Monday, December 19, 2005

The Importance of Knowing Dates

I hope many of you have used the link on my blog roll to visit Ed Tech Talk - if not please check it out - great discussions going on by people all over the world about education and technology. This past Saturday I joined their show via conference call and at some point during our conversation the question can up about how much a history teacher should stress that students know the specific date of major history events and how it compares with the importance of knowing the context of the event. I mentioned that I was not as concerned about my students knowing if the Boston Massacre happened in 1770 or 1771 as much as I was concerned that they understood the event and its importance in relationship to other events. Others listening to the show entered the discussion and it became quite a debate. It is a little hard to explain without listening to it so I would like to direct you to the link so that you may hear it for yourself:

Link to listen to Ed Tech Talk - Brainstorm 16B - The Ed Tech Massacre

I am very interested in what you may think about this topic - one way or the other. I do plan on bringing this question back to my fellow history teachers at South Valley Jr High and my students but it will probably have to happen after we return from winter break since we are doing finals today in class. Please e-mail me your reactions:

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Studycast for Unit 4 - The American Revolution

Hello. Not a traditional podcast but I thought I would post my latest "studycast". For each unit I do an audio review of the important material on the upcoming test. We have our Unit 4 test coming up on Friday over the American Revolution. I have done a studycast for each of the first three unit tests but had not yet mentioned one for this unit and today several students in several different classes asked if I would record one tonight for them. It was great to hear that the students do use it as a resource and that they were actually wanting to listen to it as a study guide. I added a little background music to spice it up - just listening to me ramble on is rather dry - and am anxious to hear comments from my students. My students are always very interested in discovering what types of music their teachers listen to on their own time.

This is another example of me using the i-River MP3 player to create content for my students. I hope to allow for more student created content in the spring semester after Christmas.

Direct link to Mr. Langhorst's Unit 4 StudyCast - MP3 file (13 minutes, 16 seconds)

Let me know what you think and how you are using MP3 players in your classroom. E-mail me at

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Living History Opportunity for Missouri Teachers

Yesterday I received some information about a great workshop opportunity from Linenwood University and the Missouri Department of Conservation. I don't think I will be able to attend because I am also an 8th grade basketball coach here at South Valley and it occurs on the same date but I wanted to pass along the information for other teachers who may be interested.

The workshop is entitled: Missouri History and Western Movement. It takes place on January 28, 29 and 30th of 2006 at Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Missouri. The handout says: "Sign up and spend a weekend learning new skills and ideas to incorporate living history and outdoor education as a tool to enhance subject matter delivery and student learning in your classroom." Sample topics include, but are not limited to: Osage Indian Meal, Dutch Oven Cooking, Muzzle Loading Rifles and Bullet Molding, Living History, Wood Tools, Log Cabin Notches and Split Rails, Dugout Construction, Archaeological Survey and Flint Napping. The workshop is limited to the first 50 participants who sign up and college credit is available through Lindenwood University for 1 or 2 credit hours. The course without credit is $60.

I could not find a link on the web for this workshop but you can contact Jim Duncan at (314) 301 - 1500. If anyone decides to do this workshop please let me know. I would really enjoy hearing how what you learned.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Videos in the American History Classroom

Hello. I have several ideas for a podcast and plan to record one in the next couple of days but I have also been thinking a lot lately about adding more blog entries to "Speaking of History" that would interest other American History teachers. I would like to do a future podcast on some of the best videos and movies used to teach history. I know that social studies teachers get a bad rap when it comes to showing movies but I'll be the first to admit there are several movies I really love to show my students because they generate excellent discussion and do an amazing job of showing the time period.

One of the movies I think every history teacher should consider showing it class is "The Crossing". This movie describes George Washington's crossing of the Delaware River to attack the Hessians at Trenton, New Jersey on Christmas Eve, 1776. "The Crossing" was produced in 1999 by A&E and is available as on DVD and VCR tape. I would recommend the DVD since it also includes several special features you may want to share with your students. I love showing this video to my students because it shows George Washington as a person with flaws and yet his men believed in him. I think Jeff Daniels does an excellent job of playing George Washington. This video is a favorite of my students every year. We are currently in the middle of the movie and will finish it up on Monday. My students find it so incredible that not a single colonial soldier was killed in the actual fighting at Trenton - that is why I always tell them that many times history is more incredible than anything Hollywood could write as fiction.

E-Mail me and let me know what movies you love showing your students and how you use them in class. I will share my favorite movies for teaching history in a future podcast and would enjoy hearing about your favorite movies in the classroom. Send e-mail to

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Podcast #10 - The NSCC Conference Exhibit Floor Sound Tour #1

Last week I attended the NCSS conference in Kansas City and was able to visit with teachers from around the country. I also spent some time in the exhibit hall. Sure, I picked up my share of free pens and catalogs, but I also brought along my MP3 player and interviewed some of the people behind the exhibits. (After also every interview I answered questions about how my i-River MP3 player worked and how it was used in the classroom.) I thought some of you who were not able to attend the conference would enjoy a "sound seeing tour" of the exhibit hall. I interviewed a total of 12 exhibitors and in this podcast I will include six of the clips. I plan to place the other six clips in a future podcast. Links to all of the websites mentioned in the podcast are included in the show notes. Hope you enjoy it and let me know if you found it helpful.

