Saturday, September 3, 2016

The Week in Review - The Most Popular Posts

Good afternoon from Connecticut where I'm getting ready for my youngest brother's wedding. That's him in the picture to the left. He's a high school Language Arts teacher. Our paternal grandparents, our father, and one of our uncles were also teachers. I guess you can say that we went into the family business.

A lot schools in New England started their new years this week. The rest will be back in session next week. If you recently started your new school year, I hope that it is off to a great start for you.

Here are this week's most popular posts:
1. Two Ways to Visually Show Classroom Noise
2. 5 Handy Google Slides Features You Should Know - Here's How to Use Them
3. Timers, Word Clouds, and Kahoot
4. Cite This For Me - Cite Websites In One Click
5. Try Math Landing for K-6 Mathematics Resources
6. More Than 40 Alternatives to YouTube
7. 6 Tools That Can Help Students Keep Track of Tasks

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Please visit the official advertisers that help keep this blog going.
Practical Ed Tech is the brand through which I offer PD webinars.
Storyboard That is my go-to tool for creating storyboards.
Haiku Deck offers the best alternative to PowerPoint.  
Pixton provides a create way to create comics.
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.
D2L offers a great LMS and they want your input to make it even better.
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.
Buncee offers a great tool for creating visual stories.

Three Google Forms Add-ons To Help You Manage Parent Volunteers

Google Forms offers a great way to collection information from parents when you're seeking parents to volunteer to chaperone a field trip, help out in your classroom, or bring in supplies for a classroom party. The problem that you might run into is having too many volunteers or too many people volunteer to do or bring the same thing. You can avoid that scenario by using the Google Forms Add-ons called Form Limiter and Choice Eliminator 2. And the Form Notifications Add-on can help you keep track of the information submitted through your Google Forms. In the video embedded below I demonstrate how to use all three of those free Google Forms Add-ons.

Friday, September 2, 2016

My Go-to Google Tools for Social Studies Classrooms

Over the years I've used a lot of Google tools in my social studies classes. Some of those tools, like Wonder Wheel and Notebook, no longer exist, but many still do. Here are my five go-to Google tools for social studies classrooms. How to videos accompany each tool featured below.

You can learn more about these tools and many others in Teaching History With Technology.

1. Google Maps & Earth. In addition to zooming and panning across places in a way that a paper map could never replicate, Google Maps and Google Earth provide great tools for illustrating stories in a geographic context. The videos below demonstrate how to use Google Maps and Google Earth Tour Builder.

2. The Google News Paper Archive can be a great place for students to find old news articles about the topics they're studying in your classroom. Watch the video below to learn how to use it.

3. Google Books provides students with access to hundreds of thousands of books and periodical articles that are in the public domain. I like to create bookshelves within Google Books to help my students get started accessing some of the titles that will be useful to them.

4. Google Scholar is a research tool that is often overlooked by students. Google Scholar provides students with access to court opinions, patents, and peer-reviewed scholarly works. See the features of Google Scholar in my video embedded below.

5. Timeline JS is technically not a Google tool but it does work with Google Sheets. Timeline JS provides a template for creating and publishing multimedia timelines through a Google Spreadsheet.

Smarthistory Offers a Crash Course in Art History

Smarthistory offers is a free online alternative to expensive art history textbooks. Smarthistory features more than just images of notable works of art. The combination of video lessons, text articles, and audio lessons about eras and themes in art history is what makes Smarthistory a valuable resource. Students can browse all of the resources of Smarthistory by artist name, style of work, theme, or time period. Smarthistory was originally developed by art history professors Dr. Beth Harris and Dr. Steven Zucker.

A glossary of art history terms on Smarthistory can help students understand the key talking points in the video lessons available on Smarthistory. Those video lessons are arranged into three main sections; "first things first," "tools for understanding art," and "materials + techniques." Within each section you will find six to twenty videos on subtopics.

Students Can Collaboratively Create Timelines on HSTRY

HSTRY is a neat timeline creation tool that I've been a fan of since it launched a couple of years ago. One of the features that makes it different from other timeline tools is that you can build quiz questions into your timeline. This week HSTRY added another nice feature in the form of collaboration. You and your students can now share and collaborate on the development of online timelines. The collaboration feature works just as you would expect. To collaborate on a timeline just click the "collaborate" button while you're viewing your timeline then enter another HSTRY timeline user's name or email address.

Learn more about how to use HSTRY in the video tutorials embedded below.

Applications for Education
One of the ways to use HSTRY that I've previously shared is to have students create timelines of their school year as a digital portfolio. For each month of the year students can add essays they've written, videos they've made, podcasts they've recorded, or maps they've made.