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This workshop explores technology-rich resources and activities that promote meaningful, standards-based learning. Explore ways to challenge students through real-world assignments that require little prep time, but promote creative and critical thinking in your subject area. Use technology to transform your classroom and meet the needs of today’s multi-sensory learners. Regardless of your subject area or technology skills, you’ll find lots of practical ideas to motivate your students. To learn more, read some of the book and articles, I've been reading.

To go directly to activities: Activity 1, Activity 2, Activity 3.

Explore the resources on this page:

Start with Active Participation & Cool Tools

real iconActivity #1
Why technology? How does technology enhance the learning experience? What makes it worth the time, effort, energy, and expense?
Explore REAL learning opportunities:
The Choices Program
Color, Contrast & Dimension
Literacy Center
San Francisco Symphony for Kids

Applied Arts

Early Childhood


Fine Arts: Art, Music, Dance, Drama

Guidance, Health and Physical Education

Library and Media



Social Studies

World Geography

US History

High School Tools
Resources in each subject area for high school.

Each year, The Condition of Education (2005) report from the National Center for Education Statistics summarizes the important developments and trends in education. Over the past two decades, 12th graders have reported a declining interest in school. While in 1983 40% found school work often or always meaningful, in 2000 only 28% reported it meaningful. Students who found courses quite or very interesting dropped from 35% to 21% from 1983 to 2000. Students who reported school learning as quite or very important in later life fell from 51% to 39%.

Schiefele, U., Krapp, A., & Winteler, A. (1992). Interest as predictor of academic achievement: A meta-analysis of research. In K.A. Renninger, S. Hidi, & A. Krapp (Eds.), The role of interest in learning and development (pp. 183-212). Hillsdale, N.J.: Erlbaum.

Choices: Explore the Past... Shape the Future
Explore history and current issues for the classroom through news resources on topics such as Iraq, Terrorism, Environment, etc.

REAL Questions

real iconActivity #2
Explore resources that will engage students and stimulate questioning. What makes these resources REAL (relevant, engaging, authentic, learning)? What are the characteristics of materials that promote questioning?
USGS Earthquake Program
Journey North - Migration Maps
Annals of Improbable Research
Pulitzer Prize
Nature Magazine
Organisms to be Classified
Read Write Think Student Tools - (Persuasion Map)
Ladies, Contraband and Spies: Women in the Civil War
Differential Calculus
42explore: Biographies
American Memory from Library of Congress
University of Virginia Digital Collections

Consider questions that aren't just "hooks," instead find the wonder in the materials and connect it to real issues and problems.

Ig Nobel Prize
These people have done something to make people laugh, then think. Explore the Annals of Improbable Research.

Nobel Prize
International award for physics, chemistry, medicine, literature, and peace. You can even play games and simulations related to the winning works.

Consider a Hook +. Create a game to explain a difficult concept to...? A friend, parent, child, senior?

Pulitzer Prize
Resources related to the Pulitzer Prize.

Teacher Tap: Book Awards
Links to book award websites.

Essential Questions

What are the key questions that teachers and students need to be addressing in schools? The following questions were adapted from Wiggins in his book Understanding by Design.

  • What's the heart of your curriculum
    Is history always biased?
    Does art reflect culture or share it?
  • What are the reoccurring theme?
    What makes a great book?
  • What questions raise other questions?
    In nature, do only the strong survive? Why?

Inquiry and questioning can be found throughout the curriculum:

  • Information inquiry
  • Scientific method
  • Historical investigation
  • Mathematical problem-solving
  • Mystery writing

Why is CSI for popular? Ask students to write an accurate crime story. Use digital camera evidence: record the crime scene, identify evidence, document the science testing. This involves writing, calculating and the scientific method.

Explore resources at the popular television program. Incorporate this website into a writing activity.

