The Center for Applied Special Technology (cast) was designed to explore ways of using new technologies to provide better educational experiences to students with disabilities. Through the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) approach CAST is looking to innovate the field of curriculum planning, software development, state and national policy, teacher preparation and support, and education research.
Their learning tools page has a lot of resources such as a book builder to support literacy, guidelines, lesson builder, online modules, and tutoring to name a few. The CAST website provides teachers with a library of research, professional devlopment, and learning tools to support the Universal Design for Learning principals. Check it out today!
Project Vote Smart is a wonderful website for any civic or government teacher. The website is designed to be practical informative, and useful when teaching about Congress, political parties, campaign finance, the Constitution, elections, state government and much more. There are lessons, interactive activities, and so many other resources.
The Voter’s Self-Defense System
Every candidate and elected official from President to local government can be easily and instantly accessed through the Voter’s Self-Defense System:
Voting Records – Project Vote Smart digests key legislation in Congress and all 50 states into easy-to-understand summaries, making it easy to compare what your representatives said during the campaign with how they actually voted on the record.
Biographical & Contact InformationBiographical & Contact Information — From their previous professions, education, family life, and organizational memberships, to their latest e-mail address; we gather it all.
Issue Positions (Political Courage Test) – We test thousands of candidates for President, Congress, Governor and State Legislature with our Political Courage Test. The Test accurately measures candidates’ willingness to provide voters with their positions on the issues they will most likely face if elected.
Interest Group Ratings– See how over 150 competing special interest groups evaluate your representatives. Despite their bias, special interest group ratings can help indicate where an incumbent has stood on a particular set of issues.
Public Statements – Vote Smart is constantly collecting speeches and public comments made by the president, governors, and congressional representatives. Just type in a word, say; ‘immigration’ and all public utterances containing the word ‘immigration’ will appear. Compare what they said while campaigning in California a few years ago to what they are saying now in New Hampshire.
Campaign FinancesCampaign Finances — How much money did your representatives raise and from whom?
The Danger of a Single Story is an interesting first week of school activity that I plan to implement in my classroom. My students will start the lesson by writing three facts, stories, or generations OTHER people see or think about themselves on one side of the post it. We will then watch the TED Video called “Chimamanda Adichie: The danger of a single story.” We will discuss the “single story” stereotypes and what it means in our society.
Novelist Chimamanda Adichie tells the story of how she found her authentic cultural voice — and warns that if we hear only a single story about another person or country, we risk a critical misunderstanding. “ The single story creates stereotypes, and the problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete. They make one story become the only story,” Chimamanda Adichie. Lesson Conclusion: I will then have students write three facts, generations, or stories that most people don’t know about them on the post it. I am ideally encouraging them to challenge the single story in their lives. I will then shuffle the post it’s around and have students “guess who” the post it’s belong to. The end of the lesson will conclude with a discussion about stereotypes, prejudice, and the importance of understanding and learning a story before judging it.
I learned about SoundGecko from Lifehacker blog. SoundGecko is an interesting resource for teachers and students of all ages. SoundGecko is a FREE text-to-audio transcribing service that lets you “read” any article or written content from the web on the go in an audio format.
All you have to do is paste a URL into SoundGecko and it converts the article into speech. You can send the new audio file via email, Dropbox, or Google Drive for immediate syncing. You can also use the iphone app and chrome extension for quicker conversion. Hopefully, they will come out with an ipad app soon! SoundGecko would have been so useful in college and it can help all ages of students in education. SoundGecko works efficiently and simply to use. Pretty amazing website, check it out today!
I am a new instructor teaching economics this coming school year. I was looking for ways to make the curriculum more engaging and interactive for my students. I stumbled upon Dirk Mateer from @NortonEconomics. Dirk Mateer is a lecturer in economics at Penn State. He is truly an AMAZING instructor who helps his students understand and appreciate economic concepts. He uses pop culture and creative teaching ideas to enhance his curriculum. His website has a massive collection resources to help students learn about economics and have fun while learning.
