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Website News & Updates - 2009 Archives
www.studenthandouts.com > Miscellaneous > News Archives
What a wonderful year it has been!  Our biggest request has been for us to list our most popular links along the left sidebar, and that is exactly what we are in the process of doing.  Starting in January, there will be a much more extensive list of links along the left side of each webpage.  Enjoy, and happy new year!

Did the first quarter really come and go that quickly?  Are we really shopping for turkeys already?

Our latest major project has to do with PowerPoint presentations.  Several users have commented that they are using the older version of Microsoft PowerPoint (1997-2003), which goes under the file extension .ppt, as opposed to the latest version (2007), which goes under the file extension .pptx.

Here's the deal:  We create all of our PowerPoints as .pptx files.  Then we save them as .ppt files.  This would be terrific, except that a lot of the fancy new features in PowerPoint do not work in the 1997-2003 version.  The result is .pptx files that look terrific, and .ppt files that might not look so great.  The complaint from users downloading .ppt files has been that they have had to waste time cleaning up the presentations before they could use them.

We have a better solution.  And no, it doesn't require upgrading to the latest version of PowerPoint!  Instead, we have saved each presentation as a .pdf file which you can read and display using Adobe Acrobat Reader.  In fact, you can view and print the PowerPoints as .pdf files online (straight from your browser) without having to download them at all. 

While we were at it, we went ahead and created student notes hand-outs of the presentations.  Each page of the handouts looks like this: along the left side are three miniature versions of the slides, and along the right side are lines for student notes.  These files are also in .pdf format, meaning that you can view or view and print them straight from your browser.

This project involves going through all of our PowerPoints and "redoing" them.  We are more than halfway finished.  We thank you for your patience and ask that you bear with us for just a little bit longer.

The weather here is changing very quickly!  We hope that you are all well into the swing of things.  Improvements and additions to the site continue.  One of the new items this month is a PowerPoint presentation on the life and legacy of Macedonia's Alexander the Great: "Macedonia, Alexander the Great, and the Hellenistic World" PowerPoint Presentation. Enjoy!
A colleague recently proposed the idea of a newsletter for frequent users of this site.  His suggestion is that we send out these monthly updates in emails, including complete lists of the month's newly posted teaching materials.  We shied away from the idea because personally, we dislike mass emails, and tend to send email newsletters straight to the trash.  What are your thoughts?  Please use the contact button below to share your suggestions on this or any other relevant topic.

Is the summer really nearly over?  If you're feeling the heat and humidity that we are feeling in the northeastern portion of the country, then you must be nearly as eager as we are for fall to finally arrive!

This upcoming school year looks to be full of collaborative opportunities to work on contributions to this site.  As we pursue the idea of teacher-created materials to accompany standard junior and senior high school textbooks, we will add many more to our current listings.  Keep your eyes peeled!

JULY 2009

We hope that you are enjoying your summer vacation as much as we are.  The textbook handouts, begun last month, are about one-third complete.  If they are not completed by the end of summer, they will definitely be completed during the course of the school year (in time to keep up with course pacing).

JUNE 2009
School's out for summer!  There are a lot of things that we are working on, including creating handouts to accompany the latest Prentice Hall history textbooks.  We are first working on United States History: Reconstruction to the Present (2008).  These are terrific textbooks for use in the classroom, with a lot of nice interactive features on their CD-roms, but we like having something a bit more practical--even "simple"--when working with students.  Our first batch of handouts for this book, available here, are one-sided sheets containing the section checkpoints and terms.  These are ideal for guided reading use in the classroom or at home.
MAY 2009

Spring is all around!  Our eyes love it, but our allergies hate it. 

This past month, we finally got around to fixing up our blog.  We hope to update it regularly with thoughts, personal stories, etc., in a way that educators may find useful.

The newest feature is the Calendar section.  We created a new weekly planner for the 2009-2010 school year (it'll be here before you know it), dated monthly calendars through December, 2010, and a "What's so important about today?" feature.  The "What's So Important " pages feature each month, at a glance, with recurring holidays and today-in-history anecdotes.  The pages are not fully up yet, but we have created a lot of interesting, educational links for each posted event.  For example, the anniversary of the Bataan Death March links to additional information on the tragedy.

Please keep emailing us with your requests and suggestions, as we take them very seriously.  We will be very busy this summer uploading materials!  Okay, so we'll spend some time relaxing around the pool.  But on those rainy days, you can bet that we'll be at our computers.

APRIL 2009
This month, our focus is on terms in the social studies.  Many of our readers have requested handouts that do not require the assistance of textbooks or other reference materials (so that students need not carry these often heavy books home each day).  On the World History pages, we are adding numerous history- and geography-themed word puzzles -- crosswords, word searches, and decoding games -- which can be completed by students anywhere without the aid of textbooks.
MARCH 2009
We are off to a great start.  This month, our goal is on reorganizing the materials which we already have.  Presently, there are numerous materials listed in one category which should logically be cross listed in another (e.g., certain historical documents are found under Texts, but not under the appropriate Social Studies unit).  Once this task is completed, we should better be able to assess which areas need more materials and which are fairly complete.
What a month!  We have completely reorganized the American History section for high school by subdividing the NYSDE Regents Curriculum Outline into 20 separate and distinct units (or chapters) of study.  This change is designed to correlate to the precise units of study implemented by high school social studies teachers.  Much remains to be done, but what a terrific beginning!
Happy New Year!  We are hard at work uploading and creating new handouts, worksheets, and PowerPoint presentations.  We have revamped (and hopefully improved) our PowerPoints on the French Revolution and Napoleonic Era.  Enjoy!
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