A short reflection on the Holocaust

Recently in the History Society I asked students what they would like to study. A huge amount of students asked to study World Wars and in particular the Holocaust. The reason for this was the promotion and coverage of the Holocaust Memorial Day on the news and over social media.

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The amount of coverage of the Memorial Day is noble as it does raise the hope that mistakes made can ensure people are aware of the injustices that occurred in history, and not to be repeated again.

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However, despite this report it does well to view recent FBI reports that it is the Jewish community that still the most persecuted religious community in America (reported attacks). To realise and hear that the Jewish community is still being persecuted despite the atrocities committed against the Jewish community highlights how we may not be learning from our past mistakes.

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When teaching about World Wars or the Holocaust it is important to remember that there is still injustices occurring the world despites our best attempts

Storybird

 

 

storybird

 

web2.0

 

Storybird is a Web 2.0 Tool which is an excellent tool for encouraging literacy and creativity in the classroom.


 

In a learning scenario, “starting with pictures” is powerful: it stirs the emotions while it engages the brain and jumpstarts students into their text, avoiding the blank-page syndrome. And it’s effective.

blank page

 

As stated on their website it allows students to overcome blank page syndrome which they can suffer when they feel pressured and overwhelmed when trying to think outside out the box when it comes to essay writing and creative lessons.

 


 

Visual storytelling for everyone.

A platform for writers, readers, and artists of all ages.

As storybird is free to use and an accessible platform for all ages it could encourage students and family to create a story – which allows students families to feel more connected in their students learning.

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Also, it allows for communal projects and collaborations between both students and classes. This cross over can led to a library of books which can be sold and published if it’s wished through the paid feature to download and sell a book created. This incentive to allow students work to be sold and publish work can not only build up the students and schools portfolio but raise much needed funds for schools.


 

A massive attraction of Storybird is that it can be used with any devices, whether it be a phone, a tablet, a laptop, a netbook or a school computer.

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One other feature which I would encourage when using storybird is the use of paragraphs. For History and English paragraphs play a huge part in the layout of essays and the overall presentation/impression mark.

 

 

 


 

no collection data

One other feature of storybird which makes it very attractive in a classroom and school setting is due to the simple fact that it’s a private website no data is collected. A rising problem with websites is the collection of data and the risk this poses for users in the future.


 

Also, incase you missed this little bit of information earlier – it is free to use!

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For more on storybird check out these resources!

                                                                                                                    prezi logo https://prezi.com/kmgpwvqpwde7/introduction-to-storybird/

 

Web 2.0 – History Hub

http://historyhub.ie/

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Another great history resource is History Hub.

History Hub is a great resource for senior cycle history and even an undergraduate standards.

It has excellent resources for Junior and Leaving Certificate history and with the 1916 Rising coming up listening to Podcasts is an excellent way to engage students in the classroom and get them motivated in helping commemorate 1916.

Additionally, one feature of History Hub which I enjoyed is their From the Archives section of their website. More and more it’s noticeable that students are losing out on engaging with primary and secondary sources as we are teaching for an exam. Though true it’s great to be able to use primary sources from archives whereas possible.

(Images of the 1916 Rising aftermath)

Additionally,for T.Y. and senior cycle history students can use the website to get ideas for Research projects and topics.

Another simple fact about History Hub which makes it worth checking out is it’s updated regularly and they have a mailing list which you can subscribe to. I found this idea appealing as I sometimes forget what website I saw a great resource on but if I’m on their mailing list a quick search of emails usually turns up what I was looking for.

Where have all the teachers gone?

Reading a recent article from tes.co.uk. Upon reading a recent article from tes.co.uk I became slightly alarmed by the opening paragrapgh,

Last week, PGCE history courses run by some of the most prestigious universities in the country, including mine, faced closure because a national limit for the number of trainee teachers had been reached.

Closing universities because they had reached their national limit? Shouldn’t a greater demand highlight the need to keep universities open?

Further reading of this article has astounded and open my eyes to the world of how education can be repeatedly underestimated in it’s importance and value in society.

However, according to the article there was a

“Twitterstorm” created by those deeply concerned about the threat to these PGCEs, and the potential of not being able to recruit excellent candidates, helped the Department for Education to think again.

This again shows the importance of teachers communicating with each other online can have an impact.


 

Again, another point  which caused more concern was the mention of History and English as subjects once again coming under scrutiny. Again and again history is a subject that is being threatened despite the need for history in our schools today. We need to educate students about the past in order for them to understand how and why the world is the way it is today. Once again, I’ve been left feeling that the importance of history in schools today is being underestimated.