Habits of Mind

In the book The Power of Their Ideas (1995), Debbie Meier describes habits of mind that cross content areas:

  • Evidence - How do we know what we know?
  • Viewpoint - Whose perspective does this represent?
  • Connection/Patterns - How is this related to that? What causes what?
  • Supposition - How might things have been different?
  • Relevance - Why is this important? Who cares?
    • Extra: Know Thyself - What does it mean to me?

What roles did women play in the Civil War? What would you do?
Read Girl in Blue by Ann Rinaldi or On Secret Service by John Jakes
Explore Ladies, Contraband and Spies: Women in the Civil War from the Library of Congress

The Human Connection

What's the human dimension of your subject? Create a people connection:

  • Create a personality profile
  • Identify leadership qualities
  • Write about his/her inspiration
  • Nominate a hero
  • Compare people

Differential Calculus from Imaginative Education Research Group
This lesson explores the relevance of differential calculus.

The Ingenious Invention of The Comma from Imaginative Education Research Group
This lesson explores why we have commas.

Find information about three people who represent your course.

42explore: Biographies

Biographies from the Multnomah Country Library
Organized, annotated links<
Based on TV program with short bios.


An effective learning environment is able to balance coverage with understanding. How do you view this balance?

REAL Assignments & Assessments

real iconActivity #3
Explore resources that can be used with REAL assignments. What are the characteristics of assignments that engage students? What tools are effective in assessing student performance on these types of assignments?
Diary of Louis B. Hancock
42explore: Debate
Ben's Guide to US Government for Kids
Brown vs Board Student Project
Virtual Adventures
Teacher Tap: Virtual Field Trips
Birdhouse Network - Bluebird photos
Monterey Bay Aquarium Cam
National Park Service
Ellis Island Records
Angel Island
Literature-based WebQuests
Ology - Marine Biology
Center for History and New Media
Kids Learn
Escrapbooking: Blogging
WebQuest Matrix
National Math Trail

Design assignments that are engaging. Learning environments aren't just lessons, homework, or test preparation. They require assignments that get students excited and actively involved in the learning process. For example, rather than reading about Spanish Influenza epidemic in the textbook, start by going to the Center for Disease Control. Locate the current map on the flu season. What's this year's forecast? What's happening today? Write a diary entry for...? Support it with evidence. The, start with a diary excerpt and a problem. Where do you think Louise Hancock was living on October 15, 1918? What are the implications of this date? What's the Spanish Influenza Epidemic?

Epidemic Books: The Great Influenza, The American Plague, The Influenza of 1918, Life During the Black Death, Dr. Jenner and the Speckled Monster, Crispin, Fever 1793, Sweetgrass, A Time of Angels.

Student Engagement

Is this really important to the world and our students? Read Flow States and Student Engagement in the Classroom by David Shernoff. He conducted a study on student engagement.

Explore the following two books for more information on the importance of getting students into "the zone" including establishing clear goals, intensive involvement, complex challenges, and feedback on progress. According to Shernoff, student engagement involves concentration, interest, and enjoyment.

Csikszentmihalyi, Mihaly (1990). Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience. Basic Books.

Csikszentmihalyi, Mihaly (1997). Finding Flow: The Psychology of Engagement with Everyday Life. Basic Books.

The graph below is adapted from Csikszentmihalyi, Mihaly (1997).

Flow model


Ted Sizer stresses the importance of developing good intellectual habits.

  • Perspective - separating opinion from fact and appreciating differences
  • Analysis - examining and reflecting on arguments and weighing evidence
  • Imagination - searching new patterns and evolving views
  • Empathy - respecting and honoring reasonable views
  • Communication - listening as well as clearly sharing ideas
  • Commitment - recognizing the need to act and responding
  • Humility - know one's rights, debts, and limitations
  • Joy - sensing wonder

Make a Decision

Make a decision.

  • Our Policy - Paper or Plastic?
  • Out Tree - Pine or Oak Tree?
  • Global Warming - True/False?
  • Stem Cell Research - Yes/No?
  • Best Graph for Data - Histogram/Bar?

Debate an Issue

Explore current bills, policies, and issues related to course content.

