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Posts from the ‘Web 2.0’ Category

The 10 best social studies sites of all time

Last week at the Kansas state social studies conference, I got into the kind of conversation that really doesn’t have an end. You know the kind. Think best flavor of Thanksgiving pie. The discussion can go on forever.

And last week’s question? What are the best online sites and tools for social studies teachers?

Yup. No problem.

We obviously didn’t finish the conversation. But it was great hearing what others use and see as valuable. So today . . . I’m opening up the discussion to you. Here’s a list of my new top ten best social studies sites of all time, in no particular order. (And of all time, I mean the list as of today. I’m headed to the NCSS conference tomorrow. Trust me. The list will look different next week.)

What would you add or subtract? Read more

It’s a podcast! Darren, Ashley, and the incredible Smithsonian Learning Lab

I had the opportunity to run into Ashley Naranjo and Darren Milligan last summer at the 2016 ISTE conference during their rollout of the new Smithsonian Learning Lab. And I was blown away. Seriously.

And, yes, Ashley and Darren were incredible. They’ve got the chops. But it was the Learning Lab and all of its cool tools that really got me fired up. I was literally writing a blog post during their presentation.

At the time, I said:

This will change how you and your kids collect, organize, share, and analyze primary evidence. It is seriously that good.

And after getting the chance to talk with them via Skype two days ago, I remain blown away. The Smithsonian Learning Lab truly can and should change how we do our jobs. At its core, the Lab is an online storage facility for 2,000,000 Smithsonian primary sources that gives you the opportunity to access those sources, organize them into collections, and share those collections with students.

And wait for it.

Your kids can do the same thing. So whether it’s you who creates the collection or your students do it, the Lab is a powerful way of curating resources. And it’s done in a beautiful, image driven environment that encourages users to make sense of the past and apply it to contemporary issues in ways not possible even five years ago.

So if you haven’t had a chance to experience the sweetness that is the Learning Lab, Read more

Use Timeline JS and Juxtapose for historical thinking awesomeness

Several weeks ago, I gushed about a new tool I had just run across called StoryMap JS. It seemed like an easy to use, nice to look at tool for creating interactive, multimedia historical accounts. Perfect for pushing out teacher created content to students and for pulling in student created content.

And guess what?

That’s right. KnightLabs at Northwestern University, the makers of StoryMap, have some other tools as well. They’ve created something called Read more

Wikipedia is your friend and so is this awesome timeline

We’ve had the discussion before. Wikipedia is not evil. Wikipedia is not revisionist history. Wikipedia is not an attempt by SPECTRE to take over the world. It’s just an encyclopedia, just one of the many online tools useful for quick overviews of basic foundational knowledge.

And for settling bar bets, of course.

So . . . Wikipedia is your friend. It really is. As is World Book. And Encyclopedia Britannica.

And if you feel comfortable agreeing with that statement, go ahead. Click the Read More link. Cause I’ve got a very cool interactive Wikipedia-based timeline that you need to check out. If you’re not comfortable with the Wiki idea, I’m okay with that. You might enjoy Scholarpedia or Infoplease as alternatives.

But you won’t get the cool timeline tool. Just saying. Read more

It’s Big Block of Cheese Day! And #SOTU

If you’re a West Wing fan – and I know you are – Big Block of Cheese Day is something you’re already familiar with. If for some reason Big Block of Cheese Day doesn’t ring a bell, head over here for a quick West Wing refresher.

The West Wing version of Big Block of Cheese Day was inspired by an open house hosted by President Jackson in 1837, for the public to mingle with cabinet members and White House staffers, where guests were served slices from a 1,400-pound block of cheese.

And tomorrow, for the second year in a row, the current White House is offering up an actual version of Big Block of Cheese Day. It’s all part of the State of the Union goings-on and for me, it’s like Christmas in January. Read more

Graphite: Your search is over

Looking for a handy site that helps you locate useful apps, games, and websites that also provides ratings and reviews? That also includes teacher feedback? That has awesome search and sorting functions? That organizes all of its goodies by Common Core – giving you the chance to find activities aligned to ELA literacy standards for history?

Then, yes. You are in the right place.

What you’re looking for is called Graphite

. . . a free service from nonprofit Common Sense Education designed to help preK-12 educators discover, use, and share the best apps, games, websites, and digital curricula for their students by providing unbiased, rigorous ratings and practical insights from our active community of teachers.

 Their team of professional educators – early childhood development experts, doctorates in education, and teachers with hands-on classroom experience – rates each website, game, and app on Graphite based on their detailed rubric. Every product on Graphite is rigorously reviewed to dig deeper into what and how your students will learn with it.

Start with the basics. Head straight to their Top Picks for Social Studies.

graphite top picks

Reviews & Ratings

After the basics, try it yourself. Head to the Reviews & Ratings, adjust your search parameters, and find useful stuff. Be sure to also check out the Field Notes – specific feedback by teachers who’ve use the tool.

Common Core

Get Graphite’s aligned to Common Core ELA literacy standards by grade and content here.

App Flows

An App Flow is an interactive framework tool that enables teachers to seamlessly flow apps, websites, and games throughout lessons. Starting with the familiar five-part lesson plan, an App Flow provides scaffolding to think with purpose about where, why, and how to integrate digital tools for learning into the curriculum.

The flow follows five teaching components:

  • Hook
  • Direct Instruction
  • Guided Practice
  • Independent Practice
  • Wrap Up

Teachers choose individual apps, games, or websites that match each component. Find the social studies App Flow here.

Webinars

Want to hear from teachers about the best apps, websites, and games for learning? Join Graphite for Appy Hour, a monthly series where they discuss their favorites from Top Picks Lists, have teachers demonstrate a selection of tools, and share ideas on how to use them with students.

And when you’re done all of that, start over. Cause there’s sure to be something new by then.