Saturday, October 24, 2015

The Week in Review - It's Ski Season!

Good morning from Maine where the leaves still show some signs of autumn, but they're fading fast. A sure sign that winter is almost here is that the local ski resort opened for skiing this week. I haven't been skiing yet this season, but that will change soon. The key to surviving Maine winters is to embrace all of the opportunities for recreation that the weather provides. Otherwise, you just go crazy in the house. Of course, that can be said for just about any season. Getting outside in the fresh air can lower your stress level and is just plain fun. So wherever you are this weekend, I hope that you make time to have fun outdoors.

Here are this week's most popular posts:
1. How to Access Thousands of Free eBooks for Kids
2. How to Create a Word Cloud in Google Documents
3. Candy Crime Scene - A Science Lesson
4. 70 Google Apps Video Tutorials
5. Slides from Colonial Tech Conference #techcsd #delachat
6. How to Duplicate and Edit Public Kahoot Quizzes
7. 12 Good Resources for Teaching Digital Citizenship - A PDF Handout

Would you like to have me speak at your school or conference?
Click here to learn about my professional development services. 

Please visit the official advertisers that help keep this blog going.
Practical Ed Tech is the brand through which I offer PD webinars.
BoomWriter provides a fantastic tool for creating writing lessons. 
Storyboard That is my go-to tool for creating storyboards and cartoon stories.
HelloTalk is a mobile community for learning a new language.
MasteryConnect offers a series of apps for identifying standards. 
Discovery Education & Wilkes University offer online courses for earning Master's degrees in Instructional Media.
PrepFactory offers a great place for students to prepare for SAT and ACT tests.
The University of Maryland Baltimore County offers graduate programs for teachers.
Boise State University offers a 100% online program in educational technology.
EdTechTeacher is hosting host workshops in six cities in the U.S. in the summer.
SeeSaw is a great iPad app for creating digital portfolios.
Lesley University offers online education programs for teachers.
PortfolioGen is a professional portfolio tool for teachers.  
Southeastern University offers online M.Ed programs.

7 Halloween-themed Educational Activities

Halloween is next Saturday. If you're in need of some educational activities with a Halloween-theme, take a look at the resources summarized below. All of these resources have appeared in individual posts in the past.

On Storyboard That you can now turn your storyboards into Halloween cards. In the Storyboard That creator you can use the myths and mystical scenes and characters to create your Halloween story. Once your storyboard is saved you can choose to print it with Halloween borders. The print-out includes lines for cutting and folding your cards. In the video embedded below I demonstrate how to create Halloween cards on Storyboard That.



Every month BoomWriter publishes a new set of vocabulary words to incorporate into writing lessons for elementary and middle school students. The vocabulary word sets are aligned to seasons and holidays. This month the vocabulary set has a Halloween theme. The new Halloween-themed vocabulary lesson plans can be conducted through their free WordWriter service. WordWriter allows teachers to create vocabulary lists that they want students to incorporate into a writing assignment. The new Halloween-themed lesson plans include pre-made lists of Halloween-themed words for your students to use in the writing assignment that you distribute to them.You can find BoomWriter tutorial videos here.

The Pit and the Pendulum is available as an interactive comic book created by Poe in the Pit. If you view the comic book online you can click symbols within it to open videos, additional images, and additional background and analysis of Poe's work. If you choose to print the comic book you can us the QR codes embedded within it to access the videos, images, and additional info on your mobile device.

Number Chase - Math vs. Zombies is a free iPad game with a Halloween theme. The game is has three virtual worlds each containing ten levels of basic math problems. The object of the game is to correctly solve as many math problems as possible before the zombies catch you. The math of the game is basic addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.

Scholastic offers a variety of Halloween-themed activities for elementary school students. The Halloween Tooth: Max's Math Adventure is a math activity for K-2 students. In the activity students read and listen to a poem about Halloween candy then complete a set of activities in which they make patterns and count candy. Halloween Web Hunt is a simple web quest for students in grades three through five. The activity has students visit a virtual museum and online libraries to answer questions about mummies, bats, and Halloween history. Writing Mysteries provides a template and walks elementary school students through the process of writing mystery stories.

Halloween Magazine offers a safety game for students. The game is designed to teach students to recognize safe and unsafe situations while they're out trick 'o treating.

Smarty Games offers Halloween Math. In Halloween Math students move a ghost to catch the answers to addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division problems.

Disclosure: Storyboard That and BoomWriter are currently advertisers on this blog. 

Historypin Launches a New Design and New Features

Historypin is a great place to find geo-located historical imagery. Historypin allows users to place historical images within the setting of current Google Maps Streetview imagery. Recently, Historypin launched a new design and new features for users.

Historypin now has a feature called Collections which allows you to create a collection of pins and have anyone else can add to it. If you're an existing user of Historypin, all of your pins are now in a collection named after you. New users will have collections based on their names until they rename the collections and or create new collections.

Historypin's other big update deals with the content that you can add to your collections. In the past you could add pictures and videos. Now you can add simple text pins too.

Learn more about the new version of Historypin in the video below.


