Friday, January 31, 2014

Hunter Gatherers Not What You Might Expect

This is an interesting WashPost article which talks about a recent finding that says that there is evidence that at least one (who knows if there are more) hunter-gatherer was blue eyed and "dark skinned" which seems to go against the stereotype about blue eyed people having only white skin.  It might make for an interesting class discussion at the beginning of the year.  

Here is more from National Geographic and if you are so inclined, here is the full article from Nature magazine. 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Mark Antony's Speech


Studying Rome? Here's a 3 minute clip of Mark Antony's speech from Marlon Brando in the 1953 production of Julius Caesar.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Teenage Life in Ancient Rome



What was teenage life in ancient Rome like? And how did four sisters in ancient Rome get along?

Professor Ray Laurence answers those questions in these two fascinating animated TedEd clips.

Instagrok Mindmaps

I have been using Instragrok for the past two years and am happy that it has really taken a big step upwards.  Instragrok sets up the connections between different items.  Here and above is a small example for Napoleon Bonaparte.  What is really cool about Instragrok is that in addition to setting up a mind map, it also brings up websites, videos, images, concepts and you can even add notes.  You can also get a unique url that you could give your students, or they you.  

Library of Congress Updates

The library of Congress, about two years ago, hired one of my former colleagues to help teachers with their resources.  If you are interested a weekly email is sent out with lots of pictures that align with your classes' content.  If you are interested contact Cynthia Szwajkowski at cynthia@tpsnva.org.  Here for example are a ton of pictures from Russia prior to their revolution. 

Friday, January 24, 2014

Entire Free WHI Course


From time to time I like to look at who is following me on Twitter to see if I want to find them as well.  Well recently Tom Richey started following me and it turns out he has a very rich website which has a complete World History I site which includes readings, worksheets and PowerPoints and gives you the ability to copy whatever you want.  

Tom also has a complete AP European site as well.  

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Great Minds: Leonardo

Here's a great short and engaging biography of Leonardo da Vinci from a host who reminds me of the Greene Brothers of Crash Course.

Thanks to David Walp for tweeting the link.

Sea of Japan vs. East Sea Controversy

There is a bill in my Virginia legislature co-sponsored by Delegate Tim Hugo (R) and Senators Dick Black (R) and Dave Marsden (D) to force all localities to use the "East Sea" when using "Sea of Japan" in our textbooks.  This is a nice example of government and education intersecting.
  1. If we are only using ebooks, does "textbook" cover it.  That sounds silly, but legislators need to be very specific.  Of course most teachers use many resources other than a textbook so does that mean if it passes it doesn't apply to handouts (digital or paper) since they are decidedly not textbooks.   Both "Sea of Japan" and "East Sea" are in our state requirements to teach, called the Standards of Learning.  For what it is worth, our textbook already has both as you can see above. 
  2. In Virginia, and in the US government it always helps to have co-sponsors (or as we can them in VA, co-patrons) so a bill has the chance to die twice.  Here is what the bill is doing in our state senate and here is what is going on in the house. 
  3. It has bipartisan support, although limited as you can see from the co-patrons in the House and the Senate
  4. McGuireWoods, one of the states most powerful lobbying firms is now involved. 
  5. It actually has international implications as the Japanese ambassador to the US just met with Virginia's governor on the issue.  Since Japan is a big trading partner with Virginia it obviously has economic ramifications as well.  
  6. Where is the line between state legislators and localities and for that matter the federal government and the two lower entities.  In Virginia we have something called the Dillon Rule which muddies our line which makes me wonder if this piece truly falls under it. 
  7. What exactly is the controversy?  The Japanese support the name "Sea of Japan" and the South Korean prefer "East Sea."
So if you want an interesting example to discuss with your students this might be one of many where government impacts them in school.  Of course there are so many more! 

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Arab Spring & French Revolution

The Choices Program at Brown University has an awesome interactive timeline on the Egyptian Revolution. It includes  photographs, videos, and excellent maps.

