Sunday, December 30, 2007

Podcast #129 - My Top Ten Photos of 2007

Hello. Today is a podcast with a visual focus. I noticed that a couple of edubloggers (Ewan McIntosh and David Warlick) have posted their favorite photos of 2007. I thought this was a great idea. I love taking pictures with my digital camera and thought I would post my "Top Ten Photos of 2007". These are photos that I have taken in the past year and each has it's own story but you'll have to listen to the podcast to discover the story behind the photos.

Direct link to Podcast #129 "My Top Ten Photos of 2007" - MP3 audio file - 15:15 minutes

Please feel free to comment on this podcast and the photos by leaving a comment on the blog post or e-mailing me directly at

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Podcast #128 - Create a Family Memory This Holiday Season

Hello. If you listen to one episode of Speaking of History this year please make it this one. Tonight I'm talking about something you can do with your family this holiday season that you and your children will be glad you did years later. I know because my dad did this same thing back in 1977 when I was 6 years old and I'm very happy today that he did. This is a podcast about the power of story and a suggestion that I give you this holiday season.

Direct link to Podcast #128 - Create a Family Memory This Holiday Season - MP3 Format - 11:26 minutes

If you have any comments or would like to share a story about creating your family memory please leave a comment on this blog post or e-mail me directly at

My grandfather - Henry C. Langhorst (second soldier as you look right to left) in the trenches of World War I. The machine gun on the ground in front of the group was his.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

No School Today - Kansas City Ice Storm

Hello. Today we spent the day home from school due to the Midwest ice storm. We did not get it as bad in Kansas City as others but we did lose power for a while this morning. Here are some pictures from the storm. The top picture is from our historic downtown square in Liberty and the bottom picture is the view outside of our window today.

Podcast #127 - Review of the i-River T-60 Portable MP3 Player/Recorder

Hello. In today's podcast I will review the i-River T-60 portable MP3 player. As long time listeners of the podcast know - I'm a big fan of i-River and their products. I recently purchased a T-60 and it is my 4th i-River MP3 player.

I often recieve e-mails from people asking about what type of MP3 player/recorder I would suggest for school use and the answer is always "i-River". Their players are easy to use, small and have tremendous internal microphones. They are also a great value.

This podcast will focus on my personal experiences with my i-River T-60 Portable MP3 player / recorder. I would encourage any feedback you might have as a comment to this blog post or by e-mailing me at

Show Notes for Podcast #127:

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Podcast #126 - Ideas for Teaching a Lewis and Clark Unit

Hello. Today's podcast is a description of how I teach the Corps of Discovery to my 8th Grade American history class. I recieved an e-mail question from Jessica in Illinois asking me to describe what type of activities we do in class and I thought it would be a great topic for a podcast.

The picture you see above is me dressed an reenacter clothing as a member of the Corps of Discovery. The student in the picture is one of my students from this year who just happens to be the great, great, great, great, great granddaughter of William Clark - honestly! Her family often attends ceremonies at National Parks etc. celebrating the Lewis and Clark expedition.

Please feel free to add comments or suggestions as a comment to this blog entry or e-mail me at

Direct link to Podcast #126 - Ideas for Teaching a Lewis and Clark Unit - MP3 file - 21:00 minutes

Show Notes for Podcast #126

- DVD - "Lewis and Clark - Great Journey West" from National Geographic

- DVD - "Technology of Lewis and Clark" from The History Channel

- DVD - "Lewis and Clark" from Ken Burns and PBS

- Book - "20 Plays for U.S. History Classes" from Walch Publishing

- Book - "Undaunted Courage" by Stephen Ambrose

Podcast #125 - NCSS 2007 in San Diego Exhibit Hall Tour

Hello. Today's podcast is the second exhibit hall tour podcast from the 2007 NCSS Conference in San Diego. The previous NCSS 2007 exhibit hall tour is episode #123 and featured Art in History and People to People International. In this podcast I visit with exhibitors from, Muzzy Lane, the National Constitution Center and Independent Lens. Please be sure to check out their web site links to learn more about this services and organizations.

