Monday, March 09, 2009

Zune in the Classroom - FREE Webinar on March 10th

I have received e-mails in the past about how we have incorporated the Zune MP3 player in my 8th grade American History classroom. I will be discussing our use of the Zune in my classroom on March 10th online at a FREE webinar hosted by Microsoft in Education. This webinar is part of the Tech Teacher Tuesday series.

The webinar will take place on Tuesday, March 10th from 3:00 PM Central Time until 4:00 PM Central Time. The webinar is also recorded and will be available for viewing later as well.

I did a similar webinar in January and really enjoyed interacting with the audience. Please drop in and I'd be happy to answer any questions you might have about using Zunes in the classroom.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Using Google Maps in Class to Connect Liberty with the Gold Rush

Check out the following screen cast, created with Jing, to learn more about using Google Maps in class and hear a cool story that connects Liberty, Missouri to the California Gold Rush.

Liberty Gold Rush Tree location in Google Maps

Friday, March 06, 2009

Podcast #183 - Using the Daughters of the American Revolution Magazine "American Spirit" in Class

Hello. Today's podcast is a suggested resource for anyone who teaches, or enjoys reading about, the American Revolution. For the past couple of years I have used articles from a magazine produced by the Daughters of the American Revolution - "American Spirit". The articles are well written and engaging. One of my favorite articles describes "Colonial Junk Food". I receive my own copy at home and a subscription can be ordered online for only $18 a year. Check out the podcast for some examples of the articles available and how we've used them in my 8th grade classroom.

If you have any comments, suggestions for other history magazines you use in class or ideas you would like to share please leave a comment on this blog. Thanks for listening.

Direct link to Podcast #183 - Using the Daughters of the American Revolution Magazine "American Spirit" in Class?

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Podcast #182 - Back to School, Starting My Doctorate Work

Hello. This week I'm starting my work on a doctorate degree from Walden University -a Doctor of Education with a program in Teacher Leadership. It will be a three year process and I'm looking forward to the challenge. In today's podcast I discuss the first step in my journey.

I welcome any suggestions or tips from those of you have earned your doctorate, especially if you did so in an online program. Please leave a comment on this blog post. Thanks for listening.

Direct link to Podcast #182 - Back to School, Starting my Doctorate Work

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Podcast #181 - Teaching the Donner Party as a Debate

Hello. We recently finished one of my favorite units to cover in our 8th grade American History curriculum - Manifest Destiny and Western Expansion. As we study the Oregon Trail we discuss the fate of the Donner Party. The Donner Party captures the attention of my students and allows us to discuss a variety of topics. For years I have shown my students "The Donner Party" from PBS, part of The American Experience series. Several years ago I used the role of Lansford Hastings in the tragedy and have a debate to try and decide if he or the Donner Party are more to blame for the loss of life. My students then do a short debate, which this year we taped with a Flip video camera. Listen to the podcast to learn about how we use this resource in our classroom.

PDF copy of the worksheet we use while watching the video "The Donner Party" from PBS and the American Experience

If you have any ideas or thoughts on teaching about The Donner Party please leave a comment on this blog. I would enjoy learning how other classes teach about this interesting historical event.

Direct link to Podcast #181 - Teaching the Donner Party as a Debate

Podcast #180 - Speech on "Opportunity" for Parents and Students at Platte County Schools

Hello. Today's podcast is the audio recording of a speech I recently gave at an academic banquet for students and parents at Platte County Schools in Platte City, Missouri. I typically give presentations on technology, history or education so this speech was a little different for me. I tried to explain how others create opportunity for you and then you need to make the best of your own opportunities by telling some stories and sharing examples. The podcast is the audio of the presentation and I have included the presentation below if you are interested in the images the audience saw that night.

If you have any questions or thoughts please feel free to leave a comment on this blog post. Thanks for listening.

Direct link to Podcast #180 - Speech on "Opportunity" For Platte County Schools

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

National Churchill Museum - Summer 2009 Teacher Workshop

Passing along another great professional development opportunity:

Attention Educators!