My AP World students are comparing the causes of  the French Revolution with one of the revolutions of the Arab Spring, so this timeline should help those students working on Egypt.

My thanks to Adalia Davis for tweeting the link.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Images and Citing Them


Yes t is a snow day and I am all caught up in my grading and have everything set for the next week, so hence times for a bunch of posts t oday.

To that end the video above shows you how to quickly weed out images that do not have citations and how to then get the citations.

I got this from Chad Kafka's Google+ post. 

Romulus and Remus

Starting the unit on Rome?  Here's a six minute animated story of Romulus and Remus.

Mistakes that Changed History


My post yesterday was inspired by the video above and which talks about mistakes that changed history.  I particularly liked the one on Gavrilo Princip as I had incorrectly thought he had failed in the AM to kill Franz Ferdinand when, in fact, it was another co-conspirator. More to the point while it features Keith Hughes, it also brings in two newer people collectively known as That Was History that has both US and world history videos.  

Monday, January 20, 2014

Misunderstanding History

I sense an assignment coming on or even an end of the year project if we can get beyond all of our snow days.  As I like to tell my students we study history in part of understand different cultures and to be able to better relate to people around the US and the world.  So why not have your students look at one misunderstanding and try to be a sleuth and figure out why we have accepted this falsehood as fact today.

Consider the fact that Paul Revere did not say "The British are coming."  To say such would be akin to saying "The Americans" were coming since we were all British (he said the "Regulars" were coming).  While we are at it why do we best remember Revere when he was the only one the Regulars captured that night while Dawes and Prescott did a better job of warning residents. But neither of the other two were memorialized in a Longfellow poem nor had physical items (pewter, pictures) to be stored by history.  While we are it, what about Revere's own work in calling the Boston Massacre a massacre and in copying someone else's work and claiming it to be his own!

What about the belief that Columbus proved the world was round which was patently false and had long been accepted otherwise.  The why we see it that way is a better question and most believe that Washington Irving was the conveyer of that falsehood.

Of course the tallest of tales is the one that says that Napoleon was a bully because he was short when the reality was he was average height for his time.

Here are a bunch of misperceptions that you can start with showing your students.

So imagine the assignment.  1) student has to find a misperception 2) explain how it got to be a misunderstanding which in of itself is good analysis 3) how, if it did change history.  While you are at it, watch the video above for some inspiration.  

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Flipped Classes on CBS News


I love that CBS refers to the flipped classroom as a new way to teach, but at least they interview two of the pioneers - even if they don't go back to the true originators (for that you have to read my book!).  If you are flipping, think about it and watch the video to be convinced. 

The Myth of Trench Warfare

Did you know that 88% of British solders fighting in the trenches  in WWI survived?

That's what this awesome BBC site on trench warfare in WWI seeks to explain. You can scroll through great graphics like the one below which explain different aspects of trench warfare from a typical day, to how often soldiers were in the firing line, to how the trenches kept men safe, to life behind the lines, and much more.

This guide on trench warfare is part of  a BBC series of guides on WWI called IWonder guides. All are interactive like this trench warfare guide.


Friday, January 17, 2014

How Did Change Accelerate? Big History Project

Here's an an awesome explanation by Big History historian, David Christian, of why rates of innovation started to increase five hundred years ago.  Christian offers three reasons--interconnected world zones, increasing commerce and fossil fuel energy.

I'm starting the Industrial Revolution with my AP World kids next week and think I'll either show the clip in class or assign it as homework.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Greek Architectural Influence in America

So today I had our frosh Google places (like the familiar one above and tell me what style of Greek architecture it is.  If you want to play the same game, here are lots of buildings in the US, many that you know, that have Greece influence.  

