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. <http://www.usatoday.com/NEWS/usaedition/2012-03-16-Millennials-altruism-vs-boomers_ST_U.htm>.
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!
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
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:
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.
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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
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
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
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 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
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
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:
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Forty-five states have implemented the Common Core State Standards in ELA and Mathematics for every subject. These standards are not intended to drive history and other subjects away from the curriculum, but they are designed to encourage our students to be critical readers who can apply the knowledge they learned. These standards are intended to engage students in the history curriculum and teach them skills needed to be successful. The websites listed below are useful to supplement the curriculum and teach students the skills needed to be successful 21st century learners.
Under Common Core Student’s will be encouraged to:
- Examine and analyze primary sources
- Use evidence to support an argument
- Understand historical context
- Read multiple accounts and perspectives
- Question: Who? What? Why? When? How? Where?
- Take a postion and defend it with evidence
- Docs Teach: This website is a wonderful resource that has over Four Thousand primary documents from the National Archives. The website also has tons of resources and ready to use tools to enhance your instruction.
- Gilder Lehrman Institute: This website offers a massive variety of resources to assist teachers and students. It offers professional development opportunities for educators, provides documents and exercises for classroom use, and encourages excellence in student writing with essay prizes.
- Digital History: This website is another great resource that has tons of useful materials such as an alternative textbook, teaching ideas, primary documents, learning modules, and media rich lessons.
- NROC: This is the website from the National Repository of Online courses that provides teachers with video clips on every unit, key readings, and so much more.
- Teaching History: Teaching history is a website designed by the National History Education Clearinghouse. This website offers tons of history materials from “Ask a historian,” teaching materials, and best practices.
- EDSITEment: EDSITEment is another wonderful website from the National Endowment from the Humanities. The website offers free resources and over 393 history lessons for teachers. These lessons stress primary source documents, critical thinking, and other common core skills. The website is extremely easy to navigate and it has a plethora of valuable and easy to implement lessons.
- Pearson Hall: This website has online educational materials FREE for educators such as vocabulary building activities, review games, interactive links, and assessments.
- DBQ and Thematic Essay: Greece Public Schools in Greece, NY has a wonderful collections of Document Based Questions and Thematic Essays that have appeared on the New York State Assessment.
- Eye Witness to History is a wonderful website to incorporate primary sources such as first-hand accounts, vintage photographs, and radio broadcasts into your classroom.
- Reading Like a Historian is a wonderful curriculum to engage students in historial inquiry. The Standford History Education Group produced over 75 Lesson Plans based on primary documents and activities to engage your students in the study of United States History.These lessons seems to align perfectly with the Common Core Standards of reading, analyzing, forming an opinion, and debating primary source materials. Students are not learning the material from a textbook or a teacher but engaging in real and meaningful historical inquiry.
I am sharing this post from Richard Byrne’s blog Free Technology 4 Teachers. Richard presented about his favorite Web 2.0 tools. I’ve used many of the tools he presented. I particularly love EasyBib, Google Reader, Twitter, Evernote, Poll Everywhere, Socrative, Dropbox, DropIttoMe, and Evernote. Check out this great list of tools to implement in your classroom.