Friday, December 29, 2017

Resources for Teaching Current Events and Religion

Teaching current events?  Here are some resources that I put together for a current events elective. You'll find resources for fake news, migration and refugees, the Middle East, and white nationalism.
And if you teach world religions, here are resources that I put together for each of the different religions.  They include lessons plans, links to videos and video clips, and links to other websites. You'll also find information about methodology for teaching religion from The Harvard Literacy Project.
Finally,  if you teach indigenous religions, especially Native American religion, you might find this unit plan helpful.  The plan includes four lessons: one on the features of Native American religion, one on the Native American encounter with British colonists, one on the colonial effort to reeducate Native Americans and convert them to Christianity, and one on current issues affecting Native Americans.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Transatlantic Slave Trade: Online Data Base & Talk of Nation Interview

Here's a great episode of Talk of the Nation about the transatlantic slave trade.

 The hosts interview the author of a book called Atlas of the Transatlantic Save Trade by David Eltis and David Richardson.

David Eltis also created an online data base of the slave voyages.

Both the interview and the online data base might be interesting to adapt for students.   The online data base includes some terrific maps as well as lesson plans.

Friday, December 22, 2017

1750-1900: Topical Video Reviews

Here are some terrific short videos about specific topics between 1750 and 1900 from another teacher.

Topics include the Scientific Revolution, the Enlightenment, the Industrial Revolution and  the development of capitalism and communism.

They come from Mr. Byrd whose YouTube channel also includes topics in psychology.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Use Playbuzz for Formative Quizzes

Playbuzz allows you to create  a variety of fun quizzes.

Here's one I created for the inventors and thinkers of the Industrial Revolution. It's called a "gallery quiz."

But you can also create quizzes using flip cards and you can create a poll or a ranked list.

Embed the quizzes in Blackboard or simply put the link in Classroom.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

The Difference between Communism & Socialism: Great Clip

Here's a terrific explanation of the difference between communism and socialism from "Now this World."

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Herodotus: Awesome TedEd Clip

Bookmark this for next year or for review this year.

This great five minute TedEd clip  narrated by Mark Anderson outlines the importance of Herodotus as the first historian.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Free Virtual Database about International Affairs

Here is a terrific virtual library with all kinds of annotated data bases about international affairs.

You can search one data base with world news resources and links to international news outlets like Voice of America, Le Monde Diplomatique, or Radio Free Europe. These might be great for those of us teaching current events.

Another data base takes you to Global Cultural Issues with links to resources like the Globalist, a comprehensive daily online magazine about the global economy, politics and culture

A menu category called Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs takes you to a wide variety of resources. You can read about human rights in China or you can check out Human Rights Watch and find out how those rights are violated around the world.

The library is frequently maintained, receives worldwide use daily, and designed for teachers, scholars, and students.

It’s also free!

Monday, December 4, 2017

Sultan Mahmud I and his Jeweled Gun: Asian Art Museum Clip

Here is a very cool clip about the jeweled gun of Sultan Mahmud I, dated 1732-1733

It comes from the Asian Art Museum. Sultan Mahmud I was a sultan of the Ottoman Empire between 1730 and 1754.

The gun is amazing because of the various compartments behind some of the jewels. For example, you' see pen knife come out one compartment abnd a ceremonial dagger from another compartment.

Thanks to Joshua Fahler for the link.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Industrial Revolution Web-Quest

Here is a short web-quest about the Industrial Revolution. It includes five parts:
  • Inventions
  • Child labor
  • Images of child labor
  • Women in theIndustrial Revoltuon
  • Effects

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Implementing PBL: A Case History

Sammamish High School, a public school near Seattle, is trying to implement problem based learning throughout its curriculum.

Edutopia is documenting the five year process.

Here is one of several videos in which Sammamish High School teachers share some of the challenges involved in transforming their curriculum.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Nutmeg, The Spice Trade, and New York

God, glory, and greed. Those are the motives for exploration we learn and teach in world history.

The greed involved the money to be made on spices, especially nutmeg.  The Dutch East India Company formed to handle the trade.

Two video clips, one from the PBS NewsHour, and the other from National Geographic, review the importance of the spice trade between 1450 and 1750.

