Monday, August 31, 2009

Google Translate Adds More Languages

Last week Google announced the integration of Google Translate into Google Docs. At the time of that announcement Google Translate handled 42 languages. Now Google Translate accommodates 51 languages. You can read the announcement from Google here.

US Government Studies Games

Law Focused Education, a subsidiary of the State Bar of Texas, has developed some good games about US Government. Law Focused Education has thirteen games that could be used in Civics and Social Studies classrooms across the United States. There are three additional games that are specific to Texas.

The games offered by Law Focused Education cover topics like the Bill of Rights, the US Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, and the Branches of Government. One topic addressed by Law Focused Education that you don't often see turned into a game is Federalists v. Anti-Federalists.

Thanks to Anne Marie at Talking SMARTBoards for the tip.

Applications for Education
Law Focused Education's games could be excellent review games for use in Civics and US History classes. In fact, I linked one of the games to the blog for my own class.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:

EL Civics - Civics Lessons for ESL Students
Connecting Social Studies and Art Through Video
Bill of Rights Rap

Online Art Education - Smithsonian Art Museum

The Smithsonian American Art Museum offers thirteen fantastic online activities for use in art and history classes. The activities range from topics like Cleopatra Lost and Found to Picturing the 1930's to Exploring Whitehouse Craft.

I spent some time today exploring the Picturing the 1930's exhibit and activities. In Picturing the 1930's students can walk through a virtual museum exploring paintings, documents, music, and film. While walking through the virtual museum students will be greeted by "tour guides" who will explain various aspects of the exhibit. The virtual museum is easy to navigate by using the arrows at the bottom of the screen or clicking through doorways. After exploring the art work in the virtual museum, students can create their own documentary-style film using images, text, and narration using the Picturing the 1930's film editor.

Applications for Education
I'm a big fan of online activities that provide students with learning materials and provide a place for students to immediately use their new knowledge. Picturing the 1930's does just that. Picturing the 1930's could be used in an art class or in a US History class. The other activities provided by the Smithsonian American Art Museum look just as promising as Picturing the 1930's.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
ArtsEdge - Podcasts and Lesson Plans
Blogs for Art Teachers
Kodak Lesson Plans

Want to Know What My Classes Are Doing?

In the style of Dan Meyer and Larry Ferlazzo, I share with you the link to my classroom blog for the year. is where I will be posting the videos, articles, and other materials that I use in class throughout the year. This year I'm teaching 11th grade US History and an elective Civics course. If you're interested in what my students and I are doing, feel free to take a look at anytime.

10 Good Videos About Flu Prevention

The US Department of Health and Human Services recently held a contest for people to create public service announcements about influenza prevention. The ten finalists have been selected and the voting for the top video is now open. You can see all ten of the finalist videos on Department of Health and Human Service's YouTube channel. I've embedded one of the videos below.

Applications for Education
These videos about flu awareness are a great way to spread the message to students and parents about the things they can do to stay healthy and prevent the spread of illnesses in their schools.

I particularly like this video, the H1N1 rap.

43 Things - Goal Setting and Progress Tracking

I've written about 43 Things in the past, but as school starts again I thought it would be worthwhile to revisit it. 43 Things is an interesting way to track goals and achievements. 43 Things is not a personal organizer, it's a goal tracker. The service is simple, users enter a list of things that they want to accomplish and other users can "cheer" them on until the goal is reached.

Applications for Education
43 Things might be an interesting way for parents to cheer and encourage their students to complete long-term assignments or other goals like making an athletics team or completing an independent study.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
Track Class - Assignment Tracking for Students
Deadline Helps You Meet Deadlines
IzzyToDo - Easy To Do List Builder