Thursday, October 13, 2022

Explore the K-12 Section of The Open Library

The Open Library is a part of the Internet Archive that provides vistors with the opportunity to search for, browse through, and read eBooks. The Open Library is a collection of more than one million ebook titles. I recently revisited the Open Library and noticed a couple of new-to-me things. First, there is now a virtual bookshelf explorer that you can use to browse through books much like wandering through a library's bookshelves. Second, there is now a dedicated K-12 section of The Open Library

The collection is cataloged by a community of volunteer online librarians. The eBooks in the Open Library can be read on your computer, tablet, and some eReader devices. Most of the books can be digitally borrowed in increments of one hour or up to fourteen days (it is possible to renew the borrowing period). If a book isn't available when you find it in The Open Library, you can add your name to a waitlist for it and or use the library's integrated WorldCat search to find a copy in a physical library near you. 

Applications for Education
The Open Library could be a good place for students to find books that they want to read on their own. The dedicated K-12 section could be helpful to middle school and high school students. Unfortunately, The Open Library requires an email address in order to borrow books so it's utility is limited for younger students.

Lesson Plans About Setting SMART Goals

Storyboard That is a great tool that can be used for creating cartoons, flowcharts, timelines, and wireframes in addition to typical storyboards. Storyboard That also offers a huge library of lesson plans on everything from classic literature to history to cyber safety. One of the newest lesson plans added to the Storyboard That library is about helping students set and reach SMART goals. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Action, Realistic, Time.

The SMART goals lesson plans are designed for use in middle school settings. Each of the five lesson plans focuses on a different aspect of the goal setting and goal reaching processes. A significant component of any goal setting process is being able to identify and visualize the steps needed to reach a goal. That's where Storyboard That shines as it helps students create a clear picture of the steps they need to take in order to reach their goals.

Applications for Education
As we move into the time of the year when many schools have their first rounds of parent-teacher or parent-teacher-student conferences, the SMART goals lesson plans could be useful in helping your students identify what they want to improve upon after the first conference.

Read and Help Transcribe Walt Whitman's Notebooks and Diaries

A handful of years ago the Library of Congress launched a crowd sourcing project called Crowd which has since been renamed as By the People. The purpose of the project is to enlist the help of the public to transcribe thousands of primary source documents that are housed by and have been scanned by the Library of Congress. Over the years there have been collections of documents from the American Civil War, papers from the American Revolution, presidential papers, documents about suffrage, and documents about the integration of Major League Baseball. 

For the last year the Library of Congress has been seeking help transcribing a collection of Walt Whitman's notes and diaries. If you previously participated in transcribing the Whitman collection, you should note the the LOC recently added more materials to the "to transcribe" pile. 

Anyone can participate in the LOC's By the People project to transcribe documents in the Walt Whitman collection of notes and diaries. To get started simply go to the collection and choose a document. Your chosen document will appear on the left side of the screen and a field for writing your transcription appears on the right side of the screen. After you have completed your transcription it is submitted for peer review. A demonstration of the process is included in the video below.



Applications for Education
The LOC's By the People project is a good opportunity for high school students and some middle school students to learn about Walt Whitman while contributing to a national project. All of the collections in Crowd do have timelines and some other resources that help to provide context for the documents that are in need of transcription.

The Smithsonian has a similar crowdsourcing project called Smithsonian Digital Volunteers.

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

Grid Views and Timelines in Google Slides

Last week I hosted a webinar about using Google Workspace in the context of social studies classes. One of the things that I mentioned in that webinar was using Google Slides to create interactive timelines. I went into much more detail during the webinar, but you can see the basics of how to create a timeline in Google Slides in this brief video



It was during that same webinar last week that someone noticed I was using the grid view for my Google Slides and asked how I did that. There are two ways to access grid view in Google Slides. I demonstrate both methods in the short video that is embedded below.

Animations of Historical Movements and Patterns

Some of my favorite social studies lesson plans include having students use maps to analyze data and identify patterns in history. Over the years I've done this with paper maps and digital maps. Mapping History, produced by the University of Oregon, features lots of animated maps illustrating problems, patterns, and events throughout history. Mapping History is essentially a digital atlas of American, European, Latin American, and African history. Each section is divided into modules based on historical themes and eras.


Applications for Education
Mapping History is a resource to bookmark for the next time that you need a thematic map to illustrate a pattern in history. I found that some of the maps will also be useful as question prompts. For example, this map prompts students to evaluate the extent to which the expansion of slavery in the U.S. was connected to the demand for cotton.