Saturday, February 18, 2017

The Coming War on China: New Documentary

Here is a stunning documentary about the increasing tension between the United States and China, especially in the South China Sea, developed by journalist, John Pilger.  Called the Coming War on China, it was  trashed by conservatives because the film is so critical of the United States.

Here's what I learned in the first ten minutes. As the Chinese expand onto islands in the South Sea China, they see American destroyers and bases surrounding them.

And in 1946, Americans exploded a hydrogen bomb over the Bikini Atoll near the Marshal Islands to see how animals and people react to the blast. 
Here is the trailer for documentary.

World War I: Resources

World War I. Three good video overviews.

Specific events


  • Over the Top,  a terrific web module that tells the story of Canadians who fought in the trench in the war. You have to make decisions throughout the simulation.

Blackadder Comedy Clips

Monday, February 13, 2017

World History Curriculum Modules on the Mediterranean

Here's a great curriculum project called "Our Shared Past in the Mediterranean." It contains lesson modules on the Mediterranean in different time periods. 

I just downloaded a lesson from Module 5 about Mehmet Ali and reforms in Egypt in the 19th century. It includes a number of documents about Ali including a brief biography along with short sections on economic and political reforms. The module includes a graphic organizer and a flow chart.

The Memet Ali lesson is part of module five which covers reform and social change in the Mediterranean between 1798-1914. 

Another lesson in that module compares the Declaration of Gulhane and the Declaration of the Rights of Man. (The Gulhane Proclamation created the Tanzimat Reforms in the Ottoman Empire)

Module six includes a lesson on the Marshall Plan and Italy. Another 20th century lesson examines the impact of the quest for energy on the environment.

Our Shared Past is a "collaborative grants program." Curriculum developers include Craig Perrier, High School Social Studies Specialist for Fairfax County Public Schools, and Susan Douglas from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Marx's Theory of Communism Reviewed by the School of Life

Here the School of Life reviews Karl Marx's theory of communism.

While Marx's ideas have been used by dictators like Stalin and Mao, the host notes that Marx's diagnosis of capitalism "helps us navigate towards a more promising future."

Thursday, February 9, 2017

East Asian Philosophies and Religions: Summer Workshop

The East Asian Resource Center offers a four-day summer development program at the University of Washington at Settle in July.

The topic fits themes in both the World History AP World History. 

The course will focus on the the three Chinese teachings--Daoism, Confucianism, and Buddhism. It will also focus on the development of Shintoism in Japan.

The University will provide dormitory housing, meal allowance and a partial travel stipend of up to $300 for a limited number of out-of-town participants.

  • July 24 – 28, 2017 
  • 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. 
  • (Monday-Thursday) 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m (Friday) 
  • The University of Washington in Seattle
  • Priority application deadline: 11:59 pm PST on March 31, 2017

Monday, February 6, 2017

Visualizing Cultures--Image Driven Lessons from MIT

MIT has a terrific website called Visualizing Cultures with an image driven curricula about Asia. Their units on Japan and China are great.

For example, we are studying the Meiji Restoration in AP World. MIT has a unit called "Throwing off Asia."  It includes a section called Technology and Industry with a series of woodblock prints that shows different aspects of industrialization.  I copied some for students to review and note the different ways in which the woodblocks reflect industrialization and modernization.

Another unit called Black Ships and Samurai shows the different ways the Japanese saw the invading Westerners when Commodore Perry sailed into Tokyo Bay. It includes a chart for analyzing the images.
Some of the other units in the curricula include the first Opium War and the Rise and Fall of the Canton Trade System.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Shinto: Resources

Teaching Shinto, the ancient religion of Japan? 

Here are some very short clips that help explain it.
The first is a basic overview from Khan academy and runs about four minutes.

The second clip explains the three types of kami, or gods. These include ancestors, spirits, and souls of great people, all of whom coexist with us in the natural world.

The third clip explains the importance of the torii gate and the Shinto shrine. And finally, a professor explains the great myth of the Japanese sun god, Amaterasu who is the daughter of Izanami and Izanagi who made their daughter ruler of the sky.

