Monday, September 18, 2017

Play Your Dates Right - A Fun History Game

Play Your Dates Right is another great game template developed by Russel Tarr at ClassTools.net. The concept of Play Your Dates Right is that students have to pick the correct sequence of three historical events. The event in the middle of the game template is always the event that actually did come second. Students have to guess if the first and third events are in the proper sequence. See the screen image below for an illustration.

You can create and publish your own version of Play Your Dates Right by using the free template provided through ClassTools. To get the template all that you need to do is click the "edit" link that appears in the lower, right corner of Play Your Dates Right. Then you can enter a list of events with their corresponding dates. When you publish your game ClassTools will randomly select from your list to be displayed.

Applications for Education
I've always stressed to my history students the importance of sequence. Play Your Dates Right could be a fun way for students to review the sequence of events in a unit of study. An obvious case use is in reviewing the causes of the outbreak of a war.

Built to Last - Bubbl.us Mind Mapping

Bubbl.us is the third entry into my Built to Last series. This is a weekly series featuring the educational technology products and concepts that have lasted as long as I have been writing Free Technology for Teachers which will be ten years in November. See the first two entries in the series here and here.

Bubbl.us is an online tool that students can use to create mind maps for any concepts that they are studying. For years I have had students create mind maps to illustrate the many factors that contributed to a major historical event like the American Revolution. Creating mind maps on Bubbl.us is an easy process of simply clicking on the center of your screen then entering the central topic of your mind map. The next step is to add "child" topics or bubbles that are connected to the central topic. Those are added by clicking the "+" that appears while holding your cursor over an existing bubble.

All bubbles on a Bubbl.us mind map can be color coded, hyperlinked, and re-arranged through a simple drag and drop process. It is also easy to change the layout of your entire mind map by simply selecting a different layout from the Bubbl.us editing menu (see the screenshot above). Completed Bubbl.us mind maps can be downloaded as images or printed. Of course, you can also share a link to your live Bubbl.us mind map. It is also possible to embed your mind map into a blog post or other webpage.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Cooking In a Solar Oven - A Hands-on Science Project

I have been watching a lot of Top Chef re-runs on Hulu lately. In one of the episodes that I watched last week all of the chefs had to cook with a solar oven or a solar stove. Watching that episode reminded me of the solar oven project plan available on Climate.gov. Making a solar oven (link opens a PDF) includes directions for building your solar oven and tips for cooking in it. You and your students can build a solar oven using materials that are commonly found in schools, homes, and grocery stores.

Applications for Education
Making a solar oven and baking some cookies in it could be a great way to get students excited to learn about solar energy. At the middle school and high school levels you could have students experiment with modifications of the original design to see if they can increase or decrease temperatures and cooking times in their solar ovens.

Borrow, Read, and Listen - The Open Library

The Open Library is a part of the Internet Archive. The Open Library is a collection of more than one million free ebook titles. The collection is cataloged by a community of volunteer online librarians. The ebooks in the Open Library can be read online, downloaded to your computer, read on Kindle and other ereader devices, and embedded into other sites. Some of the ebooks, like Treasure Island, can also be listened to through the Open Library.



Applications for Education
Much like Google Books, the Open Library can be a great place to find free copies of classic literature that you want to use in your classroom. The Open Library could also be a good place for students to find books that they want to read on their own. The audio option, while very electronic sounding, could be helpful if you cannot locate any other audio copies of the book you desire.

Winning Blogging Strategies for Teachers

This is the time of year that many teachers start a new blog to communicate with students and their parents. Unfortunately, many of those blogs will fall to wayside before the end of the semester. This coming Tuesday I will host a webinar that can help you not only avoid having your blog fall to the wayside, you can make your blog thrive.

Based on ten years of blogging professionally and personally, Winning Blog Strategies for Teachers is an interactive webinar in which we will look at the reasons why so many blogs don’t last long and what you can do to make yours work better than ever. Whether blogging is a classroom activity that you do with students or a personal activity that you’re doing to enhance your professional life, you’ll learn strategies to make your blog a winner.

In this webinar you will learn:
1. How to choose the best blog platform for you.
2. How to avoid running out of blog post topics.
3. The biggest mistakes people make when starting a blog.
4. Easy blogging activities you can do with your students.
5. Techniques to encourage people to interact with you and your blog.

This webinar will be held live at 4pm EST on Tuesday, September 19th. The cost for the webinar is $20. Registration includes access to the live webinar, live Q&A, handouts, and unlimited access to the recording of the webinar.


The webinar will be recorded for those who register but cannot attend the live session.