42explore: Debate

National History School Debate Topic
Lists the national debate topics for the past five years including Education, Right of Privacy, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Mental Health Care, Ocean Policy, and United Nations.

House Committee on Science

Create Connection

Create a connection between a topic and the "real world."

Complete a Real History in the Real World Project.
Read Linda Brown You Are Not Alone Edited by Joyce Carol Thomas

Brown vs Board: Real History in the Real World
Seventh and Eighth Graders from Kansas created a great project on Brown vs Board. It includes interviews with the Brown sisters.

Build Virtual Adventures

Virtual Adventures
Explore, adapt, and create virtual adventures in your classroom.

Teacher Tap: Virtual Field Trips
Explore dozens of field trips. Then, learn to create your own.

Dispel Myths

Explore myths, evaluate resources, and identify bad math and science. Critique an opinion, explore organizations, or highlight a dissent.

In this Discovery Channel program, two brothers bust popular myths.

This is the most popular website to explore urban legends including email myths (i.e., some mature topics)

Some disasters attributable to bad computing
Three recent disasters caused by math mistakes.

Bogus Science from WebExhibits
Learn ways to identify bad science.

Highlight Dissent & Differences

Artists and musicians, poets, scientific discoveries, different perspectives, and different views. Use Ellis Island Records for the traditional way of thinking. Use Angel Island for a different way of thinking.

Explore and develop literature-based WebQuests to explore different perspectives.

The Depression: Esperanza Rising, Out of the Dust, Bud, Not Buddy, Grapes of Wrath, A Year Down Yonder, and Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry

Make Comparisons

Now and then, before and after, what if? situations are all good for making comparisons. For example, compare trading on the Silk Roads with trading in the same area today.

Work Together

Consider ways to use technology to cooperate and collaborate with a real-world audience.

Collect and Compare Data

Collect and compare data.

Globe Program
Collect, share, and analyze data.

Collect, share, and analyze scientific data.

Center for History and New Media
Use tools to build a survey or conduct a poll.

Be brave. Identify a poll where you side with the minority. Take an unpopular stand. Persuade your peers.

Exchange Ideas

Share and compare ideas, issues, and experiences. Connect for discussion. Use blogs and forums to share ideas.

United National projects and interaction.

Locate a classroom or project to join.

Friendship through Education
Participate in global activities and interactions.

Global SchoolNet
Lots of opportunities to connect with other schools. Go to the Project Registry for current topics.

International project to build connections among people around the world. Requires $100 subscription to join.

Learn to Question
Ongoing discussions by Boston Latin and International School of Prague students on a wide range of topics.

Look beyond "dead white guys." Seek out interesting books and article for discussion.

Teacher Tap: Discussion

Teacher Tap: Books

Escrapbooking: Blogging

Neil Gaiman Blog


Constructing a Lasting Peace in India and Pakistan
Tenth grade world history WebQuest using a Wiki for sharing.

WebQuest Matrix by Bernie Dodge
Organizes WebQuests by grade level and subject area.

Investigate the use of Chesapeake Bay as a resource.

Congratulations. Now Win!
Create a marketing campaign for a sports team.

e-Gallery of Tragic Heroes
Explore tragic heroes of literature and life.

Extreme Sports WebQuest
Plan a trip for a sports magazine.

Design a fitness program.

Get Me Out of Here!
Preparing for life.

Too Hot to Handle
Explore the issue of heatstroke and sports.

Teacher Tap: WebQuests
Explore, evaluate, adapt, and create WebQuests.

National Ed Tech Plan


REAL Resources

Textbooks provide well-organized, developmentally appropriate learning resources. These materials work great for some aspects of classroom instruction. However other resources are needed to provide up-to-date information, current events, and alternative perspectives.

News and Current Events

News websites, news groups, and blogs are just a few of the Internet-based tools used to access news and current events. Many television and radio stations are also available through the web. News aggregators are used for data mining and personalized news organization. Tools such as RSS, blogs, and "My" portals are great tools to help customize news.