Shinto overview form Khan Academy

The gods of Shinto

 A Japanese Shrine Explained

The goddess Amaterasu

Cecil Rhodes Discovers Diamonds: Clip from Queen Victoria's Empire

Teaching Imperialism? Here, Cecil Rhodes discovers a diamond mine in South Africa that will eventually become De Beers, the world's largest diamond company.

The five minute clip comes from the PBS series, Queen Victoria's Empire.

Opium Wars from CNN Millenium

Teaching imperialism? Here's the excellent eight minute clip from CNN's Millennium Series about the Opium Wars.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Queen Njinga Mbande - African Women You Need to Know

Studying the slave trade in World History?

Here's an excellent short clip about the Angolan Queen Njinga Mbande. She led the Mbundu people in present day Angola in the 17th century. She negotiated with the Portuguese and fought against them to protect her country's independence, which is why she is known as the "warrior queen."

And when the she first negotiated with the Portuguese, she refused to sit on the floor while her counterpart sat in an armchair. Her maid couched all fours so the queen could sit on her back and face her Portuguese counterpart on equal footing!

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Why do Sikhs Wear Turbans?

Sutori Digital Timelines

If you have never tried Sutori, you should. It's a great app and very easy for students to learn and master.

Students can create their own time timelines in history as well other subjects.

Check out this one on German and Italian unification by one of my students. Here's another.

And here's how Sutori works.
  1.  Create a free teacher account with your name and a password. 
  2.  Next, create a class and give it a name. Sutori generates a code for your class. 
  3.  Provide your students with the weblink to your class and code. 
  4.  Students then log in with a user name and password. 
There are plenty of possibilities for Sutori in other disciplines as well. In English, students might summarize a story or the development of a main character and in math, students might show the order of a math equation.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Teaching Context in AP World

Teaching context?

I have been working with students on context in AP World and trying to help them understand how to do it in their DBQs.

I was able to drive the point home when I showed them the first 15 minutes of PBS, Egalite for All about Toussaint L'Overture and the Haitian Revolution.

As the documentary opens, the narrators tell us a little about Haiti and then move to the French Revolution. I stopped the video and asked students why the narrator had moved to France. After all, this was a video about Haiti. I told them that the narrator was providing context.

And as the video progressed, I stopped it again to remind students that the development of context was not just a sentence. After all, the narrator of this documentary was spending five minutes discussing it.

Finally,  as the narrator moved back to Haiti, I stopped the video again and had students listen to the connecting sentence where the narrator connected the context to the Haitian Revolution.

It’s kind of cool when we can review these challenging concepts in different ways. 

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Understanding Middle Eastern Dress Codes

Decipher Middle Eastern dress codes and misconceptions with these two young Muslims from the video series, Ethnically Ambiguous.

It's terrific and only two minutes.

You can also check the other episodes in which Anna and Shereen tackle the culture and religion of the Middle East.

Nutmeg, NAFTA & Globalization

Look at the history of trade in big products like silver, sugar, spices, and gold.  All these products helped connect the world. But at what price?

This is the subject of a terrific essay by Amtav Gosh, in the New York Times called What Nutmeg Can Tell us About NAFTA. Gosh is author of numerous books, including Sea of Poppies and Flood of Fire,

Gosh reviews the nutmeg trade noting how it connected the world but at the cost of atrocities that included an attempted genocide." Indeed, the methods the British and Dutch used to gain control of the islands are horrific.

He concludes that there is no "inherent merit in connectedness," arguing that violence and death often accompany trade and deepens inequality.

Another example of violence and death associated with globalization was the opium trade.

According to Gosh, most people overlook this side of globalization and equate it with tolerance.  He suggests that "neither cosmopolitanism nor parochialism is a virtue in itself. We need to ask: cosmopolitanism in the service of what? Protectionism to what end?"

It's a terrific review of the spice trade in the early modern period (1450-1750) with interesting ties to the debate about globalization today.