NROC: Free Online Video Clips for Any Subject

One internet resource I use on a weekly basis is the NROC Open Educational Resource US College Prep Course. I am thrilled that this FREE online course supplement helps to make our content more engaging.

You can select any course from Biology to Algebra to AP United States History. Each chapter has a few video clips as well as links to useful supplemental material. The videos are broken into segments and are nice preview to a unit or a lesson. I also think this resource is valuable because it is supported by content based materials as opposed to a random search on youtube. I have personally used the United States and the AP Government videos and would recommend then to any teacher.


Citation: NROC adds Email!

I continued to be impressed with the updates of just announced that it will receive email for cell messages, private messages, and  various system notifications. New members can now sign up with their email (no cell phone required) so now ALL your students can benefit from This is a wonderful addition to because now students can get email or text message announcements regardless of whether they own a cell phone or not. Thank you for making my classroom more of an engaging and equitable environment for all students.



What is is a wonderful FREE program that allows you to instantly message a group of people in your cell. can function as a chatroom where people can communication via text messaging. Anyone can create or join a cell by sending a text message to 23559 (Celly). Text messages can be curated for security purposes. is changing the face of education!

With administrative and parental approval, I use a program called to send text messages to my students with reminders, announcements, polls, questions, etc. Students can text me and ask me a specific question such as “what is on the test tomorrow?” or ask “what did I miss in class?” Cell phones have the potential to bridge the gap between the home, school, and social media world.




How can be used?

Celly turns classrooms, schools, teams, neighborhoods, offices, or any organization—big or small—into their own private communication networks. We call these “cells”. Cells let members communicate in a group using their phone (via text messaging) or the web. Communication is secure, private, and can be moderated by one or more curators.

Thousands of schools have already adopted Celly for a variety of scenarios from teacher-led study groups, link-crew mentoring, team sports, field trips, orchestra and band clubs. Cells are private by default so members are explicitly invited by a cell administrator. Celly lets students communicate with teachers and administrators at anytime—in class or out of class.

Teachers can send homework reminders to students via Celly. Students can ask teachers and fellow classmates about assignments. Student athletes and coaches use Celly to coordinate games and practices. School administrators use Celly to send out school-wide alerts and event information to parents. Parents can use Celly to coordinate daily schedules, keep in touch with extended family members, and organize reunions, weddings, vacations, neighborhood watch groups, and office work groups.


For more information Visit:

Previous Blog Post: Contraband or Classroom Tool?

Previous Blog Post: Bring your class into the 21st century with cell phones Citation





Millennials “NOT” Civically Engaged!

I just read a interesting article entitled “Millennials just might not be such a special bunch after all,” written by Michelle Healy in the USA Today. The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that Millennials (born 1982-2000) are “more civically and politically disengaged” as compared to Generation X (1962-1981) and Baby Boomers ((1946-1961). As a member of the millennial generation, I find myself very critical of this study. I think students and young adults are way more engaged and civically engaged today due to the power of social media and the Internet. 

I think of the most recent example of Kony 2012 about the invisible children located in Uganda, the Sudan, and the Congo. As a teacher my kids came into school and wanted to talk about it and GET INVOLVED. Some of my students made posters to make more people aware of it, shared it with social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, or Tumbler, and were discussing their outrage by the topic.

The article goes on to say that students born 1982-2000 are more likely to volunteer. The study also notes a decline in racism and prejudice based on sex, gender, and race. Our generation is showing signs of our changing culture and society. The power of social media has made more people aware of injustices in the world and it has helped to bridge the gap between the home and school environment.


Article Citation: Healy, Michelle. “Millennials Just Might Not Be Such a Special Bunch after All.” USA Today. Gannett, 16 Mar. 2012. Web. 25 Mar. 2012. <>.

Image Citation


Sheppard Software: Free Educational Games

I recently discovered Sheppard Software, which is an online website that offers FREE online educational games for nearly almost every subject and grade level. After testing out a few of the games it becomes clear that most of them  geared for middle school or elementary school. The best part about this program is that the games are tiered into different levels for students. Students can play a level 1, 2, or 3 game reviewing the same content.


