Sunday, January 31, 2010

Tremendous Class Webpage

Tremendous Class Webpage
This is quite simply one of the best class webpages I have ever seen. It includes outlines (yes they come from a textbook, but you will see it is very smoothly done and you still remain on the website), great online games, video, terms and a calendar. I will add that it is made for AP World. I just wish the teacher had his e-mail on there so I could get him to help me on this blog page.

Interactive Darwin Site

Interactive Darwin Site
This site does a great job of showing the stops that Darwim made in the correct order. I got it from a Larry Ferlazzo tweet.

Twenty-One Interesting Ways to Use Audio in the Classroom

Twenty-One Interesting Ways to Use Audio in the Classroom
Perhaps the coolest thing about the above PowerPoint is that it just appeared on my Google Docs page as I was added as a collaborator. It was made by Tom Barnett whose blog is . I have been using Google Docs this fall for my students group projects and love it. I even am going to try having students turn in some of their work this way as I am becoming frustrated by the clunkiness of Blackboard's way of turning in assignments. I'll do more on it later, but for now the twenty-one ways include podcasts with audacity, musical timers, recording projects in both audio and video and most importantly it includes all of the links for each idea. 

Google Blog

Google Blog
If you have been reading this blog a while, you know that I like Google products that help me in the classroom. For example the other day I set up an "igoogle" page to house all of my favorite sites. Blogspot is a Google hosted item which I use for this blog. Google Docs is a great way for you and your colleagues/students to share projects. My wife and I have our family calendar on the Google calendar (with different colors for each person) and it is synched with my school Outlook calendar. There are, of course, lots of great videos for the classroom on Youtube (owned by Google). Finally I like Google Mail, not just because it is a good e-mail system, but my kids can video chat through it with their cousins in Maine (we're in VA). I also read a great book this past summer appropriately titled Planet Google. So if you are hunting for new Google ideas the Google blog should be helpful to you as they tell you about the products and then show you how to use it with a short video. Recently, for example, they released Google Dashboard which is a way to control the information that Google stores on you, which in my case is growing rapidly!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Relatively New VideoRecording Device


Oovoo! is a relatively new video recording device. You have use it to have a video conference with up to six people which is a great way for your students to work on a lesson plan. Also, you can interview and record up to 1000 minutes which would be great if your students are making a video and want to put it into something like Movie Maker.

A Seventh Grader's PLE

A Seventh Grader's PLE
A personal learning environment is a pretty new term, but it is essentially an aggregator for all the sites you might use to perform your necessary functions. For example, you might have your Facebook page there, websites you frequent, Google Docs and more all in one place. I use for mine. Above is another aggregator called which a 7th grader uses to demonstrate how she does her classwork. It is very much worth a minute to watch it.

Oldest Living WWI US Veteran Testifies on the Hill
This is pretty cool. Cpl. Frank is 108 (!) and was a POW and today spoke on the Hill in favor of building a memorial in DC. Here is an ABC video story on him and above is a more detailed account. (Photo from CNN)

Google Earth New Virtual Sites

Google Earth New Virtual Sites
Go see Stonehenge, Versailles, old town in Spain, historic center in Prague and much more. Amazing. Here is the list of places you can visit.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Multiple Uses for Google Earth

Multiple Uses for Google Earth
I found this from a tweet from Ann Oro. I am using it for locations of battles (such as the Civil War) where my students can put the name of the leaders, statistics, etc.

ePortfolio Mashup for Google Apps in the Classroom

ePortfolio Mashup for Google Apps in the Classroom
This is a great picture (above and here) that shows how you can use Google applications in the classroom. I found it on Twitter from NMHS Principal whom I believe is a principal in New Jersey and judging from the Tweet film below is very much on top of technological uses in the classroom.

Virtual Tour of Stonehenge

Virtual Tour of Stonehenge
Go here and then click on any part of Stonehenge and take a complete virtual tour. I found out about it from MrBally's Tweets.

Stones into Schools

Stones into Schools
Having grown up overseas the story, Three Cups of Tea and the new book, Stones into Schools, struck a cord with me. While I am advocating bringing more and more technology into the classroom, it is easy to forget so many schools around the world are happy just to have an unheated structure where one can learn. The author of the book, Greg Mortenson, builds schools mainly for girls in remote regions of Pakistan and Afghanistan. Above is an interview with Mortenson. You can find more about his organization .

Google Sites and Posting Your Assigments

Google Sites and Posting Your Assigments
I used to be happy that we had Blackboard, but no longer as it is clunky (six clicks to correct one assignment). Here is a great example of what you can do with Google Sites. It shows you that one can have folders, links, etc. Of course your students can turn in the their work through Google Docs (one click to grade) and you can include PowerPoints, pictures, quizzes, etc. Here is the best example of what is possible in the page. So if your system does not have an online delivery device for your students Google Sites.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Igoogle and Google Docs in the Classroom

Igoogle and Google Docs in the Classroom
Here is a video I made for teachers in my county to be able to use the aggregator "igoogle" and Google Docs.

