Wednesday, April 11, 2018

5 Good Resources for Teaching and Learning About the American Revolution

This coming Monday is Patriots' Day. It is an official state holiday here in Maine, in Massachusetts, and in Wisconsin. 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.

History Animated has an entire section called Revolutionary War Animated. That is a great place to find nice animated maps of troop movements throughout the Revolutionary War. Despite looking rather web 1.0, this resource is one that I continue to return to because it does a great job of illustrating the movement of battles.

America, A Narrative History is a text published by Norton. As a free supplement to the book, Norton offers ten Google Earth tours. These tours include major themes and events in US History. The American Revolution is one of the Google Earth tours included in the list of tours.

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.

From now until April 17th my Teaching History With Technology course is 20% off the regular price. Click here to get the discounted price. 

Now You Can Add Custom Links to Google Sites Navigation Bar

At first I wasn't thrilled with the switch from the old version of Google Sites to the new one. That was largely due to the absence of many useful features in the new version that had existed in the old version. Slowly Google has added those features back into the new (current) version of Sites. In December Google added support for third-party embed codes, in January they added new sharing options, in March custom favicons became an option, and today Google announced the option to put custom links into the navigation bar in your Google Sites.

As with most updates to Google Sites, this new feature will be rolled-out over the course of a few weeks. If you don't see the new feature today, it's coming soon.

Applications for Education
Adding custom links to the navigation bar in Google Sites means that your site's header navigation could include links to things like your social media profiles, your school district's website, or to any reference sites that you frequently direct your students to visit.

High school students who are using Google Sites to build digital portfolios that may seen as part of an application to college or internship program, may want to consider using custom navigation links to their social media accounts. Doing so could show awareness of their digital footprints.

Jungle Jeopardy - A Game About Ecosystems

Jungle Jeopardy is an online game produced by PBS Kids for students in first through fourth grade. In the game students have to construct a small ecosystem and keep it healthy for twelve days (a day refers to one round of the game).

In Jungle Jeopardy students keep their ecosystems healthy by adding plants and animals to it to maintain a balance. Students earn points based on how healthy their ecosystems are at the end of each day. At the end of each day students receive a report on the health of their ecosystems. Based on those reports students then have to add more or less of a plant or animal for the next day. For example, in one of the rounds that I played I didn't have enough insects in my ecosystem to support the lizards that I had added into the ecosystem. In the next round I made sure to add more ants to keep my ecosystem balanced.

Applications for Education
Just playing Jungle Jeopardy could help students understand how an ecosystem needs to stay balanced. The game can also be used as part of a larger lesson plan from PBS Learning Media called Ecosystem Challenge. The free lesson plan incorporates Jungle Jeopardy and three other similar games in which students try to maintain balanced ecosystems.

5 Features of OneNote That You Won't Find in Google Keep

Earlier this year I shared that I have moved almost all of my online bookmarking and note-taking to OneNote. That's not to say that don't like Google Keep anymore, in fact, I still like and even have a whole lesson about it in my G Suite training course. In a side-by-side comparison for bookmarking and simple note-taking both tools are about the same in my eyes. But when you go beyond those basic tasks OneNote outshines Google Keep. For example, here are five things that OneNote can do that Google Keep can't.

OneNote offers pre-made templates that students can use to follow a lesson and take notes. You can also create your own templates for your students to use.  Watch my video to learn how to find templates and or create your own templates in OneNote.

Immersive Reader
Immersive Reader is a free tool that will read aloud the articles that students have in their OneNote notebooks. Immersive Reader does more than just read articles aloud. It will identify to students the nouns, verbs, and adjectives within an article. Students can also choose to have every syllable of word identified for them.

Ink to Text
OneNote has a great feature for those who like to take notes by using a stylus on a tablet. That feature is the option to have handwriting converted into text.

Video Recording
OneNote has a built-in option for recording a video with your webcam and have it saved directly in your notebook.

Screen Capture
Need to capture all or part of screen? OneNote has a built-in option for taking a screenshot and saving it directly into your notebook. Of course, you can annotate the screen capture image in OneNote by using the integrated drawing tools.

Reminder - Free Common Craft Webinar Today

Today, at 2pm Eastern Time, Lee LeFever from Common Craft is hosting a free webinar about how they make their popular explanatory videos. During the webinar Lee will show how their process from start to finish. Register here to join the free webinar.

In other Common Craft news, they released a new video this week. The new video provides an explanation of Fair Use.