Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Google Maps and Common Core

This week I had the opportunity to introduce some teachers to using Google Maps for more than just looking up directions. I was asked to address Common Core standards as a part of the workshop. These are some of the Common Core standards that I think you can address through the use of Google Maps.
  • Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words.
  • Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details and well-structured event sequences.
  • Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and to interact and collaborate with others.
  • Recognize area as an attribute of plane figures and understand concepts of area measurement.

View 27 Measures Activities in Madrid in a larger map

Two Hands-on Economics Lessons for Students

Yesterday I had a conversation with a teacher who had developed his own stock market game for his middle school social studies course. As we were talking I was reminded of a couple of hands-on economics lessons that I have used in the past with high school social studies students.

Captains of Industry is an economics simulation activity. The original version of this activity was developed by my colleague Jason Long. What I'm sharing here is the activity as I've modified it for my classroom. My version is about 75% the same as Jason's original. The point of the activity is for students to experience and experiment with the tactics of American businessmen in the second half of the 19th century. Before trying the activity it is best for students to have some familiarity with the business practices of Rockefeller, Carnegie, Vanderbilt, and Morgan.
Captains of Industry - Economics Simulation


The purpose of Life on Minimum Wage is for students to recognize how difficult it is to save money when your only job(s) pay minimum wage without benefits. To win (prize not determined yet) at Life on Minimum Wage the students have to reach five financial goals that they select. To earn money the students have to complete the tasks of their assigned jobs. The students then have to pay required bills before using money for their selected financial goals. As the game progresses students will be issued "surprise" cards which require them to spend money on things like speeding tickets, trips to a health clinic, and increases in rent.

All of the jobs in Life on Minimum Wage are connected so that if one "business" slows production or closes, the workers of another business are also effected. The goal here is to demonstrate the effects of a business closing on a small town's economy.

Life on Minimum Wage - Lesson Plan

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Google Documents and Common Core Standards

As I mentioned in my previous post, today I spent the day working with teachers on using Google apps to address some Common Core standards. One of the things that I love about working with other teachers is the opportunity to learn from other teachers. During my afternoon workshop I talked with a Language Arts teacher who uses the commenting features in Google Docs and Google Presentations to have students identify and label bias and propaganda in examples that he shares with them.

Prior to today's workshops I identified some Common Core standards that you can address while using Google Documents.
  • Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.
  • Analyze the structure of texts, including how specific sentences, paragraphs, and larger portions of the text (e.g., a section, chapter, scene, or stanza) relate to each other and the whole.
  • Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words.
  • Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.
  • Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.
  • Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach.
  • Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and to interact and collaborate with others.
  • Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects based on focused questions, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.
  • Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, assess the credibility and accuracy of each source, and integrate the information while avoiding plagiarism.
  • Prepare for and participate effectively in a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.
  • Present information, findings, and supporting evidence such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the organization, development, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
  • Make strategic use of digital media and visual displays of data to express information and enhance understanding of presentations.
In December and January I am offering a webinar series on Google Drive and the Common Core.

Google Search and Common Core Standards

I had the privilege to spend today in the Rockingham County, North Carolina public school district. The purpose of my trip was to lead some learning about using Google search, Google Docs, Google Sites, Blogger, and Google Maps to address Common Core standards. In preparing for the day I reviewed some of Google's search lesson plans. All of the lessons include Common Core standards that can be addressed through the lessons. And all of the lessons can be copied into your Google Docs account.

These are some of the Common Core standards addressed in Google's search lesson plans.
  • Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects based on focused questions, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.
  • Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, assess the credibility and accuracy of each source, and integrate the information while avoiding plagiarism.
  • Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including determining technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning or tone.
  • Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse formats and media, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words.
Applications for Education
Most students think they know how to search Google, but most of them don't search as effectively as they could be searching. These lessons can help you help your students become better users of Google search. After using the Google search lesson plans you can help your students keep their search skills sharp by using these Google a Day challenges.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Teenage Life in Ancient Rome - A TED-Ed Lesson

A Glimpse of Teenage Life in Ancient Rome is a new TED-Ed lesson developed by Ray Laurence from the University of Kent. The video and its associated questions feature the story of seventeen year old Lucius Popidius Secundus. Watch the video below.

Applications for Education
After completing this TED-Ed lesson I might have my world history students research what life was like for teenagers in Ancient Rome who did not come from wealthy families.

H/T to Open Culture