Some examples of games are geography with different levels of states and capitals, and another is one game is about the branches of government. This programs reminds me of Brain Buster, which is another wonderful educational game program (that needs a subscription). What a great way to engage our students with the curriculum!

Twitter for Professional Development

After school I board a train to go to #EdCampSS held in Philidelphia on Saturday March 24th. I don’t think I’ve been more excited for a conference/workshop. I am very excited to meet teachers from around the country that I have been socially collaborating with on Twitter.

When I tell most teachers about Twitter for professional development I often get a head scratch or two. Most people assume Twitter is how friends stay in contact or a place to share what you had for lunch with the rest of the world. Twitter has enabled me to enhance my professioanl learning community and most of all it has improved the way I teach social studies.  I have found twitter to be one of the best ways I collaborate with other teachers and I have truly discovered a network of other teachers just like me.

Here is a list of Educational Hashtags

My class recreated the 1920’s

Earlier this week my classroom was transformed into a museum of student created projects about the 1920’s. The day was was filled with learning, laughter, and dancing! Students created projects based off a menu of options such as a scrapbook comparing the 1920’s to today, a monopoly board, a poster describing the best/worst times of the 1920’s, sports and heroes during the 1920’s, and so much more.

The only way they could get into the speakeasy (our classroom) was by figuring out the clue on the “barber shop” door. We had prohibition root beer and popcorn. Two groups of students performed the Charleston, one group performed a Jazz song, two boys dressed as 1920’s gangster’s, and another group of students acted. Overall, it was a wonderful day!

Here is a copy of the assignment

Check out the video I made of the day:

Simple K-12 Offers Professional Development

I am always looking to improve my own teaching an pedagogy. Simple K-12 is a wonderful way to connect with a Professional Learning Community and improve your classroom. Simple K12 is a FREE membership available for teachers who would like to Integrate the latest educational techniques and ideas into their classroom to improve student achievement.

Once you become a free member you have instant access to more than 500,000 teachers from across the globe. You also have a unique opportunity to participate in live and prerecorded seminars with educational leaders, a resource center for sharing professional development, and over 500 how to educational videos. It’s all the help and support you’ll ever need from your very own personal learning network (PLN)!  It’s time to take control of your own professional development. Check it out  HERE


Upcoming Live SimpleK12 Sessions 

* Connecting and Collaborating with VoiceThread and Your iPad
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* Teaching to the Common Core Standards Using Blended Instruction
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* Web Tool Smackdown
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* Free Web Tools for Administrator Communication and Collaboration
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* Every Student’s Success: Accommodations in a Flipped Classroom
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* Getting the Most Out of Your Posterous Blog
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Great Study Guides for Any Subject

Here is another great resource from Ken Halla author of US History Teachers Blog. Ken gave his class the following outline found here for studying U.S. history created by the Sol Pass of Virginia.  While they are for VA tests, they are a great review for any subject. Here are other history resources for world history or Geography. Thanks for sharing this great resource Ken!

Citation: Sol Pass website 

Animated Maps and So Much More

I learned about the BBC’s History website from Ken Halla author of the US History Teacher’s Blog. The BBC History website has a wonderful collection of resources on World War I, World War II, the Holocaust, and the Cold War. This would be a wonderful resource for more information when studying WWI, WWII, or the Cold War or it would make a great web-quest for students.

Here is an  interesting resource on interactive World War I Maps as well as a list of resources on World  War I.

Citation: BBC History 

GoSoapBox: Hear what your students are thinking!

I recently discovered GoSoapBox from David Andrade who is the author of the Educational Technology Guy blog. Students and teachers can use GoSoapBox from any device their smartphones, tablets, or laptop to interact during class. It can encourage your class to participate and interact like they never have before. GoSoapBox allows teachers to quickly assess student comprehension, and address common problem areas.

With GoSoapBox you can:

1. Audience Questions: This feature allows students to ask and respond to student questions. Students even vote about questions in class, which can allow the most pressing questions to be addressed first by the teacher.

2. Discussions: This can be similar to open ended questions that teachers can ask and have their students state their opinions or answer.

