Sunday, June 29, 2014's Improvements for Texting Students is an alternative to Remind to texting your students.  You can choose between a restricted environment where only you see the texts or one where all students respond.  Either way it is an improvement since you can individually text your students, but the conversation is recorded to ensure proper school etiquette is followed.  The nice thing about this is that if your students have questions, you do not need to answer every question, but can rely on the students to help each other.  You can also also send out questions to your students and see an instant poll.  This is useful the night before a test first to make sure they are reminded to study as well as to gauge if they are ready for the test.  If there is a deficiency, then you can send a link to your students for the particular item that needs to be studied.

Above is a tutorial on how to use the basic elements of

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Imperial History of the Middle East

George and I both like these sets of 40 Middle Eastern maps which you can see in his recent post.  But I thought I'd include the video above on the imperial history of the Middle East  

Friday, June 27, 2014

4 Legacies from WWI You Didn't Know

Here are four things the Washington Post says that "we didn't know came from World War 1." 

It's the 100th anniversary of the war which is why there is so much material coming out about the war. 

The best of that material comes from the Wall Street journal which I posted below.

Iraq, WWI and the Ongoing Problems Today

George Coe and I are clearly thinking along the same lines as this is a fantastic article from the NYTimes on how the Ottoman Empire and WWI is still impacting Iraq's problems today.  The video above explains the three groups (Sunnis, Shi'ites and Kurds) and the article includes a visual which allows you to see the changes from the Ottomans until today.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Legacies of WWI: Awesome Site

The Wall Street Journal created a great page showing legacies of World War I that continue to shape our lives today.

The page is series of pictures representing different categories like politics, culture, arms, tactics, etc. It's very cool and students might have fun clicking through it or, it might make for a good webquest.

The site even includes a quiz!

Thanks to Liz Ramos for tweeting the link.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Changes in Google Drive

This gives you a quick overview of how to do the main items in Google Drive be it on your laptop or smartphone.  Later this summer I will post a five minute film on how to do everything you will need in Google Drive for your school year.  For now, this is a great start.  I found it on the Google Drive blog site

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Learn Smarter: Tips from Memory Researchers

Memory researchers say that merely rereading notes or the textbook doesn't help you learn. According to this story in Vox, you have to do something with the information like making flashcards, or diagramming the information.

Aksing yourself questions is also important. "Say you're learning about world history, and how ancient Rome and Greece were trading partners. Stop and ask yourself why they became trading partners. Why did they become shipbuilders, and learn to navigate the seas?"

Researchers also say that spacing out your review helps more than cramming.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Poll Everywhere for Instant Response

Poll Everywhere keeps getting better.  In the old days I used to hand out clickers to students so we could get instant feedback on a question.  But the clickers were inconsistent and often were broken.  So for the past few years we have been using Poll Everywhere which allows you to create formative quizzes with either multiple choice or free response answers.  It can be used on smartphones or laptops or both simultaneously.  The best part is that if you have a LCD, you can project the responses up on a screen so you and your students can instantly see what percentage of the class has mastered the content.  Here is a video explaining how to create and use the polls and above is a short overview.  

Sunday, June 22, 2014

The Indus Valley (The Masters of the River): Documentary

Here's an interesting documentary about the Indus River civilization made by NHK (Japan) and Canadian TV. It does not focus on the twin cities of Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro but on a lesser known site called Dholavira near Gujarat in western India.

"With the help of CGI animation" writes one reviewer, "the documentary reconstructs the ruined city and shows how the civilisation was able to grow to a formidable size by its innovative harnessing of a now vanished river system."

I saw this on the The Indus Valley Open Online University, which is a little like Pinterest.

40 Maps that Explain the Middle East

Here are 40 maps that explain the Middle East from the Fertile Crescent to the concluding picture of the region at night from space. Max Fisher put the maps together for Vox which you can view here.

It might be interesting to give students copies of some of the images and have them annotate the changes.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Social Studies Chat (#sschat) Website

Social studies chat (#sschat) which meets every Monday at 7:00 pm, now has a website. It includes upcoming topics and, most importantly an archive of past chats. If, for example,  you want to find resources about project based learning, you can easily find it in the archives.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Different Strains of Early Man

This is another in a line of fascinating articles on early man.  The video and article discuss the fact that there were several competing lines of Neanderthal humans.  The other nice thing about the short video is that it is a good way to show your students how archaeologists work and sometimes in very tough conditions. 

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Bloom's Wheel with Technology

I am putting the finishing touches on my book (yes it has taken much longer than I thought) and came across Allan Carrington's Pedagogy Wheel which takes Bloom's taxonomy and gives you apps and websites that you can use for each level of learning.  Check it out here and then start thinking how you can use more technology to reach the upper levels of Bloom's.  

Friday, June 13, 2014

Become an AP Grader

Right now I am in Salt Lake City grading AP exams.  I have been grading for years and really enjoy it.  I started and continue to come because it does help you teach your students how to better master the free response questions on an AP exam.  But it is quite great when you get to meet a bunch of driven AP teachers who inspire me with new ideas and then become a year round resource.  Should I add that you are paid, get free room and board and a plane ticket to the grading.

Oh and the grading!  Yes you do have to grade a lot of essays and on the 4th or 5th day it can get a bit tough, but most people come back year after year so it isn't that bad.  I should add that it makes you a much more efficient grader for your own students' tests.

So if you are interested in applying go here

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Tutorial Video for Text Reminders for Students

If you want to text your students reminders for homework, this is the site to use.  You can set it up to be sent at a certain time, send it to just a few students or the entire class.  You can even send it with attachments or Tweet it out after it has been sent.  The video above explains it all. 

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Commemorate the D-Day Invasion

C-Span has some great video resources for us to use to commemorate D Day with students. In addition to the two clips below--an 18 minute tour of the Normandy cemetery and a 14 minute speech by President Obama at the 65th anniversary of D Day-- you'll also find a good 28 minute clip about the invasion itself.

Thanks to Pearson Social Studies for tweeting the link.

Great Resource: World 1 & 2

Teaching World 1 or World 2? Check out this great wiki site created by a teacher. It's organized by unit from Rome through the Enlightenment. Each unit includes maps, text and great video clips.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Great Wall Virtual and Video Tours

So Richard Byrne of FreeTech4Teachers and I are teaching an online course in late Aug/early Sept (more coming in probably a month) on teaching history utilizing the Internet.  At any rate we are just in the planning stage, but to that end I just found a great virtual tour of the Great Wall(s) of China which I wish I had had earlier in the year.

Silk Road Flipped Lesson

Here's a great TedEd lesson about the Silk Road. You can use it as a flipped lesson with the multiple choice questions provided..

Thanks to the Virginia Geographic Alliance for tweeting the link.

Hans Rosling on Making Teaching Fun

Hans Rosling, known for his data visualization, explains in this clip why props are so important to teaching.

You can read more about Rosling and the use of props here at Quality Teacher Talk.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Imperial History of the Middle East

I saw this on Vox, which has a great series of maps about the Middle East--40 maps that Made the Middle East. Thanks to Emily Haug for tweeting the link.