Saturday, August 16, 2014

#TwitterHistorians

Thanks to Amanda Mecke for the tip to try out the hashtag #twitterhistorians.  It is filled with resources from other "history geeks."  For those of you who haven't used hashtags, just get a Twitter account and then type in the hashtag (including the "#") into the search engine and then you can add items simply by typing a message with the hashtag title in it. 

Digital Vaults


The National Archives has an amazing site where you can look at tons of images and then find related ones to help create a lesson plan.   For example above is one from the Great Depression. It is a letter from a number of men essentially asking that the women be fired to make room for unemployed men.   If you go to the search engine, you can find lots of primary resources for any US topic.  

I heard about the site from Richard Byrne of FreeTech4Teachers.  If you like it, you might want to consider taking our three session class.  Go here for details.  

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Take Our Online Class

Richard Byrne of FreeTech4Teachers and I are going to be leading an online course.  In "Teaching History Using the Web," we take you through the process of developing engaging, web based history lesson plans.  The course features three interactive online meetings along with a discussion forum in which you can further interact with me and Richard and your classmates.  The course meetings are August 27th, September 3rd and September 10th at 8 pm EST.  Click here to register today or read on for more information. 

For $97 you will:
  • Learn how to develop a Google Plus community for professional development and instructional purposes
  • Develop an online Professional Learning Community
  • Learn how to draw virtual maps
  • Learn how to locate and help students find online primary resources
  • Find and use virtual tours on the Internet
  • Find and use flipped videos
  • Create your own flipped videos
Click here to register.  

If you are a FCPS teacher this is a different course than my "Enhancing the Classroom Using the Internet" which will I will be teaching on Thursdays starting Sept. 25th (more the last week of August when registration opens)


Helpful Site When Teaching Geography

My students always seem to be very weak in geography and so I incorporate it as much as I can when teaching history. One of the sites that I like to use is Lizard Point. I know that it's a strange name for a website, but it's useful and students enjoy using it as well. When I got onto the site to write this post, I also noticed several new features, such as creating an account to track progress, submitting scores, etc. There are various quizzes available depending on the needs of your students.


Need to Meet

Do you have problems scheduling meetings with your colleagues and send numerous emails to get it together?  Well Need to Meet might be the answer.  First off you don't even have to join.  Secondly it is incredibly easy as it prompts you for each step.  Essentially you give the date and time of potential meetings and send a url to friends who put in their preferences and without a second email you will have a date and time for your meeting.  

Monday, August 11, 2014

40 Maps That Explain World War I

Vox published 40 maps that explain the first world war. The map above shows the world mobilizing for war and the map below shows the Battle of Gallipoli. You can view the other 38 maps here at Vox.

My thanks to my colleague, Jeff Feinstein, for sending me the link.

What To Do on the First Day of School

I am almost laughing this as my summer school students finished on the 5th of August when some of you were already heading back to school for teacher work days.  Unfortunately in Virginia, for both parties, business reigns supreme and so we have our so called Kings Dominion Law which necessitates that we start school after Labor Day putting giving our students 2-3 weeks less instruction than others before the AP and IB exams not to mention more time after Spring Break when we all know students start smelling summer!

But enough of the diatribe.  I am thinking to my first day of school on September 2nd.  My first day is typical - refined somewhat after twenty-three previous ones.  I spend most of the period getting to know my students and they me.  They have to answer questions such as 1) best place they went this summer (outside of their home bc otherwise they would say "bed!") 2) the place they would most want to be (again outside of their home) to which I answer here where I spent four years (and has this at the end of it)  3) Why we should study history (and don't say "to learn from the past") after which I show them the first minute from this.  4) something they want to learn from the course (which is difficult for most - but we want thinking to occur right) even it is a skill.  5) a quality (singular or plural) about their favorite teacher.

This article and this one use research to effectively say what I am doing is on task, but the authors also argue that your introduction to the content should also be done the first day and that (and thankfully I do this as well) your expectations should also be laid out the first day.  As we know from back to school night, students often form their impression of us on the first day and it is hard to change that.  So be fun, firm and kindly keep the kids on task and you will set yourself up for a great 2014-15 school year.

Good luck.  

Sunday, August 10, 2014

US's Immigrant Past

This is a great map to let your students see how the US has changed its immigrants over time.  The map actually changes decade to decade so you can see the predominant nations of origin. 

