Saturday, December 11, 2021

How to Use Seesaw to Annotate Historical Images

In my previous post I wrote about and shared a video about using Jamboard to annotate historical images. Another way have students annotate historical images is by adding their voice comments to the images. That can be done through the use of Seesaw

In Seesaw students can upload images then draw and type on the image. Additionally, they can record themselves talking about the image while simultaneously drawing on the image. All of those things are demonstrated in this short video

Applications for Education
Using Seesaw to annotate historical images is a good way for elementary school and middle school students to share their thoughts and ask questions about what they see in historical images that you share with them. I like the option for students to record voice notes because it gives them more space to explain their ideas than if they only write notes next to or on the image.

How to Annotate Historical Images on Jamboard

From magnetic poetry to collaborative brainstorming sessions to mapping activities, there are lots of ways to use Google's Jamboard in online and in-person classes. One way that I like to use Jamboard is to have students annotate images that I share with them. In particular, I like to do this to have them add commentary to and answer questions about things that they notice in historical images. 

In this new video I demonstrate how to use Jamboard to annotate historical images. In the video I used an image that I found on Flickr's The Commons. The Commons is a great place to find historical imagery that is free to download and use in your lessons and presentations. 

Applications for Education
I've always been a proponent of using historical imagery to spark students' curiosity about history. By using Jamboard you can share a picture with your students then have them circle or highlight the parts of an image that raise questions in their minds. Those questions can lead to classroom discussion and or be used as the impetus for a quick research activity. 

Friday, December 10, 2021

The Future of Flickr's The Commons

Flickr's The Commons has been one of my go-to resources for historical imagery since I first wrote about it nearly fourteen years ago. That's why my heart sank a little bit when I visited The Commons earlier this week and saw a note that read "learn more about the future of Flickr Commons." Whenever I see notes like that on favorite websites that have been around for a long time, I expect bad news. Fortunately, this time there was good news. 

Flickr has made a commitment to reinvigorate and revitalize The Commons. The first step in that process appears to be creating a new home for The Commons. That new home is at The Flickr Foundation found at It's there that you can read the full plan for the future of The Commons. The plan is published as a series of Google Documents and a Google Slides presentation.

The key takeaways for teachers and students who use The Commons are:

  • It's not going away. 
  • It's going to be improved with better discovery tools.
  • It's going to be improved with better descriptions (which will help with discovery).
  • Content contribution opportunities will improve (expanding the collection). 
Applications for Education
The bottomline is that Flickr's The Commons is a great resource for history teachers who want to find historical imagery to use in their lessons. It's also a great place for students to find historical imagery to use in research presentations. Over the next couple of years The Commons should improve to make it a better resource than ever before.

How to Embed Google Sheets Into Websites

Earlier this week a loyal reader named Judith sent me a question about embedding Google Sheets into websites. I was happy to answer her question and made this short video to explain how to include a Google Sheet in Google Sites and in Blogger

In the video I include instructions for resizing the spreadsheet when you embed it into blog posts and websites. This is important because if you use the default embed code provided by Google Sheets, the sheet will appear very small and nearly unusable when embedded into a blog post or web page. The change to the code is to simply add width and height dimensions to the end of the code provided by Google Sheets. Watch this video to see how to embed Google Sheets into a website and adjust the size of the display of the sheet. 

Applications for Education
Embedding a Google Sheet into a website can be a good way to share collected and organized data from surveys conducted via Google Forms.

Five Short Lessons About the Start of Winter

Even though it has been cold and snowy here in Maine for the last week or so, the start of winter is still eleven days away. The winter solstice is always welcomed as it does mean the shortest day of the year (in terms of amount of sunlight) will be behind us. If you're looking for some resources to help students understand the winter solstice, take a look at the resources I have listed below.

What is a Solstice? is a National Geographic video. The two minute video explains why we experience solstices. The video also explains why the solstice and the first day of winter aren't always the same.

PBS Kids Nature Cat has a cute video that explains the basic concept of winter and summer solstice.

Last year TIME published a video featuring "four things you probably didn't know about the winter solstice." Spoiler alert! You probably knew them, but the video will remind you about those things.

Mechanism Of The Seasons is a six minute video about why the length of daylight we receive in a location changes throughout the year. This video could be helpful in a flipped classroom environment.

Autumn Stars and Planets is a short PBS video that explains why the stars and planets that we see from Earth change with the seasons. The video is embedded below.

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