The PBS NewsHour clip, in honor of Thanksgiving, reviews the history of nutmeg. It came from one tiny Banda island in Indonesia called Run. The Dutch controlled the island and the nutmeg trade but the British went to war to gain control for herself. The treaty ending the war gave the Dutch  the nutmeg trade and ceded Britain control of New Amsterdam.

EAT, the Story of Food, also includes a segment on the history and importance of the spice trade. You can find the clip in the EAT video by scrolling to 11:49 minutes.

Monday, November 20, 2017

3 Reasons to Explore the Nanjing Atrocities 80 Years Later

Survivors of the 1937 Nanjing massacre pose for a photo during a ceremony in Nanjing on July 6, 2013; Han Yuqing/Corbis.
An original version of this post was published on November 20 on Facing Today, a blog by Facing History and Ourselves.

By Mara Gregory on November 20, 2017
Ms. Gregory is the International Project Manager at Facing History and Ourselves

December 13, 2017 will mark the 80th anniversary of the Nanjing Atrocities. Between December 1937 and March 1938, the Japanese Imperial Army invaded the city of Nanjing, unleashing a spree of violence, murder, and rape on thousands of women, men, and children.

Popular memory and history lessons often begin World War II with Europe in 1939. Few people know about the history of World War II in East Asia and the mass violence that took place in Nanjing two years before. As we come upon the 80th anniversary, consider these three reasons to teach about the Nanjing Atrocities.

Broaden your teaching of World War II beyond a European focus

Studying the particular history of the Nanjing Atrocities can help young people and teachers attain a more balanced and complex understanding of World War II and its legacies today. It can also widen students’ perspective and foster global awareness. Dr. Jing An, who uses Facing History’s Nanjing resource to prepare future educators as an assistant professor of social studies education at the University of South Dakota, states: “If teachers don’t teach these topics, generations will eventually forget they ever happened. This won't help students with their global awareness and it will deprive students of the opportunity to compare and contrast similar historical events that happened between different groups of people during the same time.”

Explore the range of human behavior

This history provides an opportunity to examine human decision-making in many forms. Studying the atrocities committed in Nanjing will help students and educators understand the impact of world events on the way that leaders think about their country’s place in the world and the way communities view themselves. It allows us to examine the consequences, played out in the decisions of leaders and individuals, that can arise when nationalism and militarism remain unchecked. And it allows us to explore stories of resistance and rescue, including those of the individuals of the Nanjing Safety Zone Committee, who risked their own safety to document the atrocities and rescue upwards of 200,000 Chinese nationals during the height of the violence.

Acknowledge a history that is often forgotten

Evidence of the atrocities exists in the testimonies of survivors, soldiers, and witnesses, as well as in photographs, films, and legal records. Yet this history is widely unknown outside of East Asia. At the same time, the differing ways this history has been treated within East Asia have important repercussions in contemporary geopolitics. Studying the events in Nanjing sheds light on the significance of historical legacy and collective memory, and the consequences when atrocities are forgotten or denied. The commemoration of the Nanjing Atrocities provides an opportunity to acknowledge and reflect on that horrific event, and to consider what steps we can take to avoid such atrocities in the future.

In commemoration of the 80th Anniversary of the Nanjing Atrocities, join us for a webinar on Teaching the Atrocities at Nanjing. To accommodate both US and international audiences, this webinar will be offered twice: November 29 from 8-9 a.m. US EST and November 30 from 3-4 p.m. US EST.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Does the Ancient Middle East Have Lessons for Today

Here’s a terrific essay about the similarities between the ancient and modern states of the Middle East. It might be a great assignment for students as a review of what happened in Asia after Alexander the Great died or for students studying the Middle East today.

In an essay for the History News Network, Philip Jenkins, professor of history at the Institute for Studies of Religion at Baylor University, argues that the ancient history of the Middle East is not that different from the chaos and terror that characterizes the region today.

Jenkins looks at the Seleucid empire in 200CE with its capital city just twenty miles from Bagdad. He notes that at its height, it was the most populous city in the world. In India, Seleucid power imported war-elephants, perhaps the most cutting-edge military weapon of the day. And the empire left a rich cultural heritage in science, a result of the Greek influence of the Seleucids.

The Romans defeated the Seleucids in 190BCE. The empire split up and outside powers worked hard to keep them divided. Their division allowed Greek conquerors to unite the Mediterranean world with central Asia and control the profitable textile and spice trade. “Then as now,” Jenkins argues, “greed for priceless raw materials drove political aggression and interference.

