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.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

The Changing Role of Women Throughout History: Great Documentary

How did the role of women change over time?

That's the question that historian Amanda Forman tries to answer in this terrific documentary series from BBC. It's available now for streaming on Netflix.

Forman's tries to answer three questions throughout the series: why did civilization become almost exclusively male, why have almost all civilizations put limits on women's sexuality, movement and liberty, and what makes the status of women so susceptible to the dictates of politics and economics. 

The first episode called Civilization begins about 8000 years ago in central Anatolia in the early neolithic settlement of Çatalhöyük. Archeologists believe that this early society had no social hierarchy and that women were equal to men. They see no evidence of a ceremonial center or "chiefly house."

Indeed all the houses are similar in size and height signifying no one enjoyed a special status. In addition, burial sites show that women ate the same diet as men and did similar labor as men because of the wear and tear on their bones. They also show communal ties, but not blood ties, suggesting that the idea of family might have been very different.
By Omar Hoftun (Own work)  via Wikimedia Commons

In addition figurines, particularly the so-called seated woman of Çatalhöyük, suggest that some women might have served as deities. Forman wonders if a woman, rather than a man, might have been god in early society. This evident gender equality disappears in later millennia, especially in Mesopotamia where  women became increasingly more invisible.  Veiling, for example, became prominent, almost 1000 years before Islam. Law codes, like Hammurabi's Code, cemented the new hierarchy.

But nowhere did the role of change so much as it did in Greece. Here, according to one historian, women were restricted as much as the Taliban restricts women today.

This first episode is ideal for students. It's a great review of classical history and clearly demonstrates the graphic changes in the status and role of women over time. The three other episodes in the series includes Separation, Power, and Revolution. Here's the  trailer for the series and below that is Part I from Civilization.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Battle of the Somme: Resources

The Battle of Somme, the deadliest battle of WWI in which over one million men were killed or wounded, started 100 years ago on July 1, 1916.

It lasted five months and was fought in France near the Somme River, about 125 miles from Verdun.

Here are some resources for reviewing the battle.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Influence of Ancient Cultures on Modern Art

Here's a terrific review of the origins of modern art from Felipe Galindo for TedEd. It's called "how ancient art influenced modern art."

Galindo reviews the influence of traditional and ancient cultures on 20th century artists like Picasso, Gaugin, and Matisse.

He shows how ancient African culture influenced Picasso's seminal piece, "Les Demoiselles d'Avignon," which is considered to be the first 20th century masterpiece with new forms, colors, and meanings.

Pre-Columbian culture influenced other artisits. British sculptor, Henry Moore, for example, looked to the Toltecs for his inspiration.

This short clip is definitely worth bookmarking for next spring when we study the 20th century.


Friday, June 17, 2016

The New DBQ for AP World Explained

Want to know about the changes to the new AP World DBQ? 

Listen to Dave Eaton's and Matt Drwenski's podcast, On Top of the World. They discuss the big changes like the elimination of grouping, point of view, and expanded core.

In addition, Eaton and Drwenski plan to post on Facebook a revised version of every "legacy" DBQ.

Here's a link to the first one they revised, the 2003 DBQ on indentured servitude.

Dave Eaton is is an associate professor of history at Grand Valley State University and Matt Drwenski is a world history graduate student at the University of Pittsburgh.

If you don't subscribe to their podcast, you should. Their topics hit many key concepts in AP World. One of my favorites, and one I used as an extra credit assignment, is episode 81 on the trans- Pacific silver trade in the 16th century.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

New Archive of 20th Century Resources

Here is a cool new online archive of 20th century resources surrounding Winston Churchill.

The archive includes primary sources such as images, cartoons, and documents.

One of the most interesting parts of the archives are the investigations of significant issues designed for high school students.

Find out what went wrong at Gallipoli or if Britain could have done more for the Jews during WWII. The website gives you an overview of each issue along with a chart of primary sources to help students come to a conclusion.

