Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Enlightenment and Primary Resources

Fordham University has a tremendous asset for your teaching of world history with tons and tons of links for every part of what you teach broken up into an easy to follow outline that looks like your World History I or II class.

For example, for the Enlightenment, here is a complete outline of all the major thinkers and links to their key writings.  You could have your students read excerpts or put them in groups and have them exchange with others what they have found.  

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Add Questions for Students to YouTube Videos

You can add questions to any You Tube video if you sign up for the Beta test Google just started.  You can sign up by clicking here.

You can add questions (only multiple choice for now) anywhere in the video. You just scan through the video to the point where you want to add the question. When you play the video back, it pauses at the question, and will not move ahead until the question is answered correctly.

Here are more explicit instructions that I found on another blog.

Here's a short how to clip from another teacher. 

The Value Added By a Great Teacher

So perhaps this is a little off the normal target of this blog, but your hard work does pay off for your students.  Right now I am reading Unchartered which uses Google books to look at how language has changed over time (or at least at the point where I am reading).  But in the introduction Raj Chetty is referred to for his landmark study on the value added of a great teacher. Chetty earned the incredibly prestigious John Bates Clark award which often comes before a Noble Prize - and he is only 34!  At any rate the paper concludes that when a high value added (VA) teacher joins a school, test scores rise immediately in the grade taught by that teacher; when a high VA teacher leaves, test scores fall. Test scores change only in the subject taught by that teacher, and the size of the change in scores matches what we predict based on the teacher’s VA .. and students assigned to such high value-added teachers are more likely to go to college, earn higher incomes, and less likely to be teenage mothers. On average, having such a teacher for one year raises a child's cumulative lifetime income by $80,000.   Best of all the study is a quantitative one so it is not based on time based case studies so you can draw the inference that by reflecting and continuing to improving your craft you are really making a difference in the life of your students. 

Friday, December 27, 2013

Alexander the Not So Great: Through Persian Eyes

He destroyed the great capital of Persepolis and the temples and emblems of the ancient Zoroastrian religion. So, unlike Westerners who tend to see Alexander as a great conqueror and military genius, Iranians do not see him as so great.

In an fascinating article for BBC News Magazine, Iranian historian, Ali Ansari, professor in modern history and director of The Institute of Iranian Studies at The University of St Andrews, Scotland, suggests that Alexander came to regret the destruction he wrought in Persia. He believes that had Alexander lived, "he may have restored and repaired more" than he did during his life.

You can also listen to Professor Ansari on BBC4 Radio 4 in an an excellent  3-part series "exploring world history from a Persian perspective."  Each episode is about 30 minutes and offers some great history through Persian eyes. In part 1, Professor Ansari discusses Zoroastrianism.

Catching Cheating Using Technology

I like to think that when I teach I am embarking on an adventure with my students, but kids are kids and there are lots of pressures they feel from trying to impress their friends, pleasing their parents and, in some cases, not even being aware of cheating (plagiarism) - or rather never have been called on it.  There are lots of ways kids can cheat, but with technology it has also become easier to catch.

  1. Copying from the Internet remains the most prevalent cheating and the easiest to catch.  As I tell my students, most of them are paid to write and so as nicely as some of them can write, any time I suspect copying from the Internet (PowerPoints seem to be the place most likely to do this), I just paste in a line into Google and up it pops.  Usually if there is more than a line, I don't accept the assignment.
  2. Copying from friends is harder to catch, but using Google Drive there are several ways to catch offenders:
    • For each set of assignments, create a folder and drag in each assignment.  At the same time, right click on your "shared with me" stream and "remove."  The assignments will still remain in your folder.  
    • If you think you've seen a line in an assignment more than once then go to the search engine for the assignment folder (see above) any type in the "offending language."  As with searching the Internet any copied language will appear and instantly you can see where it originated.  If you partner with other students, have them create a similar folder and you can exchange lines.
  3. Use "revision history" by going to "file" and then "revision history."  
    • This will allow you to see how much your students have been working on a project which will appear on the right side under "revision history."  If there is only one entry either your students wrote it in Microsoft Word (and there you will have to decide if you want to "ban" using this or they copied it.  Either way it is a huge flag to tell that you need to copy a strand of the language into the search engine and see what you get.  
    • You can also see what time the kids were at work.
  4. If you are like me catching students is no fun and detracts from the team aspect of learning that we try to build in our classrooms.  On the other hand, make a point of nicely telling your kids how many kids have been caught.  Usually catching a few early in the year detracts from cheating the rest of the year and leads to better learning the rest of it.  Of course how you deal with cheaters is up to you and your school.  Here's to hoping these tricks detract from cheating. When my book comes out in the late spring I'll have more on these techniques, but more on that later. 

Thursday, December 26, 2013

The Modern Revolution

 ,Here's a great review of the modern revolution from the Big History Project. The ingredients include globalization, new energy resources, the increasing use of energy and the inter connectedness of the four world zones.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

History of St. Nicholas

This is a great NPR interview about the reality of St. Nicholas who was a Catholic bishop from Turkey.  He actually was born wealthy and did give some of his money multiple times to poor families prior to being a bishop.  Legend (no real proof) is that on one of the visits instead of throwing it through the window (his usual method), he dropped it down the chimney.  There is a lot more in the interview.  Here and is a website explaining the history.

The history of the suit goes back to Thomas Nast's cartoon above. 

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Cloud Based Video Maker

A few days ago a teacher in my department asked me how to make a video.  I spent 3 minutes with him on WeVideo and came back and in five minutes he had figured it out and created his short video.  It is that intuitive.  WeVideo can be done alone on the Internet or it can be added to your Google Drive account (Create (in the upper left side of a page)...Connect More Apps...WeVideo and then synch it with your account).  WeVideo is essentially a MovieMaker that is cloud based and therefore can be worked on simultaneously by a bunch of different people in different locations.  Think about how many times you have run out of time working on a video and wished the kids could finish at home.  Well now you can! 

