Thursday, October 23, 2008

Stellar Survey - Get Stellar Feedback from Students

Stellar Survey offers free surveys that teachers and school administrators can use to get feedback about courses and instructors. Users can select from a predefined template and questions or create a survey from scratch. The free, basic account only allows 50 responses per survey so it is not ideal for large classes, but for most teachers 50 responses will adequate.

Applications for Education
Stellar Survey could be a good way to get anonymous feedback from students about the courses you teach. Stellar Survey could also be used to create a short quiz to use as a gauge of how much information your students are retaining.

Lewis and Clark Lesson Plans - Elementary through College

The journey of Lewis and Clark and the Corps of Discovery is one of the most fascinating stories in United States history. It is therefore one of the most frequently taught topics in US History. From early elementary school through college the story of Lewis and Clark is studied by America students. The most comprehensive source of lesson plans about Lewis and Clark is found on the PBS website. If those lesson plans don't suit your needs take a look at some of these other resources that can be used to teach the story of Lewis and Clark.

Elementary School Resources

Scholastic's Lewis and Clark page features a self-guided virtual tour. A great feature of the Scholastic page is the Scholastic Word Wizard that students can use to find the definition of any word on the page.

The Smithsonian's Lewis and Clark page offers lesson plans for elementary grades and middle school grades. The elementary school lesson plan is titled Animal Encounters. Animal Encounters is a two part lesson in which students draw pictures and write descriptions of the animals Lewis and Clark encountered on their journey.

The Science of Lewis and Clark is a lesson plan developed by a teacher at the South Central Service Cooperative in Camden, Arkansas. This lesson plan is focused on the science of the Lewis and Clark expedition.

The Lewis and Clark provides a series of elementary school lesson plans covering a number of themes related to the Lewis and Clark expedition. The themes addressed include politics and diplomacy, trip planning, animals, trade, plants, and language.

National Geographic Expeditions offers a lesson plan focused on the theme of mapping. The lesson plan also addresses the justification for exploration and land use.

Middle School/ High School Resources
A member of the Google Earth development team created a Google Earth KMZ file depicting the journey of Lewis and Clark. This file could be used by students to plot information along the trail of Lewis and Clark. You may also consider creating a timeline to use in conjunction with Google Earth. You can find a brief tutorial about adding a timeline on the Google Earth Design blog.

The Smithsonian offers a lesson plan designed for middle school use called "Mapping the Unmapped." This is a five part lesson plan that address geography standards as well as writing standards.

The Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Online Exhibition offers lesson plans for middle school and high school. Some of the high school lesson plans introduce students to using primary documents for research and learning.

The National Archives offers a great lesson plan for high school students. The lesson requires students to evaluate primary documents and images.

High School/ College
On iTunes University I found a fourteen part audio and video series about the Louisiana Purchase. Although it is not specifically about Lewis and Clark, the two videos I've watched were beneficial for understanding implications of the Louisiana Purchase as it relates to Lewis and Clark. The course is produced by the University of New Orleans.

Halloween Safety Sites and a History Game

The highlight of the fall for many young students, Halloween, is quickly approaching. Anne Marie at Talking SMART Boards has shared a couple of good sites for teaching students about Halloween safety. Halloween Magazine has a safety game for students as well as a list of safety tips for students and parents. The Hershey's candy company has also produced a fun quiz about Halloween safety. If you're looking for some websites about the history of Halloween, Larry Ferlazzo has assembled a nice list of resources that you may want to check out.

On a related note, once again I'll be dressing as Martin Luther (the German monk) on October 31st and once again only a handful of history geeks will get the joke. Send me a Twitter or leave a comment if you get the joke. Here's a hint, the date October 31 is significant for more than just Halloween. The first person to figure it out wins... bragging rights and a link to their blog. (Actually, I'll link to anyone that gets the joke).

Update: Mrs. Emma Haygood, who authors The Scientific Shamrock, is the first person to respond correctly. See the comments for the answer.