Ten Ways To Use Google Wave

Ten Ways To Use Google Wave

Google Wave is starting to spread about (you need to get an invitation or go to the Google Wave page and sign up). For those who don't know what it is, I have the video above, but basically it allows you to chat with other people at the same time without pushing the "send" button. Below are many clever uses which I found . It is worth your time to go through the list as for example they have a list of educators and their addresses so you could contact them. There is also one that tells you how you can video conference and if you wanted, you could look at videos together - all in the same screen. It also allows you to put Google Wave into Blackboard so you can use it with your students (imagine groups working at home and being able to see each other and at the same time working on a Google Docs item!). By the way I found this list.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

More Google - This is Time Travel

More Google - This is Time Travel
Want to see actual newspapers from the past, go here to understand it and here to search.

Rome on Google Earth

Rome on Google Earth
Go here to download the necessary software and watch above to see what amazing things are in store for your students.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Google Maps Follow Protests in Iran

Google Maps Follow Protests in Iran
Want to add Google Maps to your class and are teaching World History, a great way to do this. This site has been following the protests in Iran.
(Photo from

Google and Texting and other uses for cell phones in class

Google and Texting and other uses for cell phones in class
If you have "Google" as one of the address in your phone, you can text a question and send it to that address and get a response. Here are a bunch of other ways to use texting (including several articles). I learned recently that our school district, while banning cell phones, actually leaves it up to the principal. You might want to check out if your school is the same. That is how I got permission for just social studies teachers to use it. The link above also shows one how to use which is a way to quickly go over a few multiple choice questions, have kids text the answers and instantly see a chart for the percentage of kids who have answered what question. Finally if you go to the search engine on this site and type in "cell phones," you will find many other suggestions for usage from this summer's postings.

Monday, January 25, 2010

2009 in Review as seen by Google Wave

2009 in Review as seen by Google Wave
Above is the year in review by Google Wave. If you haven't seen Google Wave, it is real time talking (both written or via up to six video links). this is from a Twitter feed from GiseldaSantos.

Quizzes on Google Docs

Quizzes on Google Docs
Perhaps I am getting too far afield with all the "Google stuff," but above is a video that tells you how you can create a quiz with all types of questions in Google Docs and then allow your students to take it.

Kids Making Their Own Cartoons

British Quartering Act

Kids Making Their Own Cartoons
I received this from one of my normal followers (feel free to leave a message with your tips or to e-mail me at if you have any. I always have my students create cartoons as I find it a good way to memorize something without having to actually sit down and say something over and over until it is in one's head. With this site, one can actually make digital cartoons much as we have drawn them in the past.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Iran and "The Lede"

Iran and "The Lede"
Having spent a number of years in Iran in my youth, I must admit I am smiling that so many seem to be rising up against the current government there. More to the point since Iran is one of the countries on the AP Comparative test, it might be interesting to follow it more online. Above is a video from today taken by some of the participants. Here is a blog entry which includes links to the opposition website. It is from the NYTimes Lede which is a supplement to their newspaper and includes many videos and pictures and is another reason why I no longer read a newspaper in paper form. 

European Virtual Museum

European Virtual Museum

This is a collaboration of 27 Europeans which allows you to look at their artifacts online. Found it at

Internet 3.0

Internet 3.0

This short video explains how we went from Internet 1.0 where you could see what others had designed to 2.0 where the average user can create their own projects to Internet 3.0 where we will be better connected between our projects and better able to see them from the computer, phones (look out Google is about to release its own phone- and I don't mean the Droid- which you will be able to use no matter what phone service you use) and other devices.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

History Articles | State of the Union Bingo Lesson Plan

Hello. President Obama will be giving his first State of the Union on Wednesday, January 27th. If you are looking for a great classroom activity for your students please check out the 2010 State of the Union Bingo lesson plan from the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia.

This is a fun and engaging way to have your students watch the State of the Union. Check it out.

Link to 2010 State of the Union lesson plan from the National Constitution Center

History Articles | Barringer Fellowship and School Lunch Blog

Photo of Monticello from afagen on Flickr, Creative Commons

Hello. It has been almost a month since my last podcast. Today I dive back into the podcasting pool with some reflections on a wide variety of topics.

I start by discussing the start of my 365 Project in which I take a picture each day during the year and post it on Flickr.

The next topic is the Barringer Research Fellowship - a great opportunity this summer for any teacher who wants to learn more about Jefferson at Monticello.

The last topic is a great new blog that I have started following : Fed Up With School Lunch Follow along as a teacher eats school lunch each day in 2010 and then describes it and takes a photograph of the meal. You can also follow this project on Twitter : @fedupwithlunch

If you have any comments please feel free to leave a comment on this blog entry. If you are spammer who just wants to leave a link with some totally generic comment, please move along. Thanks.

Click to subscribe to the Speaking of History Podcast at the Zune Social

Click to subscribe to the Speaking of History Podcast at i-Tunes here

Direct link to Podcast #206 - 365 Project, Barringer Fellowship and School Lunch Blog

Easy Slide Show with Voice Add In

Easy Slide Show with Voice Add In
One thing that sometimes gets me when I give assignments that require the Internet is that some of the kids say, "Why can't you just give us a worksheet." This is one A good place to use it might be for your absolute monarchs section of the course where you can have a picture for each person and then have the student tell how they were strong leaders and/or innovators. You can also have other students make comments themselves. What is great is the above slide show was made by 2nd graders! Hit the buttons in the lower right corner and you can see all the pictures at once. The last one will allow you to embed it. I found this site on a Tweet (and I can't say enough about using Twitter for teachers).