 

Though this article is focusing on education in England it is a concern as it highlights how teachers and subjects are being threatened by the shift in society. Should we in Ireland be conscious of what’s happening considering the recent outburst surrounding Religious Education last week?


 

The concerning article if you wish to read about it: https://www.tes.com/news/school-news/breaking-views/governments-misguided-recruitment-policy-promotes-anti-intellectual

 

 

Key skills – Being Creative

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One of the key skills on the Junior Certificate is Being Creative.

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The key elements in regards to Being Creative are:

1.  Imagining
2.  Exploring options and alternatives
3.  Implementing ideas and taking action
4.  Learning creatively
5.  Stimulating creativity using digital technology.

Keeping this in mind – I want to look at Web 2.0 tolls which might fit into this theme of Being Creative!

 


 

@PowToon

powtoon

 

1.Imagining

4.Learning creatively

5.Stimulating creativity using digital technology.

 

Powtoon is a creative tool which I think fits this category of the Key Skills perfectly! Though I have only been using @PowToon recently – I find it has allowed be to be very creative and interactive with my lessons.

I have made three Powtoons so far and each has been easy to create and use in the classroom. No ads, no huge long trail, easy demo and best of all engages the students!

So far, it’s been a huge hit with the students as they are amazed that they can create a shirt video and have different elements come in at certain times. (Santa waving has been a huge hit with 1st years)

Additionally, I feel it’s also a great starting point if you are doing multimedia with a class as sometimes they are overwhelmed using Windows moviemakrer and other editing online products.


 

@historyepics

history

These are two web 2.0 tools I would highly encourage use of if trying to embrace the key skills into the classroom if teaching history.

According to the Key skills document:

Photos can be used in language classes, History, Geography, and lots of subjects to develop students’ capacity to imagine what it would be like to be in that moment. You might use historic images of people and events, or current images of people who are experiencing challenges or triumphs and ask students to imagine what they would think, feel and do if they were in the picture. Students might choose a character from a photograph and take on the role. Other class members can then question them in role. Or each group might be given a photo mounted on a large sheet of paper and then write what they think the character in the photo might be thinking and feeling.

21classes

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Just finished a presentation on 21classes this week!

Will post our reaction and overall impression of 21classes!

For those curious what 21classes is and the suspense of an updated post is too much. Please feel free to check out the website: https://www.21classes.com/


Recently we were asked to do a presentation on the web 2.0 technology platform 21classes.com.

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Though over 40,000 users are using 21classes (which a huge percentile being for educational purposes) overall the research from our group and using of 21classes has prompted us to think it may be a good blogging platform but there is better out there.


 

That being said there were positives to 21classes.

  • One of the main reasons why people would use 21classes had to be the privacy settings and spam protection which is ideal.
  • Additionally, another huge benefit of 21classes is that your students do not need an email account to sign up. However, these features only become apparent after you have paid the monthly fee. Though it is a small amount at 8.95 a month per class and 33.98 for unlimited amount to one teacher – it does have huge drawbacks.

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  • From researching active 21classes blogs I noticed that I could access student’s works which was a huge benefit if I was a relative or friend who wanted to see what they are doing in class. Also, it would be a reflective way for students to engage with each other and possibly motivate students as to how much work they need to do.
  • Drawback as students can see each other’s work – which could lead to plagiarism – which would be distressing to students who put a huge amount of work into their work and will lose confidence if they feel their own work will not be private and at the scrutiny of their peers.
  • However, one huge benefit of 21classes for the students is that they can upload and personalise the 21classes page to their own liking. Though this is a great feature – this feature is available on other blogs and is more accessible to do.
  • Following the slides below you can see how difficult was to upload. If you have the time and resources 21classes was good.
  • Though 21classes says they offer a blogging community run and controlled by a teacher students can still change the security settings without the teacher noticing which we thought was a huge drawback.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christmas Music

Christmas Music

Many schools are beginning to prepare their Christmas Carols.

If you’re starting to prepare and unsure of what could be used here a few suggestions you may find helpful.

 

If you have students who are interested in pitch perfect – maybe try and encourage them to do a Christmas acapella version of Christmas classics!

Additionally, this modern twist may attract some shy singers who don’t want the limelight. Also, it will spice up the usual Christmas Carol and give an interesting twist to those Christmas Concerts and Masses.