Sunday, June 24, 2018

China's Golden Age: From The Story of China

The Song Dynasty and the  Golden Age of China

Michael Wood reviews China's golden age in The Story of China. 

Wood notes that Keifeng became the largest city in the world and shows the vitality of that city in the famous The Qingming Scroll.  Lamp lit streets, tea shops, book shops, restaurants, and music all characterized Kefeng in the ninth century.
Wood reviews inventions like movable type and the magnetic compass. You can watch or assign specific clips about these inventions at PBS Learning Media here.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

AP World Score Overview

Here's the AP World score overview for the 2018 exam from Trevor Packer. Almost 9% earned a 5, almost 20% earned 4's, and the number of 3's and 2's were similar at about 27%.  And 15% earned only 1 point.

You can see how students did on different components of the exam in the tweets below.

On the multiple choice, Packer notes that students did better on Period 4 than on period 3. Packer initially announced that he would split the course in 2019 and begin with period 4.


Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Muslim Heritage: An Awesome Resource


Studying Islam?

Here is a  terrific website that reviews the achievements of pre-Renaissance Islamic culture called Muslim Heritage.  It covers Muslim art, architecture, literature, culture, music and people.  It includes images, essays, videos, and maps.

Among the featured essays on the site's home page is one one of my favorites, Mega Cities on the Silk Road. Can you list three of the biggest?

Xi’an (Chang’an) is at the top. It became the capital of the Chinese empire in the 4th century and was a significant trading post and melting pot. Under the Tang Dyasty, it was home to a panoply of religions including Buddhism, Taoism, Zoroastrianism, Manichaeism, Nestorian Christianity and Islam.

Another top mega city along the Silk Road included Samarkand in the heart of central Asia. From Han times, merchants from Samarkand traveled as far China and Tamerlane was one of its prominent leaders.

Another essay, Technology in Sub-Saharan Cultures, reviews advances in metallurgy and quarrying. The Nubians, from modern-day Sudan, during Egypt's Middle Kingdom (2050-1800 BCE), mass produced iron and bronze used to make items like cutlery,  jewelry, weapons, and even musical instruments.

And Aksum, in Ethiopia, quarried lots of granite between 100 and 700CE. According to the essay's author, Aksum had "extensive" knowledge of granite extraction.

An essay by Salah Zaimeche examines the difussion of Muslims crops and farming techniques to regions outsdie the Muslim world.

But it was in math and science that Muslims made some of the most stunning achievements like the invention of the astrolabe or the translation of ancient Greek texts to Latin and then to European languages, or the development and building of hospitals in many cities in the Muslim world.

A new documentary called “1001 Inventions and the World of Ibn Al-Haytham” reviews these achievements and many more.

The film is part of a global  educational campaign with UNESCO and is available on ITunes.

Muslim Heritage and the website for 1001 Inventions are great for both teachers and students. Some of the essays are ideal for students. And teachers can easily create an interesting web quest out of the material.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

AP World History in the News


Here's a running list of the press coverage about the proposed changes to AP World.

Those changes, announced by Trevor Packer, senior vice president of Advanced Placement and instruction at the College Board,  would start the course in 1450 instead of thousands of years earlier with prehistory.

The proposed changes infuriated many teachers because it would exclude the rich and diverse history of Afro-Erasia.  For example, students would not learn about the rise and spread of Islam, the golden age of the Tang and Song dynasty, the travels of Ibn Batutta and Marco Polo, or even the Mongols.

Some teachers questioned Packer at an Open Forum during the AP Reading in Salt Lake City in early June.   One teacher's questions, Amanda DoAmaral's, went viral.

Now, major news organizations are writing about the controversy. Politico and Atlantic Magazine are two of the most recognizable but academics like Dr. Peter Stearns, provost at George Mason University and the author of world history textbooks, and Dr. Ross Dunn, one of the founders of the World History Association, have written public letters to the College Board. Those are also linked below.

Check back as I will update the list as more media outlets publish stories about the controversy.

