Thursday, July 27, 2023

Generate leveled Resources with this AI app: Diffit

Have you tried the new AI app called Diffit.

I love it—you can take primary sources that you find on the internet, paste in the URL and the program will generate the source with questions, both multiple choice and short answer. 

You can adjust the length of the source. If it looks too long, just click "shorten."  Once you're satisfied, you can open it in google docs. 

You can also adjust the level of reading. Some primary sources are just too long for our kids, so the "shorten" function really helps.

Another useful function is the ability to generate the source by grade level.

Here is a short clip about the app.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Every Political Ad from 2016 and Ongoing

This site has every political advertisement so far from the 2016 campaign and breaks it down by candidate, super PAC, etc.  Really quite amazing. 

Legacy of the Iowa Caucuses

When you discuss the Iowa Caucuses tomorrow with your students, you might want to look back on previous results.  

Friday, January 29, 2016

The Iowa Caucus in Legos

Thanks to Brian Wittington on the Facebook AP US Government page for the great two minute clip above on how the Iowa caucus works.  

What's the Difference Between a Caucus & Primary

The Learning Network section of the The New York Times has an excellent review of the difference between caucuses and primaries including a couple of video clips.

The clip below explains the Iowa caucuses and the clip below that explains the primary process.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

How I keep my students informed about schedule changes when school is closed

We've missed lots of school because of the blizzard, which means that I've had to make changes to my schedule.  How do I inform my students of these changes?  It's easy if you use these tools.

My official class schedule is on Google Calendar.
I put a link to that calendar as a tab ("Assignment Calendar") on my class Blackboard page.

Before I had settled on Google Calendar I had tried to use the calendar on a previous version of Blackboard.  That Blackboard version was far inferior because it would not allow for events to have start times.  In appears that the newest version my district uses solves that problem, but for now I'm going to stick with Google Calendar.

When I need to make changes to our schedule I just make them in Google Calendar, and the changes appear for my students when they check the Assignment Calendar on Blackboard.

To inform my students about these changes I use these three tools:

1st: I post an Announcement in Blackboard that I have updated the Assignment Calendar.  Blackboard then gives me the option to email that Announcement immediately to my students.
2nd: I use Remind to send a text message alert about the changes.  I really like Remind because I can send the text immediately, or schedule it for a later time.  (This is especially good if I'm working at odd hours; I don't want their phone to beep or buzz too early or too late with a text from their teacher!)

3rd: I update the changes on the WhatsDue app.  WhatsDue creates a class calendar for my students that resides on the app on their devices.  Any change I make automatically generates a text alert to my students.  I like WhatsDue because students can use it to send themselves text reminders of upcoming due dates and deadlines.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Prime Minister's Question Time

Thanks to Rich Hoppock for this one.  The Prime Minister of Great Britain has to go before the House of Commons and answer their questions.  It is great to watch and fair game on the AP Comparative exam, especially if you throw in terms such as House of Commons, Prime Minister, backbencher, shadow cabinet, cabinet, Conservatives, Labour, coalition, etc.

So you can always find the most recent PM questioning on CSPAN.  

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Difference Btw Substantive & Procedural Due Process

I was just asked the difference between procedural and substantive due process which is fair game for both AP US Government and AP Comparative.  The video above answers it in less than a minute and gives and example as well. 

My New eLearning Blog

I am stuck at home with two feet of snow, but thankful that I can still do my job as I have recently changed from a classroom teacher and chair to the eLearning Coordinator of our 4000 student, 53 course strong Online Campus.

To that end I have, as you might have noticed found some other to help continue my other blogs and have continued adding posts myself to them.  But my new site - "eLearning Blog" is where I am putting anything related to learning online.  You can also receive the posts using Google+ and/or following me on Twitter.  Recent posts have included

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Flipping AP Comparative

I have come to the belief that most textbooks are boring and one can do a better job with videos - not to forget that students prefer learning through videos.  If you are of the same belief or if you want to use slate of them, then here is my AP Comparative playlist.  The better ones are done by Larry Stroud and are based on Ethel Wood's AP Comp book

How effective are newspaper endorsements in influencing voter behavior?

