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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Worksheets and Kodachrome: Lessons in Kodak’s Bankruptcy

» 20 January 2012 » In Commentary, Ed Policy, History / DBQ's, Students » 2 Comments

Kodak Simplicity featured

This week Eastman Kodak filed for bankruptcy. Is there a lesson for educators about what happens when you lose touch with your customer?

At the core of Kodak’s eventual demise was the failure of the leadership to remain connected to their customers. They convinced themselves that the public would continue to want to buy film, load it into the camera, take a picture, drop the film off at the processor, and return later to pick up their photos. Easy to believe when you’re making money at every stage of that process.

Has our educational leadership lost touch with their customers – the students? Given the growing array of cheap digital tools available to our students, will they passively wait to be told what, how, when and with whom to learn? Is the information flow of the traditional classroom (lecture, note-taking, test) as outmoded as taking your film to the drugstore for processing?

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The Battered Woman Defense: A Classroom Mock Trial

» 08 October 2011 » In How To, Strategies, Students » 2 Comments


This case brings to mind a mock trial that I developed and used for many years with my high seniors at Pittsford Sutherland High School (Pittsford NY). I found that participation in mock trials enabled students to hone their critical thinking skills, collaboration, and explore significant legal and social issues in an real-world setting. Here is a copy of the fact pattern for this mock trial in pdf format – “The Donna Osborn Case.”

Mock trials are not “scripted” events. Well-written, they should offer a reasonable chance for either side to prevail. While I provided students with the witness statements, it was up to their legal teams to develop prosecution / defense theories and prepare to serve as witness or attorney in a trial held before an actual judge (or attorney) and a jury of adults from the community. I found that participation in mock trials enabled students to hone their critical thinking skills, collaboration, and explore significant legal and social issues in a real-world setting.

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Visualize the Twitter Feed at the Xerox Rochester International Jazz Fest

» 13 June 2011 » In Events, Social Web » No Comments

jazz fest featured

This is our 10th year at the Jazz Fest. Amazing lineup – with the “club pass” you can see it all. Here’s a visualizer of the Twitter feed following the hashtags #xrijf and #rocjazz.

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Historypin – Make DBQs with a Digital Time Machine That Layers Image, Story and Location

» 02 January 2011 » In Ed Tech, History / DBQ's, Strategies, Web 2.0 » 5 Comments


Historypin – Here’s a short video about a great mashup of digital photos (with stories) layered over Google maps. Users can search images by geography / time and post historic photos (with stories) to maps. It’s fascinating to view historic photographs set against the backdrop of current Google map street view.

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Rochester Contemporary Art Center 6x6x2010: 5,000 Artworks by 2,000 Artists – $20 Each!

» 15 June 2010 » In Presentations » No Comments

6x6x2010 is the third exhibition of thousands of original artworks, made and donated by celebrities, international and local artists, designers, college students, youths and YOU. Each artwork will be 6×6 inches square and signed only on the back, to be exhibited anonymously. All artworks will be for sale to the public for $20 each to benefit Rochester Contemporary Art Center.

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Seeing American History Through the Artist’s Eye: A Teaching and Learning Resource

» 27 April 2010 » In History / DBQ's, Literacy, Projects, Strategies » 2 Comments

The new teaching /learning site examines 82 works and their connections to American history, culture, literature and politics. The accompanying Classroom Guide integrates background information on the art, the artist and America with visual literacy classroom activities. Lesson plans and resources are readable online and available as downloadable pdfs.

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Fiction is a Lie that Tells the Truth: Reflections on Life and Literature

» 16 January 2010 » In Commentary, Literacy, Publishing » No Comments

Serious fiction is a lie that tells the truth. It can introduce you into the lies and truths of other people’s minds and hearts, to your own country and time, or strange, foreign places and other eras, into the most public forums and the most private scenes of human intimacy; it can make you see, hear, feel, love, hate, forgive, judge, understand, and yet not be bound by the consequences of all those activities, though you are there as a participant-observer in the most personal and informed ways.

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Picturing the Story – An Interdisciplinary Approach to Culture, Environment, Language, and Learning

» 16 October 2009 » In History / DBQ's, Literacy, Projects, Strategies, Web 2.0 » 2 Comments

Picturing the Story uses works of art as a springboard for an interdisciplinary approach to culture, environment, language, and learning. Interactive site includes includes layered information on the work of art, the story that inspired it, the culture where it originated, the techniques used to produce it, as well as extensive lesson plans, activity suggestions, and recommendations for further reading.

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Motivating Students – A Make and Take Workshop for Teachers

» 28 June 2009 » In Ed Tech, How To, Literacy, Presentations, Strategies, Teachers, Visualizations, Web 2.0 » No Comments


Most of our time over the two days will be spent assisting teachers in designing specific lessons. I’ve assembled some Literacy Strategies that teachers can use as starting points for modify their existing lessons. Includes free downloads of literacy activities and links to online Web 2.0 literacy sites.

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