Share My Lesson is an interesting resource for any educator to collaborate, connect, and share with our teachers. It is a FREE website that gives teachers access to teaching resources such as worksheets, learning materials, lesson ideas, activiities, and lesson plans. The lessons are divided by grade level, subject, and unit.
Start using the site today with your TES login. Simply enter your TES username and password and then accept the Share My Lesson terms. Do so before 31 July and you’ll be entered automatically into a prize draw to win the new iPad!*
The website also connects teachers to an online community to build your PLC. Share My Lesson was developed by the American Federation of Teachers and TES Connect, the largest network of teachers in the world. Check it out today and improve your teaching repertoire!
As a US educator Share My Lesson offers you:
A bank of more than 225,000 free teaching resources all mapped to grade, subject and topic from kindergarten through grade 12
I have used the The Annenberg Foundation Trust at Sunnylands for numerous civics videos and online books in the past but was recently introduced to the Sunnylands Civics games by @melissalindinja. The Annenberg Foundation Trust at Sunnylands is developing interactive games about the Constitution. The games seem well suited for middle school or lower high school levels.
There are games about the first amendment, branches of government, laws, executive brach, couts, being John Marshall, and the constitutional convention. This games are interactive and if you create teacher and student accounts you can use the scores for progress monitoring or a classroom competition. Check it out today!
I attended the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History on 9/11 and American Memory. The seminar was absolutely amazing! We learned from experts about how the United States and the world have dealt with tragedy and loss with events such as the Civil War, Pearl Harbor, the Holocaust, Vietnam, and 9/11. We worked with the amazing team of 9/11 memorial experts who are involved in the planning of the 9/11 Memorial Museum, Fire Chief and 9/11 survivor Jay Jonas, and experts in the field of memory such as the seminar leader David Blight.
Our seminar took a personal tour of the 9/11 museum that is NOT open to the public. Even though it is still under construction, we could instantly observe the beauty, sacredness, and careful planning involved in creating the museum. I am so impressed with the planning and extensive collection the 9/11 historic site, website, and museum will offer to visitors and generations to honor the victims of September 11th, 2001.
9/11/01 Online Resources
The 9/11 memorial has a wonderful collection of online resources for teachers to educate our students about September 11th, 2001. The website has an extensive collection of multimedia orientated resources such as an interactive timeline, audio, webcasts, video, images, primary documents, and essential artifacts and collections. Each lesson is tied to the Common Core Standards and based on the 9/11 collections that can be used throughout the school year and across all subjects and divided into different themes.
I found this project on twitter #sschat and can’t but help but rave about it. I can’t think of a better post AP United States History Exam Project. Mr. Howe’s classes created a Great Hall of Fame for American History. Here are sample projects. Awesome project!
Step 1: Who do you think belongs in the top 25? Reflect on that question and type your bulleted list of individuals you think are worthy Include a sentence for each person on your list explaining how they contributed significantly to America. Do this or you won’t earn any points for the assignment!
Step 2:You may select anyone from your list to nominate to the Great American Hall of Fame.
Step 3: Next, research your nominee in more detail. Prepare your nominee bid and submit.
Step 4: Selecting Americans for admission to the Great American Hall of Fame
I recently discovered the Google World Wonders Project which is a website that brings historical sites online. The website is very interesting and educational because it uses Google’s Street View technology, 3D modelling, photos, videos and information to deliver an interesting medium to go on a virtual field trip. You and your students can truly explore the world from your classroom!
There are many interesting historical locations available to explore on the site, including the Palace of Versailles, the Historic Centre of Cordoba, Stonehenge and Hiroshima. I recently explored Independence Hall and was amazed at the collection of resources: videos, google maps, images, and in depth information about the location. I can’t think of a better way to learn about history, other than actually visiting the historic site!
