Thursday, July 25, 2019

Three More Recommended Resources for Teaching Civics and Government

Earlier this week I published a blog post in which I shared the resources that I shared with a reader who had emailed me seeking my recommended resources for teaching civics and government. I made that list completely from memory. This afternoon I dug into my archives to find a few more recommended resources for teaching civics and government. Here they are...


The Constitution Center's website features the U.S. Constitution divided into easily searchable sections. From the main page you can select and jump to a specific article or amendment. What I really like about the site is that you can choose an issue like privacy, civil rights, or health care and see how those issues are connected to the Constitution. The Constitution Center offers an extensive list of lesson plans for each of the Constitution's articles and amendments. Select an article or amendment then scroll to the bottom of the page to find the lesson plans. Alternatively, you can find all of the lesson plans listed here.

Google and the Comparative Constitution Project offer a neat site called Constitute. The site hosts the constitutions of 160 countries. You can search the site according to country and or constitutional theme. Searching by constitutional theme is the best aspect of the site. More than 300 themes are outlined on the site. Select a theme then select a country and the element of that country's constitute addressing your chosen theme will be highlighted. You can pin parts of the constitutions to compare them to each other.

Teaching the Constitution With Political Cartoons was a webinar hosted last fall by the National Archives' Docs Teach. It is still available to view for free. The webinar focuses on using Clifford K. Berryman cartoons from the U.S. Senate Collection in lessons designed to help students understand the nuanced aspects of the US Constitution. The webinar includes a good overview of how students should analyze political cartoons and guiding questions that you can give to your students. The last third of the webinar, around the 27 minute mark, is where the webinar transitions into demonstrating how to use the tools within DocsTeach.

Five More Handy Features of Google Keep

Last week I published a video that highlighted ten handy features of Google Keep. Since then a few people have emailed me to point out other features that I should have included in that video. So thanks to some reminders from Matt, Susan, and Kevin here are five more features Google Keep for teachers and students. In the following video you can learn how to use voice notes, dark mode, photo notes, image text, and highlight & save in Google Keep.


And if you missed last week's video about Google Keep, it's embedded below.

Two Alternatives to the New Twitter Interface

If you're one of the many people who doesn't like the new Twitter interface, I'm one of them, you don't have to use it in order to still enjoy connecting with others through Twitter. First, you can do what I did and switch to using Tweet Deck to view new Tweets, replies, mentions, and to post your own new Tweets. Tweet Deck lets you see Tweets separated into columns of mentions, hashtags, and lists that you've created in Twitter.

The second alternative to using the new Twitter interface is to use the Minimal Twitter Chrome extension or Firefox extension to remove the sidebar clutter from Twitter. In the following video I demonstrate how both Tweet Deck and Minimal Twitter work.


Here's how you can create lists in Twitter.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Ginger Ale, Stomach Aches, and Placebos

Over the weekend and through the first part of this week I was stricken with a flu-like bug that had me doing nothing more than sleeping and occasionally throwing up. As you might guess, I ate a lot of saltines and drank a lot of ginger ale to settle my stomach. It worked, but it also got me wondering about why ginger ale is effective relieving an upset stomach. A quick search of that question on YouTube led me to a Mental Floss video titled Does Ginger Ale Really Help With Stomach Aches?


If you watched the video above, you know that the evidence that ginger ale truly does settle your stomach is inconclusive. That said, if it makes you feel better when you're sick, drink it. And that is a good lead-in to this TED-ED lesson about the power of the placebo effect.

Last Week to Get Six Practical Ed Tech Webinars

One of the ways that I'm able to keep Free Technology for Teachers going is through the sale of my in-person workshops and professional development webinars on Practical Ed Tech. I hosted webinars throughout the 2018-19 school year. The most popular of those webinars are available on-demand.

I'm offering the 2018-19 school year webinars on sale for the rest of July. During the sale you can save as much as 67% compared to the regular price. You can purchase the webinars individually for $15 each or all six in one package for $50. Purchase all of the webinars right here

After July the webinars will not be available to purchase as they will be replaced by new live webinars in the 2019-2020 school year starting in August.