2nd Annual Summer Teacher Workshop
Thursday, June 25, 2009 - Saturday, June 27, 2009

The National Churchill Museum wants to bring together Missouri educators to study the life of Winston Churchill and to develop strategies for applying historical content in the classroom. Our second year running, this three-day teacher workshop will have more speakers and more opportunities to learn about Churchill and how to use his life to teach history, language arts, speech, cultural studies, and even art/architecture.

You can check out our website, click on School Programs. We are also still looking for presenters, particularly educators that already use Churchill in their classroom!

Please don't hesitate to call or email me with questions. We can only accept a maximum of 30 educators.Register early!

Mandy Crump
Education & Public Programs Coordinator
National Churchill Museum
Westminster College
501 Westminster Ave
Fulton, MO 65251-1299

Phone: (573) 592-6242
Fax: (573) 592-5222

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

2009 State of the Union Bingo Game

Although tonight's speech by President Obama is not officially a "State of the Union Address" it is being treated as such with delivery before a joint session of Congress. Eli Lesser of the National Constitution Center a couple of years ago came up with a great way to engage your students as they watch the State of the Union speech - BINGO! While your students watch the speech they mark off the topics that are mentioned by President Obama. I have not seen a 2009 version at the National Constitution Center site but I was able to find some 2009 cards at the Center for Global Development. You can also create your own cards.

If you don't hand the cards out to your students in advance of the speech you can also use it if you watch the speech later in class.

Thanks to Eli for the awesome idea and to the Center for Global Development for the 2009 cards. Check out Eli's blog : Civic Learning for ideas on teaching tonight's speech and other civics related lesson plans.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Free C-Span White House DVD Available to Teachers

A couple of weeks ago I was channel surfing and ran across the special documentary C-Span did on the White House. It was an amazing look at book the history and the function of the most public private residence in the country. Today on Twitter I saw a tweet from Gina Hartman stating that teachers can get a free copy of the White House on C-Span DVD by registering on their site here.

This was a great program and would be a great addition to an teacher's DVD collection. Thanks to Gina for the tip!

Summer Workshop at Truman Presidential Library and Museum

Just passing along a great teacher opportunity for this summer from the Truman Presidential Library.

Come join us and your fellow teachers this July 20-24 at the Harry S.Truman Library and Museum for the "Between the Wars" teacher conference. Historians from across the nation will present and interact with teachers and teachers will research the Truman archives as they create lesson plans. The conference includes trips to the Truman Home, American Jazz Museum, Negro Leagues Baseball Museum and the Missouri Valley Room at the Kansas City Public Library.

The summer conference is free to teachers with breakfast and lunch provided. For teachers living further out, hotel accommodations at the Hilton Garden Inn is also provided free of charge. Teachers are responsible for their transportation costs to and from the conference.

Teachers may choose to enroll for two graduate hours in continuing education from the University of Missouri - Kansas City for $75.00 per hour.

For more conference information and the application form, go to:

Monday, February 16, 2009

Podcast #179 - Does the Economic Situation Create a Tipping Point for Online Conferences?

Hello. In tonight's podcast I share some thoughts on how the current economic situation could create a tipping point in which more people are willing to attend an online conference instead of a face to face conference. I also ask about the opportunity to share the sessions from face to face conferences as a paid "subscription".

Here are some questions to think about (and BTW, I would enjoy hearing any of your thoughts in the form of a comment to this blog post):

- If your district, or organization, pays to allow you to attend conferences such as NCSS or NECC - has the current economic situation caused them to tell you "no" yet?

- If you pay for all your own expenses to conferences such as NCSS or NECC - has the current economic situation caused you to decide not to attend?

- Would you be wiling to pay a set fee - $25 for example - to be able to download an audio or video podcast of all the sessions at the upcoming 2009 NECC? What would you pay to have all these sessions available in that format?

- How you feel as a presenter at one of these conferences if they "sold" a subscription so that someone could download your session? Would you ask to be paid for your presentation? Would it impact if you submitted a proposal if you knew you were not being paid and they were making your presentation available.

Please discuss in small groups.....

Direct link to Podcast #179 - Does the Economic Situation Create a Tipping Point for Online Conferences?

