77 views in 21 hours--Kids us it.
I tend to be a "big idea" type teacher. After working on the enduring impacts of Ancient Greece and how they play out in American Society, it was clear kids got the big picture. However, I was unsure they understood the "timeline" of how certain events changed the course of History. This became clear to me when we were talking about the Persian War. I wanted them to understand the impact of this war on the later world--allowing the enduring impacts to live on. I realized they needed a visual (40-50% of our students are visual learners) and decided it was time to use some software to build a interactive timeline.
I ended up using www.dipity.com
for building this one. Others you might want to take a look at (my diigo on this topic):
This list is from Richard Byrne website.
- Meograph offers a nice way to create narrated map-based and timeline-based stories.
- Dipity is a great timeline creation tool that allows users to incorporate text, images, and videos into each entry on their timeline.
- myHistro is a timeline builder and map creation tool rolled into one nice package. On myHistro you can build a personal timeline or build a timeline about a theme or event in history. Each event that you place on your timeline can be geolocated using Google Maps. myHistrotimelines can be created online or you can use the free iPad app to create events on your timeline.
- I like XTimeline because I find it to be a great service that is very accessible to high school students. Using XTimeline students can collaborate, just as they would when making a wiki, to build a multimedia timeline.
- TimeGlider offers some nicer layout features compared to XTimeline, but is not quite as intuitive to use as XTimeline.
- Time Toast is easy to learn to use. To add events to a timeline simply click on the inconspicuous "add an event" button and a simple event box pops up in which you can enter enter text, place a link, or add a picture.
So in 30-40 minutes I built the following timeline to help students understand what might have been lost if Greece had fallen to the Persians. You will have to zoom in see the timeline on Ancient Greece. Be sure to click the "flipbook" and "list" view.
Image is linked to google play
VideoNot.es is a free google app that runs on the Chrome browser. On Tuesday, I tweeted out for some good apps while at a PD day for my district. Devin Schoening, @dschoening
, from Iowa and I sent back and forth a few messages about what he is using in his school. Within two minutes I had added VideoNot.es to my chrome browser and was taking notes on a youtube about the Greeks.
Now, this is not a post about the power of twitter, but we can not skip this glaring point. With in two minutes of my tweet, A guy from Iowa took time to tweet me back several great apps to check out for Chromebooks (or Chrome browser). I think that is awesome---most are listed in the image to the right.
Anyways back to VideoNot.es. I was loving this application. How many times have I watched a youtube, forgotten where the key points were, or what part I wanted to show students, or any number of things like that and I had no way to save that.
VideoNot.es does it all. First, it timestamps your notes. Then when you are done, it auto saves to your google drive and creates a new folder for all VideoNot.es...so they are easy to find. Then you can share your notes within google drive to a classroom, the web, a blog ect....
However, for me the key is this: I will teach this application to my students. Then when they do blogs for my history classes, they can take screen shots of the VideoNot.es screen and publish them right inside their blog. There notes and the youtube side by side. This will allow me to see what they are learning by watching youtubes.
Below are a few images of the whole process. Let me know how it works out for you. Thanks again Devin Schoening, you rock.
If you follow me through this blog or Twitter, you may have noticed the absence of recent posts. Three weeks ago I began a new job as a technology integration trainer for Nort2h. Nort2h is the technology department for the Lorain County Educational Services Center. But Nort2h is also a strong presence in schools throughout Lorain, Cuyahoga and Lake county. The mission of Nort2h is to provide continued support, professional development and consultation for schools looking to make their integration of technology have real meaning. Our goal is to change teaching and learning. This was a rather sudden switch for me, but everything seemed right for me to take the leap.
Because of the timing, I had already begun the school year teaching when I learned about the job posting at Nort2h. After a few days of consulting all sorts of people; wife, dad, mom, Garth and other teachers in my rather extensive PLN, I decided that this was a position I needed to go after.
