Livebinders for the Social Studies – What are Livebinders?

Livebinders for the Social Studies – Part 1: What are Livebinders?

For over a year now, I have been guest posting a series of posts entitled “Evernote for the Social Studies” on this blog by Melissa Seideman.  There are still a multitude of uses that Evernote holds for Social Studies teachers and students that I have yet to blog about, and more posts will be coming on that subject throughout the year.

Along with Evernote, I have been blogging about Livebinders and how they can further engage our students in the classroom and assist educators in the teaching process.  This year, I also wanted to look at how Livebinders can be used specifically in the Social Studies classroom.

I will also be cross-posting this series on my blog,

Livebinders – Your 3-ring binder for the web

Livebinders can be your one central source to collect resources, share resources, and collaborate with other educators and technology enthusiasts.  You can collect and curate resources that include: web addresses, documents, photos and many other things in your Livebinder.

In today’s classroom, students and teachers use the power of the internet to gather resources for projects, resources for papers and resources to share in the classroom.  According to, “Physical 3-ring binders used to be the easiest way to organize all your educational resources. But now so much of what you want to organize is online. LiveBinders not only replaces the old 3-ring binder, but also opens up new opportunities for collaborating, organizing, and sharing that were never possible before.”     

Here are some of my favorite ideas that students can use Livebinders for:

  1. Collect/organize blog posts – their own or fellow classmates
  2. Create a “My Evernote” tab – students can insert links to certain Evernote notes
  3. Research – students can use the “Livebinder It” browser extension to add a website link to their binder
  4. Comment on fellow classmate’s binders – Livebinders allow you to add comments to a binder, which is great for peer review.
  5. Upload lecture notes – whether it be a Evernote note link or a MS Word doc, students and upload/insert their class lecture notes.

Why Use Livebinders?

There a multiple reasons to use Livebinders in and out of the classroom.  It’s free and very easy to use.  The creators of Livebiners, Tina and Barbara (@livebinders), provide the best support I’ve ever experienced with anything related to technology.  They love to share other’s Livebinders and love to hear how what they created is making a difference.  

The problem with physical 3-ring binders is that resources and learning that has been done and collected with them stay in the binder.  Students have less of a opportunity to share what they have learned with physical binders, however, with Livebinders students can share via Twitter, Facebook, or by URL – thus giving students a multitude of ways to share with their fellow classmates.

Want more Livebinders info?  Here are some more resources:

Click here for my other blog posts about Livebinders

Livebinders website:

Here is one of my Livebinders for Social Studies resources:


NCSS Education Is Online

The National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS)  is pleased to present the 2014 Social Studies Professional Development Series. They have extensive webinar and workshop offerings focusing on the C3 Framework, Common Core Strategies, Technology Integration, Using Primary Sources, Geographic Connections, and Grant Writing in preparation for your 2014-15 school year! Attendees can receive a certificate of attendance upon request for your professional development needs.
NCSS webinar and workshop offerings continue to grow. Please check out their listings at
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Digitize Articles with Evernote


Evernote for the Social Studies: Part 8 – Digitize articles with Evernote

In my newest post on my Evernote for the Social Studies series, I wanted to take a look on how Evernote can help History teachers digitize hard copy articles like newspaper and journal articles.

Even in today’s digital age, not every resource we run across is on the web or readily available as a electronic format.  With the Evernote app, anytime we run across a passage in a book, newspaper article or journal entry we can now quickly take a snapshot and save and organize it for future reference.

Here is a example of a newspaper article I ran across while visiting Taos, NM recently (snapshot taken with Evernote Android app and some cropping done with Skitch for Windows):

To see how this article looks in a Evernote note, click here.


How to access the “Page Camera” in the Evernote app

Page Camera 1

Accessing the “Page Camera” with your Evernote app (Android) is quick and easy.  Simply follow these instructions:

1. Go to your Evernote app on your smartphone/tablet and click on the notebook you would like to work in.  Once you are in your selected notebook, click on “New note”.

2.  Once you have opened a new note, click on the camera to activate your device’s camera.

Page Camera 2

Page Camera 4

3. Once you have launched the camera, click on “Page Camera” to mold your device’s camera to capture the article.  This will actually allow you to put the article in a bit more perspective from the camera view and narrow it down to exactly what you are needing to capture.  Once you have taken the picture, the Evernote app will then process it and make it as in-focus as possible for easy reading.

