Monday, July 28, 2008


For those of you looking for fun Climate Change content for your classroom, check out and their new video. It's a really smart and sleek new video about controlling climate change.

The video was created by Free Range Studios (creativity with a conscience) who are doing some great social justice and environment projects at the moment. They also brought us Story of Stuff which I've mentioned before and has taken a place of honor on the sidebar.

You should definitely check out their website. They have lots of really great interactive projects, many of which have classroom connections.

Monday, July 07, 2008

If you do only one project next year....

I know the summer is kicking in but if you happen to drift into thinking about next year here is the one project you should do in your classroom - Google SketchUp.

I'm not an expert on the program, but essentially Google SketchUp allows you to create 3d buildings which can then be placed on the map in Google Earth. Imagine in your classroom creating 3d models of your historic community.

The actual technical work of Google Sketch Up is pretty straightforward and the historical research required to recreate and measure a building would bring in lots of interesting primary sources. Imagine a well documented building with first hand accounts, letters, and documents detailing every part of the building. And best of the program to do that project is already fully functional.

Google has also posted selections from it's recent Google Sketch Up basecamp (sadly I was not drawn to participate). Spend the summer getting used to the program and then clean up at the local Heritage Fair when your students present 3d models instead of outdated power point presentations.

If my Mom can blog, you can too

Recently returned from some holiday time at home and I had a chance to sit down with my Mom who is teaching a course at Laurentian University this fall in the geography department.

I had set a goal of getting her class up to Web 2.0 compatibility and she was ready to the task. Over about two afternoons we got her set up with a course blog, a flickr site, and a account.

Now she has her own space to post readings, answer questions, and connect with new resources for her students. She also uses extensive slides which used to require an old slide projector. Those slides are currently being moved over to digital copies and can be posted on the flickr site for easier access - without the need to bring her slide projector.

And finally we set her up with a course tag which students can then use to tag resources that they think might be helpful. Not only does this provide a new angle for participation, but creates a great database of information on Northern Development issues.

Great job Mom! And if you are a high school social science teacher this summer who wants to get started, let me know and I would be happy to help you get off the ground.