VSTE Take Your Classroom Around the World in Eighty Ways

Click on the picture for a link to the presentation or use the bit.ly link! 

VSTE in Roanoke, Virginia learning and presenting a session on how to take your classroom around the world in 80 ways!  We encourage our students to collaborate, communicate, think critically and be creative but do we provide the global interactions that will help them move beyond the four walls of our classrooms and practice their digital citizenship in a global way? 

The session covers global projects like the Global Read Aloud, Flat Classroom, Global Climate Project, and joining Paul Salopek, Harvard and National Geographic in the Out of Eden walk around the world.  KIVA and their KIVA U with microloans for people all over the world dealing with poverty will highlight the session.  Come and join us or click on the pictures for the presentation and for at least 80 ways to take your classroom around the world! 



Media Literacy Today

Thanks for being with us! We are tickled to share this information with you! You can access the presentation and the links to student resources below. Please let us know if you have questions - we are happy to support your work with students!

Contact Information: 

Kile Clabaugh, TPS Colorado (KClabaug@msudenver.edu)

Laura Israelsen, Technology Integrator, Chesterfield County Public Schools

Michelle Pearson, Educator (Michelle.L.Pearson@adams12.org)


NCSS Conference and Sessions!

NCSS Conference 2017

We are excited to be in San Francisco this week to share and learn! We have two poster sessions and two conference sessions!   As a Social Studies Teacher and Librarian, we love Primary sources and it shows this week.  We are using primary sources with picture books to help guide inquiry and add background knowledge to our lessons for all students with a focus on secondary classrooms.  Primary sources then meet technology tools.  
As geeky teachers, we are always looking at the latest tools and evaluating their classroom applications.  Web 2.0 tools meet more primary sources with 20 tools and ideas for using them for analysis, presentation, assessment and sharing.  Have you thought about the current media landscape knowing that most millennials get their news from their social media accounts.  How can we help our students navigate the internet and find the credible resources that they need for research.  Can social media be categorized and used as a primary source?  We will explore these ideas and offer some ideas for your classroom.  

Come and see us on Friday at the Poster Sessions where we will be highlighting ways to use primary sources and technology tools with picture books - MS and HS will LOVE this!  

We are also demonstrating 250 ways to use tech tools with primary sources!  Need a new idea?  Come and see us at the poster sessions!

This afternoon we will be presenting a session about how History is NOT Old and BORING!  Let us help you partner with resources, agencies and programs that will help take your history teaching beyond your classroom walls and into NEW and EXCITING!  

Join us Saturday morning for a sesssion on Media Literacy and how to help your students to be ethical users of information in a changing landscape.  Where do you find the good stuff?  Is social medial a primary source?  We will be exploring these issues and demonstrating Nearpod!  

Historic Places Aren't Boring: Engaging Students in Diverse Historic Places in the Classroom

Why Historic Places? 

Places in the classroom can encompass many things, and cross-curricular ideas can easily emerge using simple technology tools in conjunction with a connection to a place in our world. 

As we  discuss the importance of diversity in the classroom, diverse historic places can lead students on a journey of inquiry.  For educators and students alike, place can be a hard thing to define, yet it plays a role in almost all content areas depending on the lens we employ as teacher or student. Finding those little known places that tie into rich discussions and civic conversations can be a challenge. We hope the resources below can help support great learning in the classroom.

Inquiry and Historic Places

Think about moving your students up the ladder of critical thinking by concentrating on all levels of Depths of Knowledge or Blooms  Taxonomy using key questions. How about asking your students to consider these key ideas surrounding historic places? 

What role does this historic site have in the shaping of local, state, or national history?

How does this place play a role in the transfer of of goods and services across the region?

How is this place illuminated in the stories and literature written about this region?

How did the architects and engineers consider the environment when designing the building which is now here? 

What stories may be hidden or untold about these historic places? 

What types of lens can be used to examine the role of this historic places in history? 

How can we preserve this place for future generations?  (or maybe open the debate of if it should be preserved at all?)

Diversity Resources for Historic Places

Check out this shared document for resources that support the inclusion of diversity in the classroom using historic places. 

Research Resources for Learning About Historic Places

This is by far not an exhaustive list of resources but it gives some simple ideas on how to bring the study of place to your students through simple analyzation strategies and project-based learning.