Google also offers free, easy-to-use, and downloadable history resources which are designed in support and engage students in the study of history. The resources are clear, very well organized and FREE. I already found myself bookmarking specific historical sites to use for next school year. Check it out today!
I learned about Reflection at ISTE12 and was so amazed I just had to blog about it. Reflection is a new application that allows you to mirror your iPad or iPhone to your desktop using Airplay mirroring on either a Mac or on a Windows computer. The application is installed on your desktop computer or laptop.
There are so many positive applications to using this program in the classroom. I can’t wait to roll it out at the beginning of the year as I am showing my class how to use the iPad or specific applications on it. You can create a screencast to help students learn in the process, such as the ability to mirror my iPad onto the screen of the desktop. No more mirroring the iPad onto the using a video camera to record the process! The work is all done on the iPad– the desktop is just the “screen”. The app even sends the audio from the iPad to the Mac. Check it out today!
The price of the Reflection Mac App is $14.99 for use on one machine, $49.99 for a 5-pack, and, if you are interested in purchasing more than 20 copies, drop them an email at [email protected] and they will work with you!
I learned about PaperPort Notes at ISTE12 and was so amazed I just had to blog about it. PaperPort Notes is a wonderful app for the iPad that allows users to edit and collect information, which includes text to speech software. You can send your notes to Dropbox and download files from there. The app even allows files such as .txt, PDF’s, and .jpg, to integrate into the app. If you need a free iPad note-taking app that syncs with Dropbox , PaperPort Notes is a great option. Check it out today!
• Quickly take typed and/or free hand notes
• Leverage Dragon voice recognition to capture your ideas and notes simply by speaking
• Leverage powerful annotative tools to quickly mark up documents
• Never miss another detail by adding audio page by page within your notes
• Combine full documents, individual pages, content from the web and notes into a single document.
• Powerful search, copy/paste, reordering and bookmarking tools allow you to quickly navigate your notes while staying organized
• Access and share content using your favorite cloud storage services
• PaperPort Anywhere connector provides access to files stored online or within PaperPort Desktop
This is the first time I am participating in a virtual book club with members of the #sschat community. As you know social studies teachers do not discriminate and everyone is welcome to join in the fun! The book is called Why Don’t Students Like School? Please feel free to join or invite friends.
How long: The book has nine short chapters. Nine chapters, nine weeks
About: Cognitive scientist Dan Willingham focuses his acclaimed research on the biological and cognitive basis of learning. His book will help teachers improve their practice by explaining how they and their students think and learn. It reveals-the importance of story, emotion, memory, context, and routine in building knowledge and creating lasting learning experiences.
Nine, easy-to-understand principles with clear applications for the classroom
Includes surprising findings, such as that intelligence is malleable, and that you cannot develop “thinking skills” without facts
How an understanding of the brain’s workings can help teachers hone their teaching skills
People to People International has a FREE service that connects classes and youth groups with pen pals or educational exchanges across the globe. I registered my sociology class and I am hoping it will be a great opportunity to compare cultures. It is a free program for cultural exchanges, interdisciplinary projects, and so much more. Teachers of students ages 4 to 18 are invited to participate. If selected to participate your class will receive guidance, tips for communication, and other project ideas. Classes can communicate email, snail mail, and Skype.
I try to incorporate as many primary sources into my teaching but I find it extremely difficult to find primary documents that are at my students reading ability and interest level. It sometimes takes me hours to find the right document or documents to compose a lesson.
I recently discovered a great website called Teaching with Documents, which has reproducible copies of primary documents from the National Archives of the United States. The website also offers activities that are correlated with the National History and Civics Standards.
With the common core standards history teachers have been given the valuable opportunity to use primary sources in their classrooms. Next year teachers are going to devote instructional time to the close investigation of history texts as well as teach our students to construct their own understanding and analysis of the primary materials. Teaching with primary documents encourages critical thinking and encourages a varied learning environment; all of which can improve our students skills and enthusiasm for history.