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Posts tagged ‘tip of the week’

Tip of the Week: Constitution Day Resources 2014

It’s that time of year again. Constitution Day 2014. September 17.

You know the story. A group of guys from different parts of the country with different ideas of how to govern got together and came up with a pretty amazing document. My favorite Founding Father?

Ben Franklin. He’s kind of like the sleeper pick in your fantasy football league – everyone knows he’s out there but they ignore him because all the focus is on Jefferson or Madison or one of the other first rounders. But you draft him anyway cause you know he’s got the skills.

Ben was smart, irreverent, great with people, well-read, the ladies loved him, he had that whole kite / electricity / scientist thing working, and was by far the best part of 1776 and John Adams. What’s not to love?

And so it’s fun to go back and read some of what Ben had to say about the document he was preparing to sign: Read more

Tip of the Week: Tumblr in your classroom? Maybe. Just maybe.

I’ll be honest. I’m still on the fence here. Tumblr in the classroom. Yes or no? I haven’t decided but I’m wavering towards yes. If you’re not familiar with Tumblr, you need to be. Tumblr is microblogging and social networking website that many of your students are using. As of last week, there were over 200 million Tumblr blogs out there.

Think of a cross between Twitter and Facebook and you start to get a sense of what it looks like. It’s not really a tweet. It’s not really a blog. It’s not really a website. The question is

Can teachers take advantage of Tumblr to enhance teaching and learning in the classroom?

Several months ago, Terry Heick of TeachThought shared his thoughts on the question of Tumblr as a blogging tool for kids. His opinion? Yes. Read more

Tip of the Week: Social Studies Web Site Showdown

I was working with some secondary teachers a few weeks ago and our conversation shifted into the topics of useful websites. What sites were the best and most useful? Where can teachers find primary sources slash lesson plans slash videos slash whatever. We were a bit off task but the discussion turned out to be very helpful.

(I flashed back a bit to my middle school teaching days when my kids would work very hard trying to shift the conversation over to current events rather than, say . . . causes of the Civil War. Shocker. It wasn’t that hard.)

The web site discussion has stayed with me. What are the best sites for social studies teachers? Are there ten or five or one site that is so good that everyone, everyone, should be using? I’ve got my favorites. You’ve got yours. But I’m curious what that sort of combined list might look like.

More importantly, cause I’m competitive like that, can we narrow this down to the top four, the top two, to the ultimate, best social studies web site of all time? I think we can.

So . . . welcome to the first annual Social Studies Web Site Showdown!

Between now and September 12, I will be collecting in the comments below, via email, and online via this Google Form your favorite social studies web sites. I will then seed the top 32 sites into a tournament bracket and we’ll play off the sites until we get to the Final Four and ultimately the best social studies web site of all time. So let me know – what are your favorite sites? Leave up to ten of your favs.

Let the Showdown begin!

Tip of the Week: Zaption and interactive videos

I’ll be honest. I heard from a teacher in Medicine Lodge a few weeks ago about a tool called Zaption, promised myself that I’d check it out later, and then completely forgot all about. Then this morning, I get a promo email from the company detailing the tool’s “high-quality, ready-made content, intuitive interface, and rich analytics” and urging me to go to their site to learn more.

So.

Am feeling a bit unsettled. I get a lot of emails and offers of free stuff from people who are pushing their products and web sites. And I usually blow them off. Unless, of course, the price is right. I had planned to share Zaption with you anyway but doing it on the same day that I get the official sales pitch seems a bit like a sellout to the Man.

But I do really like the tool and believe there’s some nice potential for social studies teachers, especially those who are already flipping or are thinking about flipping their classrooms. I’m gonna let you decide for yourself if and when you might use Zaption. If you have an opinion one way or the other, let us know in the comments. I’d love to hear what others think of the tool.

At its most basic level, Zaption is Read more

Google Classroom. No. I never received an invite. But I forgive you.

Curse you Google.

I have consistently pledged my allegiance. Starting with Search, jumping into Google Earth, then Drive, and continuing through Google Plus and Hangouts, I’ve been a fan. Even when you discontinued Notebook, Wave, and Reader, I stuck around. (Okay. I’m actually fine with your Wave decision. That was not the best use of your 20% creative time.)

So I’m was a bit dismayed that I hadn’t yet received my invite to Google Classroom. Seriously? Where’s the love?

Of all of the present and past Google Tools, Classroom seems like one that could be incredibly useful for teachers. And I’ve been waiting all summer for my beta invite. But all is forgiven. Starting this week, Google Classroom is open to all users of Google Apps for Education. Read more

Tip of the Week: Poly Sci Nerd Goodness

Yes. I am a poly sci nerd. Love elections. Love debates. Love the data. So meeting in DC this last week was . . . awesome.

And this morning, I ran across LegEx. A great way to close out a Poly Sci nerd week.

Short for Legislative Explorer and maintained by the University of Washington Center for American Politics and Public Policy, the site is a interactive visualization that allows you and your students to explore actual patterns of lawmaking in Congress. The graph provides a great way to get the big picture while providing opportunities to dig deeper. Compare the bills and resolutions introduced by Senators and Representatives and follow their progress from the beginning to the end of a two year Congress. Go back in time and compare / contrast different years, bi-partisan vs. partisan, parties, or House vs. Senate.

You can Read more

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