Now that you have captured the article, you can save it in your Evernote account and organize it by using tags.  You now have a hard-copy resource saved and readily available at a moment’s notice in your Evernote account.  Not only that, you can now share that note with anyone you would like by sharing on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or by coping the note’s URL.

Source cited:

The Taos News – Taos, NM

Oct 3 – 9, 2013 edition (accessed Oct 21st, 2013)

Evernote for the Social Studies blog posts

If you have a moment, take a look at some of the other “Evernote for Social Studies” posts I have made here on this blog:

Evernote for the Social Studies: Part 1 – What is Evernote?

Evernote for the Social Studies: Part 2 – Evernote in History Class

Evernote for the Social Studies: Part 3 – Evernote & Skitch

Evernote for the Social Studies: Part 4 – Lesson Planning with Evernote

Evernote for the Social Studies: Part 5 – Evernote and Study Blue

Evernote for the Social Studies: Part 6 – Staying Secure with Evernote

Evernote for the Social Studies: Part 7 – Evernote Food









Declutter Documents with Print Friendly

If you’re like me you are always printing articles and handouts for your student’s. One website that I wanted to share is called Print Friendly. Print Friendly is exactly as it sounds, it takes any website and creates a nice document without any of the clutter of the world wide web. You can cut and paste any website into Print Friendly site and then remove Screen Shot 2014-01-15 at 5.29.29 PMimages, text, and print only the information you want for your students.


You can either print the website without the clutter or get a PDF document. You can even get the browser extension so within one click you have a print friendly document.  Happy Printing!


Shorten Primary Documents with Text Compactor

Text Compactor is an online summarizing tool that was created for busy teachers who have struggling readings. Teaching using primary documents is wonderful but also challenging with students who can’t comprehend the document. Text compactor was designed to help struggling readers who get overwhelmed with Screen Shot 2014-01-12 at 8.57.42 PMlots of information.


How it works? 

You can copy any text and place them into the text compactor, which calculates the frequency of each word in the passage. Then the website figures out the frequency associated with the words and then pulls the most important sentences with the highest word count.  Text Compactor is not recommended for use with fiction (i.e., stories about imaginary people, places, events).


Here is an abridged version of the Declaration of Independence:

“When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”


IPad Tips and Websites in the Classroom

Educational Technology and Mobile Learning has compiled a great list of how teachers can use iPads in their classroom. Some of the websites are written by a great list for teachers who teach using iPads, which are important for your to  read, digest, and implement with your students. Once you read the sample websites you will learn about how some wonderful teachers have used iPads and applications in the classroom.

Citation: Haselton, Todd. “TechnoBuffalo.” TechnoBuffalo. N.p., 3 Mar. 2013. Web. 12 Jan. 2014. .


I personally believe we need to teach our students the skills needed to be successful with iPads. For most student’s using apps and technology comes naturally but teachers need to model and hold clear expectations. I find when assigning a new app or project it is very helpful to have a rubric or clear expectations on how the app will be used. Clear guidelines and expectations will help you with behavior management and core content.


Tips When Using the iPad 

1. Remember the Multitasking Gestures:

  • Four finger swipe to return to Home screen
  • Four finger swipe up to reveal multitasking bar
  • Four finger swipe left or right to switch between open apps

2. Bookmark Favorite Websites to Home Screen: While in Safari, load up your favorite websites and tap on the box with an arrow in it, alongside the URL Bar. Select “Add to Home Screen” and give each site a short name so it doesn’t abbreviate itself. Make a whole folder full of your favorite websites bookmarks.


3. Take Screen Shots: Hold down the Home button and tap the Power button briefly, you’ll hear the familiar screenshot sound and the screen flashes white. Screen shots are stored within the Photos library, and can be   messaged, emailed, or just preserved for posterity. 


Useful Websites 

1- Top 7 Guides on how to Use iPad in Classroom

2- How to Set Up Class iPad Touch Devices

3- iPad in The Classroom Transforms The Learning Process

4- A Day in The Life of The iPad Classroom

5- 5 Ways Readers are Using iPad in The Classroom

6- Ushering iPad into The Classroom

7- The iTouch and iPad in The Classroom

8- 14 Smart Tips for Using iPads in The Class

9- The 1 iPad Classroom (PDF )

10- Schooled on My iPad 

11. 80 Apps to Use in the Classroom 

How teachers Can Leverage More Time?

