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Animated Atlas: The Growth of a Nation

What it is: Animated Atlas: The Growth of a Nation is an animated video that teaches students about American expansion.  The video allows for interaction as it plays.  Students can click on any state to learn more about when and how it became a state.  There is also a great interactive timeline at the bottom of the animation that students can explore more in depth.  I really like the look of this website, it makes me nostalgic remembering the computer activities I used as a kid.  I can’t guarantee that our students will get such a kick out of the graphics.   The ten minute presentation takes students from the original 13 states and shows them the gradual expansion.  At any point students can click on a territory or state for more information.  The timeline pointer moves along with the presentation but students can click on a date for more information.  The interactive timeline goes from 1790 to 2000. How to integrate Animated Atlas into the classroom: This interactive is a good one for helping students to visualize the expansion of the United States from the original 13 colonies.  The site is packed full of information with the ability to learn more about a time period, state, or territory.  Use this site as an overview of the growth of America.  If students aren’t loving the graphics, have them gather information and create a 2009 (almost 2010!) version of the site.  This site could be used whole class with an interactive whiteboard but I think it would allow for more exploration as a center activity or individual computers. Tips: When you play Animated Atlas you have several options: play all the way through, 1789-1853, The Civil War, and Post Civil War.  This makes it easy to chunk the lesson or split students into groups. Leave a comment and share how you are using Animated Atlas: The Growth of a Nation  in your classroom.

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How to Do Research Interactive Graphic

Posted by admin | Posted in Interactive Whiteboard, Knowledge (remember), Language Arts, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), Websites | Posted on 29-03-2012

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What it is:  The research process can be a hard one for kids to master.  As a student, I remember thinking that it was a long process of random steps that were supposed to somehow come together as a completed project. I was constantly convinced that I would forget one of those steps and the whole thing would come crashing down around me.  I’ve seen this same behavior in our students at Anastasis. We mention the word research, and we are met instantly with groans.  Kids don’t really dislike research though, they do it all the time voluntarily.  Kids want to know how to be masters at parkour and they immediately search YouTube and Google for videos, tips, blogs, etc. to learn all about it.  Kids hear someone talk about dub step and will go through videos and connect with others who know about dub step.  They didn’t believe me when I told them this is research.  The Kentucky virtual library has a great interactive that leads kids through the research process step-by-step and lets them dig deeper into the portions that they don’t understand.  It has a fun game board-like interface so that it isn’t intimidating for kids to go through.  Every step of the process is covered from initial planning, to searching for information, to taking notes, to using the information, reporting and evaluating.  I’m not a stickler for this process happening exactly as it is described, but I appreciate that the site gives students a starting point so they aren’t so overwhelmed with the “research beast.”

How to integrate How to do Research Interactive Graphic into the classroom: The How to do Research Interactive Graphic is a great site to keep bookmarked and available for easy access for students throughout the school year.  Any time they are faced with the daunting task of performing a research project, they can access the interactive graphic.  Whenever your students are working on research, set up your classroom computers as a “research station” where students can perform searches online and access this graphic.  The interactive graphic will keep your students moving when they are feeling overwhelmed and stumped and provide a great foundation for conducting research.
The graphic is also a great way to introduce students to the research process.  Using an interactive whiteboard, or projector-connected computer, you can lead students through the process, explaining specific areas of focus for the project or your classroom.  I like that this site doesn’t just focus on the research paper, but shows students that research can have a variety of outcomes.
Tips: Within the graphic, there are pages that you can print out for your students.  Check out the notes section for an example of this.

Please leave a comment and share how you are using How to do Research Interactive Graphic in  your classroom!

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