There were a lot of professional and emotional things for me to consider in this move. Professionally it meant shaking the hand of my new superintendent, then asking him how to get out of my contract. It also meant walking away from seven years of innovation and grassroots action implementing technology in my school. In the back of my mind was also the comfort of job security. I was a tenured teacher, at the top of my game. Why give all this up and move from teaching kids to teaching teachers? That’s a complicated question and I don’t know if I can really fully answer it. Part of it had to do with feeling that there was nothing more to achieve at my school, for lots of different reasons (failed levies, lack of technology, lack of time). There is also the myriad of new initiatives, testing and evaluations being created in Ohio making damn near impossible to create the type of environment that will help students at anything but information memorization. Constructivist theory, problem-based learning, student-owned learning, etc is much harder to achieve when you have to worry about four or five different types of standardized assessment. Not to mention the hours need to prepare for the new evaluations, which (according to the rubric) leave very little room to be considered a good teacher doing the afore mentioned concepts.
Emotionally it meant even more to me. I was giving up my first job. The place that let me, become me. My coworkers and friends that have always been there to hold me up and/or shut me up when I needed it. The place where I knew who I was. A place where people depended on me. I don’t really see the emotions connected to my teaching job as negative and positive, they were just intense. In seven years I have been a part of nearly every situation (good and bad) that you could image in a public school. The death of parents, my own near death (not at school), students whom confided in me about attempted suicide and abuse, the birth of coworkers babies, marriages, divorce, firing, right-to-work union issues, rumors and truths and of course a school shooting. I don’t want to over-emphasize the effect of February 27, 2012 on me as a teacher and father, but I would be remiss not to mention it. I remember reading a statics that within three years of a school shootings most districts loose about 60% of their staff. That amazed me, I couldn’t believe a number like that. Then I started to work in a district dealing with the aftermath of such an event. It’s hard. Very hard. It changes your focus, not always for the best and it blurs the lines of teaching and caring and helping and moving on and changing and pushing and giving in. There was also all the emotional baggage connected with being the guy that was teaching and fixing things and trying to change things. Not everything I think and do works. That is easy to admit, but hard to live with when some people want you to fail, to just go away and let them teach. It is also hard to live with those new teachers that start pushing for change too. I always used to say that life would be easier if more people joined the cause with me. In reality, it isn’t easier. It’s messy and complicated. I found myself needing to do more and more outside of my work day. That meant my family was getting less and less of me. That’s just not right.
I just read a great blog post by my friend, John Schinker
concerning ilearnohio. What struck me about John’s post were some truths that he hit on that were really at the cause of my leaving the classroom. I couldn’t focus on the true purpose of being a teacher. I was worrying about upkeep and maintenance of so many digital products that it was effecting my ability to create meaningful content for my students. I imagine that my teaching career would have been very different had I worked in a district where the support was there. If a machine broke, someone would come fix/replace it. Something blocked, one email fixes that. Here is a free device/service/software try it with your kids if you can. Those things didn't happened to me. EVER.
I had to make a choice, continue the struggle to maintain what my students and I had created while trying to stay innovative, or change careers and focus. I changed because at the root of everything I believe as a teacher revolves around creating meaningful educational experiences that inspire learning. For me, this is accomplished using technology. My new path allows me to share my passion for teaching and technology with hundreds of other teachers. Hopefully, influencing thousands of kids and the education they receive. My legacy is important to me and it is important to have the most impact possible. Stay tuned for more posts from me that revolve around what I see happening in education throughout Northeast Ohio. I will share all the inspirational people the I have already found in four short weeks and all those teachers to come.
Mike and I have team taught in classrooms 30 miles apart for six years. However, Mike was offered an opportunity to impact education in a different way. Mike has been very busy with his new job and after several emails and comments, I thought I would post his Goodbye that was posted to our classroom website
, until he has time to write something directly for TFT. Starting October 4th I will no longer be the social studies teacher for Team 7A. I have accepted a new position at the Lorain County Educational Services Center working with students and teachers throughout Ohio. Mrs. Murphy has worked hard to find a replacement to take my position for the remainder of the school year. I would like to thank the Chardon community for their support over the last seven years. I would also like to thank Dr. Hanlon and the Board of Education for their support throughout this process.
Mr Holman started as my mentor teacher and became my good friend. We have worked together as 7th grade world history teachers for eight years. We have traveled the country physically and virtually to share our students' work with teachers and administrators. Every time we spoke at a conference or lead professional development, people were always amazed with the creativity and passion of our students' work.