The database is divided into four themes:

  • Key developments in world history
  • Key development in modern British empire history
  • Anglo-American relations in the 20th century
  • Churchill: Discussion, debate, and controversy

  • Thursday, June 9, 2016

    Periodization & Chinese History

    Chart developed by Angela A. Lee
    Teaching Chinese history in AP World or in an honors world history class?  

    Check out this terrific essay by AP World teacher,  Angela A. Lee, for Education About Asia,  called Periodization and Historical Patterns in Chinese History.

    Lee argues that we should go beyond the dynastic model that most of us use when we teach about China. 

    Other models of periodization, especially those that examine Chinese history through an economic perspective, offer students a better chance to recognize "the broad scope of changes and continuities," and believes that it offers a more global perspective.

    Lee developed the chart above to show students the different models of periodization and offers discussion questions about the models.

    Monday, June 6, 2016

    Zheng He: Terrific Introductory Essay

    Here's a terrific short biography of the great admiral, Zheng He, whose travels for the Ming Dynasty throughout the Indian Ocean may have made him the greatest explorer in history.

    That's the claim that Karen Williams makes in this essay which might work well as a student assignment.

    Karen Williams works in media and human rights across Africa and Asia.

    Wednesday, June 1, 2016

    World History: Maps, Images & Videos by Unit

    Teaching World History? Check out Coepedia! Video clips, maps, and images organized by unit from prehistory to the Renaissance and aligned to Virginia state standards.

    I'm still working on it and hope to add study aids for each unit along with links to lesson ideas.

    I got the idea from Benjamin Freeman who has an even better site with AP World and World II units called Freemanpedia.

    Tuesday, May 31, 2016

    What is Sufism?

    Teaching Sufism?
    Here's a great clip explaining exactly what it is from Seeker.

    Saturday, May 28, 2016

    Summer Reading: The Middle East, India, & some Nationalism

    Scott Anderson’s Lawrence of Arabia is a National Book Critics Circle Award finalist and has gotten great reviews since it was published in 2013. It’s about the making of the Middle East.

    While Lawrence is essential to the story, Anderson puts him alongside three other characters, “Aaron Aaronsohn, a Jewish colonist in Palestine, who spied for Britain as a way of furthering Zionism; Carl Prufer, a German diplomat who dreamed of fomenting jihad against the British; and William Yale, a well-connected oil man who became, in August 1917, the state department's "special agent" for the Middle East.”

    I'm reading it now and love it. And I'm learning a lot of history I had forgotten like Wilhelm II's bellicose and militaristic nature or Aaron Aaronsohn's discovery of wild emmer wheat on the slopes of Mount Hermon, long believed to be extinct and significant because it showed that agriculture could could feed a very large population in Palestine. And I had forgotten that T.E. Lawrence was only 5'3" or maybe 5' 5."

    Amartya Sen won a Pulitzer Prize for his 2006 classic, Identity and Violence. It’s a fascinating book that attempts to explain why different groups fight each other. Why, for example, did Muslims and Hindus who had lived peacefully together for centuries, kill each other after Indian independence. Sen challenges Samuel Huntington’s “Clash of Civilization” because it sets up a singular civilizational classification like the Islamic civilization or the Western civilization. Novelist Chimamanda Adichie offers a similar thesis in a Ted Talk called "The Danger of Single Story."

    Sen sees intellectual and material internal diversities within civilizations. People see themselves in lots of different ways. For example, Sen notes, “a Bangladeshi Muslim is not only a Muslim but also a Bengali and Bangladeshi, typically quite proud of Bengali language, literature, and music, not to mention the other identities he or she may have connected with class, gender, occupation, politics, aesthetic taste, sand so on."  This seems like a fascinating study, not just of identity, but also of nationalism.

    Finally, I’m looking forward to reading Amitav Gosh’s Sea of Poppies, a historical novel and 2008 finalist for the Booker Prize. The story begins in India on the eve of the Opium War. Much of the novel takes place on the open waters on a ship called the Ibis.

