Digital History Website

When I do a US history project or I am looking for an interesting way to teach a particular concept my first website I go to is the Digital History Website. It is extremely user friendly because you can search by topic or a specific era in American history. This website is packed with information from alternative textbook readings to primary sources to media and even teaching ideas. It is truly a “one stop shop” to find out more information about any U.S. history topic. It is a wonderful resource and it makes my life just a little bit easier.

Digital History 2011-06-30 23-23-12

BBC Witness Podcast- Bring Primary Sources into your Classroom

I learned about BBC Witness Podcast from Richard Bryne’s Blog called Free Technology for Teachers BBC Witness Podcast is a series of short audio recordings  of newscasts and interview of people who experience historical events first-hand.

There are 168 podcasts available and the website is updated daily. This site is a great way to easily bring primary sources into the classroom who experienced the historical events first hand. Bring Primary Sources into your Classroom with BBC Witness Podcast.

Google Reader (76) 2011-06-29 08-02-31

TubeChop-Cut Youtube clips with easy

TubeChop is a website that allows users to take their favorite parts of a youtube clip and chop them into smaller video clips and then share it.

How it works?

1. Find the video you want to chop.

2. Select & cut interesting part of the video.

3. Share it with friends.

Application: This would be very useful when showing a particular clip to the class or with digital storytelling. This site could save teachers or students time by focusing on a particular part of a video clip, as compared to the entire clip. Here are some examples -URL Shortner is a simple to use online url shortner. This site allows users to link to multiple websites with a single url. The site is easy to use and it eliminates the need for multiple windows and tabs.

Application in the Classroom: This site seems would be very useful when directing students to multiple site for a particular project or web search assignment. Check it out today:

Here’s How to use it from: Make Use

Motuto-Live Mobile Tutoring

What is Motuto?

Motuto is an on-demand, real-time mobile tutoring app. When you have a problem or question you need help with you can just log on, connect with a tutor and get the help you need.

Motuto is a service aimed at students in grades 6-12 that provides mobile homework assistance where you want it and when. When you get stuck on a problem, or need help with a lesson, use your mobile device to connect to a live tutor who will explain the concept and walk you through the problem-solving process.

I wish I was a science or math teacher so I could use this live mobile tutoring app. If you are please check out Mututo

SideVibe-Create an interesting online lesson

SideVibe is an interesting Web 2.0 tool that allows teachers to revolutionize the classroom buy putting content online and delivering it in a powerful method. SideVibe enables teachers to create learning activities on the screen in direct proximity to Web content without the problems of paper handouts or 3rd party Websites. Student thinking in context is captured providing for more focused attentive and productive responses. As well, teachers can easily gather, view, assess and respond to all student responses through their secure SideVibe Website, providing teachers with faster, more effective methods for online feedback.

There is how­ever, one small catch and that involves the free and “pre­mium” account dif­fer­ences. Free accounts are avail­able but they are lim­ited to 50, “one time” stu­dent accounts (once a stu­dent account is issued, it can’t be re-used or re-issued) for every one teacher account.

A “pre­mium” teacher account does away with this lim­i­ta­tion (a teacher can have unlim­ited free stu­dent accounts) as well as adding a cou­ple of extra fea­tures. The cost is about $6.00 a month.

As well, stu­dents will also need an email address when sign­ing up for a stu­dent account.

Make any photo come to life with Blabberize

Blabberize is a very easy application that allows you to speak through a picture. Students can manipulate the picture to say what they want it to say.

Teachers have used this resource for quick projects such as having students retell a story, book reviews, explain a math or science process, create biographies. The ideas are endless.

Take a look at a few below and then follow the link

Create a multimedia Story with Little Bird Tales

Little Bird Tales is a nice site for younger students to create digital stories. Little Bird Tales walks users through each step of creating a multimedia story.

Users can upload images, draw images, or record from their webcams. Stories can be written with text or narrated by students using microphones connected to their computers. Sample video

Very simple to use and create a story. Great literacy tool!

Animoto-make a simple movie

Animoto is another simple program online to create simple videos from pictures, sound, text, and existing video clips try Animoto.  Animoto makes it possible to quickly create a video using still images, music, and text. In the last year Animoto has added the option to include video clips in your videos too.

If you can make a slideshow presentation, you can make a video using Animoto.

Animoto’s free service limits you to 30 second videos. You can create longer videos if you apply for an education account. I like to use Animoto early in the school year to introduce my new students to some of the basic skills that will be carried across to more complex video creation later in the year.

Awesome Screenshot

I just discovered Awesome Screen Shot, which is a wonderful screen shot program. I am a huge fan of taking screen shots when demonstrating a particular lesson or difficult takl. This program allows anyone to take a photo of the desktop or internet and then annotate it. It’s easy to use and pretty simple with browser add on to make screen shots simple. Check it out today.

Awesome Screenshot - Capture, Annotate and Share 2011-06-25 22-43-26

Some of the Features:

  • Capture visible part
  • Capture any region
  • Capture the whole page
  • Crop any portion and show crop dimension
  • Annotate it with rectangles, circles, arrows, lines and text
  • Erase the sensitive information with blur tool
  • One-click Upload the screenshot to
    and get a sharable link
  • Hard to guess URL to allow private sharing
  • Share the link to twitter, facebook, email etc.

WebDoc like Glogster

Today I was updating some of my lessons with new project ideas. I discovered a new program called WebDoc. It allows people to express themselves around particular topic with pictures, videos and music from all over the web, but also interactive applications like games, polls, slideshows or web services such as Google Maps and Twitter.

