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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Beyond Words - A Library of Congress Lab Experiment

The Library of Congress Labs is a website that hosts online experiments based on collections of digital artifacts housed by the Library of Congress. One of the experiments that should be of interest to US History teachers is the Beyond Words project.

Beyond Words is an online project designed to identify illustrations in WWI-era newspapers. The project also seeks to create captions for illustrations identified in the newspapers. The project is open to anyone who would like to contribute by using the marking and transcribing tools provided by the Library of Congress. To get started you just need to go to the Beyond Words website then choose a collection of scanned newspapers to look through.

Applications for Education
Contributing to the Beyond Words project could be a great way to get students interested in newspaper archives. Browsing through the newspapers to find illustrations doesn't feel as intimidating to some students as a task in which they have to read through dozens of pages of 100+ year old newspapers.

Create Interactive Diagrams on Quizlet

Earlier this month Quizlet, a popular flashcard service, added a new interactive diagram feature. This new feature can be used by students and teachers to create review activities that are based upon pictures and charts. Clicking on a point on an interactive Quizlet image will reveal the name or term clicked. You can then "flip" the flashcard just as you would with any other Quizlet flashcard. Multiple interactive elements can be added to each picture or diagram that you upload to your Quizlet account. This interactive map of Europe is a great demonstration of what can be done with the new interactive diagram feature in Quizlet.


Applications for Education
The option to review their Quizlet flashcards in the context of a larger diagram is a nice improvement. Learning about the parts of a cell or reviewing the locations of cities and states are perfect uses for the new interactive diagram feature in Quizlet.

There are a couple of other services on the market that also provide tools for creating quiz questions in the form of an interactive diagram. Those services are GoFormative and TinyTap.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

The Science of Autumn

This Friday is the Autumnal Equinox in the northern hemisphere. The changing leaves, the cooler air, and the earlier sunsets are just part of science of autumn. Here are some resources for teaching and learning about the sights and sounds of autumn.

To help students understand why the leaves change colors in the fall, the Maine Forest Service has an animated video explaining why leaves change colors. The video is titled Maine's Autumn Magic and you can watch it here.

Although they're not as informative as the resource above, National Geographic has a couple of nice photo galleries of fall foliage. Click here for a small gallery of images from Acadia National Park. Click here for a gallery of images from the Adirondack Park.

Untamed Science offers a good, partially animated, explanation of why leaves change colors, what produces the colors, and why bright and sunny days are best for viewing red leaves. The video is embedded below.


Autumnal Colors is a short video produced by Thomas Rasel. The two minute video highlights the sights and sounds of autumn. A bugling elk and a squirrel preparing for winter are a couple of the sights and sounds included in the video.


Autumn from Thomas Rasel on Vimeo.


Autumn Stars and Planets is a short PBS video that explains why the stars and planets that we see from Earth change with the seasons. The video is embedded below.


Reactions, a great YouTube channel from the American Chemical Society, offers a nice video about the chemistry involved in the process of leaves changing color. The videos explains how chlorophyll and the glucose stored inside trees help reveal the reds, yellows and, browns of fall foliage.



SciShow Kids offers the following video about the science of changing leaves.

ClassClimate Updated to Remove Need for Student Email Addresses

Last week I reviewed a new service called ClassClimate that lets your students record and share with your how they feel in your classroom. My one criticism of the service was that it required students to have email addresses. ClassClimate responded to me on Monday with an update that they have removed the requirement for students to have email addresses.

ClassClimate now lets your students record how they feel by just going to a unique URL assigned to your teacher account. This new option is called "Speed Read." Just share your unique URL and then your students can take enter their feelings without any registration necessary.

How to Launch Kahoot Challenges

Challenge mode is one of the key features of the new Kahoot mobile app. Challenge mode lets students play your Kahoot quiz games even when they aren't in your classroom. When Challenge mode is used students see your quiz questions and the answer choices on the same screen on their mobile phones.

In the video embedded below I demonstrate how to use Kahoot's new Challenge mode.