The Decade in Review in Pictures

The Decade in Review in Pictures
This is a great site to see a decade of photos. I found it on Larry Ferlazzo's site.

Held by the Taliban

Held by the Taliban
No this is not about the American soldier currently being held in Afghanistan. Rather this is a video story of David Rohde who was held for several months by the Taliban before escaping. It is fascinating as it has geography (including Google Earth scenes), history, great descriptions of area and the story itself.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Converting a PDF to a Word Document

Converting a PDF to a Word Document
Boy I wish I had this a million times in the past. Go here to find a site that will convert a pdf to a word document. It will only work, though, if the original document was a word document and not a pdf. Also, I found this site on this blog.

Eid al-Adha and the Hajj, 2009 - The Big Picture -

Eid al-Adha and the Hajj, 2009 - The Big Picture -
The Hajj
Here are 38 amazing pictures on the Hajj. Also above is the first of a five part series on going to Mecca for the annual pilgrimage there.

German WWII Invasion of the Ukraine

German WWII Invasion of the Ukraine
This is a pretty interesting light box interpretation of the invasion of the Ukraine in WWII which I got from Hiram Cuvevas's tweets.

Free Online Meeting for Your Students?

Free Online Meeting for Your Students?
Like all public schools that I know about, we are not allowed to use Facebook to let our students to collaborate after school hours. , though, is a free site that allows one to have up to 10 people working together in a conference setting. Here are the features:

Desktop sharing, ten participants, switch presenter, remote keyboard, session recording and playback, whiteboard, transfer files, pointer, copy/paste, etc.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Alexander the Great's Armour

Alexander the Great's Armour
This post from "A Blog About History," talks about the armor that his troops used to create Alexander's empire. He and his troops used something called linothorax which is a linen covering that is a mysterious covering that has never been seen by modern researchers.

TeachMideast is a new website from the Middle East Policy Council that offers K-12 teachers a smorgasbord of fresh resources on the Middle East, Islam and Muslim societies. It utilizes Google Earth, to showcase many lesser-known aspects of the Middle East in tours that bring the region to life. The site also connects teachers, students and the general public to a variety of other resources, including background essays, articles by prominent scholars, lesson plans and activities, presentations, images, and more. The site is organized thematically, with resources on stereotypes and realities, geography, history, religion, peoples and languages, culture, current issues and pedagogy. This organization helps teachers to quickly find the kind of information they need for their classes. There is also a search function that allows teachers to search for information by country, subject and grade level.

A blog feature on the site also allows the education team at MEPC to showcase exceptional new resources and to take advantage of "teachable moments" in the headlines. The blog gives teachers new ways to approach the subjects about which their students have the most questions.


Not that you can't find some of the images everywhere for the Haitian earthquake, but above is a video I found on the NYTimes Lede page. I can't say enough about that resource as they upload video and pictures in real time from people in an effected area (last month it was amazing footage from Iran). If you incorporate current world events in your world history class, the site is a must.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Books of the Future or Should I Say the Present

Books of the Future or Should I Say the Present
The juniors in my school have been using e-books this year rather than a paper text. Some of them love it and others don't, but for me it is an important step towards what will be a much better product in the near future as you can see above.

Google Docs for Teachers

Google Docs for Teachers
I can't say enough about how easy it is to have your students turn in work through Google Docs and then grade them. Additionally Google Docs is a tremendous way for students, and teachers to collaborate. Above is a nice how to video.

Multiple Ways to Use Wordle

Multiple Ways to Use Wordle
I have used Wordle on this site to show how you can compare two different sources on the same topic to look for bias. But I went to this blog and found the multiple uses you can see above including ways for your students to analyze their own writing and work. It is a great slideshow.

Timeline Using Microsoft Excel

Timeline Using Microsoft Excel
If you want to make a timeline easily such as the one above, you can go here for all of the directions.  The site is done by a British teacher who mixes free lessons which are quite good with others that you have to pay for to use.

History Articles - Journal

1/19/2010 - Journal
Originally uploaded by eric.langhorst
This is part of my 2010 365 Project in which I take a picture each day during the year.

I love having a smoething with me so that I can write down notes and ideas. Last spring I found a great little journal that is the perfect size - about 3" x 5". I have since filled up several of them and my wife gave me two new ones for Christmas. They are made by PaperBlanks and I highly suggest them to anyone who loves to jot down notes and ideas.

Photo taken with my camera.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Mongol Eurasia and Its Aftermath: Webquest

Listen to this PodCast


The Mongols had the second largest empire in the history of the world. Only the British Empire can compare with the expansiveness of the Mongol Empire. The tremendous extent of the Mongol Empire promoted the movement of people and ideas from one end of Eurasia to the other. Specialized skills that developed in one location was quickly transmitted to all parts of the Empire.

During the Mongols period of domination, lasting from 1218 to about 1350 in western Eurasia and to 1368 in China, the Mongols focused on specific economic and strategic interests and usually permitted local cultures to survive and continue to develop.

Societies in regions as widely separated as Russia, Iran, China, Korea, and Japan benefited from the Mongol stimulation of economic and cultural exchange and also found in their opposition to the Mongols new bases for political consolidation and affirmation of cultural difference.