As always, please leave your comments as a comment to this blog post or e-mail me at

Direct link to Podcast #125 - NCSS Exhibit Hall Tour - MP3 file - 18:00 minutes

Podcast #125 Show Notes:

- - "Helping Teachers Explore the World"

- Muzzy Lane - creators of Making History World War II game

- National Constitution Center - check out their summer workshops for teachers

- Independent Lens - A Film Festival in Your Living Room

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Podcast #124 - NCSS 2007 Presentation in San Diego - "Why My Classroom is Web 2.0"

Hello. Today's podcast is the audio recording of my presentation in San Diego at the 2007 NCSS Conference. My presentation was entitled "Why My Classroom is Web 2.0". I am also including my PowerPoint slides via SlideShare.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

David Warlick in Kansas City at UMKC Professional Development Workshop

Hello. I am currently sitting in a David Warlick presentation at Union Station in Kansas City - sponsored by UMKC. I was even asked to introduce him at the start of the day - WOW! Talk about a thrill. I heard David about 10 years ago and read his book Raw Materials for the Mind and that is what started my journey through educational technology. He is my technology mentor and when I heard him speak for the first time he changed the way I have taught my students from that time on.

I am currently podcasting the sessions today and will post them later. That's all for now - I am listening to his amazing presentation on 21st Century Literacy and participating in the back channel discussion.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Scenes from San Diego - 2007 NCSS Conference

Here are some quick snapshots from the 2007 National Council for the Social Studies conference in San Diego. It rained all day Friday but the sun came out on Saturday.

Podcast #123 - Art in History and People to People International

Hello. Today I stopped by two booths on the exhibit hall floor here at the NCSS conference in San Diego. The past couple of years I have done podcasts of products or services that I felt you might find interesting. Today we look at how you can incorporate art in your social studies class with Art in History and a way your classes can connect with students from around the world through People to People International.

Enjoy the podcast and check out the links for additional information. As always, please feel free to leave a comment on this blog post or email me at

Podcast #123 Show Notes:

- Art in History Site

- People to People International Site

Friday, November 30, 2007

NCCS Presentation - "Using Web 2.0 in the Social Studies Classrooom"

Hello. Today I did my individual presentation at the NCSS conference in San Diego. I was really pleased with the turn out - almost a full room and I thought the presentation went well. The presentation that I did is one that I have given several times in the past couple of months and is really a survey of the ways that I'm using a variety of tools with my students.

I did record the presentation with my i-River MP3 and had intended on posted it as a podcast but something really cool happened at rigth before the session started. Matt Montagne, of the Middle School Blog, asked if he could Ustream the presentation with his i-Book. I thought that was a great idea and so Matt did record the presentation. How cool is that! Click here to wach the entire presentation via Ustream. Five gold stars to Matt for recording the session - I owe you one.

If you have any comments on the presentation please leave a comment or e-mail me.

NCSS Presentation Handout - Using Web 2.0 in the Social Studies Classroom

Hello. Today I am giving a presentation at the National Council for the Social Studies Conference in San Diego. The presentation I gave today is an overview of how I use Web 2.0 tools - podcasts, blogs, studycasts, digital video, etc. - in my 8th grade American History classroom at South Valley Jr. High in Liberty, Missouri.

Traveling to San Diego for NCSS 2007

Hello. I’m currently blogging this onboard a plane roughly 33,000 feet above somewhere between Kansas and California. I’m on my way to the NCSS conference in San Diego and thought I would use this time to type a blog post and then post it when I arrive at my hotel this evening. I haven’t been posting or podcasting as often over the past couple of months but I’m still here and don’t plan on podfading. Life has just been crazy busy but a great crazy busy. We have a new addition in our household and we’ve been welcoming her to our family. I’ve also been busy with different activities tied to the Missouri Teacher of the Year honor. Only a couple of months in I can tell this will be an amazing year and one that I want to capture and share with pictures, audio, video and blog posts as often as possible. I’m keeping a separate blog – – to record each activity and I’m a little behind right now and trying to catch up to keep it updated.

