Tech Tools for the Everyday Teacher

Posts tagged “history

Crash Course in History

There are a number of excellent educational youtube videos available.  Working through them to find the right ones for your class can be a challenging task.  One set of movies that I have been using recently are created by John Greene.  They are called Crash Course in World History lessons.  The animation and information presented is both engaging and right on par with the information I help teach in 6th grade.  Now, that being said, John Greene speaks so fast.  To counter this – I have Splicd the youtube to just the portion I want my class to watch.  Then I embed the Splicd edition on the class website.  There is also a toggle to show subtitles.  My students then watched the video and filled out guiding questions, at their own pace, rather than watching it together as a class.  I found this to be extremely effective.  My students told me they went home and watched it a few more times just to fully understand the concepts.  John Greene has created videos on all of the major ancient civilizations, as well as well-known wars and revolutions.  Above is the video I used to show my students (just not spliced).


Digital Vaults – more than just another vault

I have recently been exploring a website called Digital Vaults.  Digital Vaults is a website created by the National Archives – a government organization.  The website is full of very informative artifacts related to American history.  There are teacher lesson plans and units available, as well as loads of records including: primary documents, photos and films – all pertaining to our nation’s history.  The website would be great for researching anything related to American history.  The website does offer easy help to how to research on the website: just look at this page to get started.

In addition to being our Naitonal Archives, the website also offers something very unique.  It allows for students to use information from the website to create a poster full of images and records, or a short film.  Students can apply there findings to a presentation form right there!

So – make sure you take a look at this website.  It is an excellent tool when studying American history and allows for creative presentations.


Virtually yours

There is a website I have been toying around with recently called Secret Builders.  In Secret Builders students explore a virtual world full of historical figures.  Students can meet these figures as well as explore their houses to gain a better understanding about each figure.

Teachers can set up student accounts for free – and watch as students complete achievements in the virtual world.  Teachers can also create quests with rewards for students – serving as an impetus for students to learn about specific historical figures they may be talking about in class.

I am going to have to work with it some more to fully understand its classroom uses – but it already appears to have an educational value.

 


Your own Online Museum

I think you’re going to really like this website.  For the last… who knows how long… I have been going to my team at school and saying, “so I discovered this new website.”  I have begun to realize how overwhelming all these websites can be.  Which do you choose to use? Is it based on ease of access?  application? fanciness? engagement/student interest? …

Well, I recently discovered this website called: Museum Box.  If you haven’t seen it yet – it’s worth taking a look at.  Musuem Box is a platform for allowing students to organize information and store it in a ‘musuem’ like setting.  Each box contains six sides where students can place images, movies, documents, or links pertaining to that topic.  The site is built especially for teachers, even allowing teachers to build student accounts.

So how can this be applied in the everyday classroom?  Musuem Box is great because if students have book reports, or presentations of any kind that allow for them to use web-based resources – they can organize that information in Musuem Box and present through the website.

An example?  Okay: Suppose students are learning about the Revolutionary War and you want them to understand key people, events, artifacts, or dates.  You could have students use the web to access pictures, videos, or links that they could put on their boxes.  Students could also write documents or find primary sources.  I see musuem box as an opportunity to be more creative with presentation – and allow for students to figure out what’s important and what isn’t as important.

 


A website for everything

Have you checked out the website Free.Ed.Gov?  It’s got thousands of federal resources for students to view or research to assist them in learning.  It’s full of animations, primary documents, photos and videos.  One warning about the website -though- is that it can be difficult to navigate because there is an overwhelming amount of resources and tools.

So… what’s on the site that would be useful?  Let me just show a few things:

1. The Cell: This link allows for users to navigate around a cell and see the different components.  Each component has a tag that, when clicked, tells you about that component and what it does.

2. Pangaea: This is an animation of pangaea over time and how our continents ended up as they have.  The website this came from is called ClassZone.  It was linked from free.ed.gov.  ClassZone is awesome because it contains animations from all the different content areas in science like: earthquakes, volcanoes, cells, weather-soil-erosion, nature of science, rocks, minerals, atoms… so if you need to find any science animations to help explain or engage students: visit ClassZone.

3 Diaries of George Washington: If you’re looking for primary documents, free.ed.gov organizes these documents through the library of congress, which allows for great accessibility.  This link is an example of the diaries of George Washington between 1748 and 1799.

4. Journey to America: Are you looking for primary documents or trustworthy information on viking, mountain men, columbus, or any early journeys to America?  This website (linked from free.ed.gov) provides resources for students to use.  Resources like: images, primary documents, captions, brief summaries…

5. Space: This website is full of interactive lessons created by teachers who teams up with scientists.  The lessons or resources provide pictures from the hubble telescope, as well as interactive images, animations, and videos.

These are just five examples of resources linked from free.ed.gov.  There are so many more!  I will continue exploring them and let you know if I find more treasures.


U.S. History anyone?

Sometimes it’s just nice to have resources to send your students to and practice what you have been talking about in class.  It’s important – as we lunge into this 21st century – and this difficult economic time, to find time for students to use computers in educational ways.  Recently my team has been teaching U.S. history and government to our 5th graders.  We have used these resources to assist us:

  • Sheppard Software : we used USA government and games specifically on this website.
  • Ben’s Guide : A .gov website that allows for you to pick the age group you want to target
  • 50 States : A website that educates students on important aspects of each of our states
  • History Central : Has a number of excellent resources including information on Explorers
  • White House for Kids : An excellent resource about the United States, the Presidents, and their First Pets
  • Digital Vaults : A website full of great historical information – including primary sources from our National Archives.
  • African American History Month : An excellent resource for pictures, videos, and documents on those who have paved the way.

If you have more suggestions for websites please comment!  I am always looking for more resources.