The Task

If you're like most American high school students, you don't know much about the Mongol Empire. The Mongols are very removed from the United States in both time and space. This is simply a travesty that must be fixed as soon as possible. This webquest will encourage you to create a presentation for Mrs. Smith's 6th grade World History class. To excel at this project you must be knowledgeable in the history of the Mongols as well as have a sense of the congnative abilities sixth grade students.

Through this webquest you will accomplish the following:
  • Research websites on six different areas of the Mongol Empire
  • Synthesize the information into a PowerPoint presentation for a class of 6th grade students.
  • Present another students PowerPoint to the class.
  • Create a 15 question multiple choice quiz for the 6th graders

You will become a context area expert. You will be assigned to one of the six areas. You will read, look at, listen to, and consider all the websites in your area of expertise. You will determine the most important and interesting ideas in your area, and then you will take notes on those ideas. Each student needs to gather enough information for a 3 to 5-minute presentation (20 to 30 minutes). TIP: Keep this window open and open another window to do research.

Topics to Include:

I. The Rise of the Mongols, 1200–1260
A. Nomadism in Central and Inner Asia
1. Nomadic groups depended on scarce water and pasture resources;
2. Mongol groups were a strongly hierarchical organization
3. The various Mongol groups formed complex federations
4. The seasonal movements of the Mongol tribes brought them into contact with Manicheanism, Judaism, Christianity, Buddhism, and Islam
5. Nomads strove for economic self-sufficiency, but they always relied on trade
B. The Mongol Conquests, 1215–1283
1. Between 1206 and 1234, under the leadership of Genghis Khan and his successors
2. Khubilai declared himself Great Khan in 1265 the other Mongol khans refused to accept him
3. Khubilai founded the Yuan Empire with its capital at Beijing in 1271; in 1279 he conquered the Southern Song
4. Factors that may have contributed to the Mongols’ ability to conquer such vast territories.
C. Overland Trade and the Plague
1. The Mongol conquests opened overland trade routes and brought about an unprecedented commercial integration of Eurasia
2. Diseases including the bubonic plague

II. Mongols and Islam, 1260–1500
A. Mongol Rivalry
1. Il-khan Mongol Empire and their Muslim subjects
2. Golden Horde, led by Genghis Khan’s grandson Batu, who had converted to Islam
3. During this conflict European leaders attempted to make an alliance with the Il-khans to drive the Muslims out of Syria, Lebanon, and Palestine
B. Islam and the State
1. collect as much tax revenue as possible, which it did through a tax farming system
2. In the short term, the tax farming system was able to deliver large amounts of grain, cash and silk. In the long term, over-taxation led to increases in the price of grain, a shrinking tax base, and, by 1295, a severe economic crisis.
3. Attempts to end the economic crisis through tax reduction programs c
4. As the Il-khan Empire and the Golden Horde declined in the fourteenth century, Timur, the last Central Asian conqueror
C. Culture and Science in Islamic Eurasia
1. In literature, the historian Juvaini
2. Muslims under Mongol rulership also made great strides in astronomy, calendar-making, and the prediction of eclipses
3. In mathematics, Muslim scholars adapted the Indian numerical system
III. Regional Responses in Western Eurasia
A. Russia and Rule from Afar
1. After they defeated the Kievan Rus, the Mongols of the Golden Horde made their capital at the mouth of the Volga
2. Because Prince Alexander of Novgorod and Moscow emerging as the new center of the Russian civilization.
3. Ivan III, the prince of Moscow
B. New States in Eastern Europe and Anatolia
1. Europe was divided between the political forces of the papacy and those of the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II
2. The Mongol armies that attacked Europe were actually an international force
3. After the Mongol withdrawal, Europeans initiated a variety of diplomatic and trade overtures toward the Mongols
4. The Ottomans,
IV. Mongol Domination in China, 1271–1368
A. The Yuan Empire, 1279–1368
1. Khubilai Khan
2. When the Mongols came to China
3. The Mongols also made some innovations in government.
4. Under Mongol rule China’s cities and ports prospered, trade recovered, and merchants flourished. Merchants organized corporations in order to pool money and share risks.
5. In the rural areas, cotton growing, spinning, and weaving were introduced to mainland China from Hainan Island, and the Mongols encouraged the construction of irrigation systems. In general, however, farmers in the Yuan were overtaxed and brutalized while dams and dikes were neglected.
6. During the Yuan period China’s population declined by perhaps as much as 40 percent
B. Cultural and Scientific Exchange
1. Exchange of scientific, technological, and mathematical knowledge was especially common between Iran and China
2. During this period Iranian astronomical knowledge, algebra, and trigonometry, and Islamic and Persian medical texts, seeds, and formulas were brought to China.
C. The Fall of the Yuan Empire
1. In 1368 the Chinese leader Zhu Yuanzhang brought an end to years of chaos and rebellion when he overthrew the Mongols and established the Ming Empire