Friday is Last Day to Sign up For My Tech Integration Course

Sorry to my regular blog readers outside of Fairfax County, but I love teaching my Academy Course and just wanted to remind people that tomorrow (Friday) is the last day to sign up.  So in case you are considering it (or haven't considered it yet):


I will be teaching the sixth version of my technology integration course with Fairfax County Public Schools this spring.  We will learn about such items as webquests, pacing your students individually using technology, flipping the classroom, using electronic textbooks, collaborating online, how to use Google Drive and lots more in a ten week course.  You can get more details here on page 42.  To sign up go to MyPLT (if you need help go to page 72) and put either the title or just a few words from the title or even e-mail me and I can add you to the class.  The deadline for signing up is January 17th.

The class will be on Thursdays from 4:30 to 7ish at Woodson.  It is free to FCPS employees, but if you live in the areas and are not in FCPS you can take it, but you have to pay for it (page 9).   If you have questions, please e-mail me at ken.halla@fcps.edu. 

World War I Anniversary: National Archives

Britain's National Archives launched a great site for the 100th anniversary of World War I.  This week they launched the first batch of digitized war diaries. You'll also find pod casts and videos and much more worth investigating.

My thanks to my colleague, Jeff Feinstein, for sending me the link.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

SkyDrive Tutorial

So it would be fair to say that I prefer Google Drive over Microsoft's SkyDrive.  SkyDrive is the cloud based way to use Microsoft.  It is not as robust as Google Drive in that it does not have any apps you can add, nor can you run scripts and has less free space, but it has been growing in the last two years.  To start you have documents, excel, PowerPoint or one note to create and upload files from Microsoft Office.

Above is a fairly nice video on how to use SkyDrive. 

My Post for Digital Learning Day

Tomorrow the Alliance for Excellent Education, that started Digital Learning Day, is posting my thoughts on Digital Learning Day which I am also posting below. 

Last year in my Digital Learning Day post for the Alliance for Excellent Education I said that "One day all of our students will have interactive lessons where the teacher will walk around the room connecting information, helping pupils do their work and making sure that the necessary learning is being done correctly and where appropriate, collaboratively.  Classes will be self paced and conclude with interactive assessments that measure students’ ability to find and use online resources to answer probing questions."

Interesting what a year brings.  This spring I have a book coming out from Corwin Books talking about just what is printed above (something I had no idea about when I wrote the post).  I also am co-teaching, for the first time in my career, and doing it with an ESOL WHI class.  Fully half of the kids have been in the class have been in the US fewer than two years and all but a few of the students are either immigrants on ones who do not speak English at home.  


To that end we have flipped every single lecture (nothing profound, but all less than ten minutes each as you can see here) and have our students working at different paces.  One parent told me her daughter was looking at videos and webpages and wondered why she hadn't been reading more of the book more.  I told we were were using multiple modalities and the e-book was only one of the resources.  But that child has only been speaking English a few years and finds it helpful to go over each video several times.  


We also proved to the kids a valuable lesson telling them that on the most recent lesson that no one would be allowed to take the test until the study guide was completely done.  Between our two classes twelve kids tested us and we pulled each one in the hall individually and called home asking that their child stay after school to take the test and then had them sit down to work on the study guide.  Guess what?  The ESOL kids tied the test scores of the mainstream ones and all our students were EIGHT percentage points over the school average for the test!   

Why did that happen? Well rather than waste student time on lecture based teaching we spent the entire unit (and by now my cooperating teacher and I have adjusted quite well to each other) walking around and working one on one with each students.  Furthermore we probably call up 1/3rd of the students on a given day to look at grades and even to have student-parent-teacher conferences in the hall to work out issues.  We also have added in several formative quizzes each unit and the kids can take them as many times as they want to raise their grades. 


Additionally since our class is paperless our students (9th graders) have picked up computer skills way beyond what a traditional class might have.   Know that many of my kids started the year with very limited digital skills - one even asked me what a cursor was!  


Does this mean our year will be a success - who knows at this point?  We still have kids who don't want to do work at home and a few that are not doing well in several of their classes. But we have seen many glimmers of hope that using technology to self pace our students is helping improve learning.  

