Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Free Teaching Materials from the Zinn Education Project

A People's History of the United States is frequently used by teachers of U.S. History because Howard Zinn's book tells the history of the United States in a way it is quite different from typical U.S. History textbooks. A People's History of the United States gives students an alternative perspective on history.
The Zinn Education Project is a website designed to help teachers use A People's History of the United States in their classrooms. The Zinn Education Project provides complete lesson plans for use in elementary school, middle school, and high school settings. In some cases the lesson plans include document excerpts and references to A People's History of the United States. On the Zinn Education Project site you can search for lesson plans by time period, theme, or by student reading levels.

Applications for Education
If you teach US History the Zinn Education Project is a great resource to have in your toolkit. It's easy to locate lesson plans that meet your needs and downloading the plans is free once you're registered.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Try Azendoo to Organize Group Projects

Azendoo is a nice service designed to help teams divide and track project responsibilities. In Azendoo you can invite people to join a workspace in which all of you can create tasks, assign task due dates, and send messages to each other. Creating tasks is a simple matter of filling in the "task" field and choosing a due date.

Azendoo allows teachers and students to have as many workspaces as they need. Each workspace provides 10GB of storage. Azendoo works with Evernote, Google Drive, Dropbox, and Box so that your team can share materials from those accounts.

Applications for Education
Azendoo could be a good tool for high school and college students to use to organize long-term group projects. After they plan and assign tasks students can use Azendoo to send reminder messages to each other.

Register Now for the Wolfram Virtual Education Conference

Wolfram, the producers of the popular Wolfram Alpha computational search tool and Wolfram Mathmatica, is hosting a free virtual conference on September 17th. The event is focused on using Wolfram Mathmatica, Alpha, and CDF to support STEM teachers. The conference has two strands. One strand is focused on the how-to for your classroom. The other strand is focused on changing STEM curriculum.

The conference runs from 2pm to 6:30pm EDT on September 17th. You can get the complete details and register here.

Before the conference begins you might want to take a look at Wolfram Alpha for Educators. Wolfram Alpha for Educators is a collection of free lesson plans, examples of, and ideas for using Wolfram Alpha in the classroom. The lesson plans are currently arranged in three categories; mathematics, science, and social studies. All of the lesson plans are available as free pdf downloads. The lesson plans are labeled according to grade level, but you cannot see the grade level label until you download the lesson plan. In addition to the free lesson plans, Wolfram Alpha has a small collection of videos featuring teachers explaining how they are using Wolfram Alpha in their classrooms.

Try Class Charts for Online Attendance & Behavior Reporting

This month Class Charts became a financial supporter of Free Technology for Teachers. Here's what Class Charts is all about. 

Class Charts is a free service designed by a teacher for teachers. The service is best described as one part seating chart and one part behavior chart. In Class Charts you can create and arrange as many seating charts as you like. You can create charts in a "seating" format that shows seat placement or you can use a list view. You can use students' real pictures in your charts or you can use one of the avatar images in your charts.

Class Charts seating charts double as behavior tracking charts. To document a student's attendance and behavior just select his name from the chart and tap the appropriate icon for attendance or behavior. You can record positive and negative behaviors. Students and parents can see their reports by accessing Class Charts through an invitation code that you send to them.

If you're an Edmodo user you can find Class Charts in the Edmodo app store. Class Charts has been one of the most popular apps since it was added to Edmodo a few months ago.


A Nice Selection of Travel Books for Kids

Last month I introduced The Global Bookshelf as a good place to find books to inspire students to see the world. This week Gillian, the woman behind The Global Bookshelf, added a new section dedicated to travel stories for kids. The collection is relatively small at the moment (21 titles) but is sure to grow.

Applications for Education
As I mentioned last month Gillian is very keen to have others add their book reviews to The Global Bookshelf. If you have high school students who have read some travel narratives, consider having them write a review to share on The Global Bookshelf. This is a great way to provide an authentic audience for your students' work.