Friday, August 8, 2014

Lesson Plans on Nixon

George beat me to the punch.  I well remember forty years ago walking in my house after coming back from camp and seeing Nixon's resignation speech on television.  If you want some lesson plans on the resignation of other Nixon milestones, look no further than the ones on the Nixon Library site.  

Thursday, August 7, 2014

How Nixon Tested the US Government: PBS Clip

Who Won Lexington and Concord?

In all of my years of teaching, I don't think I have ever really been confronted with the question of who won Lexington and Concord. Not only that, but we lump the two together.  But try finding things such as casualties and definitive stories - such as who fired the first shots and you will have problems.  Well we know that the Regulars (hey we were all British) won the Battle of Lexington and the American colonists we think lost 8 to death and 10 more were injured.  At Concord, you could say the Regulars won as they confiscated the weapons they sought as you can see in the video above.

But then other questions to ask your students.  Why do we even say Lexington was the first battle since it wasn't even close to the first skirmish between Regulars and colonists as the former sought other magazines with weapons.  Ray Raphael wrote a book called "The First American Revolution" and put up some original documents he found of letters, newspapers, etc. from pre 1775.  What is great is that you can show them to your students so they can see the very tough work historians have in reading and interpreting letters, for example.  Raphael even has a page on "myths perpetuated in your textbook" for Colonial America and has gone through every textbook we use.  

Finally I know that Wikipedia is controversial, but there are actually 80,000 people who have claimed their stake in it and if you write a falsehood will very quickly correct it. Having said that go here and look at the reasons behind some of our myths surrounding Lexington and Concord. For example, I like to ask my students why we only remember Paul Revere and not Prescott and Dawes and for that matter did they know only one of the three was captured by the Regulars that night - yes Revere (and soon thereafter released)! 

So it could be a great exercise for your students to look at some of the links mentioned above and to try to see how history is often re-created, changed and made into nice neat stories to fit in our textbooks! 

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Impact of WWI: PBS Clip

PBS News Hour reviewed World War I and then, in the second clip, interviewed three historians about the impact of the war.

Take Our Online Class

Richard Byrne of FreeTech4Teachers and I are going to be leading an online course.  In "Teaching History Using the Web," we take you through the process of developing engaging, web based history lesson plans.  The course features three interactive online meetings along with a discussion forum in which you can further interact with me and Richard and your classmates.  The course meetings are August 27th, September 3rd and September 10th at 8 pm EST.  Click here to register today or read on for more information. 

For $97 you will:
  • Learn how to develop a Google Plus community for professional development and instructional purposes
  • Develop an online Professional Learning Community
  • Learn how to draw virtual maps
  • Learn how to locate and help students find online primary resources
  • Find and use virtual tours on the Internet
  • Find and use flipped videos
  • Create your own flipped videos
Click here to register.  

If you are a FCPS teacher this is a different course than my "Enhancing the Classroom Using the Internet" which will I will be teaching on Thursdays starting Sept. 25th (more the last week of August when registration opens)


Tuesday, August 5, 2014

TJ's Plagiarism?!

Every year I have my students look at the VA Declaration of Rights (also known as the VA Constitution of 1776) compared to the Declaration of Independence.  It was published on June 29 and appeared in the Pennsylvania Gazette the day before Jefferson was charged, along with four others to write the Declaration of Independence.   If you follow my students' exercise you will see that the bottom part of the VA Dec. of Rights looks surprisingly like the Dec. of Independence, in some case, in fact, it is word for word.  Know also according to Ray Raphael (I just read this) that Mason's document was copied much more in the colonies than Jefferson's.  Indeed the VA legislature voted for independence in April 1776 and prior to that was Worcester, MA.

If you want to finish my exercise, then have your students compare the complaints in both the Mason and Jefferson documents to the Bill of Rights and it will be a clear case of cause and effect.  

Monday, August 4, 2014

Padlet

Formerly Wallwisher, Padlet is a great interactive online board that students can post to. Although there are many different interactive boards available, this one is my favorite because it's easy to use, it can be customized and it allows teachers to moderate posts before they appear.  I also have never had any issues with the site itself.

Although I've used it several different ways, one of the most frequent ways I use it is to post a guiding/essential question for a unit, often as an introductory activity. The question, "What Was Life Like on the Great Plains in 1870?" is the question I post when I start my westward expansion unit that focuses on Native American conflict in the 2nd half of the 19th century.  I require students to post a picture or video along with their response also. I save their boards for them to use to review at the end of the unit as well.  This is just a very small sample of a student response board. They are much more full, it was just difficult to include a thorough picture of a board because most students posted with first and last names.