Sunday, September 25, 2016

Six Curriculum Resources for the classroom

Planning a new unit in world history? Here are six  terrific curriculum resources worth considering. Each includes activities and resources for both regular world history and AP World History.

Two of the resources,  New Visions for Public Schools and the Crash Course World History Program, are relatively new and absolutely worth considering. I posted on both here and here earlier and like them  because of their ready made activities that we can easily adapt.

World History for Us All divides history into nine eras and produced activities for each unit. They include excellent primary sources in their lessons, which are ideal for AP World History. In one lesson, for example,  students examine a series of maps and assess the growth of cities in AfroEurasia as a factor in the expansion of Muslim rule.

Feeman-Pedia includes review resources for both AP World and regular World History. In world history, Freeman organizes his resources by the Virginia SOL standards and in AP World World, by key concepts.
The Stanford History Group (SHEG) developed world primary sources for different units. The sources are short and include terrific scaffolding questions and charts for those who have trouble with comprehension.  They have 37 world history lessons divided into ancient, medieval, and modern.

The Big History Project is a multi-disciplinary approach to World History . If you create an account, you can explore the curriculum and adapt some of the resources

Friday, September 23, 2016

Awesome Curriculum Resources

New Visions for Public Schools is a Curriculum project designed for 9th and 10th graders for the New York State Social Studies Framework.

The project includes some awesome resources for any of us teaching world history.  All of the units open in Google docs and include documents, maps, charts, and images.  The documents are relatively short with reading reading comprehension questions. Links to videos clips from a variety of sources include questions and time cues.  In addition, each unit includes 40 or 50 Regents multiple choice questions.

I explored a 9th grade unit called Iterations and Disruptions, or exploration and colonization of the Americas.  In one activity about the conquest of the Aztecs and Incas, students read a short description of each conquest and note the similarities.

In another activity students watch short clips from Guns, Germs, and Steel to figure out why the Spanish were able to conquer the Aztecs and Inca despite being outnumbered and in a foreign land?

I love these resources and am incorporating some of them into  study guides for upcoming units.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

The Silk Road: Two Engaging Clips

Studying the Silk Roads? Here are two short engaging clips. The first is a virtual tour narrated by Professor Clayton Brown and the second is a shorted TedEd clip narrated by Shannon Harris Castelo.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Upside of Isolated Civilizations: Egypt, Mayans, Medieval Japan

Why do some civilizations succeed despite their physical isolation?

Jason Shipinski, in this short TedEd clip argues that the ancient Egyptians, the Mayans of Mesoamerica, and the Medieval Japanese all flourished because of access to food and peace.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Rethinking the Agricultural Revolution

Jared Diamond called it "the worst mistake in history."

As it turns out, he may have been right.

According to food historian, Rachel Laudan, farming meant so many hours of grinding grain that there was little time for anything else.

In this University of Texas, Not Even Past Podcast, Professor Laudan expands on her thesis, noting that grinding grain could take up to eight hours a day, making the shift to agriculture anything but revolutionary.

If you teach world history,  this podcast might make for an interesting debate in class.

Thanks to Bram Hubbell for tweeting the link.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Crash Course World History Curriculum Project

John Green and his crew have unveiled a terrific world history curriculum.  It's free and includes lessons driven by essential questions and writing activities that often reflect key concepts in the AP World curriculum.

It's organized into six units--Foundations, Classical Civilizations, Postclassical, Early Modern, Modern, and Contemporary.

Each unit includes two pdf files--one for the teacher, and one for the student. I reviewed the Postclassical unit and found some terrific lessons.  

One lesson, "Local Markets, Regional Trade, and Hemispheric Networks," comes from World History for Us All, and includes a series of travel accounts between the 8th and 14th centuries.  The documents include include information about products, customs and marketplaces.  Student groups work on a specific source and complete a chart and present their findings to the class.

In another lesson, students debate which trade route was most beneficial, the Silk Road or the Monsoon Marketplace.

The teacher edition of each unit includes questions for the Crash Course video that aligns with each curriculum lesson.

