Saturday, July 23, 2011

Possible Lesson Plans

As the school year approaches and the Global World History Project is launched in its first year, my mind has raced a million miles an hour. I have thought over and over about the endless possibilities for this type of education. While putting together the schedule for the upcoming year, I sat down earlier this week and took a few notes on potential projects that the Global World History Project could explore in its inaugural year.

Here are some of the abbreviated thoughts. You are more than welcome to post comments on your thoughts and they will be heard and considered. This project, after all, is the Global World History Project, not the John Glaser World History Project.

These are not in any particular order...

- Imperialism Unit - Imperialism affected many parts of the world, in many different ways. How did Imperialism affect your country or region and why? In your answer include the following.

  • What was imperialism?
  • What were some significant events of Imperialism?
  • What are the positives/negatives of pursuing the principal of Imperialism for a country? 
  • Who does Imperialism benefit and why? Who does Imperialism NOT benefit and why? 
- Greece and Rome - How have Greek and Roman culture and innovation affected the world we live in today? Give examples from the past and present, and share how they have benefited your area/region of the world.

- Revolutions - Revolutions are a major part of World History. How have revolutions changed the world? Pick two revolutions that happened in your country/region, and explain why there was a revolution and what happened. Also explain how it impacted your country or region and if there is an effect in your country or region today.

- Age of Exploration - What was the Age of Exploration and what factors lead to countries exploring the world? How did the Age of Exploration influence your region? If it did not affect your region, pick any area near you that it did affect and answer the question above.

- Economics - Pt. I - What is the preferred method of transportation for your country? If it is auto, give an average amount of money your family spends on fuel in a week. Convert this figure from your countries unit of measure to a partnering country's unit of measure that is not the same as yours. (For example, the US uses gallons, but in the European Union, they go by liters.) Also translate the cost of the gas from your currency to a currency of a partnering country. Part II - Most countries have a McDonald's located in them. What is a typical meal that one would get a McDonald's in your country? What did the meal cost in your local currency and what is the equivalent in the currency of partnering countries?

- Translation - Pick an important government documents from your country i.e. Constitution, Declaration, etc. Explain why that document is important to your country. Then translate the document into two different languages of partnering countries using google translator. Give your opinion to how google translator did in translating your document into another language.

- Government - Give a brief overview of your country's government. What kind of government does your country have? Give the positives and negatives of your country's government. How are your elected officials elected into office and how often are elections?

- What do you consider to be the 3 most important events in your countries history?

  • Who - Was involved? 
  • What - Happened, what were the reasons behind the event? 
  • Where - Did it happen (were there other countries involved)?
  • When - Did this event happen? 
  • How - Is this event celebrated or remembered now? 

- What were 3 important events in history of your continent or region? Pick events from 3 different time periods (Answer the same questions from above)

- How did the two World Wars affect your country, continent, or region?

  • Who was involved and why? 
  • How were they involved? Economic, troops, supplies, etc. 
  • What were the effects of these two wars in your country, continent, or region? 

Any thoughts or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Closing the Gap in Education - CONNECTION

Check out these stats of a recent survey of employers about their employees international cultural awareness. 

This is the gap that the Global World History Project is looking to fill. 

I asked myself the question today...

"Should high schools get rid of history text books and rely more on internet based resources and inquiry?" 

While the study of the history of the world is important, the study of current history that each of our students are a part of now is just as important, if not more important, for our students to be aware of the world that they live. Ask most American high school students what is going on in the world and their answer is more often than not, "I don't know." With all the power at a students fingertips in their cell phones, tablet PC's, iPads, laptops, etc this information should be more known now than it was in previous generations. However, most of our students are either not interested, because they don't see the implications in their own cultures of what is going on globally, or they don't know the best places to find the best information out there. I would challenge that along with this thought: students don't know how they can use this information as power to change the world. Only when a major event takes place do students take notice that it actually happened. The problem then comes when a month later that event is already left the news headlines and is forgotten. It is has been just over four months since the earthquake in Japan took place and when I watch the news each night there is no mention of it. 

How powerful would it be to have students that are partnered up throughout the world and when a world event takes place the students understanding goes to a whole new level. Now this event isn't just news that will eventually be forgotten, it is news that will be internalized by the students who are not only watching it on television but CONNECTED to it because they are CONNECTED to the culture through the students that they could be studying with in their own classroom. An assumption that I have is that because the student across an ocean is now a part of what is going in the world they will want to be involved in what is going on. Who knows what this could eventually look like but the possibilities are endless. 

