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7 Free iPad App / Tech Integration Task Challenges

Several months ago at Podstock 2014, we spent most of an afternoon working on iPad and Tech Integration Challenges. An iPad or Tech Integration Challenge is basically a do it yourself tutorial that walks people through the process of learning a specific tool or app.

We had a ton of fun. We demo-ed a few tools, brainstormed possible integration strategies in small groups, and then folks fanned out and learned new stuff. And created new products. And came up with a host of new integration ideas.

Since then, I’ve had the chance to create a few more challenges and use them with a few more people. And it’s always a good time. People get the chance to learn at their own pace. To pick and choose what they learn. And to figure stuff out by themselves or in small groups.

I’d like to share seven of my latest iPad and Tech Integration Challenges.

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Get 12 Years a Slave teaching resources for free

I just got an email from a teaching buddy (Thanks Theresa!) letting me know about a great deal going on right now. For a limited time, you can receive a free teaching toolkit for use with the movie 12 Years a Slave. It’s a difficult video to watch but an incredibly important video to watch. And the free kit gives you some handy resources to help make the instruction as useful as possible.

Educator’s Toolkit Includes:

  • Full Length DVD copy of the movie (edited version, parental approval suggested)
  • Copy of the Penguin Paperback Book
  • Printed study guide
  • Letter from director Steve McQueen

The National School Boards Association (NSBA) has partnered with New Regency, Fox Searchlight, Penguin Books, and the filmmakers to make copies of the acclaimed film, book, and study guide “12 Years a Slave” available to America’s public high schools. This nationwide educational initiative was the brainchild of director Steve McQueen and Montel Williams, and now “12 Years a Slave” educator toolkits are available to all public high school teachers timed to the 2014-15 school year.

The movie is based on an incredible true story of one man’s fight for survival and freedom. In the pre-Civil War United States, Solomon Northup, a free black man from upstate New York, is abducted and sold into slavery. Facing cruelty (personified by a malevolent slave owner as well as unexpected kindnesses, Solomon struggles not only to stay alive, but to retain his dignity. In the twelfth year of his unforgettable odyssey, Solomon’s chance meeting with a Canadian abolitionist will forever alter his life.

Get the toolkit here.

You can also get just the study guide here.

 

Tip of the Week: Kansas social studies conference is gonna be awesome

For some of you, this post may not be that relevant. You don’t live close to Kansas. Or maybe you’re not a social studies teacher. But if you live in Kansas, or close to Kansas, or don’t mind making a trip to Kansas and you’re a social studies teacher, have I got a deal for you.

For the last two years, the Kansas Department of Education, the Kansas Council for History Education, and the Kansas Council for the Social Studies has co-hosted a one day conference focused on best practices and instructional resources. It’s always a great time. You make new friends. You meet old friends. You eat great food. You walk away with door prizes. And you always learn a ton.

The Kansas Geographic Alliance, the Kansas Council for Economic Education, and the Kansas Historical Society all show up as well. Basically, if you have a question about social studies, this conference is the place to be. And it really is for anyone who wants to be a part of an awesome learning opportunity.

This school year, the conference is scheduled for Read more

Need to teach historical thinking and literacy? To both high and low levels? You need this book

One of the obvious reasons for attending professional conferences and workshops is the opportunity for checking out new BBQ restaurants. Of course, there is that whole learning new stuff, meeting new people, attending sessions idea too.

And last week’s KCHE / MOCHE Best Practices conference in downtown Kansas City gave me the chance to check off both. Got to eat some great BBQ and do all of that other stuff. I really did walk away smarter (and thanks to Oklahoma Joe’s BBQ, also just a little bit rounder.)

Perhaps the biggest takeaway from my two days? Read more

Using evidence-based terms in a secondary social studies classroom

It was a great day today – 70+ K-12 teachers were hanging out at @ESSDACK, learning from each other and from Adam Topliff, Kori Green, and Lori Rice. All three are Kansas Department of Ed certified standards trainers who just happen to be awesome classroom teachers. As part of an agreement between ESSDACK and the Kansas Council for the Social Studies, they ended up in Hutchinson doing a couple of full day social studies workshops.

Adam, Kori, and Lori spent the day leading conversations about the state standards, the state assessment, and what good instructional practice looks like at different grade levels.

The best part was that I got the chance to just hang out and rotate between all of the sessions – picking up all of the goodness.

My walk-away from the day?

We need to have kids read and write more. Of course, that sometimes means more work for us as we train kids to do those sorts of things. One of the best things we can do is to provide lots of structures and scaffolds and organizers and tools that can help them become better writers.

And my new favorite structure slash scaffold slash organizer slash tool is the idea of giving our kids Read more

Top 100 Tools for 2014

Not really sure how we’ve come up with the Top 100 Tools of 2014 when we’ve still got three months to go. Don’t these sorts of things usually come out in December?

But I have to admit, the title did suck me in and it should you too. There’s some great stuff on the list. I learned about a few new tools such as Moolvy and Mahara. And was a bit surprised that certain tools are still on the list. (I’m looking at you Voki. And what’s the deal with Delicious? I thought that was dead and gone. Weirder still – my account was active and there were additions from just yesterday. It’s like black helicopters are following my computer around adding things to my Delicious account. Mmm . . . )

The problem?

We can get so sucked into the shiny aspects of a specific tool, of the gadgety coolness of things that we end up designing lessons just so we can use the tool. Instead of planning for the end in mind – specific content or historical thinking skill or whatever – we use a tool like Wordle or some iPad app or Kahoot just because it’s a lot of fun.

So use the list. It’s pretty handy. But Read more

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