Applications for Education
Your students could contribute to an existing Historypin collection or create collections of their own. Your students could create a Historypin collection of their own by going to your local history society, scanning historical images, and placing them into a map

Friday, October 23, 2015

What Are You Doing Tomorrow? - Check Out the Discovery Virt Con


If you're looking for something to do tomorrow morning, consider taking advantage of a free PD opportunity from Discovery Education.

Every fall Discovery Education hosts a virtual conference that is open to the world. The DEN Fall VirtCon is a blended online and physical conference. This year's event is happening on October 24th. You can participate virtually as I did last year or attend one of the physical events organized in locations all over North America.

A couple of years ago I had the privilege of giving one of the keynotes for Discovery's DEN Fall VirtCon. That year the theme was open resources. This year the theme of the DEN Fall VirtCon is Literacies for the Digital Age.  The event will feature presentations packed with tips, tricks, and treats for teaching digital literacy.

Click here to register and learn more about the DEN Fall VirtCon.

If you can't make the live sessions tomorrow, don't worry because they are being recorded.

10 Resources for Teaching With Primary Sources

I'm looking forward to next week's LOC virtual conference on teaching with primary sources. Thinking about the conference prompted me to put together the following collection of resources related to teaching history with primary sources.

Before students can work with primary sources they need to understand the differences between primary and secondary sources. Common Craft offers a video in which the differences and relationships between primary and secondary sources are explained in a two minute story. The video is embedded below. You can also click here to view it on the Common Craft website.



Zoom In provides units of lesson plans built around primary source documents. The collection of lesson units is organized into six eras of US History. Zoom In is more than just a collection of lesson plans and documents. Zoom In provides an online classroom environment. As a teacher you can manage multiple classrooms within your Zoom In account. Students join your class by using a class code (email addresses not required). Once students have joined your class, you can begin distributing assignments to them from the lesson plan database. You can track which students have started the assignments, read their responses to questions within the assignments, and give students feedback on the assignments all within your Zoom In classroom.

Historical Scene Investigation offers a fun way for students to investigate history through primary documents and images. Historical Scene Investigation presents students with historical cases to "crack." Each of these thirteen cases present students with clues to analyze in order to form a conclusion to each investigation. The clues for each investigation come in the forms of primary documents and images as well as secondary sources. HSI provides students with "case files" on which they record the evidence they find in the documents and images. At the conclusion of their investigation students need to answer questions and decide if the case should be closed or if more investigation is necessary.

The World Digital Library hosts more than 10,000 primary documents and images from collections around the world. Sponsored by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, the mission of the World Digital Library is to promote the study and understanding of cultures. The WDL can be searched by date, era, country, continent, topic, and type of resource. In my search of the WDL I noticed that roughly half of the resources are historical maps and images. The WDL aims to be accessible to as many people as possible by providing search tools and content descriptions in seven languages. The WDL can also be searched by clicking through the map on the homepage.

Who Am I? A History Mystery is a fun and challenging activity from the Smithsonian's The Price of Freedom online exhibit. Who Am I? presents players with six historical characters that they have to identify using the text and image clues provided. To solve the mystery players have to match the visual artifacts to each character. The Price of Freedom offers a series of detailed lesson plans and videos for six major events and eras in US History. Those events and eras are War of Independence, Wars of Expansion, The Civil War, World War II, Cold War/ Vietnam, and September 11.

Student Discovery Sets from the Library of Congress offer primary collections of primary sources in free iBooks. There are twelve Student Discovery Sets available as iBooks. Each set is arranged thematically. The sets contain a mix of images, documents, audio recordings, and video clips. Each artifact in each set is accompanied by guiding questions designed to help students analyze what they are seeing, reading, or hearing. Images and texts in the Student Discovery Sets can be annotated with drawing tools built into each iBook.

A central part of the Teacher's Page on the Library of Congress website is the primary source center. The primary source center walks teachers through the process of locating documents on the Library of Congress' site. The primary source center also provides guides for using various types of primary sources including political cartoons, photographs, and oral histories.

The National Archives Experience Digital Vaults is one of the resources that I almost always share in my workshop on teaching history with technology primary sources. The Digital Vaults offers good tools that students and teachers can use to create content using images and documents from the National Archives. In the video embedded below I demonstrate how students can create digital posters and movies in the National Archives Experience Digital Vaults.



The National Archives Experience's Docs Teach interactive tools center offers seven free tools that teachers can use to create interactive learning activities based on primary source documents and images. The seven tools are Finding a Sequence, Focusing on Details, Making Connections, Mapping History, Seeing the Big Picture, Weighing the Evidence, and Interpreting Data. To get a sense of how each of these activities works you can view existing activities made and shared here by other teachers. In fact, you may want to browse through the Find & Use section before creating an activity from scratch as you may find that someone else has shared an activity that meets your instructional goals too. The Find & Use activities are arranged by historical era and are labeled with a thinking skill and a level of Bloom's revised taxonomy.

TeachingHistory.org's historical thinking posters are interactive displays that guide students through the process of examining and thinking about history. There are two interactive posters available. The poster for elementary school is called Doing History is Like Solving a Mystery. The poster for high school students is called History is an Argument About the Past. Both posters include images of primary sources. Clicking on the images in the posters opens a series of guiding questions.