On a much personal note; I would like to thank the students of CMS and BMS. Over the past several years I have had the unique honor of helping to teach students in two districts. Our students have left digital footprints worth following. THEIR legacy has effected how students and teachers teach and learn across the planet. The work of several hundred seventh graders has helped bring real change to education. It is very humbling to be able to say I was apart of that change.
While my new career means a new direction in my life, it does not mean my passion for teaching is diminishing. I will continue to work with the students that I am leaving behind and Mr. Holman. My goal is that I can help change teaching and learning for even more students and teachers. Again, thank you to everyone who has believed in me!
I would like to write a longer post about our experiences and how we will adapt to the changing environment, but I think that will come in a few weeks after I process more of how things are a changin. Until then, I must say, I miss skyping each day, texting questions back and forth and much more, But I am glad we will continue to work together to change teaching and learning.
Our classroom site, Student created logo
How do we create a culture that does not motivate, but inspires kids to be something different? How do we help them change who they are into what they hope to be? How do we create a culture that is something different, fresh, exciting?
Over the next few posts, I think I will explore these questions a little and try to explain how we set up our "culture" that helps create an inspiring classroom. So here is Day ONE of the new school year.
Over the last six years, Mike and I have tried to spend several weeks at the start of school creating a culture that is different from many classes. We do not "jump" into content, but guide students to a true feeling of trust and respect. From the first day (Harry Wong, not for me)
, we do things differently. The Harry Wong, not for me post
is one of the most popular posts on TFT. However, the number one question I am asked is how do we really do what that post is describing. This year I used a Swivl
and an Iphone4 to record that first day lesson with my new students. My classes are 43 minutes, the film shows 10 minutes or so. I think the film clip below shows how I start my classes on a Quest of inquiry and trust building from the minute they walk into the room.
The movie below has images from the google presentation I used the first day this year. I have to tell you a few things about the first day:
1. I wait at the door, greet each child and have them pick a card. They find a match tapped to a desk and that is their seat.
2. I start with a quote by a 12 year old from three years ago....We talk about why that is the first thing they see when they come into my room. "A student cannot master what is in the darkness, if there is not someone to light the way" S.M.P--Second film below is when I first saw this quote. He was part of 8 students we took to document a teacher PD day when Mike and I were the keynotes (March 2011)--see post
3. Then I start with the three key things this class is about: YOU, LEGACY, CREATIVITY.
4. Then we spend 25-30 minutes on the chalk image and activity.
5. Period end, they leave and I hope are thinking about what just happened.
We will not start "CONTENT" for several weeks--You will even hear me mention this in the film clip. It take time and effort to build a lasting trusting relationship that changes teaching and learning...
Let me know you thoughts.
Last week I was reading tweets. Jon Smith, @theipodteacher,
from the Canton, Ohio area, sent out a tweet asking for someone to test the new chat feature on his blog
--he uses weebly. The feature is a live help chat, called ZOPIM
. As you can see by the images, it allowed a live chat to happen on his website. I can think of ways I could you use with my students and plan to give it a shot in the next few weeks. I will update how it goes.
If any of you give it a try, let us know how it works.
P.S. check out his website and his student created ebooks.
One of my former student's stopped by yesterday to chat. She moved on to the high school (Freshman) and wanted to touch base. She talked about how each day is the same and how school could be different. We also got into a chat on human nature: are we good or evil? Anyways, somewhere in this hallway discussion she said something that made me thinking of a post by Paul Bogush
called "Education is like Spinach
". Now the speech/paper in that post was written by James Andreson
, but posted by Paul's blogsite (Paul is awesome, follow him and read his work). I had just read it before I came to school and had printed two copies to share with staff, so it was not hard for me to be reminded of it. Anyways, I handed her a copy and said you might want to read it and start a blog. We chatted for a few more minutes before I explained I had to go to pick up my kids.
I came into school today thinking about my lesson and how to make it work...when along comes the following email.... Mr. Holman,
Yesterday night, I started a blog online. Basically, my goal is to address the issues I've seen many people address, but from the point of view of a student who may even experience these changes in her lifetime, hopefully, anyway. I referenced that "Spinach" document you gave me, which was really enlightening. I'm grateful for that, really. I thought you might be interested in reading my first blogpost, posted online at throughtheeyeofapupil.weebly.com. I have also included my poetry documentation of HS so far.
