(An earlier version highlighted NARA in the title rather than iCivics. Not sure what I was thinking, I corrected it March 27. Sorry iCivics. You’re doing awesome stuff!)
The new normal is fast becoming the normal normal. But it’s always nice to hear what others are doing and using.
And I love Jenifer Hitchcock’s suggestions about structuring our normal normal distance learning instruction. It’s part of a handy toolkit that she and other folks over at iCivics have put together. I’ve summarized Jenifer’s list but you need to head over and check it out all of the details as well as their Toolkit.
Further down, I’ve also posted 11 resources that are perfect for your distance learning normal normal. So if you’re already in a normal normal teaching situation, all of this is super useful.
But if you’re still in some sort of traditional face to face setting, skip Jenifer’s tips and bounce down to the resources – still useful for you because, well . . . they’re awesome sauce for any sort of learning environment.
Here’s a quick list of some of Jenifer’s suggestions: Read more
I spent the morning at Slate Creek Elementary in Newton, observing just a few of the cool things going on there. Lots of PBL. Lots of inquiry. Lots of great student questions.
And one of my favorite hook activities ever.
Tenae Alfaro, Slate Creek principal, is planning a summer trip and so she asked fourth grade kids to do some in-depth research and plan a trip for her. Now . . . I’m not sure she’s actually going go take the trip kids come up with. But what a cool essential and authentic question to ask nine year olds.:
Where should I go on my summer vacation?
So there’s a crowd of fourth grade kids over in Newton doing research on states and monuments and museums and all the kinds of things you might typically do on a cross-country family trip. And one of the tools that would be ideal as part of that final product is Google My Maps.
I’m still surprised by the number of teachers who aren’t aware of this piece of Google’s G Suite. If you’re still not sure what it is, think Google Docs in map form. My Maps supports collaborative editing and sharing, it’s easy to use, and it integrates with all the other G Suite apps. It’s a great tool for helping kids see connections between events, people, and place.
And for the kids over at Slate Creek (or your students,) it’s a perfect way to create rich, deep, and multi-layered visual representations of trips. So use it for planning a principal’s summer trip, as a Google Lit Trip that highlights events and travel in fictional stories, or to chronicle actual trips and events such as Lewis & Clarks Corps of Discovery.
What are some other reasons why I love My Maps so much?
I spent part of last Monday working with the awesome staff of the Eisenhower Foundation at the Dwight D. Eisenhower Library and Museum. They hosted 18 teachers from around the state during a week long focus on using primary sources across the curriculum.
Part of our time together was spent talking about non-traditional primary and secondary sources. The teachers were all used to using texts such as diaries, speeches, and photographs. So it was fun sharing about stuff like artifacts and audio clips. But it was even more fun playing with virtual reality tours.
I’ve shared about virtual reality before. And if you’ve been around History Tech much, you already know that I’m convinced about the power of VR tours as part of learning.
There were some interesting conversations around primary vs. secondary sources and what really makes a virtual reality tour a primary source. And, of course, we talked about possible teaching strategies and activities for using VR as part of teaching and learning. The best question that came out of the discussion was: Read more
We’re always looking for ways to help kids see the big picture. To compare and contrast. Find differences and similarities. To break down stereotypes. Dollar Street and Gapminder can help.
Gapminder is a Swedish foundation that describes itself as a fact tank, not a think tank. It uses data to tell stories. Stories that can help us better understand the world we all live in. By using data visualization tools and photos, Gapminder can help your students explore vast amounts of global statistics.
They’ve got handy downloads and teacher resources. Check those out. But then head over to their new interactive tool called Dollar Street.
Imagine the world as a street. All the houses are lined up by income, the poor living to the left and the rich to the right. Everybody else somewhere in between. Where on the street do you live? How is your life the same and different than your neighbors from other parts of the world who share the same income level? With different income levels?
Dollar Street highlights 240 homes from around the world in a easy to use, searchable, visual database that gives you the tools to take students around the world. If you’ve ever used the excellent books – Material World: A Global Family Portrait or Hungry Planet: What the World Eats you’ve got a mental image of what Dollar Street looks like.
Tons of photos. Information about families. The ability to see how others around the world live and survive.
You start with a broad view – all the families, all the countries: Read more
It’s no secret that History Tech loves the maps. I still get a bit giddy whenever a new National Geographic mag shows up with a historical map insert. Cause . . . maps are cool.
So it’s not a surprise that I’m also in love with all things Google map related. There’s the basic Google Maps and Maps app. You’ve got both the original, downloadable – and by far the best – version of Google Earth and the new version of Google Earth they created so it would play nice with Chromebooks. You’ve got the relatively new Google My Maps. You’ve got the Street View and Expeditions apps. And there’s hundreds of third party tools using Google Map API code that do all sorts of fun things.
And then there’s the often forgotten little brother of the Google Map world – Google Tour Builder. Tour Builder came out about Read more
My current kick is virtual reality. I’m loving Google Cardboard and their new Expeditions app. And there are more and more tools showing up that take advantage of the VR buzz.
Some of the latest I’ve found are the Google Arts and Culture app and website, a very cool NPR tour of Rocky Mountain National Park, and some sweet pre-built tours at Nearpod. There will be more.
But if you’re still trying to figure out places to go and cool stuff to look at, the simple Google Street View app that goes quickly to 3D view and the basic Google Maps Street View button can take you all over the world. Seriously, Google has sent their pano cameras everywhere.
Start with these eleven very cool places: Read more