Jenkins goes on to show how Persia filled the vacuum produced by the break-up of the Seleucid empire, just as it seems to be doing today.

Jenkins is a great historian and his new book, Crucible of Faith: The Ancient Revolution That Made Our Modern Religious World, looks very interesting.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Globalization: Boeing as a Example--PBS Newshour

Teaching Globalization?

Here's an excellent clip from the PBS Newshour which shows how Boeing depends on the global market place to build its planes. (scroll to about 1:57 to start)

Boeing shows PBS economics reporter, Paul Solmon, a big table map with different parts of a Boeing plane from markets all over the world.

For example, the fuselage comes from Japan, the rudder from China,  and the wheels come from Britain.

The advantage of so much outsourcing, according to IMF chief economist, Simon Johnson, is that those suppliers  are likely to buy the completed plane.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

The French Revolution: Madonna & More

Here are three short entertaining clips about the French Revolution and Napoleon. 

The first reviews Napoleon's life in a three minute cartoon. Madonna sings about many of the events of the  French Revolution in the second clip, and the history channel reviews the effectiveness of the guillotine int he third clip.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Teaching Context and Synthesis

Teaching context or synthesis? Here's a short documentary on the impact of the Columbian Exchange that does a great job with both. 

I showed about 20 minutes of “When World’s Collide: the Columbian Exchange” and was able to point out to students a definition of context and synthesis, and  even a way to write a CCOT thesis.

After talking about contact in the New World, the host goes back to Spain and to Ferdinand and Isabella. He then provides context for Spain on the eve of exploration reminding us of wars of religion and the Catholic conviction of Ferdinand and Isabella. He then ties this context back to exploration saying that their religious conviction will have an impact on exploration and the New World.

We examined synthesis twice. First, the host notes that many indigenous Americans held on to some indigenous beliefs despite conversion to Catholicism. Where did this kind of thing happen in another part of the world? How about Islam moving into Africa?

Later in the video, the host describes the impact of the Potosi silver mines on Spain. We related the inflation on Spain to the inflation on Egypt when Mansa Musa made his pilgrimage centuries earlier.

Finally, the host notes that despite many changes with contact, some continuities in indigenous culture continued. I stopped the clip and reminded the kids that he just made a perfect CCOT thesis and asked them too look for evidence.

When Worlds Collide on Vimeo.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Foot Binding: Great Essay from Atlantic Magazine

Want to know more about foot-binding which began in China in the 10th century during the Tang Dynasty?

The Atlantic Magazine has a terrific essay about the origin and impact of foot binding.

Did you know, for example,  that it started when an emperor's concubine bound her feet for a dance. The practice spread as other women wanted to imitate her in order to gain the emperors favor.

And did you know that practice continued well into the 20th century. Pearl Buck wrote about it her best-selling book, "The Good Earth.
AGerbil - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Monday, October 30, 2017

The Story of the Buddha: British Museum

The British Museum has an excellent site about the Buddha.

You can read the story of the Buddha based on the museum's stone reliefs.

You can also explore The Great Stupa at Amaravati and play a game matching Buddhist symbols but you will need adobe shockwave to play.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Footbinding 101

Here's an excellent clip about Chinese foot binding that I found on EdPuzzle. It's just over two minutes.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

The Congress of Vienna: BBC Podcast

Here's an interesting podcast about the Congress of Vienna from BBC Radio. How did the great powers come to Vienna?  How did they decide in it? What were the turning points.

Greece & Rome: Two Awesome Video Reviews

Here are two terrific video reviews of Greece and Rome. 

The Greece review runs 18 minutes and the Rome review runs just over 20 minutes.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Zheng He Voyages

Studying the Ming Dynasty?  Here's a nine minute clip from Engineering an Empire about the treasure fleet of Admiral Zheng He along with a longer documentary.

Asia for Educators also has good resources for Zheng He. They have a section that outlines the Admiral's seven voyages. I copied that section and printed it out for students and gave them an outline map of Afro Eurasia and had students trace the routes.