Google News
News from google.

Headline Spot
News sources.

Teacher Tap: News
Links to news and information resources.

My Yahoo
Create your own personalized news resources.

A tool for news. Annette's example is at

Popular Science
Articles on science and technology topics.

Reference Resources

Reference resources include the dictionary, thesaurus, directories, maps, almanacs, encyclopedia, and calculators.

Teacher Tap: Reference Materials
Links to many sources of reference materials.

Information Please
Good source of general information.

Employment Spot
Locate information to find a job.

Library Spot
Find links to call the reference materials you need.

General place to start.



Auction sales. Design an ebay business.

Visual Resources

Visual elements include photographs, cartoons, line drawings, graphs, charts, and maps. Maps may be current or historical. They can be drawings, computer-generated, or photographs. Check out the map of Norfolk in 1895.

First Gov: Graphics and Photos
Government visuals for across agencies.

Teacher Tap: Visual Resources
Explores sources for photographs, drawings, illustrations, and other visual materials.

It's No Laughing Matter
Analysis of Political Cartoons.

Chemistry Comics
Comics dealing with the Periodic Table.

Gardner's Atlas of English History
Maps showing the Roman Empire through mid 1850s.

Pictorial History of the Locomotive (1899)
Shows trains from 1771 to 1899.

Railroad Maps from 1891 Grain Dealer's and Shipper's Gazetter
Maps of the railroad routes in the US and Canada including Norfolk.
Satellite images and maps.

42explore: Maps
Links to maps and activities.

42explore: Historical Maps
Links to historical maps and activities.


Both live and delayed (or archives) videos are available on the Internet. These may be downloaded or streamed.

Great video programming online.

Explore artisans at work including ceramics.

Math in Daily Life
Takes students through practical applications of math. Watch the online video series For All Practice Purpose: Introduction to Contemporary Mathematics.

Globalization 101: Ask the Expert
Short interviews with policy-makers on topics including the International Monetary Fund, Bush Trade Policy, Global AIDS Crisis, Workers' Rights and Free Trade in Central America, Spiritual Perspectives, International Trade. With lessons related to Globalization and key issues.


Audio can bring learning alive through sounds, speeches, music and sound effects. These may be downloaded or streamed.

Barbara Jordan
Audio clip from 1976 Democratic Convention.

Obama at the 2004 Democratic Convention

Lost & Found Sound from NPR
A wide range of sounds.

Lost & Found Sound from CBS
Musical memories, passionate yarns, war and struggle, family tales, moments in history, and more.

Multimedia Seeds
Lots of audio and video resources.

Primary Resources

Historical Documents from Bens' Guide to US Government (9-12)
Website includes Declaration of Independence, Articles of Confederation, Federalist Papers, Constitution, Bill of Rights, Emancipation Proclamation, and Gettysburg Address.

The Avalon Project: Documents in Law, History, and Diplomacy
Website provides collections of significant document from pre 18th century through today such as Federalist Papers as well as current topics such as September 11.

Ask Asia
Resources on all aspects of Asia.

Legacy Project
Explores scholarly and creative works from the 20th and 21st centuries. Focuses on the "enduring consequences" of historical tragedies.

Explore stories, audio, and photographs.

WW2 People's War
Contribute and read stories from WW2. Also research the time period through artifacts, maps, and other resources.

Teacher Tap: Primary Resources
Sources of primary resources, data, and statistics.

42explore: Oral History

42explore: Journal Writing

Data Sources

Government statistics, census information, science data, money matters, and calculators can all be found on the Internet.

Data and statistics for the government.

DataLinks from EconEdLink
Case studies and macroeconomic data for classroom use.

42explore: Statistics

42explore: Polls & Surveys

Expert Connections

Teacher Tap: Ask-An-Expert
Locate experts and design an activity.

Expert Central
Locate experts to answer questions.

Locate experts on Asia.

Stories of American Community
Explores life in America through photographers, radio producers, and folklorists.

