Tuesday, August 15, 2017

White Nationalism & Charlottesville: Teaching Resources

Here are some resources that I have collected over the past few days for facilitating conversations with students about white nationalism and the events at Charlottesville this weekend.

Harvard University School of Education tweeted some of these excellent resources.

Here are three interactive websites that review the history of lynching and slavery.
  • The Police Violence Map allows you to see the number of people who have been killed by police using interesting and engaging maps and graphs.


Here are some excellent analytical news stories about the tragic events at Charlottesville, race, and white nationalism.

Professor Walter D. Greason at Monmouth University tweeted  links to a number of excellent clips about the history of lynching in America, and a number of riots like the 1919 Chicago Police Riot.  You can find more of them if you subscribe to his You Tube feed called The Conversation Starts Today: Race and White Privilege.

Finally, This Social Justice website has a great list books about social justice categorized by age--elementary school, middle school, high, and adult.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

China's New Silk Road: New BBC Series

Here's a great new series from BBC about China's huge initiative, called One Belt, One Road, to open trade channels between itself and neighbors in both the east and the west.

It will include both land and sea routes, super fast trains on the land and huge container ships on the sea.

Why is China committing close to $1 trillion dollars to this initiative?  

According to The Economic World Forum,  one incentive is to improve the economies of poorer countries to the south. Improving these economies could help maintain China's economy.

For example, in the homeland of the Uyghurs in Kashgar, an ethnic Muslim minority that has often revolted against its marginal status, China has invested hundreds of millions with the idea that involvement in profitable trade will reduce violence.

One former US diplomat called the Chinese initiative, "potentially the most transformative engineering effort in human history," according to CBS News.

Here is a clip that reviews some of China's major projects around the world from the The Dailey Conversation like Africa's transnational electric railroad that runs 466 miles from Djibouti to Addis Ababa,  to a huge power plant in Pakistan.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Blended Learning with Stations

Blended learning stations may be a great way to individualize lessons and create smaller learning communities within the classroom.

Most of us work on a 90 minute block schedule already and plan three or four activities for each class.

Why not turn them into stations?  Students can move at their own pace and you don't have to wait for the whole class to finish an activity before moving on to the next.

And its easy for you as the teacher to move between the groups to answer questions and offer suggestions.

English teacher, Caitlin Tucker, explains how the stations might work in the five minute clip below.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Online Resources for Teaching the Middle East

Here are some great online resources for teaching the Middle East that I put together on a Weebly site.

I am teaching a current events course next spring and want to include a unit on the Middle East to help students better understand contemporary issues in the region.

One of the best resources I found comes from the British Council and the Social Science Research Council. ​

Its curriculum  includes 5 units to help World History high school educators teach about the Middle East and North Africa in their classrooms. 

Curricular themes include Women & Gender, Plural Identities, Empire & Nation, Political & Social Movements, and Arts & Technology. 

These units include terrific primary and secondary sources and good lessons for students to evaluate and analyze them.

And Teach Mideast has country profiles with information on geography, history and government, and culture. You can see an overview of each country in graphic form like the one below for Algeria.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Understanding the US & Iran

Here is an awesome summary of US & Iranian relations by UNC Professor, Dr. Charles Kurzman.

You'll learn the history of Iran from the revolution in 1906 to the overthrow of Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh in 1953 to the Iranian Revolution in 1979.

Here is a link to a student video guide for the clip.  And here is a teachers guide.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Importance of Salt: Big History Clip

Why is salt so important in the development of civilization? Why did the Romans pay their soldiers in salt?

Here is a terrific two minute clip from the Big History Project that explains salt's preservation powers and its influence on our vocabulary.

Salami, for example, comes from the Latin word "SAL"or "salt." And so do the words "sausage," "sauce, and "salsa".

The host also points out that since salt saved lives by preserving food, it also led to salvation! 

Saturday, July 29, 2017

River Civilizations: Two Awesome Websites

Two websites, both ideal for creating web quests, review river civilizations.
  1. The River Valley Civilization Guide: This website has great short summaries on the economy, social structure, geography, buildings, tools, etc. for  the four river valley civilizations: Nile, Yellow, Indus, and Tigris-Euphrates.
  2.  The second site comes from the British  Museum.  Students can read about the adventure of King Gilgamesh, and explore different maps of Mesopotamia. They can also play an interesting game that teaches them the importance of water and irrigation by acting as a farmer in ancient Sumer.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

How to Spot a Misleading Graph

Graphs don't lie. They are based on cold, hard numbers. Right?

Wrong! They can be very deceiving but it takes careful analysis to see it as Lea Gaslowitz explains in this awesome TedEd talk, "How to spot a misleading graph."

This is terrific for teaching point of view (POV)!

My thanks to John Maunu for the link.


Monday, July 24, 2017

Çatalhöyük: Resources Including 3D Animation

Çatalhöyük or Çatal Höyük (pronounced "cha-tal hay OOK") is an ancient neolithic city located in south central Turkey. It  is important because it marks the transition from exclusively hunting and gathering  to domestication of plants and animals and tells us a lot about prehistory. Along with Jericho, it represents early neolithic communities currently under excavation and study.

