Hashtag summaries

When teaching my preservice teachers methods of making quality use of benign textbooks (when they must use them)..I give them a chapter from a middle school History textbook. Benign because…dense text, voiceless, boring….I ask them to read it as groups and then summarize the chapter with hashtags. No rules other than that. Here is one from last semester—can’t wait to see what this semester group does:

The chapter below focused on the Pilgrims.

Here are their hashtags:

#Mayflower   #pilstruggs  #missingthemotherland   #demWampananagos   #originalThanksgiving  #churnthatbutter  #Jesus4life  #Squantowho?   #workingafarm   #wigwams4ever   #seriouslongwinter     #allinaday #nomoreboattripsplease #Plymouthrockrocks #BFFSquanto #worstcasescenario #thankfulforSquanto #sickonaship #praytheedontkillus #holierthanthou

Results: Well, for starters there is always a whole bunch of laughter and fun. But, they do get it. We ask kids to summarize, summarize, summarize. When it is not so important that they write ample amounts, why not allow some levity and have groups hashtag summarize short texts? They will capture the critical points and their hashtags can launch class discussion.


Arts Integration: Resource Roundup | Edutopia


So many rich resources. Edutopia  just rocks!

Arts Integration: Resource Roundup | Edutopia.

Getting lost in Pictures of the Day…

“Pictures of the Day” are fascinating finds. They can be used in multitude of ways teachers—to launch writing in many genres, to supplement research, to create word lists, engage in great discussions, and simply to enjoy.
Here are a few of my faves—and while you are there, check out the archives on all of the sites:

Discover the Cosmos with Astronomy Picture of the Day

Earth Science Picture of the Day

Atmospheric Optics Picture of the Day     cool stuff!!

Lens–NYTimes Picture of the Day 

Yahoo and Flikr teamed up to launch this cool site

Aloha!  Hawaii Picture of the Day

Nature Picture of the Day–inspirational–why not try out a Haiku?

Now that I’ve got you going, I bet you can discover many, many more. (Teachers–I have looked these sites over for G ratings—some POD sites are not!)

Enjoy your travels!


Washington DC’s interactive (and real brick and mortar) Newseum highlights all news–from today back through history.

If you live in the Metro DC area, or plan a future visit, I encourage you to consider adding a visit to the Newseum to your travel plans. Visiting the Newseum was one of the highlights of my years living in Metro DC area.

But–you can visit online! When you enter the site you will see an interactive map with little dots that represent cities. If you highlight and click on a dot you can see the front page headlines for that city’s newspaper on the day you visit. It’s pretty cool. There’s so much more to see and do…

Notice that there is a tab for Educators. When you enter the Digital Classroom you can browse lesson plans, videos, primary sources, and even standards documents.

If you are a news buff, or a teacher seeking quality videos or primary documents, it’s a virtual trip you’ll be glad you took!

Awesome Stories!

Awesome Stories!

AwesomeStories is a gathering place of primary-source information. Its purpose – since the site was first launched in 1999 – is to help educators and individuals find original sources, located at national archives, libraries, universities, museums, historical societies and government-created web sites.
AwesomeStories is about primary sources. The stories exist as a way to place original materials in context and to hold those links together in an interesting, cohesive way (thereby encouraging people to look at them). It is a totally different kind of web site in that its purpose is to place primary sources at the forefront – not the opinions of a writer. Its objective is to take the site’s users to places where those primary sources are located.

The author of each story is listed on the preface page of the story. A link to the author provides more detailed information.

This educational, curriculum-support teaching/learning tool is also designed to support state and national standards. Each story on the site links to online primary-source materials which are positioned in context to enhance reading comprehension, understanding and enjoyment.

When you become a member of Awesome Stories … You can see everything on the site (including an extensive image data base), explore all its features (including narrated stories), dig deeper (with lesson plans and text documents) and hear from us once a month (with a newsletter profiling current events and hot topics).
Join the site today.  It’s all free!

Here’s an example. Since Pearl Harbor Day is Friday…check out how Awesome Stories is on top of it!

Pearl Harbor Day