Library of the Workplace
Explores connections between schoolwork and job activities. Answers the question, "Why do I have to learn this?"

Electronic Databases

Electronic databases are available in many school districts. These include topics such as SIRS, Gale Opposing Views and other great resources.

Electronic Databases
Information about electronic databases.


Biotechnology Australia
Explore six interactive activities for high school.

Amoeba Movies

The Mint
Information on earning, saving, spending, tracking, investing, and owing.

ReadWriteThink Materials
Web-based activities for communication arts.

Look-Listen-Learn Materials from ArtsEdge
Web-based activities for the arts.

Explores issues, idea, people, and performance in the theatre.

Using Electronic Resources

Locating electronic resources is only the first step in using these materials in the classroom. Use the following resources to help you evaluate, identify fact and opinion, analyze, and synthesize information.

Making Sense of Evidence from History Matters
Incorporate simple guides for Making Sense of Documents (i.e., oral history, films, maps, sense of numbers, letters and diaries, advertisements American Popular Song, photography). Examine Scholars in Action as they analyze resources (inventory, cartoons, songs, photographs, letter, speeches, stories, and newspapers.

Ideas for analyzing a controversial topic.

REAL Teaching

REAL: Relevant, Engaging, Authentic Learning starts with "teaching by doing".

Ill-Structured Problems

Real problems are complex and ill-structured. Provide learners with the foundations, skills, and help them locate information.

Facing History and Ourselves: Examining History and Human Behavior
Explores a wide range of issues. Watch the video about the impact of Facing History on his life. Also check the online area for teachers.

Interpretation and Guidance

Offer your students help in interpretation through guided activities.

Principles of Design: Harmony & Unity
Explores elements and principles of design and critiquing.

Contemporary Examples

Look for example in controversy (America by Jon Stewart and the Daily Show) or shock (George Carlin's When Will Jesus Bring the Pork Chop). For example, Carlin talks about euphemisms such as shell shock, battle fatigue, operational exhaustion, and post-tramatic stress disorder. Look up euphemism in the wikipedia.

Provoke Students

Start with something that seems simple... what group created the first democracy in North America? The American Indians! Watch 500 Nations. Visit the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington DC.

Teach by Doing

We talk about "learning by doing," why not "teaching by doing." Alfie Kohn (Nov. 2004) presents this idea in the article Challenging Students - And How to Have More of Them in Phi Delta Kappan.

Explore a teacher information inquiry blog at A Lighthouse in the Desert.


Think about your own thinking. Are you focused on learning (What am I doing?) or performance (How well am I doing it?)? What about your students?

In Feel-Bad Education: The Cult of Rigor and the Loss of Joy (Education Week, Sep 15, 2004), Alfie Kohn discusses need to put the happiness back in education. According to Nel Noddings (Happiness and Education), how students feel about themselves, their teachers, the curriculum, and the experience of school impacts learning. Rich thinking happens in places filled with discovery and excitement.

Workshop Survey

Please complete the Preworkshop Survey. Make your own survey.

Please complete the Postworkshop Survey. Thanks.

Book List

Classroom Instruction That Works: Research-Based Strategies for Increasing Student Achievement by Robert J. Marzano, et al

Differentiated Classroom: Responding to the Needs of All Learners by Carol Ann Tomlinson

Discovering and Exploring Habits of Mind by Arthur L. Costa

Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

Good to Great by Jim Collins

The Knowing-Doing Gap by Jeffrey Pfeffer and Robert Sutton

The Leader's Guide to Standards: A Blueprint for Educational Equity and Excellence by Douglas B. Reeves

Literacy with an Attitude by Patrick Finn

Seeking Meaning : A Process Approach to Library and Information Services Second Edition by Carol Collier Kuhlthau

The Skin That We Speak: Thoughts on Language and Culture in the Classroom by Lisa Delpit

Understanding by Design by Grant Wiggins, Jay McTighe

The World is Flat by Thams L. Friedman

Developed by Annette Lamb, 11/04. Updated 8/05.