My wife and I have friends who are in Haiti and have been there even before the earthquake that took place there. I have to admit my understanding of Haiti, even as a social studies teacher, was limited before the earthquakes took place. However, because I had a CONNECTION with someone their my understanding and education of Haiti changed. This CONNECTION even stirred an inner passion for the people of Haiti, this passion wasn't anything that was on the news but what I learned by being CONNECTED to someone there. I have never been to Haiti, but not being there doesn't change my greater understanding of what is going on and what is needed in Haiti. Little did I know that the people are so poor in Haiti that they have to give up their children because they can't afford to take care of them. Our friends happen to be a part of a project that worked to help the people of Haiti make jewelry to bring in an income that wasn't their before. Little did I know that something as simple as saving my empty cereal boxes and shipping them down periodically not only saved me from throwing these boxes into a dumpster to fill an overflowing pit of trash, but that it helped the people of Haiti to make the much needed income they needed to be able to afford to keep their kids. All of this because I was now CONNECTED to the people of Haiti.

This would have never happened without a CONNECTION, a CONNECTION that helped me and my family become more culturally aware of a place we knew little about. Because of the CONNECTION and the relationship with someone that is actually in Haiti even after the news stopped telling us what is going on their we are still a part helping Haitian people replace all that they have lost. Even our four year old daughter is CONNECTED and aware of what is going on. She now tells everyone she meets about what has happened in Haiti and shows them the beautiful jewelry that she got from Haiti to help them "get their stuff back" as her child like mind states it. 

What kind of global impact could the students of the world have for each other if they not only learned about another cultures history in a book but lived it out with them through making a CONNECTION? How would the world change if we were CONNECTED to each other in ways never imagined before the smart phone? In an instant we can be CONNECTED. 

The world we live in now is not the same world we lived in 15 years ago. We are more CONNECTED than ever before, however, in school our CONNECTION is limited because many people believe the best CONNECTION in history is a book. To truly CONNECT students to history we should tell them about the past while CONNECTING them to the present. Now history isn't just a subject it is a part of their life and something they can take with them for the rest of their lives not just for the years they are in school. 

Friday, July 15, 2011

Flipping the W. History Classroom

There is a lot of talk about flipping classrooms, however, when you hear about flipping a classroom most of the time it is related to Math or Science classes. My question is why not do the same thing with History? This year as a part of making the Global World History Project work I will be flipping my classroom. What is flipping a classroom you might ask???

Flipping your class is doing what students would normally do in class at home and what would normally be done at home in class. My plan is to limit classroom lectures during the class period but instead doing my lectures and posting them online through YouTube in 10-15 minute segments. Students homework will generally be to watch the lectures and take notes of the lectures through watching the videos. This way students will have the chance to watch the videos as many times as they would need based on their understanding. They will also be able to watch the videos in many cases on the go through their cell phones if they have a data plan. They will come to class and have random periodic CPS Clicker (see if you aren't familiar with these) quizzes over what they have been learning at home. While in class they will then take the knowledge that they have been learning and explore it deeper in small groups or as a whole class. While doing this exploration of the time in history we are studying they will also have time to take what they are learning and apply it to the Global World History Project in a variety of weekly lessons that we will be putting together throughout the year. (some of these will be described in my next blog posting) 

Through the Global History Project students will then teach each other the history subject they are learning in class and to their global partners for a greater understanding. When a student is able to teach another student something they have a better understanding of what they have been learning. It will also give the teacher the opportunity to hear the students share what they are learning so the teacher knows if the students are really grasping the subject. While the students are teaching their global partners what they are learning they will also often hear a different take on what their partner schools are learning.

In my next blog I will give some sample lesson plans on how the Global World History Project will look.  

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

And We're Off...

Global World History Project is off and running. I am working right now on getting schools to partnering with us. Today I posted on Facebook and Edmodo and within an hour I received contacts from a school in Haiti, Jakarta, and China. They haven't agreed to join with us on this yet but it is a start.

Global World History Project is something I have been thinking through for the last year and really hope to get it going for this next school year. My vision is to give students from different countries a more global perspective of the history of the world. Imagine how a student in Germany would view WWII as compared to a Japanese student or American student and this is just one major event in History.

What I want to do this first year is to pair up my students (I will have about 150 total) with other students from around the world like a pen pal. As we all study W. History in each school the students will teach other students what they are learning through a variety of medium (blogs, emails, letters, video reports, etc). In the classroom teachers will have the chance to use they varied perspectives for talking points and discussions to go further in depth on the history lesson.

Along with the normal W. History curriculum when world events occur students or classes will report on what they are being told about the event and teach each other what is going on in the world. This will make students have to pay attention to the news of the event so that they can share with others what is actually going on. Through this students will have a more global awareness that what is being told on their news isn't always the full story. Could you imagine something like this when the earthquakes happened in Haiti and Japan or the revolution in Egypt? Each country had a different perspective in the news and it would have made for some interesting discussions for our students.

We can also have discussions on world economics with lessons on costs associated with similar products in other countries. Could you imagine how humbling a discussion would be for an American student talking to other students throughout the world about gas prices, or taxes, or even health care. The hope is that over time these students and become culturally aware of what other people have or don't have so they can have a larger perspective of the world.