Saturday, December 31, 2016

Understanding Middle Eastern Dress Codes

Decipher Middle Eastern dress codes and misconceptions with these two young Muslims from the video series, Ethnically Ambiguous.

It's terrific and only two minutes.

You can also check the other episodes in which Anna and Shereen tackle the culture and religion of the Middle East.

Nutmeg, NAFTA & Globalization

Look at the history of trade in big products like silver, sugar, spices, and gold.  All these products helped connect the world. But at what price?

This is the subject of a terrific essay by Amtav Gosh, in the New York Times called What Nutmeg Can Tell us About NAFTA. Gosh is author of numerous books, including Sea of Poppies and Flood of Fire,

Gosh reviews the nutmeg trade noting how it connected the world but at the cost of atrocities that included an attempted genocide." Indeed, the methods the British and Dutch used to gain control of the islands are horrific.

He concludes that there is no "inherent merit in connectedness," arguing that violence and death often accompany trade and deepens inequality.

Another example of violence and death associated with globalization was the opium trade.

According to Gosh, most people overlook this side of globalization and equate it with tolerance.  He suggests that "neither cosmopolitanism nor parochialism is a virtue in itself. We need to ask: cosmopolitanism in the service of what? Protectionism to what end?"

It's a terrific review of the spice trade in the early modern period (1450-1750) with interesting ties to the debate about globalization today.

Friday, December 30, 2016

The Story of a Courageous WWII Hero Who Saved 2,500 lives

Here's a great story about a Polish social worker, Irena Sandler, who saved thousands of children's lives from the Warsaw ghetto.  

Mackenzie Lee, who is a writer,  brings her to life in this awesome twitter story. If you have a twitter account, you can access it here.

Ms. Lee notes that Sandler was captured by the Gestapo and even tortured  but never gave up any names.

She also notes that Sandler was up for a Nobel Peace Prize in 2007 but was not selected.

This might be a terrific reading assignment for students for the unit on WWII.

Russian Revolution: 100 Years Later

Here are three short essays about the Russian Revolution from Smithsonian Magazine. They are written by Dr. Carolyn Harris, professor of history at the University of Toronto, School of Continuing Studies.

The first essay in the series, "What You Need to Know First to Understand the Russian Revolution," reviews the domestic and foreign policy of Tsar Nicholas and Russia's involvement in World War I.

In "The Murder of Rasputin," Harris  situates Rasputin within the larger context of the Russian revolution and questions the veracity of the most well-known accounts of Rasputin's murder

These essays are ideal for students.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Empire of the Tsars

Here's a terrific series about Romanov Russia by BBC and hosted by historian, Lucy Worsley.

The first part, which I just watched, covers the life of Peter the Great. The second part covers Catherine the Great, and the last episode covers the Russian Revolution and the end of the Romanov

Each episode runs about 60 minutes but is very engaging.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Haitian Revolution: Was it the Most Significant

Was the Haitian Revolution with its assertion of human rights the defining event of the revolutions period in the 18th and 19th centuries?

That's the argument that Duke professor, Laurent Dubois, makes in the digital magazine Aeon. Dubois argues that the Haitian Revolution was the most radical revolution because of its demand for human rights. He calls it a "signal and a transformative moment in the political history of the world."

Dubois argues that the revolution struck the heart of the economic system in the 18th century when Haitian revolutionaries overturned the slave system that dominated much of colonial America.

This is a fascinating essay definitely worth incorporating into an honors or AP class.

Monday, December 19, 2016

The Three Teachings: Resources for Chinese Religions

Teaching Chinese religion?  Here's a great website to consider for background or as a student resource.

Daoism, Confucianism, and Buddhism are known as the Three Teachings in China. Historian Stephen Teiser notes that a 6th century scholar referred to Buddhism as the sun, Daoism as the moon, and Confucianism as the five planets.

Asia for Educators has a terrific website about the three religions, adapted from Professor Teiser's book,  “The Spirits of Chinese Religion,”  part of which you can download in pdf.  Teiser is the D. T. Suzuki Professor in Buddhist Studies and Professor of Religion at Princeton University.

Students can read a brief overview of the Three Teachings and why they are so important in understanding Chinese history.

Next, they can read about each of the traditions. Professor Teiser offers us insights far beyond what BBC and other encyclopedic religion sites offer.   For example,  readers will learn about the way of the Celestial Masters, an early Daoist movement that began in the second century.  According to Professor Teiser, the celestial masters added mythology and rituals to many Daoist groups.

And in the Confucianism section, students will learn the attributes of a the ideal ruler which, according to Teiser, are "benevolence toward others; a general sense of doing what is right; and loyalty and diligence in serving one’s superiors."

Here's a review of the Three Teachings from "It's History."

How Does Gutenberg Printing Press Work? (Video Clip)

Studying the Renaissance and Reformation. See how a Gutenberg printing press works.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Make Digital Timelines with Sutori

We work with timelines a lot in world history. Getting students to put events in chronological order and understand the causal relationship between them is an important skill.

