Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Is it Time to Stop Averaging Grades?

By St. Gil, Marc, 1924-1992,Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=17119541
Educational consultant and author, Rick Wormeli, makes a strong case that it does not make sense to average grades. He suggests that finding the mode might be better. Consider this data:
Cheryl gets a 97, 94, 26, 35, and 83 on her tests, which correspond to an A, A, F, F, and a B on the school grading scale. When the numbers are averaged, however, everything is given equal weight, and the score is 67, which is a D. 
Wormeli argues that this is not an accurate measure of Cheryl's grades.

The same logic applies to averaging two scores on the same test. Doesn't the student show mastery on the material if he or she scores higher on the second test. And if so, why then should we average the two scores?

In addition, doing away with averaging should cut down on students trying  to game the system.
[It] will help eliminate teacher concerns about students who “game” the system when their teachers re-declare zeroes as 50s on the 100-point scale. These students try to do just enough— skipping some assessments, scoring well on others—to pass mathematically. 
It would be nice if our electronic grade-books would give us an option to find the mode instead of the average.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Walking the Silk Road: PBS NewsHour Clip

Studying the Silk Roads?

Here's an interesting clip from the PBS NewsHour about Paul Salopeek's walking tour of the original Silk Road.

Salopeek is a journalist who is on the fourth year of a walking tour around the world.

The interview reminds us of the importance of the Silk Roads in transporting goods and ideas and also of the unforgiving topography of the deserts and mountains  that made up much of the Silk Roads.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Edward R. Murrow Describes Buchenwald

Here's a great clip you might want to bookmark for next year when we teach World War II and the Holocaust.

Friday, June 16, 2017

PBS to Premiere Michael Woods' "The Story of China"


Michael Wood's "The Story of China" will premiere on PBS on Tuesday, June 20th.

The  series includes six episodes:
  1. Ancestors (June 20th)
  2. Silk roads and Ships (June 27)
  3. Golden Age
  4. The Ming
  5. The Last Empire
  6. The Age of Revolution
You can see the first episode below.  I found it on Daily Motion.

The Story of China website has some great interactive features including a quiz on the different dynasties, a timeline, and an interactive map.

The website also includes some classroom resources. For example, a lesson on Confucianism and the Analects includes the appropriate segment of the video in which Michael Wood discusses Confucianism, along with a background essay and discussion questions.

The Magna Carta: Summary of its Significance

Here's a terrific three minute summary of the significance of the Magna Carta from the British Library.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Join the AP World Summer Book Club

Interested in learning more about world history.

Join the AP World Summer Book Club starting in July. The discussion will take place on Twitter and Matt Drwenski, a host of the world history podcast called On Top of the World will host the club.

Readers can vote on one of four books under consideration here on Twitter.

The four books are:

Pacific Worlds, Ken Matsuda


Sapiens, Yuval Noah Harari


Empire of Cotton, Sven Becker 


The Many-Headed Hydra, Peter Linebaugh

Saturday, June 3, 2017

20th Century History: Terrific Online Resource

The Frank Smitha website offers a great resource for the 20th century.  You will find macro histories of important  topics that include colorful maps and images.  They might be useful as reading assignments in AP World or even regular world history.

Categories include 1901 to the Peace Treaty of 1919, the Middle East, Depression and War, Science and Philosophy and Religion.

Click on the Mexican Revolution in the first category, 1901 to the Peace treaty of 1919, and you will find an excellent macro history that includes the overthrow of Diaz and rise of Don Francisco Madero.
Mustafa Kemal, national hero who changed Turkey and won the title Ataturk

In a section on the Middle East, called Turkey and Islam, the authors consider the fall of the Ottoman Empire and the rise of Ataturk.

Mustafa Kemal, national hero who changed Turkey and won the title Ataturk

Thursday, June 1, 2017

2017-18 AP History Changes


Wow! AP Central has made some changes for AP World, US, & Euro!

No more synthesis!  Students no longer have to come with synthesis.
Other changes:
  • Ten more minutes added to the DBQ
  • a single rubric for the long essay
  • Clearer rubrics

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Animated Map: Imperial History of the Middle East

Here's a terrific imperial history of the Middle East from Maps of War. You can see who controlled much of the region from the Hittite Empire to the nation states of today.

Friday, May 26, 2017

History of Tea: Great TedEd Lesson

Did you know that tea was first cultivated in China over 6000 years ago?

Or, that it was first eaten as a vegetable?

By the time of the Ming Dynasty, China still a held a monopoly on tea and it became one of China's three main exports along with porcelain and silk.

Britain's interest in tea eventually led to a trade in opium.

This short TedEd lesson reviews this history in an engaging way.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Review Aids for WHII

Here some links to released tests and other review aids for the Virginia SOLs.

WHII Sol People Review


Here's a great review of all the 95 people Virginia students need to know in World History II.

The review starts with the Renaissance and continues to the present. Each card has a person's image with a name. You can flip the card for that person's contribution. It's a good way for kids to review these people.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

A History of the World, I Guess: Bill Wurtz's CLEAN version

Here's an engaging history of the world (this is the clean, school version--yes, there's a not-so-clean version).

It was made by Bill Wurtz who also made a history of Japan that was released in 2015 and  earned over 3 million views on its first day. But be careful. Look for the clean version before showing it to your class.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

WWII Teenage Forger Saves 1000s of Jews: Great Short Documentary


This excellent short sixteen-minute documentary from the New York Times tells the story of a young teenager during World War II who saves thousands of Jews by forging passports for them.

The New York Times Learning Network has a lesson with questions to consider about the film.

The accompanying essay, If I sleep before I Die, is great story for student to read after viewing the documentary.

Friday, May 5, 2017

AP World Kahoot Review: Monday, May 8th

Benjamin Freeman, who maintains Freeman-Pedia, a terrific website with resources for world history, will host an AP World review Kahoot on Monday, May 8th, at 7:00PM EST.

Students can log in to play by going to Freeman's site here.