Wednesday, January 22, 2014


We have had some "snow" days these last few days.  I decided to take advantage of this extra time to work on my flip (in addition to bleaching the grout in my bathrooms and cleaning my washing machine- but that's for another blog...maybe confessions of a type-A crazy clean person).

So, my dear husband showed me how my Mac already has a program to allow me to make a screencast of the column notes.  I spent Monday (our holiday) and yesterday recording and then uploading on my Schoology page.

Here is a sample of a screencast.  The screencasts are not as fuzzy on Schoology and this is an edited one.  I got distracted and forgot what I was talking about.  The average length of the screencasts is 6 minutes.

The first part of the column notes is one screencast where I fill in the blanks and discuss new vocabulary, new concept or relate back to previous information.  The second screencast is the second column answers.  I encourage my students to answer before watching.

The supervisor of blending learning is coming by to see me to help me figure out what exactly I'll be doing with our time in class.

Happy Teaching!


Thursday, January 16, 2014


Flipping you ask?  I am flipping my class in my next unit.  This means I will be delivering notes through video presentations.  Students will be responsible for watching assigned lessons and or videos prior to coming to class.

Now that I have more time in class I will be assigning project based learning activities.  Now, I'm not really sure what those activities are yet.

What I do know:
1. My unit is on Middle Ages Europe
2. My unit will be approximately 3 and half weeks
3. My students will need access to both the internet and some sort of electronic presentation program
4. I want a variety of different student outputs: formative and summative
5. I want my students to share their output: either in class or online
6. I will use Schoology to facilitate the delivery

What I do NOT know:
1. How exactly I'm going to deliver my lessons
2. What exactly will my students produce
3. How much time should I allow for class work

I have talked to my county blended learning coordinator, my school ITRT and consulted a ton (okay, that's a hyperbole) of websites.  My favorite website is  It is full of very useful and well organized information.

I will keep you up to date on my flipping!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Days like today

I had a day today that reinforces why I teach.  To give you a little perspective: I am teaching about the Byzantine Empire and the Byzantine culture (including art, architecture and religion).

The first question came from a student in 2nd period: "Mrs. Virginia World History Teacher?  Why do we know history is history?"  I responded by telling him that it was a great question and then I opened it up to the class.  His classmates responded with a few "okay" answers but a classmate hit it: "The more you see it in a primary document, the more it is true!".  YES #1!

The second question came out of that same class.  Another student asked that ubiquitous, "Why do we need to study history?"  I told him that a society is doomed to repeat past mistakes if they don't learn from the past.  I posed the following scenario to the class, "A family member's church (and this is a true story) burned all things that had nothing to do with living a worshipful Christian life.  Why would this bother me a historian?"  Some students gave okay answers, "Burning books is not a good idea." or "That is weird."  Then another students said, "That is what the Nazi's did!"  And I said that is exactly what I thought!  YES #2!

The third moment came in 3rd period and shed some light on what Mrs. Virginia World History Teacher was like in school.  I gave two examples of how I felt I righted a wrong.  I think the students, for the most part, enjoy hearing that I too am a human.  YES #3!

The fourth moment came in 4th period when we a student realized that the Hagia Sophia (Greek Orthodox Church in Constantinople) looked like Jabba the Hut's Palace.  We compared the pictures and sure enough...the Hagia Sophia may have served as model for it- click here to see more.  YES #4!

The fifth moment came at the end of 6th period, after we had discussed the Great Schism.  He wanted to know how new religions come about.  He also wanted to know how people know that their religion is right.  I told him that those are great philosophical questions and some  people wrestle with those questions for their entire life.  I told him to keep up those big thoughts.  YES #5!

What about your YES! days?!

Happy Teaching-

Monday, January 13, 2014

Justianian I BioPoem

Our first week back was a success!  However, we only had two full days, two two-hour delays and one closure due to the super freezing cold.

So, like all good teachers I cut and pasted my lesson plans and squeezed things into smaller time slots.  I originally planned this reinforcement activity as a solo project.  However, the short period on Friday forced me to work this into the fifteen minutes I had after the clicker quiz.

Here were the instructions I used:

I divided the class into six groups.  The first group worked with the adjectives and relationship.  Then next four groups identified accomplishments we had discussed.  I encouraged them to have two accomplishments incase their first one was taken by another group.  The last group worked on two obstacles.  I filled in the first, next to last and last lines.  After a few minutes I wrote the group's line on butcher paper.  

Two things about this assignment.  I loved it when a student in each class said, "Mrs. Virginia World History Teacher! Is this like a biography but a poem?!"  And I said, "Why yes Virginia World History is!!!"  I also like this because you could use this for any person or even inanimate objects.  When I was Virginia Civics Teacher I assigned this to my students but they were to write about the Articles of Confederation.

Here are some student creations:

First and Second Period

Fourth Period

Sixth Period 

Okay, hope you are settling into your new year nicely and I look forward to blogging some more.  Thanks for reading!

Happy Teaching!