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Monday, April 15, 2013

Class Charts Is Now Available As a Free Edmodo App

Two weeks ago I reviewed a new free student attendance and behavior recording tool called Class Charts. Class Charts is a service that is best described as one part seating chart and one part behavior chart. This evening I discovered that Class Charts has a free Edmodo app too. So if you're an Edmodo user looking for an easy way to add a great student behavior recording tool, take a look at the Class Charts Edmodo app.

In Class Charts you can create and arrange as many seating charts as you like. You can create charts in a "seating" format that shows seat placement or you can use a list view. You can use students' real pictures in your charts or you can use one of the avatar images in your charts. Class Charts seating charts double as behavior tracking charts. To document a student's attendance and behavior just select his name from the chart and tap the appropriate icon for attendance or behavior. You can record positive and negative behaviors. Students and parents can see their reports by accessing Class Charts through an invitation code that you send to them. 

SendHub - Easy Management of Group Text Messaging Now on Android

SendHub is a group text messaging system that I first reviewed about this time last year. SendHub is a service that allows you to send text messages to groups of up to fifty people at once for free. SendHub is an opt-in service. You give parents and students a code to text to opt-in to be a part of one of your groups. You can manage up to three groups in a free account. When you're ready to send a text message you can send it to one or all of groups at once from your cellphone, from your tablet, or from your computer.

Today, SendHub released an Android app that you can use to manage your SendHub messages and groups.


Applications for Education
Students and sometimes their parents can't help but look at their phones when they hear the alert that they have a new text message. Capitalize on this compulsive behavior by using SendHub to send reminders to students about homework and other important information for your class. You can also use it to send out encouragement and praise for a job well done.

Cinelab - Simple Video Editing for Windows 8

Cinelab is a free Windows 8 app for quickly editing videos on your computer or Windows 8 phone. You can trim the start and end times of your video clips and combine clips to create a new video. To edit a clip and or create a new compilation of clips open the Cinelab app and start a new project. To get your project rolling import clips stored on your computer or phone. To edit an imported clip right-click on it then drag the start and stop indicators into position. You can preview and edit your projects as many times as you like.

Applications for Education
One of the blogging activities that I think is often overlooked is having students post short video updates to a classroom blog. The videos could be observations of things they discovered during a field trip, a science experiment, or just things they've learned during the week. Cinelab could be a good Windows 8 app for students to use to do some quick editing of those videos to post on classroom blogs or their own blogs.

10 Resources for Teaching About the American Revolution

Today is Patriots' Day in Massachusetts and Maine. The day commemorates the anniversary of the first battles of the American Revolutionary War, The Battles of Lexington and Concord. As a New Englander this is a good day to review some good resources for teaching and learning about the American Revolution.

Mission U.S. offers an interactive journey through Boston in 1770 (five years before the Battles of Lexington and Concord) through the perspective of a 14 year old boy who has to choose sides. The game can be played entirely online or downloaded for play on your PC or Mac (you do need an Internet connection to save a game in progress).



Revolutionary War Animated is a great place to find nice animated maps of troop movements throughout the Revolutionary War. I've used this resource with one of my classes for a couple of years now and while the animations are simple, they do a great job of illustrating the battles.

America, A Narrative History is a text published by WW Norton. As a free supplement to the book, Norton has published ten Google Earth tours. These tours include major themes and events in US History. The list includes the Revolutionary War, the path to the Civil War, WWII, the Vietnam War, the Civil Rights Movement, Lewis & Clark's expedition, the Indian Removal Act, Pre-Columbian North America, the national parks system, and the 20th Century power grid. All of the tours include multiple images and references. Some of the tours also have "tour questions" for students to answer.

Teaching American History has a series of interactive lessons about the American Revolution that are suitable for middle school and elementary school use. The lessons are divided into three chronological sections; 1775-1778, 1778-1781, and Treaty of Paris 1783. All of the lessons in the first two sections ask students to locate a place on a map. Students then answer a question about that place. After answering the question students are given a short text lesson. The lessons appear in chronological order. In the section on the Treaty of Paris students move through a series of placemarks on a map to learn about the terms of the Treaty of Paris.

Pictures of the Revolutionary War is a compilation of images about the Revolutionary War. The images in the collection chronicle the stirrings of rebellion in the pre-revolution years, the war from both American and British perspectives, and events following the Revolutionary War.

Crash Course has a ten part series on U.S. History. Included in that series is Taxes & Smuggling - Prelude to Revolution.



Keith Hughes offers Colonialism for Dummies as part of his series on U.S. History for Dummies.


The American Revolution Center has a fantastic interactive timeline about the American Revolution. The timeline features an easily navigated combination of text and images. Click on any event in the timeline to view a short paragraph about that event. Click on an image of an artifact in the timeline and a you will see an enlarged image of that artifact. The page hosting the enlarged artifact image also hosts a description of the artifact and in some cases a video podcast about the artifact. It really is one of the best US History timelines that I've come across.

Liberty, The American Revolution is a feature on PBS.org. There are a couple of resources in this feature that are worth noting. First, and probably the most useful, is The Chronicle of Revolution. The Chronicle of Revolution provides a timeline of events that contributed to the start of the American Revolution. Students can read newspaper accounts as they go through the chronicles. Within each newspaper account there are links to further reading about important people and places mentioned in the articles. The second item of interest in Liberty, The American Revolution is the Road to Revolution game. The game isn't really a game, it's more like a quiz with some graphics added to it. The game is designed to quiz students on the information in The Chronicle of Revolution.

The Revolution: Interactive Guide is a free iPad app about the American Revolution. The video embedded below provides a detailed overview of the app. Here are a few of the highlights of the app:
Narration of text.
Quizzes after each section.
Interactive images.
Flashcards
Comparisons to other revolutions.

5 Resources to Help Students Learn About Income Taxes

Today is the busiest day of the year for the U.S. Post Office. Why? Because tax returns have to be post marked by today. If you're looking for some resources for teaching about taxes, take a look at the items below.

This morning's episode of CNN Student News has a short segment on income taxes. And on the topic of the economics, today's episode also explains Bitcoins.


For high school students, college students, and adults CNN's Explain It To Me video about the "Buffett Rule" explains why sometimes the super rich don't pay as high a percentage of their income in taxes as the rest of us.

From time to time we all wonder where our tax dollars go. Now thanks to the White House's Federal Tax Payer Receipt we can find out. Visitors to the site can enter the data from their actual tax returns, enter data that they estimate, or choose to use one of the "common scenarios" to see a breakdown of what their tax dollars will be spent on.

Another place to see how tax revenue is distributed is What We Pay For. What We Pay For uses publicly available tax data to show you how your tax money is appropriated. On the left side of the screen you will see the total revenue and appropriations for the entire United States. On the right side of the screen you can enter your filing status and pre-tax earnings for the year to see the approximate amount you will pay toward US budget items. You can enter your pre-tax earnings as an annual figure, monthly figure, weekly, daily, or hourly wage.

The IRS website, Understanding Taxes, is a good source of lesson plans and individual learning materials about taxes and budgets. In the teacher section of the site you will find lesson plans like this one (opens as pdf) designed to teach students about services for which tax revenue is used. This lesson plan is based on the 2011 tax code, it has not been updated to reflect the 2012 tax code. 

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