Brian Rock
  • Male
  • Newark, NJ
  • United States
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Latest Activity

Brian Rock commented on Mathew Needleman's group Video in the Classroom
"I love photography and video as a hobby, and it's nice when I can incorporate it into class. Things like StudentCam are great tools for teaching civics, and I'm toying with the idea of having students record their own current events videos…"
Brian Rock replied to Elizabeth Davis's discussion Professional Development Tips in the group Professional Development
"When I was in grad school, I took a class on teaching math with technology. This was a bit odd because I'm a social studies teacher, but I loved that the class was explicitly about using technology (and I also like math). It was one of the best…"
Brian Rock replied to Aaron Locken's discussion Getting absent students make up work
"In addition to the idea of a class website, let me suggest a learning management system like Schoology or Google Classroom. A website lets you list out assignments and share resources, and that's great. But at some point, students don't…"
Brian Rock replied to Aaron Locken's discussion Getting absent students make up work
"This is the way to go. My first year, I kept a notebook of all the assignments we completed. It wasn't the most efficient way to do things. But a class blog, with a recap of what happened, a link to any notes or powerpoints, and the assignment…"
Brian Rock replied to Victoria Lawson's discussion Pop Quizzes...Good? Or Bad?
"I'm a big fan of open notes quizzes. I don't want to know what you've squirreled away in your brain and remembered. I want to know what you took the time to write down during class or while doing your reading. And I want to know…"
Brian Rock replied to Jonathan E. Wisniewski's discussion Why Students Plagiarize?
"I think it's a mix of fear, lack of understanding, and laziness. Like you said, students will plagiarize out of fear of failing - they'd rather hand something in than do nothing. They also do it because they don't understand the task.…"
Brian Rock commented on Amy Brinkley's video

Lee Rainie: Learning 2.0

"It's interesting looking back at this four year's later. I wonder how some of the datapoints have changed - i.e. internet access, percent of people who have apps on their phone, etc. I also think it's interesting, looking back, that…"
Brian Rock commented on Lisa Nielsen's group Cell Phones in Education
"I've had positive experiences with cell phones in the classroom (Poll Everywhere, BYOD for research, listening to music while reading, etc), but my district has never really embraced BYOD fully. On and off, my school tries to implement a zero…"
Oct 9
Brian Rock commented on Greg from's blog post Resources to teach students about the election
"I'd also put in a suggestion for C-SPAN. Every Presidential election year, they create a collection of videos related to the campaign. Here's Campaign 2016. It's a ton of resources and you'll never be able to watch a fraction of…"
Oct 9
Brian Rock commented on Andrew Marcinek's blog post Rethinking Current Events with Newsvine
"Cool idea. I'm always looking for new ways to incorporate current events, and I like the idea of threaded discussions. A similar approach is to create individual or group blogs, where students can write their current events on a Wordpress blog.…"
Oct 9
Brian Rock replied to Angela Wilson's discussion New to Google Apps for Education- any advice with Google Classroom? in the group Google Apps for Education
"I remember my first year teaching, I had a notebook where I wrote every homework and classwork assignment, so students could look at it when they had to make something up. And they'd only get to conference with me about their grades every few…"
Oct 9
Brian Rock replied to Rachel Pickett's discussion Projects Going On In Our Classrooms in the group PBL ~ Better with Practice
"Just wanted to say I love the sticky-note idea. I'm going to use that at some point. I struggle sometimes with extended, somewhat self-paced lessons, as some kids lag behind and get off task. I think this might help those individuals and/or…"
Oct 9
Brian Rock replied to UreyL Lynn's discussion Do you use LMS (learning management system) in the school\college? If yes - which one?
"Several years ago, I used Schoology. I loved it. It had great functionality in terms of built in assessments and gradebook features. You could create assignment pages and content (like mini-websites) with embedded multimedia. This takes a lot of…"
Oct 9
Brian Rock added a discussion to the group Secondary Social Studies & Technology

Teaching Gerrymandering with a Simulation

Has anyone tried teaching gerrymandering with a game like this?Other games like iCivics are cool, but ultimately they seem a little childish and oversimplified. The ReDistricting Game is a pretty complex simulation, and it seems to me to be pretty good approximation of the map-drawing process.I've used it with my kids in the past, and although there is usually some confusion at first they eventually get the hang of it. I think it's worked better than me just explaining gerrymandering and using diagrams of abstract red and blue dots.It might also be the video gaming nerd from my childhood re-emerging, but I actually kind of like playing the game myself. Every time I get up to gerrymandering and I'm about to teach the unit, I play a round or two and I find it generally enjoyable.See More
Oct 3
Brian Rock commented on Christopher Potter's group Secondary Social Studies & Technology
"I'm a high school social studies teacher and I love technology, so I'm excited to see what people have to share. I focus mostly on American History and Government and Civics, but I've taught World History in the past."
Oct 1
Brian Rock liked Christopher Potter's group Secondary Social Studies & Technology
Oct 1

Profile Information

School / Work Affiliation
East Orange Campus High School
Twitter / Plurk / Other Account

I'm a social studies teacher in East Orange. I've taught U.S. History, World History, AP Government and Politics, and Financial Literacy.

I'm a big advocate of civics education, and I write a blog about improving civics education in New Jersey and throughout the United States. The Civic Educator contains a mix of methods, resources, thoughts on education policy, and spotlights of civic educators.

I'm also an active member of my union. I serve as an officer in my local and county associations, and I'm involved at the state level with the New Jersey Education Association and the National Education Association.

In 2013, I had the privilege of working with C-SPAN's Education Department as a Teacher Fellow. I helped the team develop lesson plans and materials for their C-SPAN Classroom website. These were of use to social studies teachers and other civic educators. In 2015, I worked for C-SPAN as a Senior Fellow. In that role, I worked on C-SPAN's Classroom Deliberations projects - a collection of lesson plans on controversial issues that draw on C-SPAN's video archives for source material.

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