By the way I’m flying to San Diego on Midwest Airlines and I have to give them a big shout out. I don’t travel a ton but Midwest is by far my favorite airline – large and comfortable seats with warm chocolate chip cookies on each flight! Check it out if you have a chance.
I’ll be presenting three sessions at NCSS this year. Last year I attended NCSS in Washington DC and did not present a session. Our district sent a group of teachers to DC last year because we are currently revising some of our social studies curriculum and I was not positive that I would be attending until after the deadline for submitting a proposal.

My first session is on Friday from 3:45 till 4:45 (SD Convention Center 30A) and the title of my presentation is “Podcasts and Blogs – Teaching History with Web 2.0”. I will be giving an overview of the ways we use Web 2.0 in my classroom – blogs, podcasts, digital video, studycasts, online assessment, etc. It has become on primary session when I give a presentation on how I incorporate technology with my own students on a regular basis. If you are a regular reader or listener of Speaking of History please stop by and say hello if you are at NCSS.

The second session I will be helping with is on Saturday from 2:45 till 3:45 (SD Convention Center 30C). This session is entitled “A Whirlwind of Possibilities : Technology for Social Studies Teachers” and I’m presenting with Christy Keeler of the University of Nevada Las Vegas. Christy is really the main presenter and I will be there to answer some questions at the end of the presentation. Christy and I collaborated on an article about using technology in the social studies classroom and this is a presentation modeled after that article. Christy is doing some amazing things with her social studies methods students at UNLV and showing them the potential of incorporating technology in our content area. We need a lot more social studies methods teachers like Christy demonstrating and modeling these techniques with our new teachers.

My third session will be a workshop taking place from 8:00 till 10:00 on Sunday morning (SD Convention Center 30B) entitled “Teaching and Learning with Ken Burns’ The War : The Power of Story”. I am working with a great group of individuals on this session: Donelle Blubaugh – PBS, Anne Harrington – WETA and Monica Mohindra – Library of Congress Veterans History Project. We will be doing a presentation on how teachers can incorporate the resources from the recent PBS documentary on World War II. Beyond using the video in your classroom, we will also demonstrate the incredible resources available on the site as they relate to incorporating a oral history project with your students and the media elements (pictures, audio, video) that available for student use from the official PBS web site.

I’m really looking forward to the next couple of days in San Diego. I find all of the discussions beyond the sessions to be as helpful as the sessions themselves. Some of my most productive ideas from conferences have resulted from impromptu chats with a stranger you meet sitting next to you at a session or at lunch. It will also be nice to escape a little midwest winter weather as well – Kansas City is forecasted to have a little wintery blast on Friday night.

Some of you may have attended NECC in San Diego in the summer of 2006 as I did with some teachers from the Liberty School District. There are some great historical side trips you can take and I would strongly urge attendees to take some time off during the conference to visit the USS Midway while in San Diego. I took a tour and did a podcast from the USS Midway during NECC 2006 and it was a moving experience to just be on such a historic World War II ship. It is a short walk from the convention center where NCSS is being held – several blocks – and well worth it. There are also some other historic ships in the same area and I hope to possibly tour one of them on this trip to San Diego.

As always, I will try to podcast and blog as often as possible during the conference. Looking over the conference program there are some great sessions on using technology in the social studies classroom. If you are attending NCSS please let me know what sessions you attended or plan to attend along with your comments. I would love to discover what experiences other people had at NCSS 2007. See you soon – my chocolate chip cookies are here!

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Podcast #122 - PBS Media Infusion Blog about "The War"

Hello. I'm sure many of you have seen at least part of the recent PBS documentary series "The War" by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick. It is an amazing example of how the power of story can be used to teach history. Several months ago I was contacted by PBS to be the guest blogger for their "Media Infusion" blog. I wrote a blog entry for the month of November 2007 on using the power of story in teaching with "The War" as a foundation. Please visit the blog and post a comment. I will be answering questions during the month via the comments to the post and I'm very interesting in how other people are using stories and oral histories in their classroom.

Today's podcast gives some personal reflections about saving oral histories and some projects I am working on with my students over the next semester.

Podcast #122 Show Notes:

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Technology Impacting a Special Day

Hello. Thanks to the many people who have left comments congratulating us on the birth of our second daughter - Scarlet.