Thanks so much for inspiring me. You've really had an impact on my life.
So, take a look at her work--throughtheeyeofapupil.weebly.com
Leave her a comment. She's already on post two in less then 24 hours.
UPDATE: now 4 blogs in 48 hours.
Garth wrote a post
awhile back about ignoring the structure and dullness of advice that was once seen as the ultimate way to create a classroom environment. In place of Harry Wong's advice, Garth and I spend the first few weeks creating an environment of student ownership. We focus on leadership, leaving a legacy and creating positive digital footprints. We have discovered that kids know what the rules of school are....they hear it every year, and since we teach seventh grade, that means they have heard it for seven years. Below is a brief description of how several other teachers have decided to restructure the First Few Weeks of school based on collaboration with Garth and I a few weeks ago.
Recently Garth and I had the pleasure of working with several teachers from the Richland-Bean Blossom Community Schools district in Ellettsville, Indiana. Located just outside of Bloomington and Indiana University, Richland-Bean Blossom Community Schools allowed 23 teachers from the High school and middle school to work with Garth and I for two days to change teaching and learning. We were also joined by the principals of the high school and middle school and the assistant superintendent. This dynamic group works in a 1:1 environment where each student in the middle/high school have iPad. The problem that this district found, not uncommon amongst 1:1 schools; is that the tools were changing but not teaching & learning. BUT......
Where RBBC is different from the other schools facing the problem of having technology but no philosophy is that there is a core group of teachers that know things can change. They know that the relationship between teacher and learner, and the relationship between learner and learning can be more meaningful. These teachers also had one HUGE advantage: their principals and assistant superintendent were not only supporting change and thinking outside-of-box, but these administrators sat and conversed with these teachers for both days.
Garth and I spoke via Skype with several of these teachers yesterday, they are about two weeks into the school year, and they had some impressive stories to tell. Below are a few images from how they have changed teaching & learning in their classrooms. Many teachers have utilized genius boards to help show students how they can be leaders. The genius board give students the ability to help other students (and the teacher) throughout the year and also provides a visual way of students showing how they can leave a legacy. One teacher even built the frame of a house on his board and allowed students to create the interior. Garth often says that our job is to frame the house using our standards and tools, then allow our students to create their own house around and in that framework.
We all know the internet has impacted us all. From "googling" it, cell phones, streaming video, wikis, and on and on. I was looking over twitter today and saw the post to the left. Thought I would take a look and found this great infographic.
Here is the write up from the author:
Kids these days… am I right? The following infographic takes a look at today’s kids as compared to the children of the past. In other words, it’s a no-holds-barred face-off: Kids of the Past vs. Kids of the internet Generation!
What are your thoughts on this? How does this change what we should do in our classrooms? How does this change ownership of curriculum and learning? Big questions for the 21st century teacher.
What do we need to learn right now?
We would like to thank Eric Curts and SPARCC for asking us to Keynote at this conference. We hope we are able to add insight in the discussion of technology integration. Google Presentation found on this link
A few disclaimers....
Garth Holman and Mike Pennington are teachers in Northeast, Ohio. We team teach
world history with 35 miles between our schools. The point of all of this is to put your head before your hands. The idea of changing teaching and learning
at a philosophical level is imperative to everything done in the classroom through technology. What Garth and I are doing with the thoughtful integration of technology is empowering our students to own their learning
This presentation is not about a specific tool, or even a handful of tools. We have chosen the tools we use based on the philosophical principal that students that DO
the most, LEARN
the most. What you will not see in this presentation is the months of culture building that goes into our world history class. Our students are the same as students all around this country, with one exception. Our students are making the transition away from grades and points. They are beginning to see that their learning legacies can influence how other kids around the world learn. They have developed a sense of themselves in the world. They have created videos with over 45,000 hits on YouTube, they have worked over seven years to create a digital textbook used regularly by schools in three countries and they continue to reflect/collaborate/re-imagine their work in our seventh grade class well into their high school careers.
Please feel free to explore this site and any of the links in the presentation as we talk and thank you for attending!
Garth and Mike
Please check out our links:
Combine Classroom Blog: http://www.studentsfortomorrow.net/
Student Created Wiki textbook: http://dgh.wikispaces.com/home
Follow us on Twitter: @garthholman and @professormike1