Thursday, July 2, 2015

Crash Course Supreme Court


While you are hopefully enjoying your summer (mine ends next week when summer school begins!), Crash Course US Government keeps on being made.  The one above is particularly good and is definitely going in my class line up this coming fall.

Monday, June 29, 2015

What is the House of Lords


Somehow I have to work this into my course as it is 3 minutes to cover all of the House of Commons. Here is a similar one on the House of Lords.  

Google Classroom is Growing


Until today Google Classroom has been little more than a souped up way to use Google Drive to organize your students.  But starting today, it has added twenty apps to the suite.  So if you use or are thinking of using Google Classroom above is how you can add the new apps and here is the list. 

Friday, June 26, 2015

Obamacare Still Unchecked



There are plenty of things you can do with Obamacare and the King v. Burwell decision yesterday.  First off, you can use Marbury v. Madison to discuss the powers of the Supreme Court.  You could also talk about federalism and more specifically cooperative federalism since it take the state legislatures to agree to implement Obamacare.  That, of course brings up the 10th amendment since health care is not mentioned in the Constitution.  You could also mention the top clip above which looks at the impact this decision has on the 2016 federal elections.  Finally you could discuss partisan media sources such as the Huffington (liberal) Post which is the middle video or Fox News (conservative) which is on the bottom. 

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

The Remaining Supreme Court Cases

There are now just seven cases that the Supreme Court has not ruled on this session.  We will hear some tomorrow and the rest next week including gay marriage and Obamacare.  If you want to get all the details for your students, you should be watching Scotusblog.  

The Problem w Polling

I have done a lot with polling on this blog and with my own students.  It used to be a great way to figure out who was voting for whom and recently has become a nightmare for pollsters and while not a return to the pre-WWII days, less of a reliable resource than before.  This NYTimes article does a good job of explaining why, namely that with the prevalence of cell phones not everyone has the same likelihood of being contacted and the number of people who say they will vote and don't going up the models are no longer accurately able to account for this variable.  

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

FCPS Personalized Learning In-Service


I am giving a hands on presentation today at Fairfax County, VA's Advanced Academic Institute at South County HS from 8:30 - 11:30. If you work for FCPS and would like to sign up go into MyPLT and type in summer into the search box and the AAP courses will come up.   Mine is half way down and titled Use of Technology in the Social Studies Classroom (Secondary (this is a link to it).  See you next Tuesday.

The participants will learn
  • first about flipping important contextual information, 
  • then how to use Google Drive for constant feedback in the classroom 
  • and finally how to lead by facilitating and having small group discussions with students (or teachers in this case) rather than whole group presentations.  
  • how to start the school year with an actual online way to showcase personalized learning
 We will start by taking a survey at bit.ly/fairfaxjune23  
  • then have the teachers come up with a concept or methodology they are going to use in the 2015-16 school year that they might like to give their teachers about by using the flip design.   For example here is a real example of flipping faculty meetings, personal development or even flip when administrators go over the school rules. (here are some reflections by a principal on flipping meetings). Here and here are some other tips you might consider in flipping a school. 
  • next be learning how to create a short flip (defined) using Screencastomatic and what images, slides, short video and information might go into it.  
  • discuss that you can always use others' videos such as (history and government)
  • contemplate how to make sure students are watching the video in part using a Google Drive form
  • discuss how flipping a meeting/classroom allows for one on one discussions between the class leader and the pupil.  For the teacher leader we will discuss how to use one on one conversations and formative quizzes to measure learning and give teachers feedback with some examples of classroom time found here.  
As you might expect I will be modeling all of the items above as we go through the lesson starting with a flipped video, questions and individual discussions.  

All of the steps above can be found in much more in depth by reading my book Deeper Learning Through Technology: Using the Cloud to Individualize Instruction.  Ken Halla can be reached at kenhalla@gmail.com for in-services at your school. 

