Thursday, April 16, 2009

Lesson Plans and More for US History Teachers

US History Site provides US History teachers with a good collection of lesson plans, timelines, and images for teaching US History. Teachers will find materials appropriate for use in elementary, middle, and high school classrooms. To make finding resources easy, US History Site has organized all of their resources by eras and topics which you can browse through. You can also search for US History lesson plans through the general search box at the top of US History Site.

Here are some related resources that may be of interest to you:
The Library of Congress on YouTube
History Channel's Guide to the US States
Shmoop Study Guides for History and Literature
Exploring US History Through Images and Documents
History Links You Might Have Missed

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Ning Hits One Million Networks - Have You Joined?

Visit Classroom 2.0
According to many sources today, Ning, the do it yourself platform for creating social networks now hosts one million networks. Reading the stories about Ning hosting one million networks made me think that it might be a good time to remind people of a few good Ning networks for teachers.

Classroom 2.0 is probably the largest and most well-known Ning network for teachers. Classroom 2.0 has nearly 22,000 members from a wide range of academic disciplines. The discussion forums and groups in Classroom 2.0 can provide a wealth of information. I am a member of Classroom 2.o although I'm not a particularly active member.

The EFL Classroom is a network for EFL teachers. EFL classroom has more than 6,000 members.

The National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) Ning is a network of more than 300 social studies teachers. I joined this network a couple of weeks ago and immediately started learning about great resources and ideas that I can use in my US History courses.

There are hundreds of smaller niche networks for teachers of all content areas and grade levels. If you're looking for a way to connect with people that teach the same things you teach, try Classroom 2.0 or do a search for one of the many niche networks. If you still don't find just what you're looking for, create your network and send out invitations.

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Visualizing Cultures

Visualizing Cultures is an interesting project created and developed at MIT. Visualizing Cultures consists of thirteen visual narratives accompanied by essays. The project combines visual narratives and essays to tell the history of Japan since the arrival of Commodore Perry or as MIT describes it, the history of Japan in the modern world. The essays can be read on the website or downloaded as PDF's for printing. Each visual narrative consists of several sections, each section consists of ten to fifteen images with captions. In some ways Visualizing Cultures could be described as an academic picture book.

Applications for Education
Visualizing Cultures could be used at a wide range of grade levels. The essays could be used in a high school history class and the visual narratives could be used in a middle school or possibly elementary school class. Visualizing Cultures provides model for students to use as they create visual narratives of their own.

According to the website, Visualizing Cultures has plans to add visual narratives about China.

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Moodle Tutorial Videos

If you're a new Moodle user Moodle Tutorials could be a great reference for you. Moodle Tutorials provides a free place for users to share the video tutorials that they create. As long as your video is about Moodle, you can contribute to Moodle Tutorials. Every video on the Moodle Tutorials website is accompanied by an embed code and a download option.

If you would like to use Moodle, but your school doesn't support installing it on your local network, you may want to consider using Global Classroom's free hosting options.
Update: May 2012 - Moodle Tutorials seems to have gone offline. 

Tea Parties Then and Now

Yesterday was Tax Day here in the United States. Across the country various groups, including one here in Maine, organized "tea parties" to protest excessive taxation. Today's episode of CNN Student News starts out with a three minute segment about the various protests that took place yesterday. The video is embedded below.

Applications for Education
This video could be used to start a good classroom discussion about the size of the federal government, the role of government in the lives of private citizens, and the question of where does tax money go?

The video makes a comparison to the Boston Tea Party of 1773. You could have students compare the issues surrounding the Boston Tea Party and the issues surrounding today's tax system. The National Archives has a some good primary documents and lesson plans about the Boston Tea Party that you may want to explore.

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PBL - Professional Learning Board Toolbar

The Professional Learning Board toolbar is a browser add-on designed with teachers and librarians in mind. The PBL toolbar provides a selection of tools that can help teachers quickly locate lesson plans and other educational resources hand picked by PBL. The toolbar also helps you quickly find grant resources and professional development resources.

I installed the PBL toolbar and tried it for a while. Many of the resources that found in the PBL toolbar had an elementary school and middle school focus. I prefer a clutter-free toolbar so the PBL toolbar didn't appeal to my visual senses. That said, it is very easy to use and I can see it being a great toolbar for some teachers.

Here is a screenshot of classroom resources tab in the PBL toolbar.

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