Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Importance of Active Learning

What is the best way for kids to study?
  • highlight the material
  • underline key concepts
  • explain key concepts of the text to yourself
What is the best way for students to review for a test?
  • underline or circle key ideas in the text
  • review important elements of the lecture in an audio format
  • take an informal quiz on the material
In both instances, the answer is the one that requires students to get actively involved in the material like explaining key concepts to yourself and taking a quiz. 

That's what a lot of research suggests. It's also the subject of an excellent essay by NPR's lead education blogger, Anya Kamenetz.  You can also take the quiz to see how well you understand active learning.

Most people, according to surveys, don't understand the importance of active learning. Over 90% think that simply rereading the material is "highly effective."

I bet that many of our students do not realize the importance of active involvement with their reading and test preparation.  Most simply highlight the material or underline key concepts.

But these students might increase their performance if they work with the material in an active way, like taking an informal quiz on the chapter, or making a crossword puzzle with the chapter's vocabulary.

Another finding, Kamenetz notes, is that spacing study over time is much more effective than cramming the night before a test.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Later Middle Ages: Resources

Here are some video resources if you are studying the later Middle Ages.

They include a short biography of William the Conqueror, one from "Cloud Biography" and one comical review from Horrible Histories.

You will also see a short biography of Joan of Arc, also from Cloud Biographies.

Finally,  and perhaps best of all, is a review of the English Bill of Rights from teacher Tom Richey.

Here's a short two minute biography of William the Conqueror.
 And here's a more humorous review of William the Conqueror from Horrible Histories.
 And here is a short biography of Joan of Arc for when you review the Hundred Years War.
 Here's a terrific review of the English Bill of Rights from teacher, Tom Richey.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Rome Reborn: Narrated by Khan Academy

Many of you may have seen Bernard Fischer's 3-D model of Rome showing a simulation of the city's urban development. It's pretty cool as is!

Khan Academy took the  model and narrated the the tour of the buildings making the clip even more meaningful to students.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Russian Revolution: Lucy Worsely's Empire of the Tsars

Studying the Russian Revolution?  Part 3 of Lucy Worsley's "Empire of the Tsars" deals with the revolution and outlines the nature of Tsar Nicholas's reign.

Start the clip at about 25 minutes into Part 3 and you'll  come in close to the coronation of the Tsar. Worsley will review his reign through World War I.

Worsley does a good job of showing the country's worsening conditions under the Tsar from Bloody Sunday, to Rasputin, and  to the mishandling of the war.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

The Crusades: Video Resources

Studying the crusades?

Here are several clips about the two most important, the first and third crusades.

The first two clips are about the first crusade known as the Peoples Crusade. The first clip comes from Extra Credits.

The second clip comes Mankind, the Story of us all, and runs about two minutes.

The third clip covers the third crusade with Saladin and Richard the Lionhearted and comes from Atlantic Productions.

Friday, March 3, 2017

World War I and Art: PBS NewsHour

America joined World War I 100 years ago in April.

Here's an interesting clip from the PBS NewsHour which explores a new art exhibit in Philadelphia about how artists dealt with the conflict. It explores the development of propaganda and iconic images like Uncle Sam.

Although the focus is American, it might be interesting for world history students because of its focus on propaganda and art, a medium that all sides used.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Feudalism: Video Resources

Here are some short clips covering different aspects of European feudalism including religion, education, and Charlemagne.

The first two clips, both five minutes or less, outline the major features of feudalism. The third outlines Charlemagne's life with music and film. The fourth clip reviews the role of religion in feudal Europe and the last clip reviews the the development of the medieval university.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

The Black Death: Resources

Studying the Black Death?

Here are a couple of clips that might help. The first is a summary of what people believed to be the causes and the second is a newscast from the past, September 19, 1356.

Finally, you will see a graph comparing the deaths from the Black death with those in World War I & II.

Monday, February 27, 2017

African Kingdoms: Video Resources

Studying the African kingdoms of Ghana, Mali and Sonhay?

Here are a few video resources.

Here's a terrific two minute clip on the rise of Ghana.

And here is a TedEd talk by Jessica Smith about Mansa Musa and his enormous wealth.

Here is the Legend of Timbuktu (about 12 minutes) from MNM Television Network.

Finally, here is a 7 minute clip on the he Swahili Cities of East Africa.

Friday, February 24, 2017

How Dark were the Dark Ages

The Dark Ages were not so dark, according to this fascinating clip from PragerU.

They were full of color with carnivals, and revived popular drama and they invented the university.

And don't forget architecture! Gothic cathedrals brought color and light.

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