V. The Early Ming Empire, 1368–1500
A. Ming China on a Mongol Foundation
1. Former monk, soldier, and bandit Zhu Yuanzhang established the Ming Empire in 1368.
2. At a deeper level, the Ming actually continued many institutions and practices that had been introduced during the Yuan
3. Between 1405 and 1433 the Ming dispatched a series of expeditions to Southeast Asia and the Indian Ocean under the Muslim eunuch admiral Zheng He
4. Why the voyages ceased
B. Technology and Population
1. The Ming saw less technological innovation than the Song. Reasons for the slowdown?
C. The Ming Achievement
1. The Ming was a period of great wealth, consumerism, and cultural brilliance.
2. One aspect of Ming popular culture was the development of vernacular novels like Water Margin and Romance of the Three Kingdoms
VI. Centralization and Militarism in East Asia, 1200–1500
A. Korea from the Mongols to the Yi, 1231–1500
1. Korea’s leaders initially resisted the Mongol invasions but gave up in 1258 when the king of Koryo surrendered and joined his family to the Mongols by marriage.
2. Koryo collapsed shortly after the fall of the Yuan and was replaced by the Yi dynasty
3. Technological innovations of the Yi period
B. Political Transformation in Japan, 1274–1500
1. The first (unsuccessful) Mongol invasion of Japan in 1274
2. The second Mongol invasion (1281)
3. The Kamakura shogunate
4. After the Onin war of 1477


Rise of the Mongols Context Expert:
- World History Timeline: The Mongols
- Great Steppe Empires of Asia
- Expansion of the Mongol Empire
- The Mongol Conquests
- Genghis Khan
- Ogodei Khan
- Khubilai Khan
- Overland Trade
- Black Death in Asia
- Black Death

Interaction of the Mongols and Islam Context Expert:
- The Islamic World to 1600
- Islamic History in Arabia and Middle East
- Religious Tolerance
- Mongols and Gutenberg
- The Mongols into Iran

Regional Responses in Western Eurasia Context Expert:
- Khanate of the Golden Horde
- The Golden Horde
- Alexander Nevsky: Prince of Novgorod
- The Pax Mongolica
- Frederick II and the Papal Conflict
- Mongols Invade Europe
- Interaction between Europe and Mongol lands
- Rise of the Turks and the Ottomans

Mongol Domination in China Context Expert:
- Ancient China: The Yuan Empire
- Yuan Dynasty
- The Mongols in World History
- Mongol Support of Art

Early Ming Empire Context Expert:
- Ming Dynasty
- Ming
- Ming the Commercial Revolution
- Chinese Mariner Zheng He
- Russia, Central Eurasia, China, Japan, 1500-1700

- Decline of the Ming

Centralization and Militarism in East Asia Context Expert:
- Korean History
- Korea's Joseon Dynasty
- Mongol invasions of Japan
- Japanese Invasion
- Kamakura
- Warring States Japan

Evaluation (10 points each)

Including all topics
Written at proper level
Knowledge of Presenters
Visual Images
Primary Source
Multiple Choice Quiz
Proper Use of Sources

The New York Times have done me proud

Listen to this PodCast

On my live-bookmarking thing in my FireFox browser I have the international section of the New York Times (NYT). For the past 6 months I have been increasingly disappointed with the material they deem worth of publishing. Out of the six or seven articles 90% of them were about the war in Iraq. Granted, this is large international news, but it is almost always written from Washington, thus the NYT International section is an extension of the Nation/Politics page.

However, today the lead article was not about Iraq and did not mention the United States. The article entitled, "In Niger, Trees and Crops Turn Back the Desert" is a very interesting look at how least developing countries (LDC) can solve their own problems. In fact, it wasn't even the Nigerian government who solved the problem but the local farmers.

The NYT does a great job reporting this one; multimedia, sideshows and great pictures make for an informative and entertaining article.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Japan in Pictures

Japan, the Land of the Rising Sun. One of the most beautiful places in the world. Enjoy a sampling of pictures that feature Japan and some of its people.

The Document Based Massacre

Listen to this PodCast

Well, not really. The essays for this DBQ were much better then my class last semester at this point. Which, makes me feel like I'm presenting it better.

The current assignment in class is to become the AP Reader and grade DBQ's. We used the 2006 DBQ and wrote our own. We get calibrated with a few of the samples from the collegeboard's website; just to make certain we know what we're looking for (I don't think I can post those). To grade we use the following sheet:

I believe this is the same sheet the AP Graders used over the summer, so this should be pretty accurate.

It took about three for us to be on the same page with the level of specificity desired. It' is amazing to see how harsh the students are with other students work; far nastier than I would be. Here are a few samples:
Essay 1
This essay ended up scoring an 8. We believed it had an acceptable thesis (not the best though), addressed all the documents and only misunderstood one (document 8), used 7 of the 8 documents as defense for the thesis, had two instances of POV, used more than 2 groups, and had additional documents. We felt that the essay could have had a better thesis and the POV was a little weak so it did not merit a 9.

Essay 2

This essay ended up scoring a 5. We believed it had an acceptable thesis, only addressed 7 of the documents and did not show an understanding of but 4, used 6 of the 8 documents as defense for the thesis, had two instances of POV, used more than 2 groups, and had additional documents. We felt that the essay could have had a better thesis, needed to be more clear on why the documents are important and the handwriting should have been better.

Most of the students did well with the structure I had them use. The structure is located in this blog slideshow thing. Hopefully the next time around the students will have no problem with the essay and can start to grow outside of the outline.

