Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Constitution Day Clips on CSPAN
I just received an e-mail from CSPAN telling me that they attached CSPAN video clips for each part, section and clause of the Constitution which can be found here. Above is a clip talking about "general welfare."
Best Sites For Teaching
Tomorrow morning I am doing three in-services for our county's social studies teachers. One of the in-services will be "The Best of the Teacher Blogs." If you go here, you will see what I will be going over. Here are the individual topics on the attachment:
E-mail to Text
Free Computer Access
Google Docs
Organizing Using Technology
Social Networking
Student Mastery
Teacher Mastery
Making Student/Teacher Blogs
Just yesterday one of the teachers in my department was asking me about how he could make student blogs for his kids' writing assignments. He believes that making them "live" will motivate them more. I use blogspot.com (hence the name), but there are wordpress.com is also excellent. A cool new find (discovered at freetech4teachers.com) is BlogBooker which allows you (or your students to covert a blog into a pdf document. You can also use Pdftoword.com to change a pdf into a word document. Finally the problem with blogs is that you do not want to have to go a different url for all of your students. I use an "aggregator" which allows me to have all of the sites in one place. The best one for teaching is Bloglines.com which allows you to see when each student has updates their blogs. For more on HOW to do this go here (to a short sheet I created and will highlight later today) and look at social networking.

Monday, August 30, 2010

As we get closer to the fall elections, Pollster.com has a ton of great polls, one of which is above.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Incumbent Staying Power

House Incumbent Defeats, 1968-2008

Senate Incumbent Defeats, 1968-2008

Earlier this week Larry Sabato asked if 2010 is a ripe year for a "congressional slaughter." With 40 Congressional seats leaning towards the GOP and a half dozen Governor's races favoring the GOP candidates, his projection might be right. Nonetheless as this chart shows, we never "throw all the rascals out." Incumbency obviously has its advantages.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

FiveThirtyEight.com Has Moved
One of my favorite sites is fivethirtyeight.com (reference to the Electoral College). It has moved to the NYTimes and can be found here. Nate Silver has made a career of using statistics to make political forecasts. Here, for example, is his statistical forecast that Dems will lose 6-7 seats in the US Senate this fall. You don't have to understand stats to like this site. This addition to the NYTimes is just another reason why the paper might get away with its pay service that it will be starting in January. You will, though, be able to use links for your students who will NOT have to pay.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Spending By Groups and Campaigns
This is nice to see as usually the NYTimes is ahead of the WashPost. But here you can see the leading PACs as well as how much campaigns are spending. Thanks to Matt Kissling (again!) for the heads up.

Friday, August 20, 2010

How political misinformation stays alive

Can you change a person's mind with facts? That should be a piece of cake, right? Thing again.
Fascinating article in the Boston Globe, "How Facts Backfire"

Now it makes all the sense in the world why 20% of the public still think Barak Obama is a Muslim.

Oh, here's an added bonus. The Washington Post has a piece on how politicians haven't helped put the "birther" issue to rest.
Who Does the US Borrow From?
This is one of the most asked questions I receive each year. Here is a graphic that answers the question. Please note, though, that it does not include the borrowing we do from Social Security and Medicare.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Views on government from the Anti-Federalists

If you are looking for something different to do on Constitution Day (September 17th), how about exposing your students to the views of the Anti-Federalists?
The Bush Tax Cuts
I started these blog pages as a way to get people from different schools across the US to share. So thanks to Matt Kissling who actually teaches near me for this tip. If you go here, you can see an interactive showing how you will be impacted if the Bush tax cuts remain, if Obama's plan is adopted or if the tax cuts are extended.


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Unemployment over time

Today's Meet
I have always struggled w. how to connect students outside of the classroom. Obviously Facebook has negative connotations within a school and frankly students do not want you have school intrude there or only want to use it on their terms. But Today's Meet is a great way to set up a chat room for your students to communicate in class or outside of it. You can set it up for anywhere from two hours to a year. Also if you want students to have the space for a url and a comment, you can send them to TinyUrl and it will truncate the url. Finally Today's Meet allows you to set up a hash tag within Twitter (more on that above this post). Above is a five minute video explaining how to do all of this. Others like it can be found at LearnItInFive. I found out about this idea from FreeTech4Teachers.com.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Free Video for Teachers
The Annenberg Foundation Trust at Sunnylands is releasing a 23-minute documentary for Constitution Day. The documentary tells the story of Thaddeus Edmonson, an African American construction worker whose personal injury lawsuit in 1991 became a Supreme Court landmark case on the right to an impartial jury.

As with all Sunnylands Trust videos, this documentary is extremely well-produced and classroom ready. While supplies last, it will be sent free of charge to teachers, schools and libraries that become part of the Sunnylands Classroom community. Please sign-up at http://www.sunnylandsclassroom.org/ConstitutionDay/Registration.aspx. Remember: Constitution Day is September 17th.

The White House on Flickr
Someone in the White House knows their technology as you can now see a ton of White House pictures on Flickr and, of course, I detailed the "weekly youtube updates" in a recent blog post.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Living Room Candidate
This site is remarkable in that it seems to have every presidential from 1952-2008. Your students will get a laugh at some of the cartoon ones and be amazed at the way women are shown in some of the early advertisements. Above is the most controversial presidential ad of all time from 1964 which was only shown once on television.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Teacher Tech Tool: Tagxedo

There has been much talk about Wordle of late and now there is a new tool on the block -Tagxedo: Like Wordle.net, Tagxedo creates word clouds, but unlike Wordle, Tagxedo allows users to save their documents. It also allows users to format the cloud into a picture. For instance, if you were creating a cloud about Che Guevara, you could create it in the shape of his face.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Tech Tools for Teachers: Wallwisher

Since we are all starting to think about getting back into the classroom around this time of year (where did the summer go?) I figured I'd start posting a few tools I have used that have been helpful in one form or another. Today's installment is called Wallwisher.

Wallwisher is a simple collaboration tool that allows you to create a "wall" where students can post 140 character "stickies" on the wall for all to see. It's a dynamic tool that can be used for brainstorming, reaction to a reading, exit slips, feedback, or various other ways. As the creator of a wall, you are also able to moderate what gets posted and what does not. For more ideas on how to use Wallwisher, check out this presentation for ideas. I used it last year as a way for my students in my AP Economics class to leave suggestions on how to survive AP Econ. That example can be found here. For examples of how other colleagues are using it, check out high school English teacher Nora Bowers' example.

If you have any questions, you can find me on Twitter @jjanczak

Monday, August 2, 2010

Electing a US President in Plain English @ Yahoo! Video

The "in plain English" series is more about technical items (Google Docs, wikis, blogs, podcasts, etc.), but the one above simplifies the Electoral College.