The Des Moines Register announced its Iowa Caucus endorsements earlier this evening.

This year they endorsed Hillary Clinton ("a thoughtful, hardworking public servant who has earned the respect of leaders at home and abroad") and Marco Rubio (who "has the potential to chart a new direction for the party, and perhaps the nation, with his message of restoring the American dream.")  Here's the CNN report (2:11) announcing the paper's endorsements:
The Register began making editorial endorsements for the 1988 caucuses.  While possibly interesting at the moment, the Register has a mixed record of influencing the overall selection of the presidential nominees.  Here's a list they published that shows who they endorsed, who won the caucus, and who was the nominee:


Republican endorsement went to Bob Dole and Dole went on to win the caucus.  But the nominee that year was George H.W. Bush.

Democratic endorsement went to Paul Simon but Richard Gephardt won the caucus.  Michael Dukakis was the Democratic nominee for president.


No endorsements.


Republican endorsement went to Bob Dole, who went on to win the caucus and Republican nomination.


Republican  endorsement went to George W. Bush, who went on to win the caucus and Republican nomination.

Democratic endorsement went to Bill Bradley, but Al Gore went on to win the caucus and Democratic nomination.


Democratic endorsement went to John Edwards, but John Kerry went on to win the caucus and Democratic nomination.


Republican endorsement went to John McCain, but Mike Huckabee won the caucus.  McCain ultimately recovered and went on to the Republican nomination.

Democratic endorsement went to Hillary Clinton, but Barack Obama went on to win the caucus and Democratic nomination.


 Republican endorsement went to Mitt Romney but that didn't help him win the caucus, which was won that year by Rick Santorum.  Romney came back, though, to win the Republican nomination.

What impact will today's endorsements have on the 2016 caucuses?  Politico is already speculating that the paper's endorsements could "backfire."

Classroom Connection: Ask your students: How effective are endorsements on influencing voting behavior?  To research that question, have them choose a newspaper and trace how effective an endorsement from that paper is on determining an election's outcome.

Bloomberg for president?

Is another billionaire thinking about running for president?

Former New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg retired from public life after leaving office in January 2014.  Today, he runs the Bloomberg Philanthropies, where he works to encourage progress in a wide-range of fields such as the environment, public health, education, and the arts.

The New York Times reported this morning, though, that Bloomberg is exploring plans to run for president as an independent.
That news is interesting for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is the fact that, in a conversation Bloomberg had with New York Magazine in 2013, he categorically ruled-out running for president in 2016.
No response yet from Bloomberg on his Twitter feed.  You can follow Mike Bloomberg on Twitter @MikeBloomberg.

Classroom Connection: Tweet or send a Remind notification about this story to your students.  Ask them to write a one-page reflection analyzing the impact a Bloomberg candidacy could have on the campaigns of the announced candidates in both parties.

Friday, January 22, 2016

U.S. Elections--How do they work (a Brit explains)

This video (4:25) produced by the British Parliament explains our (American) system elections, democracy, and representation in the United States.
It also does a great job of explaining differences between the American model of government (president as head of state and government) and the British model (monarch as head of state, Prime Minister as head of the government) and differences in elections (U.S. House based on population, the House of Commons based on 'first past the post').  The explanation of the American electoral college procedures is particularly clear and informative.

This video would be great to show students in both U.S. Government and in your Comparative Government courses.

Iowa Caucus Explained

So I love this Iowa Caucus video explanation as well as this lesson plan on it which has 30, 60 and 90 minute plans.  

Monday, January 18, 2016

Trump and the British House of Commons

So it might be fun and a good way to tie in your review of Great Britain in AP Comparative Government by looking at today's debate in the House of Commons in London (the entire debate is on the top video).  First off you have a short overview above, but a much better one here from the Guardian which includes an article on it. It would be a good way to start Great Britain as you could cover such terms as Parliament, House of Commons (and Lords), backbencher, Conservatives, Labour, Scottish National Party (and others), first past the post elections and the fact that GB does not have proportional representation and on and on!