After each unit I talk to my students about how to review for their test - which I point out should be over several days and not just involve reading a study guide. One of the methods I also give them is a link to Quizlet which has a number of completed flashcards which can also be used as various games and even set up as a competition with members of your class. Above is one example for India. You can also have your students create their own set of cards.
Today I found an article on the Washington Post that goes with along with what some of my students are doing for homework. So, today I sent them the link to the article and was able to do it because all of my students voluntarily sign up for Remind.com because they like the reminder. You can send a simple text and even add an attachment and, if you want to, put it on Twitter as well. Over the years I have used it I have become convinced that kids, more than not, don't do their homework because of poor planning or organization and Remind has helped immensely on this. Above is a video explaining how to use it. Of course the service is free and parents can sign up for it as well. Finally it is also only a one way text.
If you teach US history you might have seen the work I am doing with a California group called ContextU on contextualizing all of US (and eventually world) history. A group that we are potentially going to be working with has produced an amazing app that takes you around ancient Rome and has a number of pop-ups to give you the history. You can also turn things in a complete circle. Really if you have a iPads for your students it is a great device to use during your Rome unit.
Ironically, at the same time one of my classes is starting to write a research paper, I received an email from Robert Morris asking if he could write a post for my blog. His write-up is so useful I am putting it up in its entirety. At the top of this post I am also including a video I made last year on the mechanics of writing an essay such as what is a thesis, topic sentence(s), outline sentence(s), etc.
How to Teach
Writing with the Help of Technology
If you are constantly frustrated by your
students’ inability to understand what you expect from academic assignments,
maybe it’s time to turn to technology tools. Teaching students how to write is
one of the greatest challenges that professors face. No matter how hard they
try to explain different writing techniques and help their students go through
the different stages of essay writing, the results are hardly satisfactory.
Every teacher knows that some of the most
important aspects of successful academic writing are organization, research,
proofreading and editing, but they cannot motivate students to put enough
effort in all stages of the project. The following tools will help both you and
your students deal with the challenge more easily.
to use during the research stage
This is the part when your students need the most
help. If you want to be satisfied with the content they submit, you need to
teach them how to do a proper research. Suggest these tools to help your
students go through this stage:
Instead of forcing them to spend several days in
the library locating proper sources for a research paper, you should suggest
this online tool to your students. This is an online library that offers an
immense choice of relevant research information.
You don’t consider Google to be the right
destination for finding reliable sources, but your students keep using it.
Google Scholar is the compromise – it provides them with a research environment
they are used to, but leads to reliable sources that can be used as a
foundation for academic projects.
At this website, you can find top-quality eBooks
that you can suggest as referencing sources. You can research the online
library and tell your students to discuss particular books, but you can also
inspire them to conduct the research individually or in teams.
proofreading and editing tools
Teachers are really frustrated when their
students submit draft version of their papers. Instead of repeating the same
things about the importance of proofreading and editing, you should suggest the
following tools that will lead to practical results:
If you notice that some of your students need
serious assistance during the writing and editing stage, you should suggest
them to hire professional writers and editors at this website. A single
investment can result with an extraordinary improvement in their research,
writing and editing skills, since the students get to learn through
collaborating with real experts at this website.
Although this is a basic checker that cannot lead
to flawless papers, it will still help your students avoid some embarrassing
mistakes. The engine corrects the most common errors in academic writing, so you
can suggest it as the right tool to use when your students’ papers need a quick
The process of teaching your students how to
write involves the issue of plagiarism. They clearly use resources to support
the discussion, so the content can easily end up being too similar to something
that has already been written before. These are the plagiarism detection tools
you should suggest:
This simple engine detects the parts of the paper
that have been plagiarized from online resources. When your students see the
highlighted content, they will know which parts need to be referenced or
improved with their own comments.
This website combines three useful tools: grammar
check, plagiarism detection, and writing suggestions.
You can also rely on these plagiarism detection
engines in order to make sure that the content your students submit is unique.
When they start combining them with the research and editing tools we listed
above, they will soon start completing better academic content and making you a
It is somewhat amazing to me how often our WHI/WHII e-book goes down when students are working on it (esp. during September). This Saturday, for example, it will be down. But never fear one of my trusty colleagues found the entire Patterns of Interaction textbook online in a format they will not go down. The only downside is you have to know the section as the pages are not included.
My two AP classes each have two exams that they will have to take in May which prompted one student to ask me the other day how we would review for both AP exams. Well the answer, if you read my post below on How We Learn is to go back frequently, but not every day and review old material.
One way to do this is to let your students use Learning Pod which allows students to take review questions on any AP exam that are preparing for without having to even login. However if the students want to login then they will receive an explanation for their incorrect questions.
Teachers can also create "pods" of their own tests that they have created which they can make available for anyone or just for their own students. There are also different ways (url, Tweets), etc that teachers can use to share a pod with students.
If you want to easily see all the AP offering questions, go here or to the logo on the right of the page any time you want.
that studying day after day is not good that we should have a day or two off after studying the first time and that there will be surprisingly more retention when one tests on the third day after studying than on the day you studied
that studying on multiple days, not in succession increases long term retention
that brief study breaks to do things totally unrelated such as checking text messages, as long as not done every few minutes help the brain make connections
that going back to earlier material all year again helps the learning process
that having students think and not just listen and write makes the long term learning better
Each year I teach two AP classes, 2 standard ones and one online. So of my roughly 150 students, about 5-6 start the year without a laptop and all are in my two standard classes. What is different this year is that all but one has some Internet connection be it via a smartphone or a laptop. So all students can watch flip videos and see links to items online so the "worst case" is that they have to write their answers on paper - which, yes, even for me works. But there are still things that just cannot be done on a smartphone.
But a few years ago a girl in one of my classes came in beaming one day and said because of my class her mother had bought her a laptop. When I asked if this was a bad thing (ie did I pressure her in some way) she said no and that her mother had no idea schools used laptops that much. Well now I find a time outside of class to talk to all my non connected students and always mention Chromebooks saying that it is what I bought my own children ($250 for 11" and $300 for 14"). Kids today do not need Microsoft Windows and for that matter Microsoft now has OneDrive which allows you to do most of what you do in Word, but online. So as it has been in the past three years, three kids have come to me so far to tell me that they now have laptops and two more are getting theirs soon. Not only that but parents have even thanked me for suggesting it.
For me it boils down to this. I know that students will need online capabilities when they enter the workplace and by not asking, I am helping to foster a situation where my students are far behind most of their peers. I also stay after school 90 minutes each day and help kids learn how to be connected - as well as how to do their work. To get to the point, not asking a student is worse than asking so see if you can't get more of your students connected.
Sunday marks the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. AP News has a great site about the fall with interesting images and original news stories.
The Washington Post has "stunning" before and after pictures, along with a crossword puzzle testing your knowledge of the Berlin Wall.
Below, NBC News shows 8000 lighted balloons along nine mile length of the wall. And below that is a BBC clip clip explaining the rise and fall of the wall in 60 seconds. Finally, you can read another excellent summary from the Independent.
The BBC iWonder has an awesome site about World War I from a German soldier's perspective and that of a young English soldier. The site includes great photographs, short video clips and links to read more about different events.
A timeline at the top of the page allows you move directly to specific events.
If you have never seen a iWonder site, you should. They are fun and student friendly. And this one might make for a great web quest.
A number of my students are either currently ESOL students or were in the program in the last year or two. So one of the resources we use is Howjsay.com where you can input a word and it says it for you. The other day for example, we were looking at Japan and submitted the word archipelago. It also links the word to a Google search so you can find out more about what you are trying to pronounce.