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Personalizing Classroom Instruction - W&M Presentation



I am presenting at William and Mary's Leadership Academy for administrators and teacher leaders. The institute is based on John Hattie's beliefs (some of which you can see here).
The goal is for the administrators to learn how they can lead by example with their teachers using Hattie's "mind frames" for developing relationships, getting feedback from the students, evaluating learning, etc.

The participants will learn
  • first about flipping important contextual information, 
  • then how to use Google Drive for constant feedback in the classroom 
  • and finally how to lead by facilitating and having small group discussions with students (or teachers in this case) rather than whole group presentations.  
  • how to start the school year with an actual online way to showcase personalized learning

 We will start by taking a survey at bit.ly/wandmflip
  • note that teachers follow administrators better by repeated example
  • then have the administrators come up with a concept or methodology they are going to use in the 2015-16 school year that they might like to lecture their teachers about by using the flip design.   For example here is a real example of flipping faculty meetings, personal development or even flip when administrators go over the school rules. (here are some reflections by a principal on flipping meetings). Here and here are some other tips you might consider in flipping a school. 
  • next be learning how to create a short flip (defined) using Screencastomatic and what images, slides, short video and information might go into it.  You can also get the Snagit extension here (and here is how to use it)
  • discuss that you can always use others' videos such as (history and science, math and grammar)
  • contemplate how to make sure teachers are watching the video in part using a Google Drive form or even to use Remind (resources) to literally remind them to view the video. 
  • discuss how flipping a meeting/classroom allows for one on one discussions between the class leader and the pupil.  For the teacher leader we will discuss how to use one on one conversations and formative quizzes to measure learning and give teachers feedback with some examples of classroom time found here.  
  • note an example of the leading role administrators can play such as with principal Greg Green who has promoted flipped learning with followed by a great increase in his school's test scores.   (Here is a PBS show on his school.)
As you might expect I will be modeling all of the items above as we go through the lesson starting with a flipped video, questions and individual discussions.  

All of the steps above can be found in much more in depth by reading my book Deeper Learning Through Technology: Using the Cloud to Individualize Instruction.  Ken Halla can be reached at kenhalla@gmail.com for in-services at your school. 

Snagit as a Google Drive App


I like to use Screencastomatic to make my videos, but if you are using a Chromebook or simply want an alternative, Snagit's Google Drive alternative is a great option.  You will lose the ability to have a circle follow your movements and to only have a portion of the screen, but you can still make a screencast and upload it to YouTube or Google Drive.  Above is a video showing you how. 

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Open Congress

My roommate at the AP Reading, Tim Dowler, just gave me a great site called Open Congress which I am going to add to my Congress project this year.  Open Congress has every active bill in the  US Congress, but adds a nice nuance such as "hot bills."  You can also look at bills for each house or look up bills by committee, or member of Congres.  

Become an AP Grader

This week I am in Salt Lake City grading AP Comparative exams.  In the past I have also graded AP US History and AP US Government.  Honestly the sound of grading a bunch of exams every day doesn't seem to excite lots of people, but every single  (and there have been a lot) person I have convinced to be an AP grader has loved the experience.

  • First off you really get to understand how to write the free response questions so you can teach your students to do the same. 
  • Secondly you meet a number of outstanding teachers who, in my case, have become a network that I consult year round.
  • You also might also end up being asked to work for the College Board in other ways (writing AP questions, creating a syllabus, teaching summer institutes, etc.
So if you are interested in applying, my advice is to get your application in during the early fall and you should hear in late January or early February.  Good luck.  

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Georgia Virtual's AP Comparative Page

So Georgia Virtual's AP Comparative page has a lot of good resources such as key words, images, short narrated PowerPoints and more some of which you might find helpful in your own class. 

Friday, June 5, 2015

Gerrymandering and Virginia

Gerrymandering, explained

My home state of Virginia just had its gerrymandered Congressional districts thrown out as you can see in this article.  For those of you teaching the concept, you can see a nice explanation above.  Be sure to hit the tabs at the bottom to see everything Vox has labeled.  Virginia has until September to improve its map.