Our oldest daughter was born 4 years ago - before I knew what a blog was or had any concept of a podcast. I didn't even own a digital camera when Addison was born but after going through dozens of rolls of film in the months that followed her birth I did buy my first digital camera. Since I have always loved to take pictures, the digital camera purchase is what my wife often calls "the best buy we've ever made".

Today with the birth of Scarlet, technology is an even more transparent part of our lives. Our hospital room has wireless Internet in the room, with a faster connection than I get at most hotels by the way, so I was able to send out an e-mail telling hundreds of family and friends in minutes about our new addition. I also took the digital photos from the night she was born, uploaded them to Walgreens and in a half an hour had relatives in Texas, Wyoming and Nebraska holding photographs of the new baby they could take with them to work to show off their new granddaughter or great granddaughter.

I know this technology has been readily available for years but it really hit me this week with the birth of our new baby. I also wonder how technology will impact her life, her education and her lifestyle. And if she isn't allowed to use these advancements in technology in the classroom - why not?

Monday, October 22, 2007

A New Speaking of History Listener

Hello. We have a new Speaking of History listener - our second child was born tonight : Scarlet Jane Langhorst, 7 lbs 15 oz, 19.25" long. Mom and baby are doing great, dad is on cloud nine and taking lots of pictures. Wow, what a night.

Monday, October 15, 2007

2007 MITC Conference - MOREnet Instructional Technology Conference Presentations

Hello. I'm spending Sunday and Monday at Tan-Tar-A Resort and Spa in Osage Beach, Missouri at the 2007 MITC (MOREnet Instructional Technology Conference). It is a beautiful fall day here at the Lake of the Ozarks but there will be over 500 individuals networking, visiting and sharing ideas relating to education and technology. It looks like a great conference and I'm excited for it to start.

I'm sure I'll have a little time to relax over the next couple of days but I'll also be busy with 4 presentations. On Sunday afternoon I will be presenting a pre-conference workshop on podcasting and using Audacity for classroom use. Monday morning I'll be giving the keynote address - "Why My Classroom Is Web 2.0". Later on Monday morning I'll be presenting a breakout session entitled "What's On George Washington's i-Pod - Podcasting in the Classroom" and later Monday afternoon I'll do a presentation on our book blog project entitled "Hardtack to Hard Drives - The Guerrilla Season Book Blog Project".

I have made the presentations for these sessions available as PDF files for any session participants or interested readers of the blog. If you have any comments or suggestions please leave a comment on this blog entry or e-mail me at

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Missouri Teacher of the Year Blog

Hello. As readers to the blog discovered a couple of weeks ago, I have been very humbled to be named the 2007/2008 Missouri Teacher of the Year. The official banquet will not take place until November but some of the speaking engagements and events have started and I am keeping a Missouri Teacher of the Year Blog to help "scrapbook" the year. I will try to take pictures and include a little text of the special events that occur. I will be traveling to a variety of conferences and conventions in the next several months. Some of these events will also be added to the Speaking of History blog.

Last night, for example, the City Council of Liberty, Missouri gave a proclamation in my name and declared that October 9, 2007 is "Eric Langhorst Day" in Liberty. Wow - that is just crazy! It will be a fun year full of exciting events as I represent the great teachers of Missouri and you're welcome to check in via the blog.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Podcast #120 - Teaching the Declaration of Independence as a Break Up Letter

Hello. Today's podcast describes one of the activities I use in class to teach about the Declaration of Independence. Students often don't really understand the purpose of the document and this activity usually helps. I act as if I have found a note on the floor of my class the day before after school and then I read it to the class. It is a break up letter and at the end the students are stunned to learn that it is from "the American Colonies". I have included the text of the letter that I use below and the podcast has a recording of what happens when I read the letter in class and the discussion that follows. The podcast also has some hints and suggestions if you would like to replicate this activity in your classroom. I'm sure someone out there does something similar but I have not been able to find it anywhere else. I really enjoy this activity and my students have fun with it as well.