    According to the Guardian, the characters on the ship “are exposed to a suttee or widow-burning, a shipboard mutiny, a court case, jails, kidnappings, rapes, floggings, a dinner party and every refinement of sex.”

    Gosh also dramatizes two important themes of the 19th century, notes the Guardian, “the cultivation of opium as a cash crop in Bengal and Bihar for the Chinese market, and the transport of Indian indentured workers to cut sugar canes for the British on such islands as Mauritius, Fiji and Trinidad.”

    Tuesday, May 24, 2016

    Sykes Picot: An Imperial Curse?

    Here is a great essay (editorial) about the Sykes-Picot Agreement signed 100 years ago in May 1916. The writer, Hisham Melhem, is a columnist and analyst for Al Arabiya News Channel in Washington, DC.

    Melham argues that the arbitrary lines that the two diplomats drew allowed "Arab autocrats, despots and ruling elites to justify their disastrous failures at providing good governance, and to explain all the political and economic ills of the region for a full century."

    He also points out that Sykes Picot was the only the first of several Western efforts to redraw boundaries in the Middle East with conferences whose names might confound Arab ears like Versailles, Sèvres, San Remo  and Lausanne.

    Monday, May 16, 2016

    50 Years Ago: The Cultural Revolution: Resources

    In May, 1966, Mao Zedong attempted to remake China and reassert control by purging the Communist hierarchy of ideological opponents.

    Over the next ten years, Mao sent Red Guards to the countryside and targeted political enemies and began a campaign to wipe out the "Four Olds"--customs, habits, culture, and ideas.

    By 1976, when Mao died, over 500,000 people were killed. Some estimates go as high as eight million.

    The leader, Deng Xiaoping, was purged twice but returned to power after Mao's death.

    The New York Times has several excellent articles about the Cultural Revolution. One called Explaining China’s Cultural Revolution breaks down the events in a readable and concise who, what, where, and when format. The story includes a terrific slide show of images form the revolution.

    In another Times article, historian Jeremy Brown, answers questions about the revolution.

    The Nation has a story with an excellent review of the revolution in an essay called How Will China Mark the 50th Anniversary of the Cultural Revolution

    Seeker Daily has a good three minute overview of the Cultural Revolution along with an essay.

    Sunday, May 15, 2016

    Connect & Manipulate Vocabulary

    Here's a terrific way to engage students in vocabulary review.  Each cube has four vocabulary terms. Each term connects to an adjacent term. 

    Russell Levine, an AP World teacher, created a puzzle like the one above, for each unit in AP World history. He created three sheets, each with 3 rows of 4 cubes ( 48 vocabulary terms) all connected. He also created a page of edges. They are the sheets with the diamonds above. 

    I printed out the sheets, cut them into separate cubes, mixed them up and gave them to student groups to put together.  Students were a little daunted at first with over 100 terms to connect.  But within five minutes, they were making connections.

    My AP kids loved the puzzles and seemed to be totally engaged.

    I started creating a puzzle for my World Religions course. It takes a little time and with so many vocabulary terms, it's easy to make mistakes. 

    Here's a link to a blank sheet you can use to start creating your own review. And here's a link to a page for the edges.

    Finally, here's a a link to one of  Russell Levine's terrific unit puzzles.  It mostly covers the contemporary period.

    Thursday, May 12, 2016

    Around the World in 80 Treasures: Great End of Year Project

    Here's an idea for an end-of-the year world history project. 

    In Virginia, we still have several weeks of school after the AP tests and the end of the year state tests. 

    The project is based on Dan Cruickshank's BBC documentary, Around the World in 80 Treasures. Students have to find 13 objects that represent the time periods of history that we have studied, the six themes of history, and the different regions. So each object must represent a time period, a theme, and a region.  Here's a link to the the World 9 assignment and here's a link to the World 10 assignment

    I usually show the kids one or two clips from the video to show them how the objects can tell a story. And there is also the great book, A History of the World in 100 Objects.

    Here's part two from the series, from Turkey to Germany.