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 Drive 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.


Above is a long review of WHII (Renaissance to present) review which has an image on the back of each card. 

Quizlet Reviews for WHI

My WHI students have their state exam next week.  Here is our review sheet.  But if you want Quizlet questions, here is the mother lode as it breaks down the entire content into each unit complete with questions for each part.  If your kids need a second chance test, it might be helpful as you hone in on a specific area of need. Here are map questions and here is a 200 review of all of WHI and finally here are maps of every single area we study.

If you want all of the links in one place, go to

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

School is Not Out for Summer on My Blogs

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.  

Friday, May 22, 2015

Student Videos for Review

Today, my students reviewed some important events in different periods of history between 1500 and the present by creating short documentaries with their phones. I assigned groups of students an important event from one of the time periods and gave them these instructions:
  • choose a reader
  • draw symbols or images that will appear on the screen
  • rehearse moving  the images on and off while your passage is read
Next, I showed students a couple of samples of other student-created video using the same techinques I wanted my students to use.

Once completed, students uploaded their videos to You Tube and submitted the link to a Goolge Form I created.

Although the clips lack polish and sometimes the images don't flow with the documentary, I was pleased with the clips and think that they are a great way for students to process content.

Monday, May 18, 2015

How Feudal Lords Fought in Armour

Ever wonder how feudal lords fought each other in so much armour?

Take a look at this cool clip from The National Museum of the Middle Ages in Geneva in which actors demonstrate some of the movements and techniques of the fighters.

You can read more about them at Open Culture where I saw the clip, which is in French.

Search for Ideas on my Blogs

I was on a Facebook page for teachers the other day and one of the educators mentioned using my site to search for lesson plans and ideas.  It made me smile as that is exactly one of the uses for this page.  Consider that between my four blogs (US history, World history, US and Comparative Government, Economics) I now have over 6000 posts since 2008.  Even the "baby" among my blogs, econ, has 250 posts in the last year!  So if you are looking for content, technology or pedagogy, hopefully I have it.  If not, write me and I'll look into it.   Otherwise look in the upper left side of this page and put what you are looking for in the search box.

Next up will be summer assignments (which you can already search for and see what I posted for last year).  

Friday, May 15, 2015

Join Me in EdChat on Tuesday, 3 PM EST

I am going to be presenting on EdChat on May 19th from 3 to 4 pm EST.  I will be focusing on individualizing instruction in the classroom using technology (yes, focusing on some key concepts from my book).   You can sign up for the class for free by going here.   You will then be sent a link for our online platform where we will meet.  At the appointed time, you'll just need to sign in and then I will make a short presentations, we'll break into groups and then I'll also take your questions.

All three of my preps this year are being flipped so I am really getting into it which is good after four years of practicing the "craft."  If you joined me for the #edchat, then the eight minute video above detailing all of the steps and what to do in the classroom after you have done your flipped lecture might be of help to you.

Here is an example of a flipped video, the actual Google form we used and the interactive assignment that followed in class.  Below is the PowerPoint I am using for my presentation. 

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Ken Halla's Summer In-Services (so far)

If you want to take a summer in-service with me this summer, there are a number to choose from below.  Click on the links to sign up and email me at if you want me to help you with one.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

@trevorpacker for AP Updates

Most people who teach and AP course know that Trevor Packer is the head honcho for all AP subjects.  If you follow him on Twitter he will Tweet when the College Board has released the FRQs for your subject.  Laster in the summer (late July) he will release the statistics on each exam such as passing percentage, percentage of 5s, 4s and more. 

Quizlet Flash Cards for Last Minute Review on AP World

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Learnerator for Last Minute Review

For those who want more studying for your students before the AP exams next week, Learnerator has lots of questions for AP World, Micro, Macro, Comp and US Government (among others).  

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Join Me on EdChat

I am going to be presenting on EdChat on May 19th from 3 to 4 pm EST.  I will be focusing on individualizing instruction in the classroom using technology (yes, focusing on some key concepts from my book).   You can sign up for the class for free by going here.   You will then be sent a link for our online platform where we will meet.  On the appointed time, you'll just need to sign in and we can chat.  

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Which Great Philosopher Are You?

This website will tell you which great philosopher you are most like after you answer a few questions.  It's pretty cool and a great learning tool.

The website, The History of the Ancient World, lets you play other historical games like "Which ancient civilization would you rule?"

You can also see how much you know about ancient Egypt with this quiz.

It's a great website and worth exploring if you teach world history.

By the way, I turned out to be most like Aristotle!

Friday, May 1, 2015

Follow a T-Shirt Around the World

Studying Globalism. Here, NPR's Planet Money makes a T shirt and follows it around the world as its made. And in the process, they tell a fascinating story.

Indian Influence in Afro-Eurasia

William Dalrymple, the Indian historian and travel writer, wrote a fascinating review of two new books about exhibitions of Buddhist art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2013 and 2014.

Dalrymple argues that between 400 and 1200 Indian culture and technology spread through Afro-Eurasia much the way Greece influenced Aegean Turkey and Rome.

For example, he notes: 

But for at least seven hundred years before then, from about 400 AD to 1200 AD, India was a large-scale and confident exporter of its own diverse civilization in all its forms, and the rest of Asia was the willing and eager recipient of a startlingly comprehensive mass transfer of Indian culture, religion, art, music, technology, astronomy, mythology, language, and literature. Out of India came not just artists, sculptors, traders, scientists, astronomers, and the occasional fleets of warships, but also missionaries of three Indic forms of religion: Buddhism and two rival branches of Hinduism: Shaivism, in which Lord Shiva is revered as the Supreme Being; and Vaishnavism, which venerates Lord Vishnu.

Dalrymple suggests that "the scale and breadth of this extraordinary cultural diffusion is not as well known as it should be" and notes that the influence of India was especially "striking" in Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia.

He points to Angkor Wat as the "most spectacular" example of this influence.

This is a fascinating story written by one of the best historians of India and he writes with a style that is colorful and readable.

AP Score Calculator

Every year I tell my kids that they have to get a 60% on my tests and the final to be in the 3 range and slightly more than half on the FRQs.  Well this AP score calculator by AP Haven does a pretty good job of proving me correct, except that it actually uses released tests you might be using to show your students their score.  It has everything on there except for AP US (since there are no tests to correlate to it).  Thanks to Doug Zywiol for the heads up on this one.