The units are absolutely worth investigating and some of the lessons are very easy to adapt.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Ҫatalhöyük: Life, Architecture & Fall

Studying early Neolithic villages? Here's a great site all about Ҫatalhöyü.

It includes images and drawings of architecture, tools, and other artifacts that have helped archaeologists and others decipher what life might have been like.

Haiti and Slavery Reparations

Should France pay reparations to Haiti  for the legacy of slavery and for 93 million francs Haiti had to France for the loss of slave property?

That's what Haitians argued last year on the eve of a visit by French President, François Hollande. 

This short clip from AJ+ might show kids the relevance of what they're studying.  And this Washington Post story  briefly reviews the Haitian Revolution.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Greece vs Rome, with Boris Johnson and Mary Beard

Teaching Greece and Rome? Here Boris Johnson, one of Britain's best-known politicians, and Mary Beard, an English Classical scholar and Professor of Classics at the University of Cambridge, debate which civilization was greater.

It's a bit long and at times a bit boring, but overall still good.

"Vote for the Greeks," Boris Johnson urges, "because no matter how often or how badly they fell short, it was those Periclean ideals that corresponds most closely to our own."

But Mary Beard asks, "But what happened to Sparta?"   She notes that Greece was not just Athens.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Teaching Indic Religions: Terrific Website

Teaching Hinduism or Buddhism or Jainism or Sikhism or Zoroastrianism? Here's a terrific website that covers them all.

Click on Jainism and you'll see an overview of beliefs and practices and links to Jain literature, Jain scriptures, Jain history and much more.

Click on Buddhism and you'll see links to stories about Siddhartha's life, as well as Buddhist history, concepts, and practices.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Four Ways to Engage Students with Technology

Here are four terrific ways to allow kids to process material using technology. I've used both StoryMap and Storify with my students. You can see examples by clicking on the titles below.
I played with TimelineJS and think that it's the best vehicle for creating timelines. It's a product of Northwestern University and very simple to use. You simply click on the google spreadsheet template and and fill in the columns with text. You can also link images and videos. Below, you can see a sample I  made for the life of the Buddha.

Once you finish with your spreadsheet,  you publish it and paste the url in a box on the TimelineJS homepage.  You can preview your timeline and get the embed code, which you can then use to embed in a blog or website. Here's a short clip explaining how to make a timeline.
Making movie credits is another interesting way for students to process material. The amazing teacher, Russel Tar, made a template onto which you can input your own text. The text scrolls into infinity and music plays in the background.  This might be a great way for students to introduce big events like World War 1 or the Cold War.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Many Gods, One Logic: Animated Hindu Concepts

Here are two terrific animated clips that explain two concepts in Hinduism--the idea of many gods and the idea of Brahman or oneness.  One runs less than two minutes and the other less than four.

Both come from a YouTube channel called Epified. I found them on another blog about Hinduism.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

100 World Leaders: Great Website

National History Day (NHD) developed a terrific interactive website featuring 100 leaders from Ashoka to Ronald Reagan.

You can filter the leaders by time period, country, and type (political, economic, military, religious, etc). Clicking on a leader gives you a flashcard with a picture and basic biographical information, along with a summary and a short bulleted list about the leader's significance.

National History Day teachers also created some lesson plans for both middle and high school students.  One plan calls for students to create a "fakebook" page for one of the leaders that might be a unit you are studying.

My thanks to Liz Ramos for tweeting the link.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Rethink the Lecture

Rethink the lecture!

Studies show that our brain waves flatline when we listen to lectures.

Dr. Matthew Stoltzfus, a chemistry professor at Ohio State University, argues that we need a revolution in education that moves us away from the "mere transference of information."

But he cautions that technology in and of itself might not be the answer.  He notes, for example, that the technology that uses flipped videos based on models, first developed by Sal Khan, are still lectures.

Instead, Stoltzfus argues that we should only use technology when it's necessary for student learning and stimulates discussion and increases brainwave activity?

Here's Dr. Stoltzfus' engaging fourteen minute TedEd talk. My thanks to Jeff Feinstein for sending me the link.