As a social studies teacher I feel strongly that students need to acquire facts, but we want our students to move beyond routine memorization to analyze and make connections with the new information. With the new demands of Common Core standards teachers will be faced with an educational decision to teach content that leads to a deeper understanding, comprehension, and application.

Incorporating technology into daily instruction is one way in which teachers can leverage more time, restructure learning activities so they become more meaningful, and provide opportunities for more rigorous  instruction. Digital tools can be seamlessly integrated into the curriculum to save teachers time and enhance learning time. Some teachers have a hard time envisioning how digital products can be enhanced into classroom instruction. Here are a few ways I integrate technology into my classroom:



I use a program called Infuse learning as a formative assessment with my students. Students can electronically through their cell phones, tablets, or laptops send responses immediately to an electronic spreadsheet that can allow me assess whole-group or individual feedback.


I can then use this information to guide my teaching and instruction. For example, students may answer a critical thinking question from the previous night’s homework. If the spreadsheet or graph reveals a majority of students did not comprehend a concept the assignment I can then reteach or review a particular concept or question. Students send immediate responses to my teacher account which can place responses into an electronic spreadsheet, which allows me assess the whole class or give individual feedback. Through infuse learning, I can send my class a multiple-choice question. The website instantly graphs my students responses, which reveals if my students did not comprehend a concept


For example, students may answer a critical comprehension question applying a historical topic to modern day. Another way I have my student’s use this program is with the draw feature. In pairs they are assigned four vocabulary words. They then need to draw the vocabulary words. They then send the words to the board and as a class we guess the word and review the definition.  This makes for a particularly useful review activity in any class (yes even AP).

Image by: Krista Moroder


Google Forms for Data Collection

I simplified my life with Google Forms.  Google forms can help you plan an event, send a survey, give a quiz, or collect information in an easy way. Through Google Forms responses are automatically collected in a spreadsheet. Responses can be shown in a graph or sorted by spreadsheet column.


I use Google Forms on the first day of school to collect student information, back to school night data, rubrics for projects, and so much more. My students even asked me to make a Google form for a debate evaluation so that no one knew their handwriting with the evaluation.

Evernote for Lesson Plans, Notes, or Assignments 

Evernote is an easy-to-use, free application or website that helps you remember everything across all of the devices you use. Evernote lets your take notes, sync files across your devices, save webpages, capture inspiration, and share your ideas with friends and colleagues.  There are so many wonderful ways to use Evernote for file sharing, lesson plans, digital portfolios writing submission. The ideas are endless! Here is a great Livebinder created by Justin Stallings on all the wonderful features of Evernote.



Online Discussions

Back channeling during class can encourage your students to make comments, ask questions, and provide feedback.  I have used Today’s Meet, Twitter, or My Big Campus as a back channel during class such as with a debate, video, or resource sharing session when I do not want “verbal” discussion. My students enjoy back channeling during videos. My students ask questions, answer questions, and share links/quotes about the topic of the video. I find I can have a more engaging discussion after the video because all of the initial questions were already answered.







Creath’s Class- Creative Ideas for the 21st Century Teacher

I learned about  a pretty amazing social studies teacher, Mrs. Creath at the National Social Studies Conference in St. Louis, Missouri this past November. Mrs.Creath led a poster presentation on “Getting Your Students to THINK!” She presented some interesting ideas and tons of resources to encourage students think beyond routine memorization. All of her resources were directed at Bloom’s Taxonomy Levels and Social Justice Issues. If you teach you should check out her resources, many  of them could be applied to any subject or grade!

I particularly liked her “Think Dots” lesson. Leslie has her students roll the dice as they research, read, or investigate new information. She also changes the stems in each box to be adapted for a specific question. According to Dr. Dheeraj Mehrotra, “A Teacher, who is now a facilitator in this generation, encapsulates a new order of delivery with extension of a knowledge society and not a content delivery or an interpretation of book knowledge in real life” (Mehrotra). The 21st century of teaching and learning will not be limited to physical space but learning that is open-minded, inquiry-based, and full of authentic learning experiences.


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Citation: I got permission to reference Leslie Creath and her website.