Onward to Europe

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This is the most popular section of World History for the students (I prefer ancient Persia) and I cannot imagine why. The Early and High Middle Ages do not contain ground shaking material. There are no huge innovations in politics or society; no large intellectual achievements; really nothing. The case can be made for the revolution of economic systems (manorialism) but even the Europeans abandoned this. In addition, vestiges of the manorial system can be seen centuries earlier under the Roman System, still nothing special.

Nonetheless, Europe must be covered and this section does lay the foundation for Europe in the future. Below are the notes for the section on Early Europe to the High Middle Ages; below the SlideShow are some questions for reflection and review.

If you read the blog and find it useful, let me know and I will continue to put assignments (optional assignments).

Here are some questions to ask yourself after reading the SlideShow:
1)What is the significance of Clovis's conversion to Christianity?
2) Who were the Vikings? What were the motivations behind their behavior? What were their accomplishments? How did they disrupt European society?
3) What was the significance of the invention of the heavy plow for European economy?
4) How did monasticism develop in early medieval Europe?
5) What was the significance of the monasteries to the European society and economy?

World Population Clock and much more

World Population Clock and much more
This is much more than a clock as it has a running total of the number of people, but also time clocks from around the world, as well as live statistics on death, illness, the enviornment, energy, US crimes, food and more.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Industrialization and Nationalism Document Based Question

DIRECTIONS: The following question is based on the listed documents, available on the corresponding links. Some of the documents have been edited or excerpted. You will be graded based upon the Advanced Placement World History standards for document based questions (DBQs). DBQs are designed to test the habit of the mind listed in the Advanced Placement World History course description:

Using documents and other primary data: developing the skills necessary to analyze point of view and context and to understand and interpret information.

PART A: Answer the questions that pertain to each document. The questions are designed to help build your understanding of the documents and develop your ability to analyze documents. The Advanced Placement examination will not contain these questions.

PART B: The Advanced Placement examination will require you to write an essay based on a series of documents. You will see the following instructions on the examination:

Write an essay that:
• Has a relevant thesis and supports that thesis with evidence from the documents.
• Uses all or all but one of the documents.
• Analyzes the documents by grouping them in as many appropriate ways as possible.
• Does not simply summarize the documents individually.
• Takes into account both the sources of the documents and the authors’ points of view.

QUESTION: Using the documents and illustrations, analyze the rise of nationalism in Europe and Latin America during the nineteenth century. What factors contributed to the growing sense of nationalism? What forms did this nationalism take? What kinds of additional materials would you need to analyze the rise of nationalism in Europe and Latin America during the nineteenth century?

BACKGROUND: After the fall of Napoleon in 1812, the Congress of Vienna (1815) attempted to reestablish the old order. A new spirit of nationalism, however, swept Europe and the European Latin American colonies with mixed results. Though largely unsuccessful, a series of European revolutions in 1848 inaugurated a spirit of liberal nationalism that swept Europe. Latin American colonists declared their freedom from Europe. By the end of the century, Italy and Germany were unified. Nationalism became an important political force in Europe and gradually spread to other regions throughout the world.

Part A Questions

A. Map 18.2: Europe After the Congress of Vienna
• How did Europe’s major powers manipulate territory to decrease the probability that France could again threaten the Continent’s stability?
• What were the other goals of the Congress of Vienna?
• How successful was the Congress of Vienna?

B. Document: Revolutionary Excitement: Carl Shurz and the Revolution of 1848 in Germany
• What event sparked this author’s account?
• What is the author’s goal?
• What steps to this goal does he identify?
• What does the author believe will obstruct this goal?
• In what ways was this cause eventually co-opted by the Prussian King?

C. Map 18.3: Latin America in the First Half of the Nineteenth Century
• In what ways did the French Revolution contribute to nineteenth century Latin American revolutions?
• What were some of the difficulties in building new nations in Latin America?

D. Document: A Radical Critique of the Land Problem in Mexico
• What serious problems were engendered by ownership of large estates in Latin American politics?
• How did such holdings determine the structure of Latin American societies?
• Based on this selection, how revolutionary were these Latin American revolutions?

E. Document: Garibaldi and Romantic Nationalism
• How do people react to Garibaldi in this account?
• What destruction has occurred in these neighborhoods? Which forces are the cause of this destruction?
• How does the journalist characterize Garibaldi and his struggle?
• What do we know about the author? Does he seem sympathetic to Garibaldi and his cause?
• In what ways was this cause eventually co-opted by the Piedmontese King?

F. Map: The Unification of Italy
• What obstacles did Italy face in its unification?
• Of the countries displayed on this map, which would likely, taking geographical and population-size factors into account, pose the greatest military threat to the new Italian state?

G. Map: The Unification of Germany
• What role did the formation of the North German Confederation play in German unification?
• What role did the absorption of the South German Confederation play in German unification?

H. Document: Emancipation: Serfs and Slaves
• What were some of the ideological and economic reasons that Tsar Alexander II freed the serfs?
• How do these motivations compare to Lincoln’s?
• What changes did this emancipation initiate in Russia?

I. Illustrations: Caspar David Friedrich, Man and Woman Gazing at the Moon and Eugene Delacroix, Women of Algiers
• What genre of painting do these works represent?
• What themes are present in these works?
• How do these works reflect nationalism?