Here are some resources to help with that understanding.
  1. The Çatalhöyük Research Project is a terrific site with images, maps and essays. The most interesting is the belief that religion may have originated at Çatalhöyük. That belief comes from the discovery of female figurines
  2. Khan Academy has a good site with background background.
  3. Finally,  here are three clips. 
    1. First is  a short seven minute clip that introduces the Neolithic site. 
    2. Second, you can watch a sixteen minute clip that goes into even more detail.
    3. Old Dominion University has a terrific 3D animation  which you can also see below.


Saturday, July 22, 2017

Indian Ocean Slavery: Excellent Essays

Here are a series of excellent essays (nine in all) about slavery in the Indian Ocean in the 17th and 18th Centuries.  All of them are written by Karen Williams for Media Diversified.  Williams works in media and human rights in Asia and Africa.

Some of the essays are ideal for the classroom, especially in AP World when we cover the early modern period between 1450 and 1750. Two of my favorites include "The Indonesian anti-colonial roots of Islam in South Africa"and "Slave narratives from Dutch colonisation in Indonesia."

Williams explains how Islam spread to South Africa in the first essay.  She notes that exiled Indonesian scholars and royalty first spread Islam among South Africa's poor population. She traces the establishment of Islam to two key figures. One, Sheikh Yusuf,  was part of the anti-Dutch resistance and a key figure among slaves. She suggests that he established the first Muslim community at Colony in 1697.

The other key figure in the development of Islam in South Africa was Tuan Guru, who came to South Africa as a prisoner from Indonesia’s Trinate Islands. When he was released form his twelve year prison sentence, he established the first Muslim school (madrassa) and mosque in the 1790's.

In the second essay about Dutch colonization in Indonesia,  Williams examines the nature of Dutch colonization through the Dutch East India Company (VOC).  Specifically, she looks at  the Dutch colonization of Batavia in 1621 when they razed the existing city of Jakarta along with the existing  royal residences. They established a huge slave market referred to as the "Batavian Institution."  We learn about that slave market through the movement of one South African slave called Doman.

Williams offers a fascinating tour of the Batavian slave market and how it forged "historical links across the Indian Ocean between Indonesia and South Africa."

Friday, July 21, 2017

Use Flipgrid for Student Videos

What is it?  A video platform for students

  • Flipgrid is a website that allows teachers to create grids of discussion questions that students respond to by recording a short video using their smartphone. Each grid is like a message board and the student's 90 second responses appear on the grid as a series of tiles.
Your class could be a grid and each grid could deal with one question.

Questions are short prompts and can include links to websites.
You can keep a completed grid private or you can make it available for your students to view.

Here's a link to instructions on how to use Flipgrid.

  • Flipgrid One is free. You get one grid and as many topics as you want
  • Flipgrid Classroom costs $65 a year and it gives you unlimited grids and responses.

Possible Uses
  • You might use Flipgrid at the beginning of the year and ask students to introduce themselves to the class. And it might give us teachers an easy way to match faces with names.
  • Debate a topic or show what you know
  • Could use as an exit ticket
Use with Google Classroom

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Is it Time to Stop Averaging Grades?

By St. Gil, Marc, 1924-1992,Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=17119541
Educational consultant and author, Rick Wormeli, makes a strong case that it does not make sense to average grades. He suggests that finding the mode might be better. Consider this data:
Cheryl gets a 97, 94, 26, 35, and 83 on her tests, which correspond to an A, A, F, F, and a B on the school grading scale. When the numbers are averaged, however, everything is given equal weight, and the score is 67, which is a D. 
Wormeli argues that this is not an accurate measure of Cheryl's grades.

The same logic applies to averaging two scores on the same test. Doesn't the student show mastery on the material if he or she scores higher on the second test. And if so, why then should we average the two scores?

In addition, doing away with averaging should cut down on students trying  to game the system.
[It] will help eliminate teacher concerns about students who “game” the system when their teachers re-declare zeroes as 50s on the 100-point scale. These students try to do just enough— skipping some assessments, scoring well on others—to pass mathematically. 
It would be nice if our electronic grade-books would give us an option to find the mode instead of the average.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Walking the Silk Road: PBS NewsHour Clip

Studying the Silk Roads?

Here's an interesting clip from the PBS NewsHour about Paul Salopeek's walking tour of the original Silk Road.

Salopeek is a journalist who is on the fourth year of a walking tour around the world.

The interview reminds us of the importance of the Silk Roads in transporting goods and ideas and also of the unforgiving topography of the deserts and mountains  that made up much of the Silk Roads.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Edward R. Murrow Describes Buchenwald

Here's a great clip you might want to bookmark for next year when we teach World War II and the Holocaust.

Friday, June 16, 2017

PBS to Premiere Michael Woods' "The Story of China"

Michael Wood's "The Story of China" will premiere on PBS on Tuesday, June 20th.

The  series includes six episodes:
  1. Ancestors (June 20th)
  2. Silk roads and Ships (June 27)
  3. Golden Age
  4. The Ming
  5. The Last Empire
  6. The Age of Revolution
You can see the first episode below.  I found it on Daily Motion.

The Story of China website has some great interactive features including a quiz on the different dynasties, a timeline, and an interactive map.

The website also includes some classroom resources. For example, a lesson on Confucianism and the Analects includes the appropriate segment of the video in which Michael Wood discusses Confucianism, along with a background essay and discussion questions.