Thursday, November 1, 2018

LOC Crowd - Crowdsourcing the Transcription of Primary Sources

The Library of Congress has launched a new crowdsourcing initiative to transcribe primary source documents. The new initiative simply called Crowd has contains collections of documents that the Library of Congress wants the public to help transcribe.

Anyone can participate in the LOC's Crowd project. To get started simply go to the site and click on one of the five collections of documents. The current collections are Branch Rickey: Changing the Game, Civil War Soldiers: Disabled But Not Disheartened, Clara Barton: Angel of the Battlefield, Letters to Lincoln, and Mary Church Terrell: Advocate for African Americans and Women. Once you've chosen a collection you can choose an individual document within the collection. Your chosen document will appear on the left side of the screen and a field for writing your transcription appears on the right side of the screen. After you have completed your transcription it is submitted for peer review.

Applications for Education
The LOC's Crowd project could be a good opportunity for high school students and some middle school students to learn while contributing to a national project. All of the collections in Crowd do have timelines and some other resources that help to provide context for the documents that are in need of transcription.

The Smithsonian has a similar crowdsourcing project called Smithsonian Digital Volunteers.

What are Spices and Herbs? - And What is Pumpkin Spice?

We are in full-blown pumpkin spice season here in New England. Everywhere you look stores are selling pumpkin spice coffee, donuts, cakes, candles, and anything else that spice can be crammed into. This, of course, begs the question "what is pumpkin spice?" That's the question that is addressed in the latest episode of SciShow Kids. But before answering that question the video explains what spices and herbs are and how they are combined to create flavors. Click here to watch the video or watch it as embedded below.

Three Thanksgiving-Themed Activities To Do This Month

Now that it is November it's time to start sharing some resources and ideas for Thanksgiving-themed lessons (apologies to readers outside of the U.S. who don't celebrate Thanksgiving when Americans do, if at all). Here are a few activities that you could start now and have your students continue working on throughout the month.

1. Contribute to The Great Thanksgiving Listen 2018.
For the fourth year in a row StoryCorps is hosting The Great Thanksgiving Listen. This is an initiative designed to get people to talk with family members and record stories about Thanksgiving. There are new in-depth lesson materials available for 2018. These include handouts on how to record, tips for making conducting interviews, and permission slips to send home with students.

2. Create a Thanksgiving traditions Flipgrid. 
Flipgrid makes it easy to have students record and share quick video responses to a teacher's prompts. Create a Flipgrid and ask your students to share their favorite Thanksgiving traditions. Use Flipgrid's new Flipgrid Pals tool to find other classrooms to connect with to share stories of Thanksgiving traditions.

3. A Thanksgiving traditions Wakelet or Padlet.
Both Wakelet and Padlet will let you create a digital sticky note board to which students can add notes about their favorite Thanksgiving traditions. Their notes can include pictures, text, and videos.

It's Time to Change the Clocks

I'm one of those rare people who actually likes turning the clocks back in the fall. Sure, it means that it gets dark earlier, but I'm an early riser and like seeing the sun in the morning. This weekend we're changing our clocks and if you are too, your students might have some questions about why we change the clocks in the fall and spring.

The following videos offer concise explanations of Daylight Saving Time.

Although it's not about daylight saving time, this TED-Ed lesson about the standardization of timezones is worth watching.

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