Scoring Guide for the Document Based Question Essay

Points 0-7
1) Has acceptable thesis. 1 point
2) Uses all of the documents. 1 point
3) Supports thesis with appropriate evidence from documents. 1 point
4) Understands the basic meaning of documents cited in the 1 point
essay. (May misinterpret one document.)
5) Analyzes point of view in at least two or three documents 1 point
6) Analyzes documents by grouping them in two or three ways 1 point
7) Identifies and explains the need for another document/source 1 point

Points 0-2
Expands beyond basic core of 7 points. A student must earn 7 points in the basic core area before earning points in the expanded core area.


* Has a clear, analytical, and comprehensive thesis.
* Uses all or almost all documents.
* Uses documents persuasively as evidence.
* Shows careful and insightful analysis of the documents.
* Analyzes bias or point of view in at least four documents cited in the essay.
* Analyzes documents in additional ways — additional groupings or other.
* Brings in relevant "outside" historical content.

Homework on the Run

Students beware, we are finally figuring out a way to get educational mileage out of your cellular phone. If students in my classes send the message MrKeatley to 41411 they will receive, in a matter of moments, the homework for the evening or any message I want them to receive.

The website, TextMarks allow anyone to set up a system such as the one stated above. Here is a picture of what the students see after sending the text message.

It is my hope that this will be one more tool for the students to use so that they are never ever behind and can always get assignments.

Somalia is burning and we care about Mexican Abortions

You cannot find any news about the Ethiopian siege of Mogadishu, the capital city of Somalia, on any of the main-stream U.S. media outlets. The New York times is leading it's international section with a story on the legalization of abortion in Mexico. CNN is leading with the story of a letter being sent to Iran from London with stories on South Park and Sanjaya Malakar from American Idol.

I am, once again, disgusted by the choices our media outlets deem as worthy of publishing. Noam Chomsky, in his book Manufacturing Consent, illustrates how the American media only publishes stories that are in the countries best interest. This can be clearly seen with the current events in Somalia.

For those readers that are not aware, there have been many skirmishes between Somalia and Ethiopia in the past 20 years. However, fro most of that 20 years, the United States made a firm stand to support the Somalians because Ethiopia was backed by the U.S.S.R. Fast-forward to today and we see an Islamic political party in Somalia that has been denied its right to rule and looks to take the power that is rightfully theirs with force. The Ethiopians, backed by the non-Muslim word, are using this Somalian affair to justify invading.

Where is the outrage? Where are the protesters? We have just allowed a country to invade another sovereign nation. In the West we do not care about this story; this is true orientalism at work. The Africans (Muslim Africans) have become the "other" that orientalism speaks of; they seem strange and we fear the terrorists that may be harbored in the countryside so we let this happen. No reports, no video, no embedded reporters.

I ask myself this question when I see events, such as this, unfolding with no coverage in the United States: Would the world care if this was happening in the US? With out a doubt, yes! Then why don't we care?

Below is video taken from Mogadishu. It is clear that there is fighting going on in and around the city.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Free schooling?

This is my second activist post in a row. I guess Spring Break is giving my mind the opportunity to expand beyond my work for a little while. My gripe, I call it that because I think I'm just complaining and will not really DO anything to remedy the problem, is the lack of education opportunities for those in the middle.

I applaud Harvard University and other school like them that are offering free undergraduate education for those families that make less than $60,000 per year. I do believe that programs, such as this, are good and will help a small amount of college bound students to receive the best education possible; especially here in the south. However, these schools are missing out on having the largest impact possible.

There is a huge middle in society, families that make more than $60,000 and less than $100,000. These students get very little, if any support from universities. Maybe a small grant that will take care of books but these students must take loans and pray for scholarships to make tuition, room and board, and other college expenses. This lack of funding for people in the middle is even more pronounced in Graduate school. There is almost no financial help for people in the middle trying to get an advanced degree.

Sigh, I know college is a business (even public schools) but is there any solution? How can we get more financial assistance to those in the middle and those wishing to get advanced degrees?

Duke lacrosse and Don Imus

The players from the Duke lacrosse team that were arrested for rape have been cleared and Don Imus has been booted from the visual side of MSNBC. For some reason people seem to be connecting these two events because they involve black women.

Before I continue I must say that I do not condone what Don Imus says and, to be honest, do not listen to the man unless there are commercials on every other radio station I have preset. However, I do know that he has a track record of saying silly things and this one got caught by the national media. Now, Mr. Imus is being taken across the coals for his comments. Oh well, he is a public figure on a public radio station that said things that a large amount of the public does not like. As a private institution, MSNBC, can do as they please with this man.

The Duke lacrosse thing is very different and as sad as the entire situation is, it shows how good our judicial system can be. The students should have been arrested, there was enough evidence to do so. After the arrest there was an investigation and the students were released. This is what the judicial system is all about. Not withstanding, I do feel the pain of the students whom endured months of agony; however, they have learned to not be in places like this and do things like they did. I hope that the young lady who falsely reported gets punished and that the students can go on living their lives.

Racism is alive and well in the United States and around the world. No, it is not as bad as it was 10, 20, or 30 years ago; however, racism still exists. We can still feel the sting of imperialism and colonialism. To this day we still determine who we are by who we are not; a line of thinking that is only 200 years old. When we stop defining ourselves this way then we will start to close the divide between races in the United States and the world.

