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Showing posts from September, 2013

If I Were on a Desert Island With My Students...

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...these are the 3 Google apps I could NOT live without.

PS - Your island would also need Internet, wifi, laptops, smartphones, tablets, AND a way to charge everything. So... yeah.

Number 1: Feedly
Available on iPad or Google Chrome, Feedly seemlessly transferred my Google Reader RSS over and allows me to view the musings of my PLN (which includes ed techies, history geeks, and colleagues from Reading, MA) in a much sexier format.  This means I'm not just keeping up with their thoughts in 140 characters or less via Twitter, I'm getting their fully developed philosophies and stories delivered to me day in and day out.

Additionally, since working with Steve Olivo on a middle school team I've decided that the best way to hold students accountable for their writing is to have them blog.  They are publishing their work to me, each other, and the world.  What better motivation to build a portfolio that tracks one's own progress?  They may not realize that they are building a…

Looking Back at My First Backchannel Experience

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OK, so the title is a little bit of a misnomer.  I have been a part of several backchannel experiences at professional conferences.  However, I've never invited my students to backchannel during my class.

What is Backchannel?
I've enjoyed contributing to and learning from these audience insights in the past.  However, I've never invited my own students to backchannel while we were in the midst of a class activity or discussion.  After looking at a few backchannel platforms, I decided on TodaysMeet.  I was especially inspired by Richard Byrne's post on his blog Free Tech 4 Teachers.  So, here is a reflection on my first forays into backchanneling in my own classroom with my own students.  Both attempts involved documentaries.

Attempt #1: Honors Sophomores and the Industrial Revolution
Students at this particular age and level tend to be eager to participate and prove to their teacher that they are working to understand the material.  They watched an 18 minute Discovery St…

I'm Not Saying I Doubt Your History Teacher Prowess...

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Sure, you could find some of these primary sources by Googling them.  Sure, you could come up with a few of these lesson activities on your own.  Your bright, experienced, and you know what's good for kids.

But this stuff is reeeeeally good.  Like, it's a veteran history teacher's dream. 
Go ahead. Give them a try.  Just a peek.  You'll be hooked too.
Reading Like a Historian is published by Stanford University and has primary sources embedded in short analytical and engaging activities.  Instead of just asking students what a source says, they are asked deeper questions about the value of the source, the motivations of the authors, and so much more.  This a better source for U.S. than for world history teachers, but what is there will elevate the conversation in your classroom.  I also can't stress how interesting the sources are.  Not your typical text book appendix stuff.  Worth a visit and the time it takes to sign up for a free account.
Historical Scene Investig…