Monday, November 21, 2016

Record History on Thanksgiving Day

For many Americans Thanksgiving is one of the few times, perhaps only time, that extended family gathers together. It can be a great time for grandparents and grandchildren to talk to each other. I know that my mother cannot wait to talk to Isla even though she's only three months old and doesn't say much yet. As I mentioned in a post last month, StoryCorps wants people to record some of the conversations that happen between generations of families during Thanksgiving.

The Great Thanksgiving Listen is an initiative intended to facilitate conversations between students and adult family members over Thankgiving weekend. StoryCorps has released a toolkit for teachers to use to guide students in the process of recording interviews with family members. In the toolkit you will find an interview planning sheet and two pages of interview question suggestions. The toolkit recommends using the StoryCorps mobile apps to capture the conversations. The StoryCorps mobile apps includes question prompts and a suggested script for conducting interviews.

As an alternative to using the StoryCorps apps, your students could record by using The History Project's free recording and timeline tools. That tool lets you make audio recordings to add to a timeline of events.

A Quick, Last-minute Thanksgiving Lesson Plan

American Thanksgiving is just a few days away. Some schools are closed this week while others are open for the first few days of the week. If you're school is open and you're looking for a quick Thanksgiving lesson activity, try this idea that I originally shared a few years ago.

1. Create a Padlet wall for your students on which they can share what they are thankful for this year.

2. Let students create drawings of what Thanksgiving means to them then take pictures of those drawings to post on your Padlet wall.

3. Use Padlet as a KWL chart on which students share what they know about the origins of Thanksgiving and what they would like to know more about.

Don't forget to take advantage of the new comments feature in Padlet. It offers a great way to give your students direct feedback on their notes.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

How to Create a Google Earth Tour

Google Earth can be used for all kinds of lessons in math (see Real World Math), science (try these resources), and language arts (try Google Lit Trips) in addition to the obvious social studies applications. One of the best ways to use Google Earth in social studies and in language arts is to have your students create narrated tours of significant places. Those places might be the sites of significant events in history, the setting of a favorite book, or a favorite place close to home.

In the video below I demonstrate how to quickly create a Google Earth tour, how to save a Google Earth tour, and how to share a Google Earth tour.

How to Create Kahoot Games

For the last eleven months "create Kahoot games" and "Kahoot" have been the most frequently searched terms on this blog. While I have published videos about specific parts of Kahoot, until today I didn't have a video on the complete Kahoot creation experience. In the video embedded below I demonstrate how to create a Kahoot game from scratch, how to use Kahoot games created by other teachers, and how to play a Kahoot game.


A Reminder About Black Friday Electronics

Sadly, Thanksgiving in the United States has almost become synonymous with the start of holiday shopping season. On the day after Thanksgiving, known as Black Friday, retailers everywhere will put all manner of products on sale. It can be a good opportunity to save money on something that you have been planning to purchase. But when it comes to electronics many of the products that appear to be deeply discounted aren't as good as the products that cost just a little bit more sitting next to them on the shelf. So if you're planning to buy a Chromebook, a phone, a laptop, or some other electronic on Black Friday, do a bit research and see if you can get a much better product for marginally more money.