WebDoc reminds me of glogster but for an older crowd like middle school and high school. It seems simple to use and I can’t wait to try it next school year with my students.

For more information visit the What Every Social Media Marker Should Know about WebDoc, writtten by Neil Glassman:

Coolest feature

Drag-and-drop WYSIWYG interface for simple, intuitive and quick interactive postings.

Feature rundown

  • Mixed media — photos, videos, audio, etc. — can be used to attract and retain attention
  • Incorporate services  such as Google Maps, Twitter, SlideShare and others
  • webdoc can be posted to a Facebook Page, website and blog, as well as linked from Twitter or email
  • HTML5 is indexed by search engines and works on tablets like the iPad


Create an event and check your calendar with text messaging

Check your phone without a smart phone

Google Calendar’s SMS notification feature allows you to conveniently check your calendar when you’re on the go. Just send Google Calendar a quick text message, and you’ll get an SMS notification with the information you requested.
In order to use this service, you’ll need to register your cell phone number in Google Calendar. Just sign in, click the gear icon at the top of the page, select Calendar settings, and go to the Mobile Setup tab.
To receive a notification with your calendar information, send a text message containing one of the following commands to the shortcode ‘48368’ (GVENT):

  • ‘next’: request your next scheduled event
  • ‘day: request all of your scheduled events for the present day
  • ‘nday’: request your events scheduled for the following day

To create an event on your primary calendar via SMS

simply send a text message containing your event’s details to the shortcode “GVENT (48368).
For example, if you send a message with something like “Shopping with Sarah at Monterrey Market 5pm Saturday,” Google Calendar can figure out what you mean and pop the new event into your calendar.
Please keep in mind that this feature is only available in the US at this time.

For more information: Click Here

40 Interesting Ways to Close a Lesson

CLOSURE – what the instructor does to facilitate wrap-up at the end of the lesson – it is a quick review, to remind students what it was that they have learned (or should have learned) and allows you to see where the students are to assist you in planning for the next lesson.

The intellectual work should be done by the students – not the instructor summarizing for the students and telling them what they learned. Closure allows students to summarize main ideas, evaluate class processes, answer questions posed at the beginning of the lesson, and link to both the past and the future.

Closure is an opportunity for formative assessment and helps the instructor decide:

1. if additional practice is needed
2. whether you need to re-teach
3. whether you can move on to the next part of the lesson

Closure comes in the form of information from students about what they learned during the class; for example, a restatement of the instructional purpose. This information then provides a knowledge of the results for the teacher, i.e., did you teach what you intended to teach and have the students learned what you intended to have them learn

Resources used

Assembled by Ann Sipe ∞ Grandview School District, Grandview WA

Kristine Lindeblad – Coach Extraordinaire
Terrific teachers at Grandview Middle and High Schools; Grandview, WA
OSPI Funded Math Coaches 2007-2009
About – Secondary Education Blog
Educators Reference Desk, How to write a lesson Plan
Winning Through Student Participation in Lesson Closure. Patricia Wolf and Viola Supon . EDRS (ERIC)


I am always looking for free and easy to use online converter programs to change the file formats of digital media. I have been using zamzar’s free account for a little over a year. Zamzar claims bring “order to your filesystem by offering you a one stop solution for all your file conversion needs. Like others we were fed up with having files in all sorts of formats, and no easy way of converting between them.” The paid subscription offers you many more features than the free version. I dislike the free version because you have to wait for the converted files to email and the files seem to take a long time to load.

online convert

online convert

I recently discovered another FREE online converter called Online Convert. The website claims, “This free online file converter lets you convert media easy and fast from one format to another. We support a lot of different source formats, just try. If you can’t find the conversion you need, please let us know and write us an e-mail. We probably can help you…”

This website is true to it’s claim. It’s very fast and simple to use. As compared to Zamzar, you no longer need to wait around your inbox for your converted files. They appear in your browser within a matter of seconds. It’s also easy to use with PDF converters, so you no longer need to wait an hour on a free website to convert a PDF to word.

Check it out today!

Virtual Book Club: The Passion Driven Classroom

I have never been apart of a book club and when I saw a post written by  Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano about a virtual book club on the Langwiches blog I bought the book and started reading it right away. I think most teachers want to bring their classrooms more to life and make learning engaging. I am excited to read this book and have a discussion about passion in the classroom.

According to the Langwiches blog, “Don’t miss out on a virtual summer book club discussing Angela Maier’s and Amy Sandvold’s book “The Passion-Driven Classroom”.

According to the Langwiches blog, “I already have one quote from the first few chapters that has give me plenty to think about as I reflect on this past school year and wonder what makes the difference between an educator who doesn’t wait to be taught, but instead is willing to learn…”

  • Passion says, “I believe in this. I own this. I think about it even when I’m not on the clock. I know we can do this better than anyone else can.” This sense of ownership becomes a responsibility- the mission to pursue excellent work.”

According to the Langwiches blog,” In order to participate actively in the discussion, you will need to become a member of the Curriculum 21 Ning. Since membership is moderated, please register with a your school’s email or other identifiable education account.”

We’ll be launching the book study on June 14th, with questions and discussions about how being passionate can have a significant and positive impact on professional practice.  We’ll be posting discussion questions and interacting in our Ning environment!

If you don’t already have the book, you can purchase through Eye on Education’s website.  Use the discount code PASSION21 for 10% off!  The book is available in both print and electronic formats!

We hope that you’ll join us for a summer of e-learning about becoming passionate in your own practice!