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Going Paperless August 29, 2014

Posted by Wendy Wolfe in 1:1.
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So last year our school went 1:1. All of our students were issued a MacBook Air, and I saw my teaching change drastically. One very visible way was in handouts and notes. I used to have my students use a 1″ 3-ring binder…and we filled it, every class, every semester. Last year, I saw the need for the 1: binder disappear as they had a paper folder and, by the end of the semester, about 1/4″ of paper was in it. This year, while getting things going, our new school president shared that some schools pay for their 1:1 initiatives by going paperless, and while we aren’t in that place as an institution, it inspired me to revisit my 1/4″ stack of handouts from last year. I was casually talking about this with some of my students and they said, “Paperless? I think we’re ready for that.”  I think they are right.

I decided to go paperless.

My biggest mental block about it was followsheets for videos, but I got over it and we’re giving it a shot. My goal is to share some of this journey here. We’ll see how both of those goals, paperless and regular blogging, go. Cheers!

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The Wayback Machine is Amazing December 3, 2013

Posted by Wendy Wolfe in Webbased tools.
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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!

Spicing Up Note Taking….With Google Drive! December 3, 2013

Posted by Wendy Wolfe in Educational Resources, US Government.
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Yes, a computer can be used as a replacement of paper and pencil for taking notes, but I would love to see a regular piece of paper do what we did in class for the past couple of days (and as quickly)!

Yesterday my Constitutional and Criminal Law class started to delve into the 5th Amendment. As we “unpacked” the amendment (thank you for the help, Teaching Civics/Civically Speaking and the Minnesota Center for Community Legal Education – both have great civics resources), my students took notes on a Google doc. After we discussed “indictment,” they learned about the news search feature on Google and they found two news articles involving indictments, added the links into their notes, wrote a brief summary of each story and then shared their findings with a neighbor. We repeated the process with the term grand jury.

Today I wanted the students to further explore details about a grand jury. Using some of the content from long ago and a source that I can no longer find online, I created this Google Doc with fact sorting and photo identification activities for my students to complete. They added the content from this activity to their notes page from yesterday’s class. The categorizing of bullet points was impressively effective at generating thought and discussion (I will certainly use that strategy again in the future), and the photo exercise went so well I am trying to find other places the concept could be used.

A great day in the classroom. Cheers!

Awesome Stories November 22, 2013

Posted by Wendy Wolfe in History.
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Recognizing the 50th commemoration of President Kennedy’s assassination today gives the opportunity to share an awesome resource for historical stories.  “Awesome Stories” offers an excellent exploration of The Assassination of John F. Kennedy through text, images and primary sources that guide the user through the events surrounding JFK’s death through his funeral. Awesome Stories is about to launch a newly redesigned website (expected on Nov. 26) that explores 250 historic stories, lesson ideas and resources, primary sources (text, images, video), narratives and more. A great tool for remembering history.AwesomeStory - JFK