Need a place to connect past with present? Need writing prompts? Need hundreds of articles about current events in an easy to access place? Need articles with leveled reading? Need a searchable databases that filter by keyword, grade level, Common Core reading anchors, and articles with machine scored quizzes?
If your answer to even one of those questions is yes, then I’ve got a list of tools just for you. All of them are web-based tools that use current events and contemporary topics to engage kids and all provide the chance for you to to encourage the development of skills required by the ELA literacy standards for History / Government. While at the same aligning to state standards that ask us to connect the past with contemporary events.
So why should we worry about current events? The simple reason is that connecting past and present is good for student retention and encourages critical thinking skills. Not to mention our state standards are asking kids to connect past choices, rights, responsibilities, ideas, beliefs, and relationships to “contemporary events.”
So today you get a few online tools and some helpful strategies that focus on current events: Read more
I waded into the shallow end of the Google Apps / GAFE / Chromebook pool last summer. In November, I dove off the high board as my office went all Google – mail, calendar, documents, the works.
I’ve been using Google Docs forever so it’s not like the stuff is completely foreign to me. But going all in . . . with all my stuff, emails, contacts, online? Yeah, there was an adjustment period.
But after a few months, I really am falling in love with the syncing of info and materials between all my different devices. I’ve also had a chance to start playing around with all of the different Google tools buried in my account.
My latest favorite? Google Keep. Basically Keep is Google’s version of
I’m in the beautiful state of Missouri at the 2015 METC in St. Charles. The #METC15 folks do a great job of creating a very positive learning environment centered around the idea of technology integration. So a good time for me to share some ideas and gather new stuff from others.
(I’ll be live blogging here throughout the day so be sure to refresh for most recent version.) Read more
I always enjoy the annual social studies nerd fest that is the National Council for the Social Studies annual conference. I learn a ton and I love the sessions. But it’s the chance to meet all kinds of people that I enjoy the most.
It seems like I’m always bumping into someone I know or someone who knows someone I know. Or . . . well, if you’ve had the chance to attend you understand. The people make the conference.
And it was in St. Louis in 2013 that I got the chance to meet some folks from the Center for Children and Technology, a division of the Education Development Center. The CCT people were there talking about a new online tool called Zoom In! and I happened past their booth in the vendor area.
My first impression?
Two words. Game changer.
Seriously. If you’re a middle or high school US history teacher, this is something that you need to try. I’m not kidding. Read more
Podcasts used to be a big deal. Then they weren’t. Now . . . they’re back. Yup. Podcasts are a thing again. Ten, fifteen years ago, podcasts were the shiny tool that was going to change the world. Replace sliced bread. Find a way for the Kansas City Chiefs to make the playoffs.
And for a few years, the podcast did all of those things. Then, maybe because of the learning curve needed to create them and a lack of mobile devices that made them easy to listen to, podcasts sort of just went away. But with the rise of easy to use creation tools and the huge growth of handheld smart devices, the podcast is making a comeback.
That’s good news for history and social studies teachers. We can get smarter listening to them and our kids can get smarter when we use them as instructional tools. (Plus you get to align your instruction to Common Core literacy skills such as speaking and listening.) Not sure what podcasts really are? Or not sure how to use them in your classroom? Or what it might look like if you did?
If you aren’t already listening to and using history podcasts, here are nine pretty good places to start. You’ll get smarter and have fun all at the same time.