Sunday, February 1, 2009

January's Most Popular Items

In the month of January I published 108 blog posts. Listed below are the five most popular items, based on clicks and views, of those 108.

1. Teaching Internet Search Strategies
2. The Inauguration in 60 Seconds
3. 10 Questions for Stephenie Meyer
4. Zigtag - Semantic, Social Bookmarking
5. Two Sources of Writing Prompts

Create a Strong and Simple Password

I recently came across a simple, but effective password creation tool. Password Bird was featured on iLearn Technology last week. Password Bird is a simple website that asks you three questions then generates a password for you based on your responses. Every password it generated for me included numbers and letters. If you don't like the password it generates for you, simply click the link for a new password.

Applications for Education
Password Bird is a great tool to have students try when they can't think of their own computer passwords. This is a particularly handy tool when students have to create passwords that include numbers.

Alltop - Links for Homeschooling

Last Wednesday I wrote a blog post about Alltop. Alltop is a Guy Kawasaki project and it seems that he never stops working to improve Alltop. Today, through one of Guy's Twitter messages I learned that Alltop has a page dedicated to sharing links about homeschooling for homeschooling parents. If you're a homeschooling parent or work with homeschooling parents check out Alltop's Homeschool page.

The Gold Rush - Lesson Plans and Resources

The California Gold Rush of 1849 is a part of almost every US History curriculum from elementary school through high school. An image featured in last week's feed from the National Archives prompted me to look for some new-to-me resources for teaching the Gold Rush.

1. National Geographic Xpeditions has a 2-3 hours lesson plan for elementary school students about the boom and bust of gold rush towns. The lesson plan calls for students to view and reflect on a series of photographs of gold rush towns.

2. Harcourt School Publishers has a free website that is designed to accompany their elementary school textbooks. On the website students can scroll through a series of drawings about Sutter's Mill (the place where gold was discovered setting off the gold rush). Clicking on each image reveals a box of text summarizing the significance of that image. Harcourt School Publishers also has a short timeline of the gold rush.

3. The Oakland Museum of Calfornia has a great set of resources for teaching about the California Gold Rush. On the museum's website you will find lesson plans for elementary school, middle school, and high school use. The virtual exhibit includes art and images about the gold rush as well as narratives about gold rush participants. After exploring the online exhibit students can take a quiz about the California Gold Rush.

4. Finally, no list about a US History topic can be constructed without checking PBS has a website built as a companion to their American Experience television program about the Gold Rush. You can use many of the resources on the website without watching the program. The Strike it Rich game, the interactive map, and the timeline can all be used without having seen the American Experience Gold Rush episodes.