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 Wizer.me. You can easily embed images, YouTube links, recordings, even ThingLink images.

But the best thing about Wizer.me 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 Wizer.me 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.