3. Confusion Barometer: This can allow students to indicate if they are confused about the material or pace of instruction.

4. Polls or Quizes: Polls are multiple choice questions that can be created for the purpose of formative or daily assessment. The results are updated in real time and displayed graphically.


Citation: GoSoapBox website 

Grade Faster

One of the worst parts of teaching is the amount of time it takes to grade papers and tests. The Grade Faster App can help you grade papers faster and more efficiently. Grade Faster can be a valuable tool for any teacher looking to convert a fraction into a percentage faster than using a calculator.  It can be downloaded at the app store.

Every paper in that pile has the same number of possible points, so if they’re all out of 30 points, why type in the /30 again and again and again? You don’t have to with Grade Faster. Set the total number of possible points once, and go to it. To advance to the next entry, you only have to swipe your finger to clear the last result. This app is a simple app that can save you time. Check it out today!

Citation: Grade Faster 




Common Core App

Common Core Standards is a application that I recently discovered that could provide teachers with a conviently and useful way to access the Common Core Standards.  This app could be a useful reference for students, parents, and teachers to easily understand the Common Core Standards. The app lets any user quickly search the standards by subject, grade, and category. This application includes Math standards K-12 and Language Arts standards K-12. You can download the Common Core App at App store.

To learn more about MasteryConnect’s free web-based solution for teachers to track common core standards and parents to follow along, check out their wesbite. For more information on the common core you can visit the website.


Citation: Common Core 

Teaching Economics in American History


As a United States History teacher, I find it critical to teach our students the skills and knowledge needed to be successful in the 21st century. The study of economics is rooted in every aspect of American history, which can provide us with  tons of examples of how resources are allocated; as well as understanding the historical context in which economic history takes place.

I find teaching concepts of supply and demand, production and distribution, stocks and bonds a challenging subject for our students to comprehend. The study of economics can help our students understand the structural changes which have taken place in our economy, as well as understand the emergence of today’s economy.

I recently discovered a wonderful resource for teaching economics produced from the Wall Street Survivor on youtube. The Wall Street Survivor website has compiled a wonderful collection of easy to understand videos and resources. The website also has a stock market game, which can be tailored to any teacher’s need. You can “reate a custom game that’s branded with your school, group or company. Choose your own trading dates, cash balance, and other paper trading options. You and the other players automatically get entered to win 100,000 of cash and prizes. It’s 100% free.” Check it out today!



Citation: Wall Street Survivor, website  


Help your students study and encourage collaboration with ThinkBinder

As a teacher I rarely hear “that was so cool,” “my mom loved seeing me study,” “I wish we could study online with every test.” The night before my class took the World War I test I offered an interesting opportunity  my students to study together with a program called ThinkBinder, which is truly revolutionizing the way our student’s study.

I called the session “office hours” and from 6-8 PM 35 of my students optionally logged into  Think Binder to collaboratively study. 63% of my students said ThinkBinder was “Pretty Cool” and 36% said it was “Amazing.” Students answered each other’s questions and truly studied together in a controlled environment. I was there to be a moderator and I was actually able to step back and watch students study together online.

Here is a previous blog post about ThinkBinder

Here are some examples:






Approved Learning Survey and Get a Starbucks Card

What is Approved Learning? 

Approved Learning is currently working to develop a premier website for educators and parents that I think will be a great resource for you. The website will include product reviews, tutorials, and learning plans. Approved Learning will offer professional product reviews, product demos and tutorials, customized individual learning plans, and so much more. Their site will help you target the highest quality resources that are best suited to the needs of your child, students, or school.


Approved Learning is doing a short survey to help them build the best site possible to suit the needs of parents and educators.   Their goal is to help parents and educators improve education and learning by creating a comprehensive online resource that will provide them with everything they need to readily identify and effectively use the best products, tools, and methods available. The contest is available until March 31st and the winner of the Kindle Fire will be announced during the first week of April.  Those who complete the survey will receive a $5 Starbucks Card and an entry in a drawing for a Kindle Fire. Complete the survey here and check out Approved Learning Today!

You can also find us them on  Facebook here.