Finally here's an excellent colorful map from National Geographic showing the voyages.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

What Makes the Great Wall so Great? TedEd clip

Here is a terrific TedEd video that reviews the history of the Great Wall and explains what makes it so great. You can view the TedEd lesson here.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Egyptian Scribes: Two Great Clips

What place in  ancient Egyptian society did scribes hold?  How did they come to write on papyrus and how did they do it?

Foy Scalf, an Egyptologist at the University of Chicago,  answers all these questions in this short three minute clip.
And here is another look at ancient Egyptian scribes from Smart History, which is now part of Khan Academy. Hosts Beth Harris and Steven Zucker examine a seated scribe made of painted limestone and crystal.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

PBL: 5 Keys to Success

Here is a great introduction to PBL from Edutopia.

The video reviews five key elements you need to be successful: establish real world connections, build rigorous projects,  structure collaboration, facilitate learning in a student-driven environment, and embed assessment throughout the project.

Edutopia has a short clip for each of the five elements.

Teach Content Vocabulary With Football!

Luke Rosa, a social studies teacher in Virginia, developed an interesting way to teach vocabulary. Below, he explains how he does it.
Courtesy of Luka Rosa

Student Teams

Here’s how it works.

I place students on teams of 4 (3 or 5 also works depending on your class load), and create a schedule. There are some great simple free schedule-makers online, including Playpass and League Lobster.

Students are given sets of 10-15 vocabulary words each week. I print them out in sets of 6 to a page that I cut up in strips and have students paste in their notebooks (see the example photo to the left).

We’ll then cover those terms in our lessons that week and students are responsible for defining the words in their notebooks. They can ether get the definitions from our lesson, look them up in a textbook, or find them online.
Game Day!

Game Day

Monday is game day! To make it exciting, I’ll have the Monday Night Football or Fox Sports theme playing as they’re walking in. Students take a vocabulary quiz based on those words from the previous week.

My quizzes are very short — just 10 questions and designed to only take the first 15 minutes or so of class. I make the answer sheet very easy to grade. I start grading them as soon as the first student hands it in. The answer sheet allows me to grade them quickly, so I can and usually have most graded before the last student even finishes!


Each student’s score goes towards their grade, but they also get combined to make their team’s score.

So, if the 4 students on the Giants combine for a 32 and they’re playing the Panthers who scored a combined 31, then the Giants win! So simple, but so much fun! I knew I had caught on to something when students began to tell their teammates, “You better do all your vocabulary this week. I don’t want to lose!” They get so competitive!

These are vocabulary quizzes and my students actually looked forward to them! Students would pop back in the next period to see if they won and check the updated standings I had on our bulletin board.


Each year, I make a few changes and find ways to differentiate based on my class levels. For my team-taught inclusion classes, students can take the quiz using their notebook page with the definitions (if they did them that week). I found this is a great motivational tool. When a student who didn’t complete his vocabulary that week opens to a blank notebook page, his teammates will let him have it. It also encouraged more critical thinking on answers than just memorization of terms. For my on-level classes, I will often project a word bank, but don’t allow them to use their notebooks. My honors classes might not get the help of either.

The Super Bowl 

You can have your “season” last as long as you like. I usually go about 12 weeks then move on to the playoffs and culminate with a Super Bowl. The playoffs have teams playing against teams in other classes, which gets a lot of of fun. Teams that lose still take the quizzes, but they’ll just count towards their individual grades. I’ll get a prize for the winning team like Chipotle gift cards or pizza after school.

This VFL strategy has been a huge success for my classes and I am sure it will be for yours as well!

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

What is Historical Thinking

Here is a terrific clip form on the elements of historical thinking.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Breaking News Generator

History teacher Russel Tarr designed an awesome "Breaking News Generator."

Students can use it to create a profile  of an important figure in history. They will have to think about the person's location, develop a title for the news channel, a headline and a ticker which summarizes an understanding the figure.  Finally, students upload an image.

Here's a sample I designed.

Other uses: Tarr suggests that students could produce a timeline of events and then provide a screenshot for the major events.

Students could also produce breaking news screenshots with a biased tone.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Student Centered Learning with Technology--Caitlin Tucker

English teacher Caitlin Tucker gave this terrific keynote talk to a recent MassCue conference(Massachusetts Computer Using Educators).

She urges teachers to create a student centered learning environment and explains how technology can facilitate that environment.

We see a clip of  a youth TedTalk one of her students made,  and an RSS animation  students made about why the people burned the books in Fahrenheit 451.

