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.


Follow this link to watch a Jing screencast of how to create and share a simple document in Google Drive.

Recently our school ‘migrated’ all of its student email to google mail and has been encouraging staff to make more use of google and its many applications. However I haven’t really been able to get my head around it. So finding this little gem was very welcome. Thanks to the SLV Bright Ideas blog, which directed me to the gcflearnfree site, I can now get the overview I think I needed. This whole ‘in the cloud’ world takes some grasping but the potential is enormous. The gcflearnfree site itself also looks like it could be really useful for teachers trying to get a handle on this brave new world of ours. I know lots of ICT ‘gurus’ go on and on about how we can learn anywhere anytime etc, but it is only today that I realised how much this is true for me. I have used blog posts, sites like gcflearnfree and online self-paced PDs to teach myself many new ICT skills. Sometimes it doesn’t work and you need to seek out a ‘live’ assistant but a lot of the time all it takes is persistence.  A bit like a naughty dog…how many times can I dig in the same place before BIGBOSSDOG gets sick of filling in the hole and turns it into a doggy sand pit? I encourage you all to start digging your own holes and may they all turn into lovely productive sandpits…….

This looks very handy indeed – lots of ‘under ten minute’ in length how to videos for tools such as wordpress, google sketch up, Activinspire, google maps and others. Lots here to get inspired by and with the shortness of the tutorial you could learn a new tool every day! I’ve been meaning to have a go at google sketch up for a while (ever since some of my year 8 students completed a castle design project using it) and this will give me a bit of a start.


iPad App. Kokoda

Posted: October 25, 2012 in Uncategorized

Having recently become the proud (but somewhat confused) owner of a new iPad I have been looking for educational apps. that I can use to justify spending such a large amount on a shiny new toy. Then, as fate would have it, there was an article in the newspaper about the RSL launching an app. about Kokoda. The link will take you to another article that also tells you about it. Having put the app. on I have found it to be both good and bad. Good in that the information provided is amazingly useful for history teachers and most of the interactive things work. Bad in that some of the interactive features are ‘stubborn’ and either won’t work or work very reluctantly. Now, it MAY be that the internet connection at school is not so good (….we know it isn’t) but I have tried it at home too. However, I would still recommend it, as I said, as there are still loads of great things about it. Now I just need to work out how to connect my iPad to the electronic whiteboard…..