Google
 

Monday, April 17, 2017

5 Good Resources for Teaching and Learning About the American Revolution

Today is Patriots' Day. Here in Maine as well as in Massachusetts and Wisconsin it's an official state holiday. The day commemorates 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.

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.

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.

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.

Desmos Now Offers an Online Geometry Tool

Desmos, the company known for its online graphing calculator, recently released a new online geometry tool. Desmos Geometry is designed to help students understand geometry concepts through the use of drawing and diagram manipulation tools. Your students can use Desmos Geometry or you can use to create demonstrations. Desmos has created a page of resources for learning how to use Desmos Geometry.


It's important to note that Desmos made clear in its launch announcement that Desmos Geometry is meant to be a fast and light tool, it's not meant to duplicate the features of tools like Geogebra.

Number Rack & Geoboard - Good Apps for Elementary School Math

Geoboard is a free app on which students stretch virtual rubber bands over pegboards to create lines and shapes to learn about perimeter, area, and angles. The app is available as as an iPad app and as a Chrome app. It can also be used directly in any updated web browser. The browser-based version can be found here.


Number Rack provides a set of virtual number beads that are grouped into sets of five red and five white beads. Number Rack on the iPad allows students to have up to 10 rows of beads. Number Rack on the web provides up to five rows of beads. You can obscure some of the beads to model subtraction and addition with the virtual beads. Number Rack for iPads is available here and it is available here for the web.

Applications for Education
Neither of these apps offer anything ground-breaking. If you're looking for mobile versions of classic elementary school math activities, these apps are worth a look.

Words of the World - Learn the Origin of Words

Words of the World is another excellent set of videos from the same people that brought us the popular Periodic Table of VideosWords of the World is a collection of videos featuring historians and linguists explaining the origins of and history of the use of words in the English language. The videos attempt to put the words into a somewhat modern context. For example this video about the word "guerrilla" makes reference to Che Guevara. The video I've embedded below explains the word "coup."


Applications for Education
Words of the World could be an instructive model for your own lesson combining history and language arts. Have your students pick a word or two that they think is common and research it. Then have them create their own short videos in which they explain the history of those words. You might even have them research the dialect of the areas in which they live. For example, where I live we have a Range Pond. Most people would pronounce that as range, like "home on the range" yet everyone around here pronounces it as rang as in "the bell rang."  I'm not sure why that is the case, but I would love to find out.

WriteReader and Sesame Street Partner to Help Kids Create Multimedia Stories

WriteReader, a fantastic multimedia writing platform, has just announced a partnership with Sesame Street. This partnership brings Sesame Street characters into WriteReader's bank of images for students to use in their own stories. Now when students create a story in WriteReader they can choose one or all of twenty Sesame Street characters to place into scenes in their stories.

In WriteReader students can craft entire stories featuring Sesame Street characters. For example, students can write a story that is a dialogue between Elmo and Oscar the Grouch. Or you might have a student write a story about Big Bird going on an adventure.
Applications for Education
The Sesame Street characters in WriteReader could be used to help your students develop new story ideas. In a way, it's kind of like fan fiction for elementary school students.

If you're an elementary school teacher who hasn't tried WriteReader, the most important thing for you to know is that the platform is designed for collaboration between you and your students. When your students write in their WriteReader accounts you can log-in and see what they have written and then make suggestions directly below what they have written in their stories. Watch my video below to see how it works.



Disclosure: WriteReader is currently an advertiser on FreeTech4Teachers.com