Sutori, the company that bought Hstry Timelines, provides a terrific medium for making these timelines. Students can import images, weblinks, and videos with relative ease.

My World Religion students worked with Sutori last week developing a timeline of Siddhartha Gautama's life and the development of early Buddhism. Within sixty minutes, most had created a visually pleasing and accurate timeline.

Here's how it works.
  • Create a free teacher account with your name and a password. 
  • Next, create a class and give it a name. 
  • Sutori generates a code for your class. 
  • Provide your students with the weblink to your class and code.
  • Students then log in with a user name and password. 
There are plenty of possibilities for Sutori in other disciplines as well. In English, students might summarize a story or the development of a main character and in math, students might show the order of a math equation.

Here's a link to Sutori's help site.

Here's a link to one of the timelines one of my students made on the life of Siddhartha.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Watch Human Population Grow Through Time

Watch the human population increase overtime starting about 200,000 years ago.

In this clip from the Museum of Modern History, you can see the events that have an impact on population.

Da Vinci: His Life in Three Minutes

Here's terrific three minute clip from Out Monkey reviewing the life of Da Vinci.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Rise and Fall of Napoleon in Three Short Clips

Here are three excellent and engaging short clips about Napoleon.

The first is a five minute clip that reviews Napoleon's life and accomplishments called "all you need to know about Napoleon Bonaparte."

The second is a three minute animated cartoon review and third is a TedEd lesson by Alex Gendler, "History vs. Napoleon Bonaparte."

Friday, November 25, 2016

How to Use the New Google Sites Pages

Google has updated Google Sites.  Above is a video explaining how to use it.  I use it with our online teachers for our on boarding site. 

Saturday, November 19, 2016

The Scientific Revolution: Video Resources

Teaching the Scientific Revolution?

Here are several short clips about some of the key figures including Galileo, William Harvey, Tycho Brahe (from TedEd), and Neil deGrasse Tyson on Isaac Newton.

Friday, November 18, 2016

A History Teaching Toolbox: Terrific Resource

Russell Tarr, a history teacher in France, just published a book with terrific resources for history teachers. The resources are grouped by skill.

For example, if you want to teach your students how to make comparisons or judgements, you can learn a number of different activities that enhance that skill.

Some of the other categories include debate and discussion, group work, and essay skills.

One of my favorites is hexagon learning. Students get hexagons with key information and have to organize it into categories of their own choice.

Tarr provides an example with a case study of Stalin. He put together a list of the factors that led to Stalin's rise and generated 40 hexagons using a digital "hexagon generator" he developed.

You can develop your own hexagons using his generator here at his site, Classroom Tools.
Tarr's "History Teaching Toolkit" is a great resource with a lot of novel ideas. 

Saturday, November 5, 2016

The Opium War from Extra History

Studying the Opium War?

Here two excellent clips from Extra History that reviews the history of the war. The first clip outlines the Chinese monopoly on tea and the limits of its single trading port or hong.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

What Caused the French Revolution? TedEd Lesson

Teaching the French Revolution?

Here's a great TedEd video from Tom Mullaney. He reviews the role of the Enlightenment, economics, and inequality of the the three estates with engaging graphics.

The Worst Killers in History

Who committed the worst atrocities in history? The New York Times printed a really cool graphic showing the "murderous ways" of empires and peoples throughout history.

Genghis Khan wins by wiping out close to 11% of the population in the 13th century. But who were the other killers?

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

The Caliph: A New 3-part Series about Islam

Teaching Islam? Empire of Faith is a good documentary from PBS that has been the standard for years.

But a new three-part series from Al Jazzera called The Caliph may offer a new standard. And you can stream it for free. 

Part one deals with the Islam's founding. Part two outlines the division between Sunni and Shia, and part three reviews the decline of the Ottoman Empire and the last caliphate.

Monday, October 31, 2016

The Egyptian Book of the Dead: TedEd

Here's great review of the Egyptian Book of the Dead from Tejal Gala for TedEd.

I know we've already covered Egypt but this is worth bookmarking for next year!

Saturday, October 29, 2016

The Pope & the Reformation

By Zebra48bo,
Need a hook for teaching the Reformation?

The Pope just commemorated the 500th anniversary of the Reformation by announcing that he will go to Sweden, a Lutheran country, to commemorate the event.

NPR has a good story and broadcast about the event as well as a concise summary of the Reformation itself.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Understanding Synthesis in AP History

If you teach AP World, AP Euro or APUS, you might find this explanation of SYNTHESIS helpful for both you and your students.

It comes from History Haven. Thanks to Esther Artieda for posting the link on Facebook.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Indus River Civilization: Terrific BBC Website

Here's a terrific BBC site on the Indus River. It has different areas of life to explore such as technology, games, art, etc.