Direct Link to Podcast #10 - The NSCC Conference Exhibit Floor Sound Tour #1 (23 minutes)

Show Notes:

Monday, November 21, 2005

Podcast #9 - Reflections on 2005 NCSS Conference

Hello and welcome to podcast #9 of Speaking of History. This past week I attended the NCSS conference in Kansas City and spent a couple of days talking and visting with some great people from all over the country. I was lucky enough to have the conference right in my own backyard this year and took advantage of it. This podcast I discuss some of the sessions I attended, people I met and reflections on the overall experience. In a future podcast I will have a "sound seeing tour" from a dozen people I met on the exhibition hall floor.

Direct link to Podcast #9 - Reflections on the 2005 NCSS Conference (19 minutes, 9 seconds)

Show Notes:

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Still here - projects in motion

Hello. Just wanted to let everyone know that I'm still here even though I haven't posted a new podcast in about a month. I have working on some great projects like Community Technology Night and preparing for a presentation at the NCSS conference this Friday in Kansas City. Last week I was fortunate enough to listen to the inventor of the webquest - Bernie Dodge - give a workshop on his new web tool to help teachers create and post their own webquest. I have also been working on some things with the Discovery Educators Network. I plan to podcast on all of these soon as soon as I catch up. Thanks and talk to you later.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Podcast #8 - A Day Off For Fall Break

Hello. I'm typing this from my favorite local coffee house - By The Book. It is a great book store here on the historic town square in Liberty, Missouri. They serve great coffee drinks and have a great selection of books for everyone in the family. We love to come down here on the weekends for a treat - I'm enjoying an Oreo freeze right now - and to get a new book or two. Today is a weekday but we have the day off for fall break. We had parent teacher conferences this week and last night visited with parents from 1:30 to 8:00. I will mention the role of technology and conferences in my podcast. I've been writing down thoughts and ideas about learning and technology over the past couple of weeks and have a lot to talk about today. So let's get started.....

Direct link to Podcast #8 - A Day Off For Fall Break

Show Notes:

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Podcast #7 - School Year Technology Goals Progress Report

We are six weeks into the 2005/06 school year and it has been almost four week since my last podcast so I wanted to give a quick report on how some of the projects are coming along. Our social studies department here at South Valley Jr High has purchased i-River MP3 players to use for instruction, I have recorded a study cast for my students to help them review, plans are underway for a podcast with a local politican and we are planning a community technology night at our school for November. I also share a new educational technology podcast that has a focus on handhelds in the classroom.

Please feel free to e-mail me suggestions or comments. I would enjoy hearing from you - how you find the podcast, where you listen from, how you use technology in your classroom, etc. E-mail me at

Direct link to Speaking of History Podcast #7

Show Notes:

Thursday, September 08, 2005

D Day Museum in New Orleans - Good News

Last night I found a blog report that states there is little, if any, damage to the D Day Museum in New Orleans. Another link cites a report from the Associated Press that says the building is in good shape. Yesterday I was tracking down rumors that the museum was heavily damaged by looters and vandalsim. Great news, and right now we'll take any glimmer of good news we can get from this region.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Seeking News on D Day Museum in New Orleans

Our thoughts and prayers are with all those who have suffered so heavily due to hurricane Katrinia. The loss of human life is more important than any material possessions but as the city begins to evaluate its damage, the condition of the D Day Museum in New Orleans will be awaited by historians all over the world. In the podcast yesterday I mentioned that I was curious about the condition of the museum. I was able to find a blog entry with comments about its condition. There are reports that the museum fared well in the initial storm, but was damaged by looting and vandalism. The loss of this great museum to the ravages of nature would be tragic but understandable. If reports of serve looting and vandalism are true this is more than sad.

I have included a picture from my visit to the D Day Museum in July of 2004. I am standing in front of one of the Higgins boats used in the invasion along with other teachers from the district where I teach. We were attending the 2004 NECC conference. The older gentleman in the picture is a veteran who landing at D Day in the early waves. We talked with this gentleman and had him sign a copy of the "Order of the Day". I have the copy framed and it hangs next to the American flag which hangs in my classroom. Memories of a great day in a museum that seemed more like a cathedral honoring the memory of great men who gave their life for my freedom.

If anyone hears any news about the current status of the D Day Museum in New Orleans please comment here or send an e-mail to

Podcast #6 - Parent E-Mails and a StudyCast

Hello and welcome back after a break of about three weeks. School is back in session and things are getting back in the routine of early mornings, the flow of the school day and keeping up with grading. This week I'll share some thoughts on New Orleans, which educational podcasts I'm currently listening to, parent e-mail newsletters and a "StudyCast".