Tucker wants a student-centered classroom where kids are at the center of learning.  For example, she noted  that students who created the the RSS animation understood the transformation of society at the end of Fahrenheit 451 much better than if they had just listened to a teacher presentation about the shift.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

White Nationalism & Charlottesville: Teaching Resources

Here are some resources that I have collected over the past few days for facilitating conversations with students about white nationalism and the events at Charlottesville this weekend.

Harvard University School of Education tweeted some of these excellent resources.

Here are three interactive websites that review the history of lynching and slavery.
  • The Police Violence Map allows you to see the number of people who have been killed by police using interesting and engaging maps and graphs.


Here are some excellent analytical news stories about the tragic events at Charlottesville, race, and white nationalism.

Professor Walter D. Greason at Monmouth University tweeted  links to a number of excellent clips about the history of lynching in America, and a number of riots like the 1919 Chicago Police Riot.  You can find more of them if you subscribe to his You Tube feed called The Conversation Starts Today: Race and White Privilege.

Finally, This Social Justice website has a great list books about social justice categorized by age--elementary school, middle school, high, and adult.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

China's New Silk Road: New BBC Series

Here's a great new series from BBC about China's huge initiative, called One Belt, One Road, to open trade channels between itself and neighbors in both the east and the west.

It will include both land and sea routes, super fast trains on the land and huge container ships on the sea.

Why is China committing close to $1 trillion dollars to this initiative?  

According to The Economic World Forum,  one incentive is to improve the economies of poorer countries to the south. Improving these economies could help maintain China's economy.

For example, in the homeland of the Uyghurs in Kashgar, an ethnic Muslim minority that has often revolted against its marginal status, China has invested hundreds of millions with the idea that involvement in profitable trade will reduce violence.

One former US diplomat called the Chinese initiative, "potentially the most transformative engineering effort in human history," according to CBS News.

Here is a clip that reviews some of China's major projects around the world from the The Dailey Conversation like Africa's transnational electric railroad that runs 466 miles from Djibouti to Addis Ababa,  to a huge power plant in Pakistan.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Blended Learning with Stations

Blended learning stations may be a great way to individualize lessons and create smaller learning communities within the classroom.

Most of us work on a 90 minute block schedule already and plan three or four activities for each class.

Why not turn them into stations?  Students can move at their own pace and you don't have to wait for the whole class to finish an activity before moving on to the next.

And its easy for you as the teacher to move between the groups to answer questions and offer suggestions.

English teacher, Caitlin Tucker, explains how the stations might work in the five minute clip below.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Online Resources for Teaching the Middle East

Here are some great online resources for teaching the Middle East that I put together on a Weebly site.

I am teaching a current events course next spring and want to include a unit on the Middle East to help students better understand contemporary issues in the region.

One of the best resources I found comes from the British Council and the Social Science Research Council. ​

Its curriculum  includes 5 units to help World History high school educators teach about the Middle East and North Africa in their classrooms. 

Curricular themes include Women & Gender, Plural Identities, Empire & Nation, Political & Social Movements, and Arts & Technology. 

These units include terrific primary and secondary sources and good lessons for students to evaluate and analyze them.

And Teach Mideast has country profiles with information on geography, history and government, and culture. You can see an overview of each country in graphic form like the one below for Algeria.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Understanding the US & Iran

Here is an awesome summary of US & Iranian relations by UNC Professor, Dr. Charles Kurzman.

You'll learn the history of Iran from the revolution in 1906 to the overthrow of Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh in 1953 to the Iranian Revolution in 1979.

Here is a link to a student video guide for the clip.  And here is a teachers guide.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Importance of Salt: Big History Clip

Why is salt so important in the development of civilization? Why did the Romans pay their soldiers in salt?

Here is a terrific two minute clip from the Big History Project that explains salt's preservation powers and its influence on our vocabulary.

Salami, for example, comes from the Latin word "SAL"or "salt." And so do the words "sausage," "sauce, and "salsa".

The host also points out that since salt saved lives by preserving food, it also led to salvation! 