  1. Teaching Tolerance: AP World History Is Worth Saving
  2. Education WeekAP World History Rewrite Draws Criticism From Teachers and Students 
  3. Colorlines: Teachers Fight To Keep Pre-Colonial World History In AP Course
  4. American Historical Assoication: AHA Letter to College Board Regarding AP World History 
  5. The Hill: Teachers fight to keep pre-colonial history in AP course curriculum
  6. Dr. Peter StearnsA Real Path Forward for AP World History 
  7. The Federalist: Campus Insanity Hits High School As Teachers Protest ‘Eurocentric’ ‘Imperialism’ Of History Classes 
  8. Atlantic Magazine: The Controversy Over Just How Much History AP World History Should Cover 
  9. Save AP World WebsiteCompilation of letters to Trevor Packer, vice president of Advanced Placement and instruction at the College Board
  10. The Hill: Teachers fight to keep pre-colonial history in AP course curriculum
  11. PoliticoAP World History gets a makeover, and high school teachers rebel 
  12. History News Network: AP World History gets a makeover, and high school teachers rebel
  13. Inside Higher Ed: Dividing World History
  14. Statement from histoiran, David Christian
  15. American Historical Society, Essay by Matt Drwenski and Dave Eaton whoshost the podcast, On Top of the World. The essay is called "Class Warfare: Changes to the AP World History Course."
  16. Economist: Teachers protest against changes to a high-school history course 
  17. Washington Post: AP World History course is dropping thousands of years of human events — and critics are furious 
  18. The Mercury News: Critics lambaste AP World History course omissions 
  19. Atlanta Black Star: Utah Teachers, Students Fight to Stop Erasure of Pre-Colonial History from AP Courses 
  20. NPR: Changes Coming To AP World History Classes  
  21. Journal Sentinel: Educators fight effort to scale back AP World History
  22. New York Times: A.P. World History Tries to Trim Thousands of Years, and Educators Revolt
  23. Christian Science Monitor: AP test debate: How much world history should high-schoolers know? 
  24. Mental Floss: College Board Wants to Erase Thousands of Years From AP World History, and Teachers Aren't Happy 
  25. CNN: The College Board wants to cut thousands of years from its AP World History test. Teachers aren't having it. 

Monday, June 11, 2018

College Board Proposals Infuriate AP World Teachers

Changes to the AP World curriculum, the third major change in the last 3 years, has enraged many teachers and academic bigwigs. 

That's because the College Board recently announced that in the 2019-2020 school year, AP World History will begin in 1450 with exploration and the rise of the West.  Since its inception in 2002, AP World started with prehistory.

The announcement came shortly before the AP World Reading in Salt Lake City (where AP teachers score the AP test). Teachers questioned Trevor Packer, senior vice president of Advanced Placement and instruction at the College Board, at an evening open forum. 

The change, according to many teachers, would exclude the rich history of Afro-Eurasia before European contact.  For example, students would not learn about the rise and spread of Islam, the golden age of the Tang and Song dynasty, the travels of Ibn Batutta and Marco Polo, or, "wait for it," the Mongols. 

Some teachers said the changes would force them to teach a white history instead of the right history.

Trevor Packer responded that the changes were not intended to exclude that history. Students could study that history in a new pre-AP course being launched in the same year as the changes.

The problem with that plan is that many school districts cannot afford to offer a new pre-AP course and only offer one year of world history.

In the video below, AP teacher Tom Richey, annotates one teacher's response to Trevor Packer during the open forum. You'll hear him dismiss her complaints.

And in the letter below, academicians threaten to persuade schools not to give AP credit for an abbreviated world history course unless the College Board agrees to reconsider.

Among the signers are Professor Peter Stearns, who wrote a textbook that many of us World History teachers use, and Professor Merry E. Wiesner-Hanks, who has written numerous books about world history, including "A Concise History of the World."

Another bigwig, Ross Dunn, one of the founders of the World History Association,  and the author of many books, including one about Ibn Batutta, sent a long eloquent letter to Trevor Packer protesting the proposed change. He argues that the College Board should retain the long scope of the course. 
I would much prefer that the APWH exam continue to embrace all six historical periods because young people today badly need a mental framework, if only a fragile one, for thinking about and situating themselves within the stream of time, including the very deep past.
And here the world history podcast, On Top of the World, talks to historian, Rick Warner,  a professor of Latin American history at Wabash College, about the proposed changes and the College Board's dismissive attitude.




Here are tweets from Raoul Meyer, one of the script writers for John Green's Crash Course series. If you click on theimage, it should enlarge for easier reading.

Other stories about the controversy:


Monday, June 4, 2018

A Day in the Life of Ancient Athenians: TedEd

Here's another great TedEd lesson from Alex Gendler about life in ancient Greece after the Spartans invade and push the Athenians inside their walls. 

You 'll see the importance of slavery in everyday life through the lives of a wealthy young couple with two children. One of the children is a daughter, who some see as a liability because girls need dowires to find husbands.