Direct Link to Speaking of History Podcast #6

Show Notes:

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Podcast #5 - Technology Goals for My Classroom This School Year - Podcast #5

Since today is the last day of official summer break, I'm taking a few minutes to outline my six big technology goals for the 2005 / 2006 school year. I currently have a class web site, do my assessment using an online tool named Quia and send out a weekly parent newsletter on e-mail. Those will be topics of future shows. Today is my pie in the sky list of what I would like to acomplish in relation to new technologies. This is amazing time with the emergence of blogs and podcasting.

I encourage any feedback about the show topics or anything in relation to using technology in the classroom. Please feel free to e-mail me at

Direct link to Speaking of History Podcast #5

Show Notes for Podcast #5

  • last day of the summer
  • Thanks for the g-mail invitations
  • Thanks also for the mention by David Warlick on 2 Cents Worth
  • Kansas City Podcasting meet up
  • Goal 1 - Blogging with students
  • Goal 2 - History broadcast video
  • Goal 3 - Entire social studies staff using i-river MP3 players as instructional tool
  • Goal 4 - Students teaching community members computer applications
  • Goal 5 - Long distance collaboration with other teachers
  • Goal 6 - Produce a podcast show interviewing a member of the community
  • Almost finished with The World is Flat by Thomas Friedman

Monday, August 01, 2005

Podcast #4 - Thoughts on the Microsoft Innovative Teachers Forum - Podcast #4

Hello. It has been a couple of weeks since the Microsoft Innovative Teachers Forum in Redmond ended and I've been thinking a lot about the incredible two days spent sharing ideas and lessons with teachers from around the world. This podcast will discuss some of my thoughts about the forum. It is recorded as I drive down to the Dallas area for vacation - in heavy traffic I might add.

The picture above was taken at the Microsoft Museum in Redmond at a reception they hosted for the Innovative Teacher Forum.

Direct Link to Speaking of History Podcast #4

Show Notes:

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Welcome from the Microsoft Innovative Teachers Forum

Around 80 teachers from over 20 countries around the world meeting to share ideas at the Microsoft Innovative Teachers Forum in Redmond, Washington. Stay tuned for podcasts about the forum. It is almost like a mini United Nations on education.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Podcast #3 - Microsoft Innovative Teachers Forum - Exploring Redmond - Podcast #3

Hello from Redmond, Washington - the home of Microsoft. I am writing this blog entry from my hotel room at the Marriott as I get ready to attend the Microsoft Innovative Teachers World Forum. I left Kansas City this morning at 7:00 AM and reached Seattle this afternoon after a short stop in Denver. The forum doesn't start until tomorrow morning so after I checked in to the hotel I explored the area. I attempted to catch a bus to go into Seattle and check out the fish market but the bus wasn't running from Redmond into the city so I walked around the Redmond Town Center. Great shops and eating establishments. I plan to go out a little later tonight for a nice sit down meal. I'm very excited about the forum starting tomorrow and I discuss it in tonight's podcast.

I do want to mention that yesterday morning I was very excited to discover that the "Speaking of History" podcast is now listed on the i-Tunes podcast directory. I filled out all the necessary forms about a week ago and wasn't sure if I had filled them out correctly but it is now listed. I also was happy to see that two of my podcasting heroes - Steve Dembo of Teach 42 and Bud the Teacher - had commented on my first podcast. What a great feeling for me. You have to realize that I listen to both of them in my car, while mowing my lawn, watering my flowers, etc. I'm not really sure who will listen to my podcasts but to know that these two listened to at least one of my ramblings makes me feel as if I have accomplished something.

Direct Link to Speaking of History Podcast #3

Show Notes:

  • Leaving for Seattle - early
  • Exploring Redmond, Washington
  • Thoughts about the Microsoft Innovative Teachers Forum tomorrow
  • Huskers from Space lesson plan to teach geography
  • Podcast is listed in i-Tunes podcast directory

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Podcast #2 - On the Road

The first podcast is up and running so I thought I would go ahead and give it another try. This podcast was recorded as I drove along Interstate 29 in Missouri, Iowa and Nebraska on route to a graduate class I was helping to teach at the University of Nebraska at Omaha.

Direct Link to Speaking of History Podcast #2

Show Notes:

  • Online / Face to Face Graduate Class
  • The Virtual Institute
  • My studio - i-River IFP-895

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Podcast #1- Just Getting My Feet Wet

This is the first Speaking of History podcast. Fairly short (about 5 minutes) - but hey, everyone has to start somewhere. Special thanks to Steve Dembo of Teach 42 for helping me by answering my e-mail questions about getting an RSS feed.

Direct link to Speaking of History Podcast #1

Show #1 Notes:

  • Introduction
  • Which podcasts do I listen to?
  • Why a podcast?
  • Intended audience