Town (a personal favorite). But still scratching my head a bit on I’m a Frog and Madam Secretary. That’s the cool thing about lists – everyone has a different opinion. I also like the idea that the Department of Labor asked current and former employees to create the list.

But it got me thinking. Read more

Tip of the Week: World War One Museum and Centennial goodies

June 28, 1914.

Despite warnings of a Serbian plot to assassinate him, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the throne of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, took his wife on a visit to Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina. They had minimum security and the route they planned to travel within the city was publicized.

Partway through the trip, a bomb was thrown at the motorcade and several people were injured. Following a planned speech by the Archduke, the motorcade planned to travel to the hospital via a different route to visit the injured. A failure to communicate the new route with the drivers took the royal couple right in front of Gavrilo Princip, one of the assassins who was stationed on the original path.

The car carrying the Archduke and his wife suddenly stops directly in front of Princip because someone in the car is telling the driver, “You idiot, you’re not supposed to go down this road. Stop the car and back up.” Princip fires two shots, killing both the Archduke and his wife.

The rest, as they say, is history.

The world is gearing up for the centennial of World War One and there is tons of stuff out there that can be used and adapted by world and US history teachers. So today  . . . a quick list of some of that stuff. Read more

Turn, Washington’s spies, and historical thinking

I was able to catch just a part of the first episode last Sunday of the AMC’s new series, Turn. Looks pretty good -

The show is based on the real-life Culper Ring—a spy ring organized by Major Benjamin Tallmadge under the guidance of General Washington that was tasked with reporting on British activities in New York and Connecticut. And based on reviews of upcoming episodes, we’re gonna see more early American water torture, espionage/spycraft, politicking, a little bit of a murder-mystery thrown in, and some fairly graphic battle scenes.

AMC is the channel that gave us Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead. So . . . I’m not sure I would plan on showing entire episodes to my 5th graders. But I do think there are some nice tie-ins to the study of the Revolutionary War era and the events of the period. And I like the idea of using Washington’s spies as a hook to kids wanting to learn more about those events. I also think that high school teachers and kids could use the Culper Ring as a counter-balance to talking about more current events such as the NSA intelligence gathering, the fight against terrorism, and First Amendment rights.

This is the kind of content that seems perfect for creating un-Googleable questions and asking kids to evaluate and make sense of evidence: Read more

Tip of the Week: Financial Literacy

Yes. I’m sure you’ve heard.

The Kansas House of Representatives introduced a bill about two weeks ago requiring a personal financial literacy program as a requirement for high school graduation. Not a bad idea at all. Of course, later amendments to the bill dropped the graduation prerequisite and added the requirement that schools teach “the importance and execution of an effective professional handshake.”

So . . . look out, global economy. Meet a kid with a firm grip and who looks you square in your eye? You know that’s a Jayhawk.

All semi-kidding aside, the intent of the Kansas House was spot on. Kids do need to a strong knowledge of economics and personal finance. Lucky for them April is Financial Literacy Month.

financial-literacy-after-high-schoolIf you’re in the need of some financial literacy ideas, Read more


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