Free iBook Explores Ancient Egypt

» 06 May 2014 » In History / DBQ's, Publishing » No Comments

Meet Alex the Archaeologist

The Memorial Art Gallery Rochester NY recently published Ancient Egypt: Exploring Ancient Artifacts with Alex the Archaeologist. It’s available free from the iTunes Store.
Full disclosure: I’ve assisted MAG on a number of projects and was a “mentor” on this iBook

Ancient Egypt is interactive resource for teachers and students featuring video host - “Alex the Archeologist.” (Played by Alexander Smith, a Mediterranean archaeologist and graduate student at Brown University’s Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology and the Ancient World.)

Chapters include: Government and Wealth, Power and Protection, Gods and Goddesses, Journey to the Afterlife and a very interactive guide to reading hieroglyphics. “Stop and think” questions throughout the book foster student reflection. An illustrated glossary helps foster defining skills. Students can zoom in to closely examine artifacts and try their hand at interpreting hieroglyphics.

God Osiris

Designed for classroom use by grades 6–12, Ancient Egypt is the first in a series for young people studying the ancient world. Using the Gallery’s collection of artifacts, this thematic object-centered exploration uses works of art, timelines, video clips, photographs, and interactive media to take students into the world of earlier civilizations. It meets Common Core Standards as students learn to read objects as primary source texts.

The Memorial Art Gallery has many other great resources available online. A good place to start is at Passport to the Past. It features collections of image sets sized for use on Smartboards or in PowerPoints

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5 Rules of Infographic Excellence

» 14 October 2013 » In Commentary, Visualizations » No Comments

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xkcd’s brilliant mockery of the explosion of “info-junk” should remind us that the best infographics should efficiently combine quantitative data, prompt pattern recognition and cogent visual storytelling. Perhaps aspiring infographic designers would do well to revisit the work of the Edward Tufte, the guru of the art form. His five rules of “Graphical Excellence” are detailed and illustrated with an example he considers “best narrative graphic of space and time.”

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Text to Text: A Strategy for Common Core Close Reading

» 26 September 2013 » In How To, Literacy, Strategies » 5 Comments

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The NY Times Learning Network has just launched a new series of lesson plans called “Text to Text.” It’s a simple approach that pairs two written texts that “speak to each other.” I think it’s a Common Core close reading strategy that could be easily replicated by teachers across the curriculum – great way to blend nonfiction with fiction and incorporate a variety of media with written text.

Each lesson includes a key question, extension activities and additional resources to expand the basic lesson. Here’s two graphic organizers to help student organize their “Text to Text” thinking.

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Best Sites for Primary Documents in World History

» 16 September 2013 » In History / DBQ's, How To » 1 Comment

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Common Core offers an incentive for teachers to use historic documents to build literacy skills in a content area while empowering students to be the historian in the classroom. But document-based (DBQ) instruction in this context requires four key elements to be successful: The first is finding the right documents.

Here’s links and descriptions of a dozen great websites for finding interesting historic documents in World history. Sample images for each site are included.

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Best Sites for Primary Documents in US History

» 16 September 2013 » In History / DBQ's, How To » 3 Comments

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Common Core offers an incentive for teachers to use historic documents to build literacy skills in a content area while empowering students to be the historian in the classroom. But document-based (DBQ) instruction in this context requires four key elements to be successful: The first is the right documents.

Here’s links and descriptions of 11 great websites for finding interesting historic documents in American history. Sample images for each site are included.

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PBL: I Come to Understanding by Making

» 11 September 2013 » In Commentary » No Comments

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Watch this short video as Matthew Shlian talks about himself, how he learns and the role that curiosity plays in his work. Then think about the kind of classroom that would foster Matt and learners like him. He states, A lot of my work is about curiosity. I come to understanding by making. If I can see what something’s going to look like when it’s finished, then I don’t want to make it. That would be like filling out a form.

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Think Like a Historian: Close Reading at the Museum

» 22 April 2013 » In History / DBQ's, How To, Literacy, PD, Strategies, Students » 4 Comments

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The Common Core encourages students to more closely read a text (in all it’s multimedia formats) by answering three critical questions: What did it say? How did it say it? What’s it mean to me? Here I model a Common Core close reading of my visit to a museum exhibit. I’ll dig a little deeper into the three questions with a few more prompts and provide answers as if I were a high school student reflecting on their experience.

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Haiku Deck – Free Presentation App for iPad

» 13 March 2013 » In Ed Tech, History / DBQ's, Visualizations » 2 Comments

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I’m prepping for an “iPad in the Classroom” workshop and I thought I’d try Haiku Deck – a free presentation app for the iPad. It’s an impressive and easy to use tool for creating a knock-out presentation on the iPad – a great way for teachers and students to quickly share their ideas with the classroom and the digital world beyond. Here’s a deck I created in a few minutes.

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Podcast: Reflections on Teaching Strategies That Work

» 11 December 2012 » In Commentary, Ed Tech, Reflection, Teachers » No Comments

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I had a great time recording a podcast with Mark Hofer and David Carpenter for their series Ed Tech Co-Op.

Mark led off by asking me to reflect back on my some of the driving themes in my career. I confessed that as a novice teacher, I mimicked my experience as a high school student and taught primarily via lecture mixed with an occasional “guess what the teacher is thinking” whole-group discussion.

But I recalled an “aha” moment after repeated visits to the art class in the classroom next door. I realized that if the art teacher taught art, the way I taught history, his students would be sitting there watching him paint.

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Calling Teachers, Lessons, Animators! TED-Ed Wants You

» 12 March 2012 » In Ed Tech, Events, Social Web, Teachers, Visualizations » 3 Comments

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The folks behind TED talks have just launched TED-Ed to serve the mission “of capturing and amplifying the voice of the world’s greatest teachers.” TED-ED has put out a call to teachers everywhere to submit lesson ideas for inclusion in the new YouTube Channel – TED-Ed: Lessons worth sharing. Right now there’s a gifted educator delivered a great lesson to their class. TED-Ed is looking for your help to find that educator, team them with animators, and amplify that lesson for all to see. Nominate an educator | Share a lesson | Nominate an animator.

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