If you have any comments or questions please leave a comment on the blog or send me an e-mail at

Text of the letter that I read to my class this year:

I'm not sure how to start this letter but I feel we need to talk. I've been thinking about us a lot lately. Things used to be so great - it was like we were M.F.E.O. I mean everyone said it was perfect. I really thought we would be together forever but then things changed.

I feel like you started to take me for granted. You just started to do whatever you wanted and never even asked me about anything or how I felt.

I've been thinking about this for a while and I don't want to hurt you but I think it is time we broke up. I mean it's just not going to work. I need some time by myself to see what it is like on my own. I'm sorry things didn't work out but I do think YOU are the one to blame. Sorry but "US" is over.

The American Colonies

UPDATED - OCTOBER 30, 2008 - I took video of this activity using the Flip video camera and have added the video to show how the activity works in class.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

The War from PBS Airs Tonight, Web Site is Now Active

Tonight the PBS special "The War" aired it's first segment on public television stations across the country. The web site is also now updated and full of features - including a special section for teachers.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Podcast #119 - September 2007 Bits and Bytes -I-Pod Cases, Cam Studio, What I'm Reading, etc.

Hello. Today's podcast consists of my random collection of thoughts on history, education and technology. These are all things I've been thinking about but they don't have enough information to create an entire podcast on the subject. We did a Bits and Bytes in July but did not have one for August. Topics tonight include: i-Pod case, The War by PBS, Constitution Day 2007 Video, ear phones for MP3 players to check out to students, Cam Studio, Edutopia article "Northern Lights", CNN Student News Blog and books I just finished and what I'm reading now. Please listen to the podcast and then use the links in the show notes below to learn more.

Podcast #119 Show Notes:

- i-Pod Speaker/Case for outdoor use

- The War - WWII Documentary from Ken Burns and Lynn Novick on PBS - September 23, 2007

- CamStudio - free screen casting application

- Edutopia Article on Chugach School District - No Timeline For Learning

- CNN Student News Blog

- George Washington, Spymaster by Thomas B Allen

- Land of Lincoln - Adventures in Abe's America by Andrew Ferguson

Monday, September 17, 2007

2007 Constitution Day Video

Hello and Happy Constitution Day! Last night I put the finishing touches on our video for Constitution Day. For the past two years I have created a video that is shown during our student news broadcast. Last year I had segments of the preamble read by various students and teachers. This year I did a short commentary on how the Constitution impacts the lives of our students at South Valley Jr. High - examples include i-Pods, the Daily Show, a local Civil War battle, etc. I created it with PhotoStory 3 and included music from Soundzabound.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Presentation Notes from History Comes Alive - National World War I Museum in Kansas City

Hello. On Saturday, September 15th I am giving a presentation at the "History Comes Alive Workshop" at the Liberty Memorial - National World War I Museum in Kansas City. Teachers from the Kansas City area will be learning about the resources available through this incredible museum and I will be doing a presentation on using technology in the social studies classroom with some additional suggestions for teaching WWI. Kansas City Time Warner Cable, the History Channel and the Liberty Memorial World War I Museum are sponsoring the event.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Podcast #118 - Ideas for Constitution Day - September 17th

Hello. On September 17th schools across America will celebrate the birthday of our Constitution. According to law, each school in the country that receives federal money of any kind, is required to do some type of activity related to the Constitution.

Last year we created a short video with students and staff reading portions of the preamble. We show it on our building cable channel during student announcements on Constitution Day. We posted it on Teacher Tube and in the past year it has been viewed over 12,000 times. This year I am working on video with a slightly different theme and hope to have it completed for viewing on Monday.

Looking for ideas or lesson plans to use at your school on September 17th? In this podcast I share my favorite resources for Constitution Day ideas. We would love to hear about your plans for Constitution Day - leave a comment on this blog entry and include a Constitution link of your own.