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Greek Philosophers: Can't Get You Out of my Head

Kylie Minogue reviews the three main Greek philosophers!

Archimedes Takes a Bath

Archimedes takes a bath and comes up with one of the great principles of mathematics in this great three minute TedTalk.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Egyptian Mummies: Great Flash Site

Here's a very cool interactive flash site from Active History that takes you through the steps of mummification in an engaging manner. Thanks to Russel Tarr for tweeting the link.

Pericles, the Delian League, and the Athenian Golden Age

Here's a great seven minute clip about the formation of the Delian League and the Age of Pericles.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

The World's Largest Cities Over Time

Here are the world's largest cites from 4000 BCE to the present from Slate Magazine. They got the chart from Goldman Sachs who just published a report with their favorite 100 charts. This was one of them. If you go to their site here, you can click the chart and enlarge it.

You'll see, for example, that in 1000 CE, Kaifeng was the largest city in the east with a population of almost 1,000,000.  And Cardoba was the largest in the West with a  population of about 200,000.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Flipped School Clintondale's Videos

The PBS video on Clintondale in the post below is excellent especially since it addresses what to do with students who are more disadvantaged.  Both George and I have to deal with that in our schools.  One of the things I do is have more fluid due dates.  In fact my flipped students only have late assignments after the test is over.  I also have lots of kids come to my class during our "flex" periods, as well as at lunch and after school.  If you want to see Clintondale's videos go here. You can look a few posts below to see how to make your own videos.  If you want more I have a book coming out in the late spring with Corwin that spends some time on flipping the classroom - and a lot more, but more on that in coming months. 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

What' a Flipped Classroom Looks Like

Here's an excellent clip from PBS NewsHour that shows what a flipped classroom looks like.

Google Sites for Education

Google sites is a great platform that allows you to create a class website where you can embed assignments, video clips, and even Google Forms for short assessments. Google gives you more flexibility than Blackboard and has more apps that work seamlessly with Google sites.

 My colleague, James Dahlgren, and I presented different ways to use Google sites at the 2013 VSTE (Virginia Society for Technology in Education) Conference in Roanoke this weekend. Here’s a link to our presentation that shows you the steps involved in creating a site.  And here's a link to a site we created for our AP World history class.  We link the site to Blackboard so that when students open Blackboard they are taken directly to the Google site.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

From Foraging to Food Shopping

Did you know that the decisions you make about food today extends far back into human history? That's exactly what this clip from the Big History Project attempts to show.

Monday, December 9, 2013

42 Maps - Different Ways of Looking at the World

This is a cool look at the world through 42 different maps as told by Hank Green (brother of John).  Show it to your students when you start your map sections. 

Flipping the Classroom Presentation

I helped organize a technology 1/2 day at our school today.  I am doing a presentation on Flipping the Classroom.  Here is what we are going over today:

  1. What will be taught:  We will learn how to record lectures for students to watch at home, how students can be accountable for that information and how to flip one’s classroom to do the “problem sets” in the classroom.
  2. Tutorial steps that will be finished in the class (each underlined item is linked to a tutorial)
    1. will learn  how to use Screencastomatic to learn how to record a ten minute lecture
    2. will discuss what can be done in the classroom
    3. will learn how class activities can be put on a Google Drive document and linked into Blackboard
    4. learn how to split the laptop screen so students can see the video and their notes or you could use VideoNot.es (tutorial)
    5. If you accumulate lots of videos, here is how you create a youTube Playlist 

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Google Drive Templates

My son is working on an assignment on Jamestown (4th grade history in VA is VA history) and is writing a newspaper account about 1619.   So we found this link to Google Drive documents' templates.  But it also has links to Presentations (PowerPoints), excel spreadsheets, forms and drawings (see below).

To use the templates, simply open up Google Drive and then go to the page.  Click on "use this template" (see below) and it will appear in your Google Drive under "Recent" which is on the left side of your page.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Greek Government

This is a nice video explaining how you can use paper to tell the kids about Greek government. 

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Mandela's Struggle in Posters

The New York Times has a great slide show of Mandela's struggle against apartheid through posters. My thanks to Jeff Feinstein for sending me the link.

NPR's Planet Money Makes a T-Shirt

Show your students how a simple t-shirt is made. They'll be amazed! Click here to go to the NPR site (NPR developed the story), scroll down and click "View" for a video presentation of the story. The video contains different chapters such as "cotton," "machines," "people," "boxes," and "you."  It's fascinating and definitely worth showing,especially if you are covering the industrial revolution.

Here's part IV, about boxes

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Monday, December 2, 2013

Scripts for Google Drive

Unlike apps that are added to something like Google Drive, scripts just help Google Drive further an application it already has.  For example, WeVideo is an app that one can use to collaboratively make videos in Google Drive.  But we have already discussed a script such as Doctopus that allows you to put your students' assignments in folders.  Well, here are eight other scripts that you might want to use in your classroom along with Google Drive.

The video above is one example of the scripts on the link which is called Flubaroo which makes grading exams easier in Google Drive forms.

I found the scripts on Synergyse.

Ancient Rome Prezi

Here is an awesome prezi on Rome. It begins with the rise of Caesar and the end of the Republic and goes through Augustus and Pax Romana. Five or six excellent short video clips add a lot of interest. Check it out.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Age of Exploration Poster

This is a nice concise poster that explains what life is like at sea for the sailors in the Age of Exploration (which for some reason is a difficult resource to get online).