Friday, May 29, 2015

Moonshot Application

So I just applied for Google's "Moonshot" project which will bring teachers together in July in Amsterdam to tackle projects that will transform education.  The application is woefully short which makes me wonder if an algorithm will knock out the first group (esp. since it is due June 26th and winners will be contacted just three days later).  Either way I am always up for doing something that could be a game changer.  Not applying means you can't go and applying means you have more than a moonshot!

Here is the application.  Good luck.  

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Add Sound and Annimations to a Google Presentation

One of our teachers just asked me how to add sound to a Google Drive presentation. I like this tutorial explaining the answer as it shows how you can actually go to a specific spot in a video. Therefore when you click on the spot on a slide it will play exactly what you want.  For example, if you click on this link, you will go exactly to the part of the video above that tells how to get to a specific spot in the video.

While we are at it the teacher also wanted to know how to add in animation which is done in the video below.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

School is Not Out for Summer on the Blogs!

So most of you would laugh that my seniors are not finished until June 10th and my undergrads not until June 18 - yes the 18th!  But I also teach during the summer so this blog is always being updated all summer, so if you want to keep finding out new things then keep coming all summer.  

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Summer Assignment for AP Economics

So first a confession.  For years I gave my students summer assignments.  Heck one was about local landmarks which is how I found out about the church I eventually got married in.  But I no longer give summer assignments as I know they are often done early and forgotten or copied when done late and that the best learning occurs during the year.  But for those of you who do give them, here are a few suggestions.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Search for Ideas on my Blogs

I was on a Facebook page for teachers the other day and one of the educators mentioned using my site to search for lesson plans and ideas.  It made me smile as that is exactly one of the uses for this page.  Consider that between my four blogs (US history, World history, US and Comparative Government, Economics) I now have over 6000 posts since 2008.  Even the "baby" among my blogs, econ, has 250 posts in the last year!  So if you are looking for content, technology or pedagogy, hopefully I have it.  If not, write me and I'll look into it.   Otherwise look in the upper left side of this page and put what you are looking for in the search box.

Next up will be summer assignments (which you can already search for and see what I posted for last year).  

Friday, May 15, 2015

Join Me on EdChat On Tuesday at 3 pm EST

I am going to be presenting on EdChat on May 19th from 3 to 4 pm EST.  I will be focusing on individualizing instruction in the classroom using technology (yes, focusing on some key concepts from my book).   You can sign up for the class for free by going here.   You will then be sent a link for our online platform where we will meet.  At the appointed time, you'll just need to sign in and then I will make a short presentations, we'll break into groups and then I'll also take your questions.

All three of my preps this year are being flipped so I am really getting into it which is good after four years of practicing the "craft."  If you joined me for the #edchat, then the eight minute video above detailing all of the steps and what to do in the classroom after you have done your flipped lecture might be of help to you.

Here is an example of a flipped video, the actual Google form we used and the interactive assignment that followed in class.  Below is the PowerPoint I am using for my presentation. 

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Ken Halla's Summer In-Service (so far)

If you want to take a summer in-service with me this summer, there are a number to choose from below.  Click on the links to sign up and email me at if you want me to help you with one.

Monday, May 11, 2015

H&R Game to Help Your Students with Personal Finance

H&R has a promotion where students can play their personal finance game.  The teacher registers and gives the accounts to his/her students and it gives lots of real world scenarios.  Here is information about it and here is the actual signup page.  Students can also qualify for scholarship money from H&R Block.  

Sunday, May 10, 2015

First Assignment of the 2015-16 School Year

So this is a big week as my students are in the their final preparations for their AP Micro and Macroeconomics' exams.  But as we get in our final review, I just saw this article in the WashPost looking at the economics of the water shortage in CA.  It argues that if the Colorado river dried up, it would eliminate 16 million jobs.   The above (if you want to tie it to government) video has one amazing fact stating that 90% of war torn areas in the world have water shortages (think Iraq, Syria, Lybia, etc.)

So my thought is that this article could have a recurring theme in my class.  For example, if the supply of water goes down, what impact does that have on price and quantity.   If it cuts 16 million jobs, what change occurs in wages.  What would that do to inflation and would that mean the central bank would pump in or take out money? How would that impact foreign exchange?   If some group comes up with a cheap way to desalinate water, what would their monopoly look like?  And on an on. I may change my find five times before September 8th (yes, that late) when we start the new school year, but at least I know I am looking for something to which I can continually refer all year and I may have found my answer.  

Saturday, May 9, 2015

@TrevorPacker for AP Updates

Most people who teach and AP course know that Trevor Packer is the head honcho for all AP subjects.  If you follow him on Twitter he will Tweet when the College Board has released the FRQs for your subject.  Laster in the summer (late July) he will release the statistics on each exam such as passing percentage, percentage of 5s, 4s and more. 

FInal Study Aides for the AP Micro and Macro Exams

Here are the most popular review flash cards on Quizlet for micro (top) and macro that you might want to give your students as a final review for the AP tests on Thursday and Friday. 

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Learnerator for Last Minute Review

For those who want more studying for your students before the AP exams next week, Learnerator has lots of questions for AP Micro, Macro, Comp and US Government (among others).  

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Join Me on EdChat

I am going to be presenting on EdChat on May 19th from 3 to 4 pm EST.  I will be focusing on individualizing instruction in the classroom using technology (yes, focusing on some key concepts from my book).   You can sign up for the class for free by going here.   You will then be sent a link for our online platform where we will meet.  On the appointed time, you'll just need to sign in and we can chat.  

Monday, May 4, 2015

Where You Grow Up Determines Your Salary

The NYTimes has a synopsis in this and this article discussing the work of economists Raj Chetty and Nathaniel Hendren who stipulate that where you grow up has a substantial impact on your income in your twenties.  This follows on the work of Robert Putnam that I posted about here.

In the this article if you type in your area in the US, you can see how much living there adds to your salary by the age of 26.  So my county of Fairfax, VA adds over $315900 compared to the national average.  Just a few miles from me in Prince Georges County, MD, it only adds $500 and in Baltimore City, the worst in the US, it means you will make 451o less than the national average by the time you are 26 years old,  never mind as you get older.   I would content this numbers are nominal since it is very expensive to live in Fairfax and perhaps a real (as in inflation numbers) would be more helpful.  But, nonetheless, one gets the message loud and clear from this study.

This research is bolstered by others that stipulate that connections help people rise up so living in an area with jobs and connections to ones nearby certainly make a difference.

As my AP kids get ready to finish out micro/macro with their exams next week, I believe we will start our finance unit with this study and then go from there.  

Friday, May 1, 2015

AP Score Calculator

Every year I tell my kids that they have to get a 60% on my tests and the final to be in the 3 range and slightly more than half on the FRQs.  Well this AP score calculator by AP Haven does a pretty good job of proving me correct, except that it actually uses released tests you might be using to show your students their score.  It has everything on there except for AP US (since there are no tests to correlate to it).  Thanks to Doug Zywiol for the heads up on this one.