Direct link to Podcast #118 - Ideas for Constitution Day - September 17th - MP3 Format - 11:27 Minutes

Podcast #118 Show Notes:

- National Constitution Center - Constitution Day Lesson Plan and Resource Database

- Interactive Constitution Online - National Constitution Center

- National Archives Constitution Day - Teaching with Resources

- National Archives Constitution Game - 12 paper clips and a die

- National Archives Constitution Questions / Answers and Quick Facts

- Interactive Christy painting from National Endowment for the Humanities

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Sandwich Archaeology Video from Animoto

Here is a quick video with pictures of the students doing their sandwich archaeology project a couple of weeks ago. The video is 30 seconds long and took about 5 minutes to create. It was created using a web site named Animoto. Super easy, fun, energetic video creation application - check it out. Thanks to Wes Fryer of the Speed of Creativity blog.

Lest We Forget....

I was in a classroom that day, as I'm sure many of the teachers reading this blog were, teaching my students about American history when a teacher next door during a passing period said that a plane had hit a building in New York. I will never forget the events of that day. It is not often in one's lifetime that your entire world has changed so dramatically as a result of a global event from the time you woke up in the morning until you go to bed that evening.

I pray for the men and women who lost their lives that day, acted as heroes that day and those that fight to protect our freedoms today.

Monday, September 10, 2007

World War I Teacher Workshop in Kansas City

If you teach World War I history and are within driving distance to Kansas City please check out an educator workshop taking place at the Liberty Memorial - National World War I Museum in Kansas City on Saturday, September 15th. This event is being sponsored by the Liberty Memorial, Time Warner Cable and the History Channel. There will be presentations on using how teachers can use the museum's resources and tours of the amazing facilities. I am honored to have been asked to give a presentation on using technology in the social studies classroom.

For more information please check out the Time Warner Kansas City page for "Teacher Workshops" and select "History Comes Alive" There is a $20 registration fee that includes lunch, breaks and a tour of the museum. Hope to see you there.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Podcast #117 - First Weeks of School - Peanut Butter and Jelly Archaeology, Student Learning Styles Quiz and More

Hello. In today's podcast I will discuss some of the things we do at the start of the year in class. Over the years we have done various things to create a tone and set expectations for the upcoming year. We don't jump right in to the first unit, but rather do a variety of activites to set up the year.

In the podcast I will explain how we complete a student information sheet, take a learning styles inventory quiz and perform an archaeological dig on a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

Direct link to Podcast #117 - First Weeks of School - Peanut Butter and Jelly Archeology, Student Learning Styles Quiz and More - MP3 Format - 21:40 Minutes

Podcast #117 Show Notes:

Lost on the Moon Activity - builds team work in groups with students

Student Learning Styles Inventory with suggestions on learning styles study skills

Peanut Butter and Jelly Archaeology instructions from National Paek Service

Monday, September 03, 2007

Podcast #116 - Invitation to Join Me as the 2007/2008 Missouri Teacher of the Year

Hello. Last Thursday I was extremely honored and humbled to be notified that I have been selected to be the Missouri Teacher of the Year for 2007/2008. Last spring I learned that I would represent Liberty Public Schools in the state competition as the district teacher of the year and I had an interview last week in Jefferson City as a state finalist. I don't think the huge responsibility of representing all the great teachers in Missouri has truly hit me yet and I'll learn much more about my responsibilities in the weeks to come but I'm looking forward to an exciting year. It will require me to miss some days in the classroom with speaking engagements but it will give me an opportunity to share some of the great things happening in classrooms throughout Missouri.

One thing I'm very excited about is the opportunity to discuss the potential of the web 2.0 classroom with a broader audience. Speaking at a technology conference is largely preaching to the choir but many of my presentations as teacher of the year will have a more mainstream audience and I can't wait to spread the potential of blogs, podcasts, wikis, etc. to a variety of people.

I encourage you to join me on this journey. I know that I will ask you for advice and ideas along the way. There will probably be an additional blog that will serve as a scrapbook of various events but I will continue to put all content on this blog in additional to any additional sites.

Podcast #116 Show Notes:

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

First Day of the New School Year

The pencils are sharpened, the white boards are - well, white - and the junior high students will be lost and romaing the halls looking for their classes. It must be the first day of school! Tomorrow - August 16th - will be the first day of classes for us in the Liberty Public School District. Here are a couple pictures of my room as it awaits eager students. Hope everyone out there has a great start to the 2007/2008 school year.