Archive for the ‘History’ Category

This is a useful site for some easily followed interactive maps – they start with prehistory (such as the continental drift theory) and end with the Roman empire. Nice clear audio and simple instructions.

Aztec History – the ballgame

Posted: January 17, 2013 in Game, History, Website

This is a section of a larger site which itself contains a lot of written information about Aztec History that would be quite accessible for junior students. However, this particular section, about a popular Aztec sport, is worth highlighting. From this page choose the link at the bottom ‘Play a Meso-American Ballgame Winner Take All’. On the next page choose ‘Explore the Ballgame’, then ‘Enter’. Here you have a number of choices. The first two are informative and if students are to successfully complete the interactive options that come later they need to spend some time here learning about the game. The ‘Experience the Ball Game’ gives two options. The ‘fan’ choice would be excellent for looking at primary evidence. Here an Aztec object (a pottery piece showing Aztecs at a game) is explored in detail, highlighting what it shows and therefore would be great for looking at how historians get their knowledge about the past. The analysis (narrated for us) was impressive. The other option, ‘player’, requires players to answer questions about the game to score points for their team. Hence the need for the prior research.

Thesis builder

Posted: December 13, 2012 in English, History, Web 2.0 tool

This is a great site for English teachers. It was pointed out in the recent SLV Research Tools PD as a good way for students to develop research questions. However, as an English teacher trying to get students to write persuasive essays and speeches this site looks like a great big juicy bone of joy. One of the hardest parts of teaching persuasive writing is to get students to the point where they actually understand what it is they are arguing! The Thesis Builder here is a ripper as it gets them to outline their thoughts in a simple way then builds the thesis statement for them. Then you can take it further and use the suggested outline as a way of helping them formulate their arguments into coherent paragraphs. (maybe, unless they are year nine boys who need to be bludgeoned to get them to do anything ). I also liked the Causinator  as I think this would be a great way to show juniors how to get started writing historical essays.

Horrible Histories

Posted: July 13, 2012 in Fun, History

During the holidays, on one particularly foul and freezing day, I happened across Horrible Histories that is currently showing on ABC3. I think this would be a terrific resource for History teachers to use in those ‘oh dear finished today’s tasks and there are 10 minutes to go until the bell’ or the ‘darn half the class are at swimming sports, what to do now?’ These are engaging snippets about history of all eras – the funniest, weirdest, most interesting bits from the past. Luckily, many of these snippets, like the one here, are avaliable on You Tube. Just search Horrible Histories. This snippet is from the segment called ‘Stupid Deaths’……

Recently I wanted my geography students to complete a research report on two aspects of the fishing industry. Aside from the research process I also wanted students to gain some skills in presenting their findings using a web site so aimed to use Weebly. However, Weebly was being rather un co operative and proved too difficult to use so I looked for an alternative – wordpress was my choice. The instructions I gave the students were as follows:

WordPress – using wordpress to present our case study on an aspect of the fishing industry.

is the address of the platform.

gives a good example of what the finished product might look like.

Some instructions for use.

Click on the ‘get started here’ – fill in all the details remembering, but at the end DON’T upgrade, select ‘create blog’.

Once your blog has been created for you here are instructions for the features you will need to use.

The Dashboard is the control panel and you select these following option from here. The ones with # you MUST do as instructed.

Settings # – privacy – choose last option ‘I would like my site to be private, visible only to users I choose’.

Users # – invite new – put my email address here – and my role as a follower. (these settings mean only I can see your site unless you specifically invite others to it. If later you want to keep using this blog you can change the settings)

Users# – my profile (this information is public so be careful) – make sure I can identify the site as yours

Appearance – themes (here you select the way the blog will look, there is lots of choice but you cannot use anything that says it is ‘premium’)

Posts – make a new blog entry – for each subheading you might use in a report create a new blog post – use the title of the post as your subheading

Pages – you will need 2 pages. The home page will be created automatically for you and here is where you will put your information – use the title of the blog entry as a subheading. Create a new page and call it Bibliography – put the details of resources used here – this second page does not have as many features as the home page will, you cannot put separate entries here.

You can add pictures and embed video clips from which apparently students can now access.

How – right click on the video, copy the embed htm

Go to the blog post (in the dashboard view) – select the html option from the toolbar – paste, save the draft, preview, publish when finished the post. You can come back and edit any posts at any time.


The students were able to create their blogs without too many issues and are currently completing their research. One thing does not seem to be working and that is the ‘invite me to be a follower’ – despite the students following this process I have yet to receive any invitations so we will have to see……my backup plan is that the students will change their settings to public for the time it takes me to assess their blogs and they will give me the address of their blog. These settings can be changed back later. However, as no personal information is shared (as long as they follow the instructions when creating their profile) there should be no issue with the blogs being public anyway.

3D 360 interactive education images.

Thanks to iLearn Technology blog for sharing this one, it is great fun and I think would be particularly useful for science and health/PE teachers! Here you can find 3D objects that range from dissections to yoga positions to historical objects. When you load the object (very quick) you can then move around the object and get a 360 view. As a history teacher I think the historical objects could be very useful when teaching about primary evidence.

A bit like ‘youtube for instructions’! Here people have uploaded instructional videos on everything from how to treat a bitten tongue, how to make your own doggy treats, to how to visit a playboy club. Obviously teachers need to choose carefully and maybe show the chosen video to the class as a whole rather than direct students to the site itself. It would be very useful for teaching instructional text type in english and who knows, you might find just that piece of advice you always needed. (who hasn’t bitten their tongue at some point….not so sure about the playboy club though…)