It’s leap day. And start of MACE day. Which very simply means that today is a great day.

MACE, Mid-America Association of Computers in Education, hosts an awesome conference every March 1st. I’m heading up early to help with our ESSDACK booth and to join in on the pre-conference festivities.

I’ll be presenting a couple of times over the next few days but the one I enjoy the most is when I get to talk and share with other social studies teachers. Great conversations always break out about content and instructional strategies. This year I’m focusing on how 21st century skills, the Common Core, and technology can engage kids and improve learning.

And, yes, a short 45 minute presentation is not nearly enough time. So I’ll spend a bit of time highlighting five habits of mind that are crucial for our students to possess:

  • critical thinking
  • creativity
  • communication
  • collaboration
  • flexibility

But I’ll also spotlight a few tools, sites, and apps that can help support these habits of mind. Won’t have time for all of them but hope to encourage some sharing of what others use. (You can find the full preso and a complete list of links here.)

A few of my favs?

  • DocsTeach
    Four thousand National Archives primary sources, teaching resources, great tools to create your own lessons and the chance to build an online portfolio of your favorite stuff.
  • Teaching History
    The perfect place for social studies teachers to grow professionally. Trust me. You need to spend some time over there.
  • Edmodo
    Safe, easy to use, school friendly, Facebook social network clone.
  • Mixbook
    Create your own awesome online books, teaching materials, and perfect for student projects.
  • Mission US
    Two very sweet educational video games that doesn’t feel educational. Designed for middle school US history but I’d use ’em grades 5-12.
  • Readability
    Very handy tool for cleaning up websites. Makes for much easier online reading, storage of content, and printing online content.
  • iBooks
    The future, plain and simple. Digital content available anywhere, anytime is where we will all be in five years. Get on board now.
  • iTunes U
    Free instructional and learning content perfect for in-class use or 24/7 access. This is a no brainer.
What tools, sites, and strategies work for you in your 21st century classroom?
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