Monday, November 29, 2010

Split Screen on a Mac

So whenever I go to the mall (which is not often), I like to stop by the Apple store and play with the new gadgets.  While I prefer a Mac, I have never been able to easily (yes you can drag the windows and re-shape them) split the screen in half the way you can on a Windows based computer (go here if you don't know how).  Well (and I am getting no $ for saying this), but you can try new software (for a temp fix) or pay $7 to be able to easily snap (as you can on Windows 7) the screens in half on your Mac.  It comes from PC World, so I think you can trust it.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Supreme Court Cases, 1973 to Present Online

Not that you'd want to have your kids sit through an entire S Court case, but this is AMAZING.  Here I thought the S. Court was just releasing its audio cases this year and now if you go here, you will see pretty much ALL cases' audio since 1973 from Roe v. Wade to Citizens United v. FEC,

Complete Edwards e-book

Here is the complete Edwards AP Government e-book.  We have been only using e-books with our students this year.  They fight it in the beginning, but by the second semester seem to prefer it over a real book.

Google Docs from Your Smart Phone

Last year one of my AP students actually did her entire assignment on a smart phone when her power was out.  I, of course, praised her, but now it is even easier to do from a phone, an ipad or if you have an Android, you can do write a document simply by speaking. 

Friday, November 26, 2010

Mid-Term Elections Interactive

This New York Times interactive, "A Historic Shift", shows the results from the mid-term elections. It provides in-depth graphics that compare 2010 to 2008, party control of the House over the last fifty years and also the demographic groups that contributed to the Republican "wave".


Several of my students have added themselves to my Twitter (kenhalla) feed.  When I tell them that I only put up content and technology links through it, they seem somewhat saddened that I don't put up anything personal.  That, is, of course, the same belief that many educators have of Twitter when I tell them how many resources I get on it.  If you want to get free information quickly, I'd suggest setting up a Twitter account, watch minute video above (taken from web20classroom on Twitter), go here for suggestions on how to get a group of people to follow (I started by plugging in "education," "social studies," "history," and other items like this.  You can also go to my Twitter list and look at the people I follow and follow the ones you like.

Use Gmail to Make Free Long Distance Calls

If you are like me then you are having to call many long distance numbers just to reach parents who, like their kids, are increasingly keeping their old phone numbers when they move.  My school district gives us a long code we can use for long distance numbers, but now I am going to use the new feature in Gmail as it allows people to call anyone's phone (be it a land line or cell phone) for free anywhere in the US.  I used it yesterday and it is as clear as a normal phone call.  Looking at the picture above, just click on the part on the left side of the Gmail where it says "call phone" and a key pad will appear on the left side of your screen.  Just type in the number, press return and the call will be made for you.  For those of you who have no land lines, this can also save on your minutes.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Fantasy Supreme Court

Well first we had fantasy sports' leagues and now we have one for the Supreme Court.  There are already over 200 schools signed up for this site which allows you to look at current Supreme Court cases, make predictions and compete against students at other schools.  Above is a video explaining it and here is the website.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Yes we are going over expressed powers of the president.  Here is a link for every country where we have ambassadors and how many are political as opposed to career diplomats. Above and here is a graphic that basically shows what parts of the world attracts political ambassadors.

Presidential Pardons

We just spoke about pardons today, so here is a link from Wikipedia that tells how many people were pardoned by each president and who are the ones that were notable.

Monday, November 22, 2010

What is Redistricting?

This video first tells us why we vote on Tuesdays and then defines redistricting in depth (5 minute video).  There are a bunch of videos that "Why Tuesday" does and can be found here. Also, the redistricting game mentioned in the video can be found here.  I have used it with my kids and find it quite helpful. 

Iowa Caucus Explained

Above is a short explanation of the Iowa Caucus.  This uses pictures to explain the points

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Slide Show on 2010 Midterms

The timeline in slide #4 does a good job illustrating the swings in 1994, 2006, and 2010.

Campaign Finance Article

This article illustrates why campaign finance is just broken.