Local and State History:

Explore your local historic sites and community resources. Small museums are often much more flexible in their learning resources and many offer the chance to get hands-on experiences with primary sources. Some may have a challenge in staffing, but it is worth checking them out! Many have rich stories that are quiet ones that should be told.

State and National Landmarks Listing: 
Local, State, and National Landmarks: Local, State, and National Historic Landmarks exist across the entire United States. Many are unknown to students. Share with students the local landmarks in your area and what makes them important to your community. Consider including the story of one of the landmarks in your local area in your history studies by having students research and explore the places which surround them or that they are interested in across the state.

Teaching with Historic Places Resources:

Check out the National Park Service Teaching with Historic Places Website and Teaching Page: 

Another option is to have younger students check out the Web Ranger Program. You can find and explore our well known and smaller parks and historic sites online:

Look for regional consortiums. One of the best places to start is your state tourism department, (or one in another state you are studying). Check out your state office of historic preservation or your state landmarks program. 
Regional museums and local historic sites work together to make history come alive. Some nice examples include:  

National Underground Railroad Trail: 

Local List of Lincoln Sites: 

Civil War Trust: 

National Resources:

Teaching with Primary Sources- The Library of Congress ( Check out maps, photos, and Building America Collections! ) 

National Association for State and Local History

National Alliance for Preservation Commissions

National Geographic: 

The National Park Service

The National Archives
The White House Historical Association

The National Trust for Historic Preservation

Global Resources:

Flat Classroom Project: 

UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Visualizing Cultures

PicMonkey and Primary Sources

We love PicMonkey for a variety of editing reasons - but we also love it for engaging students in using primary sources in the classroom. What if you used PicMonkey to engage students by:

* Having them create their own primary source meme ( who doesn't like a good meme anyhow? )
* Have students annotate a primary source using the tools in PicMonkey
* Have students create a primary source of their own using PicMonkey'

And hey teachers what if you could...

* Alter a primary source  to support inquiry in the classroom?
* Use a primary source for discussion by adding your essential question to a primary source using PicMonkey?
* Place arrows on a primary source to highlight key vocabulary?
* Annotate a primary source to build background knowledge?

DotStorming and Primary Sources

DotStorming is a simple tool and one that is rivaling Padlet for use in the classroom. Created by a programmer from Canada it is a simple tool that is easily accessible for students to use in collaboration, brainstorming and voting. How can you use it? Here are some thoughts on the tool and using it with primary sources:

* Have students share their found primary sources to create a collection of primary sources for research.

* Post relevant primary sources to a topic of study and have students vote on the one that best represents or connects to an essential question.

* Have students discuss the analysis of a primary source online and then apply that analysis to a short constructed response.

* Connect primary sources to a civic discussion topic and have students pre-read the primary sources before engaging in a Socratic Seminar.

* Have students vote on one primary source that they would like to investigate, ten employ the Right Question Institute's Question Formulation Technique to create historical questions to research around the source.

Need step by step instructions for using Dotstorming?  Click HERE

Using Padlet and Primary Sources

Padlet is a powerful tool that can be used with primary sources and students so that they can write about the source, reflect on it, connect to it, and collaborate around the source using audio, visual tools, writing, and images.  Some of the suggestions we have below can be used with students in many different ways and are highly engaging for students. Try it - you will be surprised at how easy it is to use!

* Post a source and have students analyze it using Padlet boxes on the Padlet wall.

* Have students create a primary source of their own and use it to reflect on. Here students read Everybody Needs a Rock and then created their own rocks to share in their community. They then discussed the importance of their own primary source and shared the WHY on Padlet.

* Have students reflect on a primary source on the Padlet wall in one word and post.

* Post a primary source on Padlet and have students add additional connecting resources to it as a research tool.

* Upload a video, have students analyze it, and then ad other primary sources to the vidoe which enhance the collection of artifacts.

* Use Padlet as a tool for vocabulary instruction for students to build background knowledge prior to reading primary sources in an activity in the classroom.

Picture Books and Primary Sources: National Council for Social Studies 2017

Thank you for joining us with our poster session at National Council for Social Studies and sharing learning about our Our Picture Books with Primary Sources resources.

You can find our Annotated Resource Sets located HERE

You can find our quick as a flash picture book Mini-Annotated Resource Sets (Mini ARS)  HERE

You are welcome to view workshop resources from the Teaching With Primary Sources Program and the National Museum of Forest Service History (Where we used picture books and primary sources)  HERE

Our Top 10 Ways to Use Picture Books and Primary Sources are HERE


Pinterest and Primary Sources

Are you harnessing the power of Pinterest with your students? If not here are some great ideas to connect them with this tool in an educational fashion. If you can't keep them off of it you might as well use it effectively right? 