Sunday, May 27, 2018

How Silver Changed the World: Awesome Mulitmedia Presentation


Here is a terrific four chapter story about Spanish Galleons and their role in a trade with China that would change the world.

Published by the South Morning Post and written by Adolfo Arranz and Marco Hernandez,  the four stories are a multimedia presentation with huge maps and gifs.

How Silver Changed the World is the best story. It explains how silver coins, minted in the Americas, become the common currency throughout Asia, the Americas, and much of Europe.  Manila becomes a central hub and the Spanish galleon becomes the commercial trade ship of choice.

The first three chapters explain how the Spanish Galleon is made, noting that Manila wood is much stronger than wood in Europe, largely impervious to weathering and fungal infections.

15 Minute History also has an excellent podcast called "The Trans Pacific Silver Trade and Early-Modern Globalization."

Sunday, May 13, 2018

The Rise & Fall of the Assyrian Empire: TedEd

Here's a great review of the Ayssruian Empire from Marian Feldman for TedEd .

The Assyrians developed the first true empire long before the Mongols or the British and developed innovations like efficient administrartion, constant innovation, and excellent infrstructure that continue to live on.

They conquered a territory that included much of the Middle East and were known as militry innovators and merciless conquerors. They used siege tactis and cruel punishments.  

Edleman suggests that the growth of the Assyrian Empire was partly due to their strategy of deporting local populations amd moving them around to fullfill specific needs.


Book Club for World History Teachers


If you are interested in recent schloarship about World History, you mgiht enjoy this new book club on Goodreads started by some AP World History teachers in March. The Trouble with Empire, by Antoinette Burton, was the first book the club read.

Now, we are reading Odd Arne Westad's 700 page book about the Cold War. If you are interested in joining the group, you can use this link. It’s a private group, so you have to request to join the discussion.

You can buy the Westad book at Amazon.

I found some interesting applications for book in the introduction where Westad establihes both context and sysnthesis for the Cold War. He reminds us, for example, that bipolarity eixisted in ancient Greece when Sparta and Athens faced each other and again  in the 17th century when Spain and England faced each other. And he noted that the Cold War did not happen in a vacuum. Profound changes in the international system like the development of nation states and nationalism provided context.

What is Gooreads? Goodreads is a site  owend by Amazon for readers and book recommendations.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Sykes-Picot: From Adam Ruins Everything

Here's an interesting and entertaining take on the Sykes-Picot agreement from Adam Ruins Everything.


Monday, April 23, 2018

Ancient Greece 101: National Geographic

You might want to bookmark this short clip about ancient Greece for next year or use it as a review this year.

This National Geographic primer reviews the political, militaristic, and artistic achievments of ancient Greece in just four minutes.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

The Rise & Fall of the Byzantine Empire: Awesome TedEd Lesson

Here's a great TedEd lesson from Leonora Neville. 

Neville outlines the factors that distinguish the Byzantine Empire from European states and shows how it continued to remain a seat of the Roman Empire up through the Middle Ages. 

Thanks to Bram Hubbell for tweeting the link.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Awesome and Short Sikh Graphic Novel

Introduce Sikhism to your students with this terrific short graphic novel by Josh Kramer.  The Wilson Quarterly published it in its fall 2015 issue..

Students will learn about Guru Nanak,  the founder of Sikhism, in the Punjab area of India around 1500CE.

And they will also  learn about the tenth and final Guru, Gobind Singh,  who handed down the holy scripture called the Granth Sahib and also the customs and traditions that exist today. Those customs are called the Khalsa and include an interesting code called the 5 K's.

Many people confuse Sikhs with Muslims and some Sikhs face discrimination and violence which is why students shuld learn about them.


Thursday, April 12, 2018

Confucius & Plato Explain How We Should Live in Short Animated Clips

Here are two terrific short animated clips from two ancient philosophers on how we should live our lives.

Both come from BBC Radio 4 and  Open University. Aidan Turner, who played a part in The Hobibit films,  narrates the clips.

Confucius reminds us why we should revere our ancestors and understand out place in the family.  Plato reminds us that expertise is more important in running a society than democracy.



Monday, April 9, 2018

Great Google Chrome Extensions for Teachers

Here are some terrific Google chrome extensions that will increase your productivity.
For example, use your phone as a remote when you show a Google Slide presentation.

Another extension, Screencastify,  allows you to create a video and capture your screen as you talk.

You can save any web content to your google drive with the "Save to Drive" extension.

Check it out.

Thanks to Jen Giffen (@VirtualGiff ) for tweeting the link. She tweets a lot about technology for the classroom.