Saturday, February 26, 2011

Techy Teacher Tips


I just passed this Google docs slideshow to all our teachers. Some items are new to me, others I've used. There seemed to be a wide range of resources, everything from elementary to high school course applications. I like how it's a collaborative document, allowing others to contribute content.

Tracing the Silk Road Project

Starting with the map on page 421, imagine that you have just completed a trip that retraced the Silk Road. Create a presentation to share your vacation experience.

Presentation RequirementsYour presentation must include the following locations:
  • Either the northern route (Uzbekistan) 
    • Bukhara 
    • Samarkand 
    • Fergana Valley 
  • Or the southern route (Afghanistan) 
    • Balkh (Mazar-i-Shaul) 
    • Herat 
    • Kabul 
  • Osh, Kyrgyzstan 
  • Khyber Pass 
Your presentation should also include information on the following:
  • locally produced goods that you purchased 
  • foods that you ate 
  • descriptions of each location's entertainment or attractions visited 
Evaluations will be based on the following rubric:

LimitedDevelopingProficientAdvancedExemplary
Contentlarge amounts of missing or incorrect informationmost of the required information includedall required content includedProficient plus personal perspective through narrative/storytellingAdvanced plus hyperlinks to additional resources
Designdisjointed, no consistency in appearance or flowfew minor inconsistencies, lacks polish attractive, easy to read and understand. consistent look throughoutProficient plus presentation advances with minimal input.Advanced plus presentation makes use of multimedia elements (audio, video, etc)

Chart of Nations Project

Chart of Nations

Working in partners, create an Excel chart of the nations listed in chapter 18 (you can use this for which ever countries you are currently studying). Include your first names in the file name. 
The chart should include eight columns of rankings:
  1. area
  2. population
  3. per capita GDP
  4. population density
  5. religion
  6. main language family
  7. major resources and industry 
Project will be evaluated as follows:

LimitedDevelopingProficientAdvancedExemplary
Contentlarge amounts of missing or incorrect datasome data missing or incorrectall eight columns includedProficient plus annotations (unit of measure, labels, etc)Advanced plus hyperlinks to data sources
Designchart poorly organized with little connection between data chart is difficult to read or understanddata is organized neatly and in correct locationsProficient plus data formatted as a sortable tableAdvanced plus appropriate charts included

Recommended Resources

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Ubiquitous Typeface

PBS had a fascinating piece on last night called Helvetica. Produced by [I]ndependent Lens, the documentary explored all the nuances of type and its ability to communicate beyond the words it forms. Today in class I'll have the students browse around the website; they have a "What font are you?" quiz and a History of Type section.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

College Dropouts

The Detroit Free Press ran an article stating that Michigan State University researchers have discovered that the reason college kids quit is SOCIAL more than academic. I'm not sure how (or if we can) fix that at the high school level. Perhaps making sociology class required? No matter what, it sounds like a great question for one of my sociology students to pursue for their major research final.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Using Humor

With twenty minutes left in geography class and a big test tomorrow, I had the kids create comic strips! We're covering Russia so I suggested perhaps Uncle Sam and Mother Russia in a boxing match. They didn't like that idea. Then after a few more failed attempts at geography humor I had a moment of inspiration. Here's the comic as they interpreted it:
In case you can't read the text:
Singer: I'm in Europe!
Cowboy: I'm in Asia!
Alien: Well, it depends on what side Ural on! 
We used MakeBeliefsComix.com, it's a nice site with enough for them to be creative without becoming overwhelmed with choices.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Work Hard



La'Shanda Holmes is making history, not because of her race, gender or economic status. She works hard. Too bad THAT puts her in a minority.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Word Up!

So you think you have a big vocabulary? Do you eat crossword puzzles for breakfast? Then try your hand at Knoword. With the clock running, you have to correctly identify the word based upon a given definition. Points are awarded and they even keep a high score table for logged in members.