* Select a key set of resources for kids to research and pin them on Pinterest so that they have a launching point to start their research. 

* Have students create a Pinterest board with a collection of resources for research, then share them with their student colleagues so that they can learn from each other. 

* Have students pin diverse historic places that have an untold story in their community to a Pinterest board so that others can find out about the places and the stories. Look at the one History Colorado has completed on History Pin as an example. This could be replicated on Pinterest. 

Vocaroo - Need a Quick Audio File? This Will Be Your Favorite Tool!

Vocaroo is an online tool that allows users to record, send, and download voice messages. Teachers and learners can use Vocaroo in different activities, such as podcasting, digital storytelling, broadcasting, and giving feedback.

The tool is simple and user-friendly. The tool can be accessed directly without logging in to an account. The voice messages can be shared on blogs, websites, and social networking sites. The link to the audio can be shared, just by copying and pasting. Recordings are available for a few months (three months usually). The Vocaroo widget can be embedded on another website, so that, for example, your students can record voice messages via Vocaroo directly from your class website. This tool does not require knowledge of HTML. The recordings can be downloaded in different formats, including mp3, Ogg, flag, and wav.

Have a student create a recording of themselves analyzing a primary source and then using Vocaroo's QR code creator feature, you can develop a gallery walk pairing primary sources with QR codes and have the whole school enjoy the analysis!  Brilliant!!!
Tips on how to use Vocaroo:

Campayn Newsletters and email

We are using this tool to create beautiful email messages that include primary sources and pictures of students and teachers working with them! Up your email and newsletter game with this tool!

Ways to use this tool with primary sources:

  • Have students create a newsletter with a collection of primary sources and related links and then share it with peers.
  • Students can create a primary source newsletter and list for a local museum, park or community group and show the history timeline of those groups.
  • Create a Primary Source of the Week Newsletter and send it out to history classes with tips on how to analyze that source.
  • Using the snip-it or (on a mac command shift 4), digitally “cut apart a primary source and load a sequence of smaller pieces of one picture in order to focus on one part of a picture or source.  
  • Have students collect an annotated resources list of primary sources tied to their favorite book and share with colleagues in the classroom to illuminate places that area and in the text they are reading.
  • Students can share a newsletter with parents and the community showcasing their annotated resources sets of primary sources to an authentic audience
  • Have students use SMORE to collect a variety of primary sources resources available on a topic for a common month of study like women’s history and include links from the LOC.gov website that encourage further investigation or study.
  • Students can collaborate with a local historic site to create a series of newsletters highlighting the primary sources in the collection so that the historic resources can be viewed by the community.
  • Have students contact local historic sites to ask about resources on a particular subject and create a newsletter highlighting the buildings and resources in a collaborative nature. Then, each of these sites can share the newsletter and build capacity using authentic work from students. (IE: Students can use photos from the Loc.gov site on Japanese internment, then collect resources from Heart Mountain, Manzanar, and Amache to showcase the historic sites now being preserved)

Quizlet Live

An engaging way to involve your class and encourage collaboration!  Students sign into your Quizlet Live with a join code and then Quizlet Live puts them in teams of three.  They have to then find their teams and using three computers or chromebooks, they look to find the one with the right answer and click on it before other teams!  The running score of the teams shows up on the big screen at the front of the room.  This is a great way to review primary sources and all kinds of curriculum!  Enjoy!  

Jigsaw Planet

Ideas for using Jigsaw Planet with Primary Sources 

Five Ideas in a Flash

* Upload a primary source on PicMonkey and write on it - a connection, a thought, a title. Save the photo and then upload it in Jigsaw Planet. Solve the puzzle to find the information.

* Set up a puzzle for students to solve - then analyze the image afterwards.

* Have students create a puzzle for each other by selecting an image that they feel represents the unit of study. Swap images, have students solve them, and then create a justification statement of WHY that image connects to the topic at hand.

* Create a puzzle using text instead of an image. Use the solved puzzle as a writing prompt launch for an assessment or activity.

* Share a puzzle with another source ( Like a museum, classroom, etc ) and share their learning about the image or ask a key question about it.

Flipgrid is #FlippinAwesome!