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Still Room in My Tech Integration Course

I will be teaching the sixth version of my technology integration course with Fairfax County Public Schools this spring.  We will learn about such items as webquests, pacing your students individually using technology, flipping the classroom, using electronic textbooks, collaborating online, how to use Google Drive and lots more in a ten week course.  You can get more details here on page 42.  To sign up go to MyPLT (if you need help go to page 72) and put either the title or just a few words from the title or even e-mail me and I can add you to the class.  The deadline for signing up is January 17th.

The class will be on Thursdays from 4:30 to 7ish at Woodson.  It is free to FCPS employees, but if you live in the areas and are not in FCPS you can take it, but you have to pay for it (page 9).  The class fills up quickly, so if you are interested I would sign up sooner rather than later.  If you have questions, please e-mail me at ken.halla@fcps.edu. 

Saturday, January 11, 2014

How Many Worlds do you Consume?

One of my daughters is writing a paper (and thankfully she LOVES to write) on the impact of humans on their environment.  So I showed her this extensive ecological footprint - Ecological Footprint - that she definitely needed me (she is only in sixth grade) to help go through. But then I found this easier one Footprint Calculator and amazingly it said roughly the same thing - that if everyone consumed the way we do, it would take 6.5 worlds to sustain us.  This might be a great exercise for your students to complete as it would bring up the question of how we live in just one world if so so many in your classes consume more than several worlds.  

What Makes a Great Teacher?

After years of being an AP coordinator and department chair I still know if someone will generally make a great teacher in the first few minutes I meet them.  But explaining it is a bit harder.  Having said that I know while a number of teachers view this site, so do some students.  So the video above is for you or for those of you who want to reflect on your own teaching.  It is worth the five minutes to watch it.

Keith Hughes' video breaks it down into content knowledge, having a strong paradigm on learning, being authentic and having great human relationships.  I really like how he says if you do the last two discipline will take care of itself - coming from someone who thinks raising his voice and sending kids to the office doesn't have much impact and even can be a reward in some case!  Hughes But sums it up well by calling teaching "magic."  Do you have anything to add? 

Friday, January 10, 2014

The Acropolis in Our Lesson Plan


On Monday and Tuesday my students will be looking at Greek Architecture in part using the History Channel movie above.  Here is the entire assignment. 

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Pythagoras and the Golden Ratio

Studying Greece? Do your students know the Golden Mean? That's the ratio of 1.618. It is ะค. The Greek letter Phi. It is better known as the Golden Ratio, Golden Mean, Divine Number, or Golden Section. Pythagoras first discovered the ratio while playing a monochord (a simple, single stringed instrument).

Fakebook & Greek Gods


I have used Fakebook for a few years with my WHI kids to have them make comments between the gods.  Fakebook lets students create comments and posts, upload pictures (or have them chosen from the Internet) and even add in video.  If you watch my video above, it explains how to do all of this.   For what it is worth  there is also a FakeTweet and a FakeText.

The whole idea behind using Fakebook is having the kids summarize and synthesize what people might say to each other.  So here is my assignment (which you could copy and tailor to your own needs).  The kids really enjoy the assignment and the best part is that the Fakebook site creates a unique url and lets the kids add in their own password so they can work on the site on multiple occasions. 

School on a Snow Day


I will admit that I can't get away with this with all of my classes, but my AP Comparative (which is AP US Government and AP Comparative in one year) is a motivated bunch. So while today is our second snow day (actually a "cold day" since it is 5 degrees right now) we have managed to work around the day off and not miss any time.  How you ask?

