Hi, I have about a month before our school starts up for the fall. We will have a brand new school, and we are in a small rural area. I have a lot more room in the new school and want to start off the year with some technology/web 2.0 on the first day or so. I teach high school social studies. I do want to incorporate a theme of new beginnings, fresh start, or something like that. My resources include 7 computers, a projector, & smart board. I am also using a blog through edublogs.org.

Any ideas or suggestions?

Tags: ideas, school, year

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A great social studies resource that is good for any age is the digital vaults.
http://www.digitalvaults.org/#
This site allows students to create their own videos and posters around various themes. They can even make a game using the pathways feature.
That is a great idea. I had never heard of that website before. I can see many ways to get students interested in history by creating movies or posters. Since I have computers in my room I could have them create the background screens.
I agree with Shane's Digital Vault suggestion, I mentioned it on A Very Old Place, my blog about using primary sources in the classroom. You might check out HSI: Historical Scene Investigation also mentioned on that blog. Take a look around, you might find something you can use.
If you have a lab available, you might check out www.21classes.com You can set your classes up in their own little communities of bloggers--it's really cool! Another web 2.0 tool that I'm stoked about is pageflakes.com There are so many possibilities there--I'm thinking you could set up a pagecast for any unit of instruction--kids can make comments on a comment board, and you can post assignments along with any resources--for example, building class wiki around a new unit of instruction... I started the year out with blogging last year--I booked the school computer lab for like, 6 weeks--but it was well worth it for my students... My start-off-the-school-year themes always seem to take the form of some survival idea--go figure--like Survivor, or Stranded in Mrs. W's class... If I was teaching this year (just moved for husband's job transfer), my theme would be Indiana Jones... As far as a theme around a fresh start, can you connect that to any of your social studies topics? Exploration? How exciting to be in a new school!
Hi David. We are in a fairly similar situation, but my school will not open until December! In fact, I am about to go into a meeting to finailze furniture choices in just a minute. I also teach social studies at a rural school in Nebraska. (Are there any other kinds of school in Nebraska??!!!???)

My students get a little nervous around technology so I am breaking them in slowly. I am also learning so this is OK with me. I am having my students write a biographical entry in the class wiki. (www.valtsvirtual.wikispaces.com -----I think it is still viewable to nonmembers.) I'm teaching online classes as well so the wiki is designed to bring my f2f and online students together.

I also set up a Ning for the students. I don't know if that is an option for you, but it is worth looking into. Since you are a teacher you can have the advertisements removed at no cost. Same thing goes for the wikispaces wikis.

I blog at www.bethstill.edublogs.org Do you have one to use to communicate with other educators?

Good luck!
Glad to hear there are people in Nebraska working to greatly increase technology in schools. I do have a blog mrkampmann.edublogs.org but it is more for communicating with my students and their parents.
How funny! I had absolutely no idea you were from Nebraska when I posted my first comment! I put the comment about "Are there any other kinds of schools in Nebraska?" because most people think of when they think of Nebraska is covered wagons and sod houses. There are several educators from Nebraska that I follow on Twitter. Its always nice to meet other teachers from Nebraska.

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