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Posts tagged ‘tip of the week’

Tip of the Week: Google adds Templates, Voice, and Explore

I’ve always been a fan of the goodness that is Google. And I like when all of a sudden my GAFE tools have extra features.

For some of you, this all may not seem like a big deal. But recent small changes by Google in their online tools have made my life just a little bit easier. For those of you in GAFE schools or whose students use Google, these changes can also impact how you both interact with content and data.

The first change is  Read more

Tip of the Week: Google Keep comes to iOS

I know that many of you already ask students to organize evidence and information for a variety of reasons – lecture capture, short-term and long-term research, group work, basic data collection, primary / secondary source analysis. We want kids to analyze evidence, validate resources, search effectively, and appropriately cite their data. And for, well . . . forever,  paper and pencil was basically the only option for this sort of thing.

Nothing terribly wrong with paper and pencil but that medium is tough to edit, update, and share. So a lot of us and our students are taking our stuff to a variety of online tools. In the last year or so, a new option has become available. Read more

Social media is a hook. And a tool.

In an essay titled From Connected Educator to Connected ClassroomBrianna Crowley describes her journey using social media tools at a personal level to using them in her classroom. It’s a good read with practical suggestions and links to a variety of social media tools and strategies. Brianna also makes a statement that I like: Read more

Tip of the Week: 5 glorious government goodies

I’m a history guy. My shelves are full of history related titles. (Current reads? The Wright Brothers and the Oregon Trail.) I taught US history to 8th graders and World History to college kids. Did my graduate research on the Kansas Mennonite reaction to World War One.

But my first love was political science. I earned my high school government credit by campaigning for Kansas governor John Carlin and registering voters in Garden City. Graduated with a BA in political science and thought briefly about taking the civil service exam so I could apply to the State Department.

Several weeks ago, I was called to task by a secondary government teacher because there’s not enough civics and government stuff on History Tech. And I realized, yeah . . . maybe I could spend a few more minutes here and there focusing on some government resources. So today? Five of my favorite go to government goodies. Read more

Tip of the Week: 5 graphic organizers you’re probably not using but should be

Most of you are already familiar with the idea of document analysis worksheets. These sorts of tools are perfect for scaffolding historical thinking skills for your kids. Some of the best, created by the Library of Congress and the National Archives, have been around for years. I also really like the stuff created by the Stanford History Education group, especially their Historical Thinking Chart.

We should be using all of those evidence analysis tools with our kids. They can be especially helpful for training elementary and middle school students to gather and organize evidence while solving authentic problems. And for high school kids without a strong background in historical thinking skills, the tools provided by the LOC, NARA, and SHEG are incredibly useful to guide thinking.

But what about other types of graphic organizers? Are there some organizers you should be using but aren’t? Spoiler alert. Yes.
Read more

Tip of the Week: 3 tech tool types that support distraction free literacy

It used to be called “writing across the curriculum.” Years ago, in Derby Middle School,  I remember WAC being the latest educational buzzword. And it was a good idea. Literacy – reading, writing, communicating – is something that should be happening in all the content areas. But for a lot of reasons, WAC theory and actual practice never seem to align.

Of course, good teachers have been integrating literacy skills into their instruction both before and after WAC. That practice is now encouraged and supported with the latest trend – literacy standards embedded as part of historical thinking and social studies best practice.

It’s still a good idea.

Our students should be reading, writing, and communicating in the specific social studies disciplines. And I know you’re having kids do it. But finding the right tools to support literacy can be difficult. Using paper and pencil is always available . . . though without options for easy collaboration, editing, and sharing. Google Drive provides options for that sort of stuff but it’s still not available in some districts.

And even if it is available, using Drive and other online writing tools are not always the ideal writing environment. It’s easy to get distracted – Look! A squirrel / Facebook / Flipboard / Social Media / Texts – and lose focus. We know that these distractions make it more difficult to come back to the writing process. And even if we are able to resist the blackhole of YouTube Grumpy Cat videos, we can get distracted by the bells and whistles of word processors, focusing so much on format and editing and process that we have difficulty getting words out.

So today? Some tools to help you and students stay focused on the task of writing. Read more


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