  1. For my online kids I use Blackboard Collaborate so I created a class and gave my brick and mortar kids the link back in late October and we all agreed that at 10 am on a snow day we would have class.  24 of my 30 kids made the class and the others watched the session which was recorded.  
  2. If you don't have something like Blackboard Collaborate you could you a Google Plus Hangout live stream where you could send a link to your students and they could watch a live lecture (here's how).    You could then use Today's Meet to send a link to students and you could see their live questions.   You would be able to do this by splitting your screen
  3. Today based on what we are doing I decided not to how an online session and instead made the video above as both an introduction and a continuation of our material.  Then my kids will watch this video and look up these court cases.  
  4. I communicated with the kids by using Remind101, Blackboard and even using my gradebook which has all of the kids' emails.  For the Remind101 message I used a shortened tinyurl (tinyurl.com/fcpscoldday) which linked to my normal homework e-sheet. so I didn't have to text the kids multiple times with the assignments.  
  5. We will start our class on Thursday with questions (several have already emailed me with some) and then take a quiz where the kids can use their notes.  Then we will move on and still be able to have our test next week without a hitch. 
  6. So if you have a motivated bunch and you can afford to miss a day of school you might want to try some of the techniques. 

Monday, January 6, 2014

Take My Course

I will be teaching the sixth version of my technology integration course with Fairfax County Public Schools this spring.  We will learn about such items as webquests, pacing your students individually using technology, flipping the classroom, using electronic textbooks, collaborating online, how to use Google Drive and lots more in a ten week course.  You can get more details here on page 42.  To sign up go to MyPLT (if you need help go to page 72) and put either the title or just a few words from the title or even e-mail me and I can add you to the class.  The deadline for signing up is January 17th.

The class will be on Thursdays from 4:30 to 7ish at Woodson.  It is free to FCPS employees, but if you live in the areas and are not in FCPS you can take it, but you have to pay for it (page 9).  The class fills up quickly, so if you are interested I would sign up sooner rather than later.  If you have questions, please e-mail me at ken.halla@fcps.edu. 

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Historians Debate Origins of WWI on Twitter


Who started World War I?  Three respected historians, Simon SchamaTom Holland, and Gary Sheffield tweet their views.

It all started earlier this month when British Education Secretary, Michel Gove, argued that the war was started by Germany and that it was a just and noble war for England.  Gove also attacked liberals, specifically the movie, "Oh! What a Lovely War," and "The Monocled Mutineer and Blackadder" as "a series of catastrophic mistakes perpetrated by an out-of-touch elite."

Russell Tarr, a history teacher who developed the site, Active History, sent out a tweet which started a discussion about the origins of World War I with  the three  historians. 

Tarr developed an awesome worksheet for his students  using the tweets from the historians. The worksheet contains all the tweets along with links to a BBC 4 Radio appearance by the three historians as well links to Secretary Gove's original remarks.

Students read the tweets and the articles and then discuss and debate the different views.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Great Prezi: Sunni Shia Split

Here's a great Prezi about the Sunni Shia split. It's excellent and worth showing when teaching the rise and spread of Islam. I posted it on my World Religions blog a few weeks ago. I post a lot of material about all the religions, some of which might work for World History.

British Education Secretary: WWI was Noble and Just Cause

   
Understanding diverse interpretations of history is what makes the subject interesting. Often there are no clear answers.  But Michael Gove, Secretary of Education in Britain and pictured above, believes that World war 1 is an exception.

Gove seems to think that there is only one way to look at World War I.  He believes that the Germans caused the war and that liberal historians distort that view and that movies like "Oh! What a Lovely War," and "The Monocled Mutineer and Blackadder" are "a series of catastrophic mistakes perpetrated by an out-of-touch elite."

Gove argues further that the war was " a noble cause" and a "just cause." He adds,  "the ruthless social Darwinism of the German elites, the pitiless approach they took to occupation, their aggressively expansionist war aims and their scorn for the international order all made resistance more than justified."

Historian, Sir Richard Evans, responded to Gove by saying, "How can you possibly claim that Britain was fighting for democracy and liberal values when the main ally was Tsarist Russia? That was a despotism that put Germany in the shade and sponsored pogroms in 1903-6.”

Who says that history is boring?