Tip of the Week: MapStory. It’s Wikipedia for Maps

This is brilliant and ridiculously helpful for social studies teachers looking for a way to incorporate a different level of map understanding and use in a classroom. I look forward to incorporating this tool into my curriculum! Thanks History Tech for keeping us up on these wonderful tools!

History Tech

Okay. Not sure if I should be impressed or freaked out by the fact that the founder of MapStory was also one of the original officers of In-Q-Tel. In-Q-Tel, as we all know, is the venture capital group working to keep the CIA equipped with the latest in information technology.

I’m gonna go with freakishly impressed.

Because MapStory looks like a very handy tool for teachers looking for ways to incorporate high-level discipline specific thinking skills into their geography and history instruction. And I’m sure there’s not any chance of teachers getting caught up in some sort of illegal international information gathering syndicate through MapStory.

Pretty sure.

Yesterday I shared some thoughts about using maps to to help generate great questions related to the Kansas state social studies standards and the Common Core. Part of what I didn’t talk about was the last part:

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Immigration

Political_Cartoon_-_Every_Dog_Has_His_Day

Immigration is not a new issue in the United States. Every half century, there is a new perceived foreign threat to our status quo. From the natives (that’s a whole other discussion regarding the definition of ‘foreign’), to the African slaves, Chinese, Italians, Irish… the list goes on. The United States has an ugly history of xenophobia. Sadly, it never seems to truly go away in some portions of the country, with ethnic slurs still muttered either intentionally or unintentionally insulting. I eagerly await more news on the “immigration reform” that the President and Congress is supposedly coming up with, especially regarding these new threats.  Hopefully this chapter in our history will close soon, but I know better than to expect that this will be the last immigration issue we hear about.  Look for a future post regarding a brief overview of our history of ugly immigration policy and some teaching tips very soon.  I thought I’d post this political cartoon from 1879 in advance just as a bit of a teaser 😉 (click on the picture to make it bigger so you can read the text)

 

Pinterest!

Everyone was doing it and I just did not understand the whole magic of Pinterest and why it was such a wonderful thing.  Then, someone explained it to me and I figured out how to use it.  You have to click on the image, and then click on the link or double click the picture to bring you to the subject matter.  It’s like a digital bulletin board of the most random things in life.  I am now officially hooked.  The second night after my cumulative exam I successfully spent three hours doing nothing but browsing the site and “pinning” things.

But its not only fun, but functional for historians and teachers.  I have two boards myself, one full of historical images that I look forward to using in powerpoints for my students.  Images are powerful educational tools.  I’m sure that they will come up on exams, assignments, DBQs, and many other places as well. You can check out (and follow if you like) my “Teaching History” board here: http://pinterest.com/aprilgibbs1776/teaching-history/ .

The second functional part is the different teaching tools, techniques, organizational ideas, and disciplinary tactics that are shared on Pinterest.  They not only inspire you to inspire your students, but can give you a different way of approaching a subject or topic in the classroom or with a particular student who has been struggling.  Plus, it helps to know that you’re not alone in this struggle of teaching.  You can view my “For Teaching” board here: http://pinterest.com/aprilgibbs1776/for-teaching/

There are also fantastic DIY ideas and recipes and numerous quotes and humor boards to keep you entertained for hours.  I know this is probably not new information for most of you, but I wanted to share the awesome educational abilities of a popular website.  Check it out: http://www.pinterest.com.