You can also play an interactive trading game where you can become an Indus trader.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

The Hanseatic League: Two Clips

While it did not rival either the Indian Ocean or Silk Road trade, the Hanseatic League knit together northern Europe and the Baltics into a very profitable trade confederation.

It started in the middle of the 13th century and continued for 300 years. At its height, it included over 200 cities like Lübeck, Reval, Riga, and Dorpat.

Some of the products traded included Flemish cloth, salt, herring and furs. And Novgorod traded wax and honey.

Some historians even argue that the League was a forerunner of the European Common Market today.

Here are two short clip that summarize the importance of the League. The first takes you on quick tour of the Hanseatic museum in Bergen. And the second takes you on a tour of Lübeck.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Hindu India: Terrific Short Documentary

Teaching Hinduism?  The Himalayan Academy, which publishes Hinduism Today magazine, has a terrific 23 minute documentary about the origins and features of Hinduism.

The documentary is engaging and includes great photography. It's divided into five short parts: origins, sacred texts, Hindu society,  beliefs and practices, and finally, festivals.

One way the film engages students is by juxtaposing ancient beliefs and ritual with modern beliefs. For example, you'll see an ancient fire pit followed by clips of contemporary Hindus involved with fire worship.  You'll see a 2000 year old stone carving of a Hindu meditating in the lotus position followed by a contemporary  Hindu meditating in the same way.

According to Murali Balaji, a director of education at the Hindu American Foundation, and writing for the Huffington Post, the film was made in response  to "the problem of negative portrayal of Hinduism and India in school textbooks."

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Human Migration from Africa: Animated Map

Watch as this animated map from Business Insider shows how humans migrated from Africa across the world.

When Worlds Collide: The Columbian Exchange

Here's a fascinating 37 minute documentary about the changes, especially in ethnicity, in the Americas after the Europeans first discovered the continent.

It's a terrific introduction to the Columbian Exchange.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Confucius: Overview of Life & History

Excellent overview of Confucius and his basic philosophy from the series, Its History.

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.

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.

    Wednesday, May 11, 2016

    Great New Quiz-Maker: Wizer-me

    Here's a great on-line quiz maker called You can easily embed images, YouTube links, recordings, even ThingLink images.

    But the best thing about is that you can assign the quiz to Google Classroom. Students click on the link, put in their name (first and last initial will work) and create a password. They can then take the quiz.

    The second best thing about is that the program will record all the quiz grades and allow you to see which questions students missed. You can even download a report.

    Wizer is much easier to work with than other quiz makers like the fee-based Quia. And the reports are equally good, if not better.

    Here's a link to an SOL quiz I made.  And here's a clip that explains how to create a Wizer worksheet.

    Sunday, May 8, 2016

    Use Google Classroom as Discussion Board or Poll

    You can use Google Classroom as a discussion board. You can pose a question and students can respond and comment on each others.

    Here's how.

    Open Classroom and click the "plus" sign.

    Next, click "Question."
    Add your question. Mary Catherine Keating, a teacher at Chantilly High School who showed me this feature,  asked her students which cause of World War 1 was most important--alliances, militarism, imperialism, or nationalism.

    Once a student responds, then he or she can see other comments and responses. After a student submits the comment, you get an email notification of the post.

    You can also use Classroom to poll your students. Mary Catherine often uses this feature as a bell ringer.

    The process is similar to creating a discussion board
    • Go to the plus sign
    • Click create question
    • Hover over "Short Answer"

    • Click on Multiple Choice

    Add your question with choices. Once you add the questions, Classroom will tally the responses.  You can show the students the tally or hide it.

    You could use the polling feature as a bell ringer as Mary Catherine Keating sometimes does, or perhaps as an exit ticket.

    Here's a blog post from Google for Education about the polling feature.

    Thursday, May 5, 2016

    Move Over Kahoot! Meet Quizizz

    Move over Kahoot! Meet Quiziz. Both are great online quiz games but I think Quiziz is more engaging.

    In Kahoot, students check in on their smart phone and put in a code you project with your game. Once students have signed in, you show the questions, one at a time. Students love it.

    Quiziz is similar, students check in on their smart phone and put in a code. But then the similarity stops. 

    Once students check in, and add a nickname, the game proceeds on their smart phones.  They move through the questions at their own pace but the faster they respond, the more points they get. Students can also see the leader board on their devices.

    The big difference seems to be that Kahoot is teacher driven while Quiziz is more student driven. In Kahoot, you wait until everyone has answered the question or the time limit ends. But in Quiziz, students advance the questions. They are still competing with each other which makes the game very engaging.

    It also works with Google Classroom. You can assign a review game as homework. Click here to see how.

    My students played today and seemed to really enjoy it. They went through 40 questions in about 15 minutes and seemed to be thoroughly engaged. 

    Here's quick review of how Quiziz works.

    Sunday, May 1, 2016

    SOL Review Aids for World II

    Here some links to released tests and other review aids for the Virginia SOLs.