Flipgrid is a video discussion platform used by millions of PreK to PhD educators, students, families, and organizations in more than 150 countries! Create a Grid (that's your classroom or group), add Topics to spark the discussion, and your community builds a dialogue as they share short video responses.  We love the interaction it promotes with our classes and its easy interface and ability to share.  

Flipgrid Ideas:
Picture books and Primary Sources.  Have students discuss their thoughts on a book and then pair primary sources with that discussion and you create a one of a kind platform!  Click on the image to see an example of students discussion The Last Stop on Market Street.  

Flipgrid Social Studies K-12 Community Lesson plans, ideas and ways to use Flipgrid with primary and secondary sources!  Click on the image to access the plans! 

Become Flipgrid Certified!  
Click HERE to learn more!  

Here's a beautiful Flipgrid we are working on in a PE Class.  The uses for Flipgrid are endless!  How will you use it?  


20 Tools and Ideas For Using Primary Sources With Technology! Oh, Those Amazing Web 2.0 Tools

Web 2.0 Tools Meet Primary Sources. Two Geeky Teachers share ideas for Using Technology to Highlight Primary Sources in the Classroom.

Well we started with 10 ideas and once we multiplied it with primary sources we loved, and great tools to use, we ended up with over 250 ideas for using primary sources in the classroom! History, Art, Historic Preservation, Science...it's all there!

We are thrilled to be presenting at the National Council for Social Studies (#NCSS17) and even happier that we can share our love of primary sources and technology with participants and friends at the conference in San Francisco.

We are deeply proud to be part of the team from the Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources Regional Center in Colorado who are presenting in San Francisco and will be tweeting out resources this week (and next) to showcase ideas on how to merge Web 2.0 and Social Media tools with the rich collections and digital resources from the Library of Congress.

If you don't know about the Library of Congress TPS program check out their links here: http://www.loc.gov/teachers/tps/

Here's a list of great tools and ideas! Check some of them out and bring non-fiction, primary sources, critical thinking, and 21st century skills into your classroom!Check out the links below for social studies, literacy, student engagement, science, math, art, architecture, and historic preservation ideas using primary sources from the Library of Congress (LOC.gov )


EDPuzzle and Primary Sources

Create or use a Youtube, Vimeo or other video and add it to the Edpuzzle editor.  You can then add questions that point students to a primary source or ask them inquiry questions about the topic.  Check out this sample EDPuzzle using a video about Colorado's Bent's Fort! 


Get Techie: Engaging the Next Generation in Their History

Staff from history organizations wear many hats and have little time to build online audiences, connect with new technologies, and create outreach projects. Our session at the AASLH (The American Association for State and Local History) Conference shares tools to empower local museums, historic sites, educators, and outreach programs.

We are tickled to collaborate with our fellow geek Shannon Haltiwanger from History Colorado who heads this session, to share ideas, support new community engagement ideas and figure out how we can all be successful together! Here's to learning, and here are the resources we have shared at the conference:

Technology Resources and Alternatives (Over 30 tech tools to try out for your organization) 

Presentation from AASLH (Slide Deck) 

Resource Folder 

Questions from AASLH Presentation: Answers Here! 


You Might Be a Geeky Teacher If You've Created a Digital Breakout

It's Time to Break Out!
Have you tried the breakout boxes available on Breakout Edu?  They are engaging, push critical thinking and collaboration.  We've used the breakout boxes and even built our own to save some money!  They've been used for faculty professional development, lesson hooks and complete units!  Recently, we learned about digital breakouts and decided to try one for an upcoming introduction of Ancient Egyptian and Hieroglyphic studies.  We've been pairing picture books with primary sources for secondary lessons and what better way to introduce a picture book than a digital breakout?  Check out our first attempt at a digital breakout!  We used a primary source picture, edpuzzle and a video, a game and our school's Discovery Education video library.

Creating the components:
The Locked Form:

  • Create a new form
  • Create a short answer question: Decide what kind of lock it is.
  • Click on the three dots, select “Response Validation”
  • Choose number or text
  • Number = equal to Text = make sure you write ALL CAPS Change Custom error text to “STILL LOCKED”, you may add a clue here as well if you choose to.

Add a wide choice of primary sources, puzzles, videos and other information tied to the curriculum.

Here is a link to a variety of options to add to your digital breakout!
Even more options!

A few Samples:

Open, Locks - Free images on Pixabay
Open, Locks - Free images on Pixabay
Open, Locks - Free images on Pixabay