Viva La France

We're to that point in World History where we discuss the French Revolution. This is one of the most important moments in Western History and deserves to be covered more in depth that I have time for in class. I start off the class with a very, very quick video (created by an AP European History class in the North East) on the causes and immediate effects of the Revolution.

The students also get to explore a little themselves. They complete the webquest on my homepage ( which helps them to achieve an understanding of how the different groups of people viewed and participated in the revolution. It combines the information they just learned on the Enlightenment and lets them utilize the information. Eventually, we will combine the Enlightenment, Greek thought, the French Revolution and the Haitian revolt as the catalyst for British expansion and the eventual Industrial Revolution, which will change/influence the entire world.

The studnents are not as excited as I am about the prospect of finally getting to world history and not glorified regional history. I will post links, video and pictures as soon as I can.

Monday, January 11, 2010


The German blogosphere is gathering in Berlin, with today being their last day of meeting. It is reported that there are about 600 people at the conference which is organized by, a leading politics/free culture blog and, one of Germany's most popular blogs.

I find it funny that people are "meeting". Don't get me wrong I love a good conference just as much as the next teacher; however, with SecondLife and all the instant communication available on Web 2.0, it does seem ironic to me.

Aside from my own feelings on the format of the conference I do like, as a world history teacher, some of the topics addressed. Most notably, globalization. With the internet, it is becoming more feasible for people to involve themselves in world politics, as well as world commerce. It is now possible for leaders to take the temperature of the people they represent. An article on my hometown newspaper, the Sun Sentinal, is accompanied by many comments from the people. Imagine town hall meetings where everyone can vote, in the building or not. Economically, the web helps ideas, service and money become easily transferable. Thus, it is no longer people that have to migrate to be a part of a business, bringing wealth to parts of the world that may not have a market for the product being sold.

There are some great papers there and the website is worth the read. I hope there are quite a few reviews of the conference available, upon its conclusion, in English.

Globalization, advertising and Nuffnang

Nuffnang is an Asian advertising company that is using Web 2.0 to distribute ads via personal weblogs. This is an amazing development in the globalization of the world because it is making a great deal of money.

The world is coming closer and closer together because people are no longer defining themself by their nation-state; they are being defined by their interests. The capitalists around the world is picking up on the changing way people are communicating and (as always) are jumping on board.

The boarders of states are quickly vanishing and the use of the internet as both a social and work tool may destroy the nation-state all together. But what could/would take its place? Here in the United States we have a very large government (state and national) that provides a great deal of services to its people. Will we be left behind in the advancement of globalization? It is my belief that the destruction of the nation will happen in the places that have the most to gain from this change--South America, Southeast Asia, and sub-Saharan Africa. Will we be able to compete?

Friday: Day of the Living the Assessment

Friday the 13th is a day when many people run for cover and decide to stay in bed. There are some people that even suffer from triskaidekaphobia, fear of the number 13. Or more specifically, paraskavedekatriaphobia, fear of Friday the 13th. There are many legends on why 13 is such a bad and scary number from 13 being prime to Judas being the 13th person to sit at the table for the last supper. Nevertheless, all of the fear and superstition seems to be rubbish, to me at lest; which is one of the reasons that I assign the Unit 4 (1750-1914) exam for today. (The main reason may be because it fell on the right day, but who knows.)

This exam is different from the examinations I have given previously, first, this is a take home exam. I have not given a take-home exam...well...ever. At this point in the semester, four weeks until the APWH Exam, I believe it is better to have the students review the material a couple more times then to rake them over the coals to find they do not know a great deal of information. Another change to my examination is the length, since this is a take-home exam and the goal is to learn I have made the examination one-hundred and fifty questions. This is more than double the standard length test and the questions to get a bit specific, but as I said above I would prefer the students read their text and review materials two or three more time to get the correct answers than not know it at all.

(To see a copy of the test please go to my AP World History Homepage.)

It is my hopes that the studnets will take the little pieces of information from this most important unit and internalize them, first from the class lectures and activities and second from the repetition that the exam provides.

If anyone out there (does any one read this stuff??) thinks this is good or bad please let me know. I do enjoy the ideas of other educators.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Death of Reading

Boing Boing recently directed me towards this NEAreport on the decline of reading in America. It's a depressing but informative read. According to the report, 10 percent less of the adult population read literature now than twenty years ago, dropping the total amount of adult literature readers to less than half the population.

Reading at Risk is not a report that the National Endowment for the Arts is happy to issue. This comprehensive survey of American literary reading presents a detailed but bleak assessment of the decline of reading’s role in the nation’s culture. For the first time in modern history, less than half of the adult population now reads literature, and these trends reflect a larger decline in other sorts of reading. Anyone who loves literature or values the cultural, intellectual, and political importance of active and engaged literacy in American society will respond to this report with grave concern.

This leads me to ask the question, "what has replaced reading?" A couple of ideas comes to mind. First, adults might be working more now than, well, anytime since the start of "modern history". But I think that answer is lame. I believe it has been replaced by, bet you guessed it, Television. But, I don't know if that is such a bad thing. Watching shows like LOST can force people to critically think as well as engage in cultural, intellectual and political activities.

People see these statistics and freak-out and to some degree I understand. But, we can now put books on tape/CD or watch TV or movies and get an amazing amount of information. The new media should not be feared, it should be embraced.

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