Monday, June 29, 2015

Google Classroom is Growing


Until today Google Classroom has been little more than a souped up way to use Google Drive to organize your students.  But starting today, it has added twenty apps to the suite.  So if you use or are thinking of using Google Classroom above is how you can add the new apps and here is the list. 

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Ancestry Maps

This series of maps from the WashPost is a good one to use when teaching about immigration in US history.  It shows the percentage of people (above) that have foreign born parents (of which I am one), maps showing ethnic background and much more.  

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

State Flags That Still Display the Confederacy Today

South Carolina is under scrutiny because it still flies the Confederate flag at its state capitol, but a number of other southern states go further incorporating it in their state flags, as this WashPost article points out, in subtle and not so subtle ways.  Mississippi leads the way (above) while Arkansas hides it as one of the stars in their flag and Florida has adopted a more modern flag.

I have long asked my students what the long lasting implications of the Civil War are and start it by looking at the southern flags (and remember the Confederacy has several flags).   If you want to go higher on Bloom's taxonomy, the question that many Americans are facing today is should we still allow it to be part of our state flags and why are they even part of it.  The Post article points out that a number of the southern state flags were adopted shortly after Reconstruction ended.  Students will undoubtedly will be surprised how much Confederate history is still alive today. 

FCPS Personalized Learning In-Service


I am giving a hands on presentation at Fairfax County, VA's Advanced Academic Institute at South County HS from 8:30 - 11:30. If you work for FCPS and would like to sign up go into MyPLT and type in summer into the search box and the AAP courses will come up.   Mine is half way down and titled Use of Technology in the Social Studies Classroom (Secondary (this is a link to it).  See you next Tuesday.

The participants will learn
  • first about flipping important contextual information, 
  • then how to use Google Drive for constant feedback in the classroom 
  • and finally how to lead by facilitating and having small group discussions with students (or teachers in this case) rather than whole group presentations.  
  • how to start the school year with an actual online way to showcase personalized learning
 We will start by taking a survey at http://bit.ly/fairfaxjune23
  • then have the teachers come up with a concept or methodology they are going to use in the 2015-16 school year that they might like to give their teachers about by using the flip design.   For example here is a real example of flipping faculty meetings, personal development or even flip when administrators go over the school rules. (here are some reflections by a principal on flipping meetings). Here and here are some other tips you might consider in flipping a school. 
  • next be learning how to create a short flip (defined) using Screencastomatic and what images, slides, short video and information might go into it.  
  • discuss that you can always use others' videos such as (history and government).
  • contemplate how to make sure students are watching the video in part using a Google Drive form
  • discuss how flipping a meeting/classroom allows for one on one discussions between the class leader and the pupil.  For the teacher leader we will discuss how to use one on one conversations and formative quizzes to measure learning and give teachers feedback with some examples of classroom time found here.  
As you might expect I will be modeling all of the items above as we go through the lesson starting with a flipped video, questions and individual discussions.  

All of the steps above can be found in much more in depth by reading my book Deeper Learning Through Technology: Using the Cloud to Individualize Instruction.  Ken Halla can be reached at kenhalla@gmail.com for in-services at your school. 

Monday, June 22, 2015

Personalizing Classroom Instruction - W&M Presentation



I am presenting at William and Mary's Leadership Academy for administrators and teacher leaders. The institute is based on John Hattie's beliefs (some of which you can see here).
The goal is for the administrators to learn how they can lead by example with their teachers using Hattie's "mind frames" for developing relationships, getting feedback from the students, evaluating learning, etc.

The participants will learn
  • first about flipping important contextual information, 
  • then how to use Google Drive for constant feedback in the classroom 
  • and finally how to lead by facilitating and having small group discussions with students (or teachers in this case) rather than whole group presentations.  
  • how to start the school year with an actual online way to showcase personalized learning

 We will start by taking a survey at bit.ly/wandmflip
  • note that teachers follow administrators better by repeated example
  • then have the administrators come up with a concept or methodology they are going to use in the 2015-16 school year that they might like to lecture their teachers about by using the flip design.   For example here is a real example of flipping faculty meetings, personal development or even flip when administrators go over the school rules. (here are some reflections by a principal on flipping meetings). Here and here are some other tips you might consider in flipping a school. 
  • next be learning how to create a short flip (defined) using Screencastomatic and what images, slides, short video and information might go into it.  You can also get the Snagit extension here (and here is how to use it)
  • discuss that you can always use others' videos such as (history and science, math and grammar)
  • contemplate how to make sure teachers are watching the video in part using a Google Drive form or even to use Remind (resources) to literally remind them to view the video. 
  • discuss how flipping a meeting/classroom allows for one on one discussions between the class leader and the pupil.  For the teacher leader we will discuss how to use one on one conversations and formative quizzes to measure learning and give teachers feedback with some examples of classroom time found here.  
  • note an example of the leading role administrators can play such as with principal Greg Green who has promoted flipped learning with followed by a great increase in his school's test scores.   (Here is a PBS show on his school.)
As you might expect I will be modeling all of the items above as we go through the lesson starting with a flipped video, questions and individual discussions.  

