Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Good Sets of Primary Source Documents About the American Revolution and More

The Massachusetts Historical Society has a great website that hosts collections of primary sources related to the American Revolution, founding families of the United States, abolition, and the Civil War. Additionally, on the MHS site you'll find recordings of webinars about many of the topics related to the collections of primary sources. Music of the Plimoth Colony Settlers is an interesting webinar that was published last week. 

Some of the highlights of the collections of primary sources found on the Massachusetts Historical Society's website include:
In addition to the collections listed above, the Massachusetts Historical Society offers four collections of lesson plans that incorporate primary source documents. Those collections are Founding Fathers & Their Families, Era of the American Revolution, Slavery and Antislavery, and Civil War. The most lesson plans are in the first two collections. The vast majority of the lesson plans are for high school students, but there are a few for elementary and middle school use. 

More than a decade ago I started using Google Documents to help students analyze primary source documents. I outlined that process in this blog post in 2015

How to Recover an Archived Google Classroom

 

Last week I published an overview of how to add co-teachers to your Google Classroom classes. That post prompted a bunch of follow-up questions from readers and viewers. The most common follow-up question was "what happens if a class is accidentally archived?" The answer is that it goes into the "archived" section of your Google Classroom account. While it's archived you and your students can't do anything in it. However, all is not lost because you can recover archived classrooms. It's a simple thing to do and I've outlined the process in this one minute video

Monday, September 21, 2020

Using YouTube to Share Lessons This Fall? - Settings and Tools You Need to Know About

This fall many of us are using YouTube more than ever before to share lessons with students. Whether those lessons are ones you recorded or ones that you found YouTube, there are some settings and tools that you should know about. 

Settings and Features When Sharing Your Own Video Lessons
  • You can make your videos unlisted and still share them in Google Classroom or any other learning management system that you choose to use. 
  • You can and probably should disable comments on the video lessons that you upload. By doing this you avoid the hassle of dealing with YouTube spam comments. I post my videos in Google Classroom and let kids can ask questions there. 
  • Add a cover image to your video to let students know what the video is about. Doing that also avoids using the still frame that YouTube selects at random for your cover image. That function and more are covered in this video
  • If you use a recording of a Zoom or Google Meet as part of a lesson that you upload to YouTube, use the blurring function to hide the faces of students who don't want to be in the video. That feature is demonstrated in this video
Settings and Tools When Sharing Videos You've Found on YouTube
  • It is possible to collaborate with another teacher to make a playlist of educational videos. This is a good option for those who work in teaching teams. Here's a video on how to collaborate on a playlist. 
  • Watchkin, SafeShare, and Quietube are simple third-party tools that you can use to display videos in your classroom without displaying the related sidebar content found on YouTube. 
  • Put videos into Google Slides or PowerPoint and that will let you share videos with your students without forcing them to see the sidebar content from YouTube. A bonus aspect is the option to specify a start and end time for a video in a Google Slide. 
  • Put video links in Wakelet collections or on Padlet walls to share videos without having to make students see the sidebar content from YouTube. 
  • Create a lesson from an existing YouTube video by using EDpuzzle. EDpuzzle lets you add questions into the timeline of a video. Students have to answer the questions in order to advance to the next section of the video. My complete overview of EDpuzzle can be seen here

"Why Do We Have Fall?" - A Post Inspired by My Daughter

 

"Why do we have fall?" That was the question that my four year old asked while we were walking in the woods yesterday.  It was a good question (she's full of good questions these days) and I tried my best to explain that different times of the year have more or less sunlight which makes the plants grow or "hibernate" (a concept she's learned from National Geographic's All About Bears). When she's a little older we'll worry about covering more of the details. In the meantime, if you have elementary school students who are wondering "why do we have fall?" here are a couple of good little videos on the topic. 

Why Are There Seasons? from SciShow Kids is a good video lesson about seasons. The video is appropriate for students in primary grades. 

 

Reasons for the Seasons is a TED-Ed lesson appropriate for upper elementary and middle school students. The lesson explains the relationship between the shape of the Earth's orbit around the Sun, the Earth's tilt on its axis, and how those affect the amount of sunlight on different areas of the Earth.

Saturday, September 19, 2020

The Google Science Journal App is Now the Arduino Science Journal

 

For the last few years the Google Science Journal app has been one of my favorite apps to incorporate into outdoor learning experiences. Earlier this week I got a notification that the Google Science Journal app is becoming the Arduino Science Journal app. On December 11, 2020 the Google Science Journal app will stop working and you'll have to use the Arduino Science Journal app instead. The Arduino Science Journal app is available now for Android users and for iOS users

The Arduino Science Journal app does all of the same things that the Google Science Journal app does. The only exception is that the Arduino Science Journal app does not yet support saving data to Google Drive. You can read Google's full announcement about transferring the app to Arduino right here.

Five Observations You Can Make With the Science Journal App

1. Decibel Levels
Ask your students if a basketball clanging off of a rim is louder in an empty gym or a full gym? Have them make a hypothesis then test it in your school's gym. (Check with your physical education teacher to make sure it's okay to borrow his or her classroom).

2. Speed. 
Have students record how quickly or slowly they walk down the hallway.

3. Speed and Sound Correlation
Have students record the speed with which they walk down the hallway. Have them record the sound at the same time. Ask them to try to identify a correlation between the speed with which they walk and the amount of noise that they make.

4. Light
Today, whenever I look out of my office window I am nearly blinded by the reflection of the sun off of the frozen snow. It was brighter earlier today when the sun was hitting the snow at a more direct angle. Students can use the Science Journal app to measure and compare the brightness of one place throughout the day.

5. Light and angles correlation
The Science Journal app has an inclinometer function. Have students use that function to measure the angle of the sun to a fixed position throughout the day. Have them use the light meter whenever they use the inclinometer. Then ask them to determine the correlation between the angle of the sun and the brightness at the chosen spot. They might be surprised at the results.