Friday, February 13, 2009

Four Score and Seven Reading Event to Celebrate Lincoln's 200th Birthday

I was very excited about the Four Score and Seven Simultaneous Reading Event today to celebrate Lincoln's 200th birthday. The only problem - I had my planning period during the scheduled 9:30 AM Central time frame. I asked other teachers in the building if they could spare their class for a couple of minutes and I was very happy that four teachers did bring their classes in to read the Gettysburg Address with thousands of others across the world. We had a total of 48 students at South Valley Jr. High School read today. Now we have to wait and see if we had enough to qualify for the world record.

I took some video with my Flip camera and have posted it above. Thanks to all the teachers who brought down their classes.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Pennsylvania House of Rep Proposes Bill to Ban Cellphones and Other Electronics from Classrooms

If you're a teacher in the state of Pennsylvania and want to use 21st century tools to help your instruction - watch out. Check out the language in this proposed bill :

"The possession by students of telephone paging devices, commonly referred to as beepers, cellular telephones and portable electronic devices that record or play audio or video material shall be prohibited on school grounds, at school sponsored activities and on buses or other vehicles provided by the school district."

There are two exceptions listed in the bill - if your student is a volunteer fireman or needs it due to a medical condition. Check it out for yourself - you can't make this stuff up people! I would assume that a laptop - since they do record and/or play video - would fall under the category of banned portable devices. If you teach in a school with a 1-1 initiative is the only way for your students to have their laptops in class to have them all become volunteer firemen? Have the legislators that proposed this bill been in a classroom in the past 50 years?

I can't imagine this bill has any chance of advancing but just knowing this is a proposed bill should cause teachers who encourage technology in their classrooms to shake their heads at how far we still need to come.

Happy 200th Birthday President Lincoln

Happy Birthday Mr. Lincoln. I wonder what Abe would think about all the excitement over his birthday in 2009. Today in class we are talking about Lincoln, trying to help break the world record by reciting the Gettysburg Address with over 200,000 other people and having a birthday party (pictures and video will be added to the blog later).

I have decided to post one of my favorite Lincoln images. I took this picture of a Lincoln statue in Springfield, Illinois in a park right across from the Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum when my wife I were on vacation in the summer of 2007. The beautifully restored Springfield Train Depot is in the background. I love this picture because Lincoln seems to be saying "come on down and have a seat, I'd like to visit with you" and he is smiling.

Happy birthday Abe and thanks for all you did and endured to help us live in the country we do today.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Podcast #178 - The Sony ICD-UX70 Digital Voice Recorder

Hello. Today I'm discussing a recent purchase - a Sony Digital Voice Recorder ICD-UX70. I have been using this device for about a month and have been very happy with the quality and ease of use. It is a good option for anyone looking for a portable digital voice recorder under $100 - I bought mine from Amazon for $75 with free shipping.

Check out the podcast for features and a quick review. If you have a favorite portable digital voice recorder please leave a comment on this blog. When I do presentations I am often asked "What digital voice recorder would you recommend we purchase for our media center or for student use?" I would currently recommend this device but would be interested to hear how you would answer the same question based on your experiences.

Podcast #177 - Review of Smithsonian's Online Lincoln Conference

Hello. Today I review a conference I recently attended - the Smithsonian's Online Lincoln Conference. Besides the high quality content, the best features of this conference were the cost (free) and location (my desktop computer). In the podcast I discuss my personal experience in attending the sessions, which sessions I enjoyed most and the concept of virtually attending an online conference.

If you were not able to attend the conference on February 4-5, 2009 you can still view any of the nine sessions from the archive. Resources from the sessions and an active discussion board are also available online.

Did you attend any of the sessions? If you did I would enjoy hearing about your experiences. Please add a comment to this blog post.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Podcast #176 - Celebrate Lincoln and Your Students Could Participate in a World Record

Hello. We continue our list of ways to celebrate Lincoln's birthday with an opportunity for you and your students to make history. Join the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in reading the text of the Gettysburg Address at 9:30 AM Central Time on February 12th, 2009. The Museum is attempting to break the current Guinness Book of World Record total of 223,363.

To participate please check out this link and sign up your class. You will need to fill out a form with the names of students participating and signed witnesses. The site also contains numerous resources for teaching Lincoln.

Are you in? I am having my classes join in the activity and encouraging other teachers in my building to take part as well.