All of the steps above can be found in much more in depth by reading my book Deeper Learning Through Technology: Using the Cloud to Individualize Instruction.  Ken Halla can be reached at kenhalla@gmail.com for in-services at your school. 

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Snagit Google App Extension


I like to use Screencastomatic to make my videos, but if you are using a Chromebook or simply want an alternative, Snagit's Google Drive alternative is a great option.  You will lose the ability to have a circle follow your movements and to only have a portion of the screen, but you can still make a screencast and upload it to YouTube or Google Drive.  Above is a video showing you how. 

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Become an AP Grader

This week I am in Salt Lake City grading AP Comparative exams.  In the past I have also graded AP US History and AP US Government.  Honestly the sound of grading a bunch of exams every day doesn't seem to excite lots of people, but every single  (and there have been a lot) person I have convinced to be an AP grader has loved the experience.

  • First off you really get to understand how to write the free response questions so you can teach your students to do the same. 
  • Secondly you meet a number of outstanding teachers who, in my case, have become a network that I consult year round.
  • You also might also end up being asked to work for the College Board in other ways (writing AP questions, creating a syllabus, teaching summer institutes, etc.
So if you are interested in applying, my advice is to get your application in during the early fall and you should hear in late January or early February.  Good luck.  

Thursday, June 4, 2015

ContextU Needs Writers

One of my side projects, if you follow this blog, is with ContextU.  ContextU is a great way for your students to prepare for their state exams in US history as we have pretty much every piece of essential knowledge your students need from Colonial US all the way up through imperialism.

BUT WE NEED WRITERS TO EXPAND THIS SUMMER.

ContextU is a superior methodology for your students as it

  • has every item (we call them nodes) on your essential knowledge in 150 words 
  • shows each node on a timeline so students can see what else was going on at the same time
  • what the item's location on a map
  • shows the node's relation to other like groups
  • shows the both the influence and the impact of each node.
Here is an example for George Washington.

IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN HELPING US, EMAIL ME AT kenhalla@gmail.com

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Virtual Monticello

I am doing a little prep work for the virtual class that Richard Byrne and I are leading this summer on July 16, 23 and 30 (5:30 PM EST).  One of the many things we are including is how to use virtual tours of a place to highlight the social studies classroom.  Here and here are ones from Monticello and here is the one that is captured in the image above.  

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Summer Reading Book

For all of us, summer is a time to reflect and refine.  One thing you might want to help you do that is Deeper Learning Through Technology: Using the Cloud to Individualize Instruction.  Yes, I wrote it, but I created it so that it would be immediately useful in your classroom.  For example for each chapter there are several ways that the entity being discussed has been used in the classroom.  I also have several classroom challenges in each chapter so you and your PLC can actually be more motivated to try each item being mentioned.

As implied by the book's title, the goal is to better individualize your students learning using Google Drive, flipped learning, expanding your PLC beyond your school doors, how to assess your students and so much more.  While I have research to back up each item, the main goal is to give teachers a practical manual they can use it for the parts best suited for their classroom or bit by bit over the course of the year.  

You can buy the book individually or get group discounts

Friday, May 29, 2015

Moonshot Application


So I just applied for Google's "Moonshot" project which will bring teachers together in July in Amsterdam to tackle projects that will transform education.  The application is woefully short which makes me wonder if an algorithm will knock out the first group (esp. since it is due June 26th and winners will be contacted just three days later).  Either way I am always up for doing something that could be a game changer.  Not applying means you can't go and applying means you have more than a moonshot!

Here is the application.  Good luck.  

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Add Sound and Annimation to a Google Presentation


One of our teachers just asked me how to add sound to a Google Drive presentation. I like this tutorial explaining the answer as it shows how you can actually go to a specific spot in a video. Therefore when you click on the spot on a slide it will play exactly what you want.  For example, if you click on this link, you will go exactly to the part of the video above that tells how to get to a specific spot in the video.

While we are at it the teacher also wanted to know how to add in animation which is done in the video below.

Quizlet for SOL US Review

Our kids are taking the state exam (SOL) in US history next week.  For them, Quizlet is a big asset such as this comprehensive review or this one.  Here and above are some great map Quizlet questions. 

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

School is Not Out for the Summer!


So most of you would laugh that my seniors are not finished until June 10th and my undergrads not until June 18 - yes the 18th!  But I also teach during the summer so this blog is always being updated all summer, so if you want to keep finding out new things then keep coming all summer.