The Wayback Machine is Amazing

I love the Wayback Machine! Enter a URL in of any website and have a great chance of seeing a snapshot or

Screen Shot 2013-12-03 at 11.41.12 AMseries of snapshots of that website from the past. Why did this come up today? I was thinking about the grand jury lesson plan in my last post and was pretty sure it had been part of the CRFC’s American Jury “Bulwark of of Democracy” page but the page looks different than I remembered it (great redesign and still great civic content) and I didn’t see anything about grand juries. On a whim I checked the website with the Wayback Machine and found the Grand Jury material that I used as a base for my activity today. Impressively the Word files are archived too. Love it!

Lesson Plan on Identify Theft

My first post of the new year is actually a lesson plan I customized from the free curriculum on Online Identify Theft: Information is Power from Common Sense Media. Our technology office teaches what I would describe as a survey course in technology and digital citizenship and safety landed in my corner for the upcoming semester. While the customized lesson uses a lot of the Common Sense Media lesson ideas and resources, I found a few more resources and was a bit more specific on the use of a webtool. As of this writing, I am glad to see that it looks like “ID Theft Faceoff” the “game” designed by several federal government agencies to explore  identify theft is back online (it wasn’t looking so good about two weeks ago).

Too often teens think identity theft is only something adults need to be concerned about. I hope we are able to bring this issue to light with our students next semester.

How to Handle 9/11

I remember my colleague Brian appearing in my door saying, “Turn on the news, someone just flew a plane into the World Trade Center,” voting in the primary that day, and fighter jets occasionally flying over the city. I have 3 sections of seniors this year so they were about seven years old on 9/11 and I imagine that their memories are more connected to their emotions and how their households handled the day and those following it rather than the images of the day’s events unfolding in real-time. Next Sunday being 9/11/11, I have a little time, but I haven’t settled on how to address 9/11 in class this week. In August, the Smithsonian held a conference centered on 9/11 and teaching contemporary history. The conference was recorded and is available on the conference website, as well as links to 9/11 timelines and teaching resources from across the web. Thinking across the web, Larry Ferlazzo also has a great collection of “The Best Sites to Help Teach About 9/11.”

What really drives my thoughts this morning? I turned the TV on while exploring some class materials for tomorrow and C-SPAN 3 was running  American History TV. This episode was an interview with Major Heather Penny of the DC Air National Guard. (The whole episode is online here and links to more of the 9/11 interviews are also included). Everyone I have ever heard talking about that day says the military was authorized to shoot down planes over Washington DC that day, Major Penny discussed how part of her assignment that day included flying into the tail of Flight 93 if it was in her flight space because they didn’t have weapons capable of shooting the plane down.

This country has so many amazing people in it, most of whom probably don’t consider themselves to be amazing either.

On Sketchcast

Really, I’m pretty excited about this one. I know it has been around for a while. I learned about it from an older blog post by Daniel Rezac while trying to investigate some ideas for one of the math education students in our Classroom Technology course. Sketchcast allows users to create a screencast of sorts. The user can draw with the mouse, type on screen, import images and annotate them, erase, and include voice overs (if desired).

This is a great tool for teachers and students to make quick video introductions or reviews, demonstrate and talk through math problems and timelines, or explore any process.