Rank Choice Voting

Friday, November 19, 2010

Google Docs

I had a student tell me today that he was so happy I had helped him with Google Docs and that not only does he use it in every class, he can't imagine how he existed without it.  While this video is for Google Apps (the paid version), you can do almost everything in the video for free.  For example, I have the my kids' schedules on one of my calendars, my wife's on another and mine on the last one.  About the only thing you can't do for free is to e-mail or give access to every teacher in the school or district.  Beyond that you can do all of this. If you are into Google Docs or the power of cloud computing this 12 minute video is well worth it. I found this at , but I find most of my Google Docs info at the blog for it and in the upper right hand site of my account where it says "New Features."

Edublog Awards

So, in a sense this is a shameless plug that if you like this blog, you'll go here and nominate and vote for it for an Edublog Award.  It is quite an award to get and would be a nice reward for the hard work of my fellow bloggers.  If you want mine, I like FreeTech4Teachers as a blog and "ShellTerrell" and "web20classroom" on Twitter.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Jing: A Great Technology Tool

Although I am always looking for new ways to bring technology into my classroom, I often am overwhelmed in trying to determine what will truly be useful. Jing is a tool that allows you to capture screen shots and narrate images, among other things.

Podcasts of US History

Every year we have a few students who request the textbook online.  Well this has been put together by a AP US History teacher and has podcasts for all of US history.  It is broken up into units that will match your textbook and is very easy to follow.

US Constitution Website

This is an amazing website that looks at every aspect of the Constitution including individually breaking down each part of the document and then doing court cases and much more.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

US Budget Interactive

Here is a chance for your students to see if they can fix the US budget.

How to Use Google Docs

I am presenting at the online Global Education Conference on Tuesday November 16th at 8 AM EST.  The conference has over 300 free sessions.  If you are interested, I will be doing a session on using Google Docs with your students and peers.  In a one hour session, you will be trained to create a create Google documents, Presentations (PowerPoints), drawings, folders and how to share them with your peers and how to easily grade your students work online.  To get to the session, click here and then put "Halla" in the search engine and when you get to my link, click on the Elluminate session.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Behind West Wing Weekly

West Wing Weekly is a weekly behind the scenes of what it is like to be president albeit with a propaganda twist.  Above is a look behind the scenes of looking behind the scenes.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Amazing Resource for AP Government

This page has every single assignment for the entire year of AP US Government.  If you are new to teaching the course, you will love it.  I am going to "borrow" some of the assignments myself.  You will find assignments as well as PowerPoints for the entire year.

Demographic Breakdown on Midterm Election

Here is a nice pictorial breakdown on the midterm elections.  

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Midterm Election Results

I saw a nice graphic in a Time magazine article at my parents' home, but can't find it online.  So, of course, saved me as here are the midterm results for both houses for the last 80 years.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Did The Tea Party Affiliation Make A Difference?

Well, first off using the NYTimes definition of a Tea Party member, 61% LOST their races, but it should be noted that the overwhelming number of them ran against Democratic incumbents and even in this Republican year, that is still a daunting task.  But, this article from the Monkey Cage (which is done by several political scientists), they do explain (in simple statistical terms) that being a Tea Party member improved one's vote total by a "whopping" 1.3%.  In short, the Tea Party makes for great news stories, but as Christine O'Donnell's campaign showed, there isn't statistically that much there. By the way, Jill Lapore has a great book out talking about how the Tea Party (and most of us) have forgotten some of the realities of that era.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Global Education Conference

I am presenting at the online Global Education Conference on Tuesday November 16th at 8 AM EST.  The conference has over 300 free sessions.  If you are interested, I will be doing a session on using Google Docs with your students and peers.  In a one hour session, you will be trained to create a create Google documents, Presentations (PowerPoints), drawings, folders and how to share them with your peers and how to easily grade your students work online.  In a few days I will give you the Elluminate link and you can attend the session for free.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Rubric Maker

When I first became a teacher one of the hardest things I found was how to grade essays and presentations.  Well if you go here, all you need to do is fill in a few parameters and gives you a rubric for literally anything you need (essays, debate, play, brochure, letter and lots more).

Monday, November 1, 2010

Twitter and Campaigns

It is too soon to make much of this, but the NYTimes has a moving graphic that shows the number of people tweeting on campaigns over the last couple of months. If nothing else, it does reflect some of the key campaigns (except for O'Donnell's and then it just reflects what is in the news).