Saturday, July 29, 2017

River Civilizations: Two Awesome Websites

Two websites, both ideal for creating web quests, review river civilizations.
  1. The River Valley Civilization Guide: This website has great short summaries on the economy, social structure, geography, buildings, tools, etc. for  the four river valley civilizations: Nile, Yellow, Indus, and Tigris-Euphrates.
  2.  The second site comes from the British  Museum.  Students can read about the adventure of King Gilgamesh, and explore different maps of Mesopotamia. They can also play an interesting game that teaches them the importance of water and irrigation by acting as a farmer in ancient Sumer.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

How to Spot a Misleading Graph

Graphs don't lie. They are based on cold, hard numbers. Right?

Wrong! They can be very deceiving but it takes careful analysis to see it as Lea Gaslowitz explains in this awesome TedEd talk, "How to spot a misleading graph."

This is terrific for teaching point of view (POV)!

My thanks to John Maunu for the link.


Monday, July 24, 2017

Çatalhöyük: Resources Including 3D Animation

Çatalhöyük or Çatal Höyük (pronounced "cha-tal hay OOK") is an ancient neolithic city located in south central Turkey. It  is important because it marks the transition from exclusively hunting and gathering  to domestication of plants and animals and tells us a lot about prehistory. Along with Jericho, it represents early neolithic communities currently under excavation and study.

Here are some resources to help with that understanding.
  1. The Çatalhöyük Research Project is a terrific site with images, maps and essays. The most interesting is the belief that religion may have originated at Çatalhöyük. That belief comes from the discovery of female figurines
  2. Khan Academy has a good site with background background.
  3. Finally,  here are three clips. 
    1. First is  a short seven minute clip that introduces the Neolithic site. 
    2. Second, you can watch a sixteen minute clip that goes into even more detail.
    3. Old Dominion University has a terrific 3D animation  which you can also see below.


Saturday, July 22, 2017

Indian Ocean Slavery: Excellent Essays

Here are a series of excellent essays (nine in all) about slavery in the Indian Ocean in the 17th and 18th Centuries.  All of them are written by Karen Williams for Media Diversified.  Williams works in media and human rights in Asia and Africa.

Some of the essays are ideal for the classroom, especially in AP World when we cover the early modern period between 1450 and 1750. Two of my favorites include "The Indonesian anti-colonial roots of Islam in South Africa"and "Slave narratives from Dutch colonisation in Indonesia."

Williams explains how Islam spread to South Africa in the first essay.  She notes that exiled Indonesian scholars and royalty first spread Islam among South Africa's poor population. She traces the establishment of Islam to two key figures. One, Sheikh Yusuf,  was part of the anti-Dutch resistance and a key figure among slaves. She suggests that he established the first Muslim community at Colony in 1697.

The other key figure in the development of Islam in South Africa was Tuan Guru, who came to South Africa as a prisoner from Indonesia’s Trinate Islands. When he was released form his twelve year prison sentence, he established the first Muslim school (madrassa) and mosque in the 1790's.

In the second essay about Dutch colonization in Indonesia,  Williams examines the nature of Dutch colonization through the Dutch East India Company (VOC).  Specifically, she looks at  the Dutch colonization of Batavia in 1621 when they razed the existing city of Jakarta along with the existing  royal residences. They established a huge slave market referred to as the "Batavian Institution."  We learn about that slave market through the movement of one South African slave called Doman.

Williams offers a fascinating tour of the Batavian slave market and how it forged "historical links across the Indian Ocean between Indonesia and South Africa."

Friday, July 21, 2017

Use Flipgrid for Student Videos

What is it?  A video platform for students

  • Flipgrid is a website that allows teachers to create grids of discussion questions that students respond to by recording a short video using their smartphone. Each grid is like a message board and the student's 90 second responses appear on the grid as a series of tiles.
Your class could be a grid and each grid could deal with one question.

Questions are short prompts and can include links to websites.
You can keep a completed grid private or you can make it available for your students to view.

Here's a link to instructions on how to use Flipgrid.

  • Flipgrid One is free. You get one grid and as many topics as you want
  • Flipgrid Classroom costs $65 a year and it gives you unlimited grids and responses.

Possible Uses
  • You might use Flipgrid at the beginning of the year and ask students to introduce themselves to the class. And it might give us teachers an easy way to match faces with names.
  • Debate a topic or show what you know
  • Could use as an exit ticket
Use with Google Classroom

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Is it Time to Stop Averaging Grades?

By St. Gil, Marc, 1924-1992,Public Domain,
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.