Sunday, April 24, 2016

WHAP Review Time!

REVIEW BOOKS

There are so many AP World review books on the market, but not all of them do the same thing!
  • AP World History Crash Course, by Jay Harmon 
  • Preparing for the AP World History Exam, by Barbara Brun-Ozuna, et.al 
  • Cracking the AP World History Exam (Princeton Review) by Monty Armstrong – Good on skill-building for test-taking approaches. 
  • 5 Steps to a 5: AP World History by Peggy Martin – Good for giving broad trends and themes in world history, great CCOT charts for different themes. 
  • Kaplan AP World History by Patrick Whelan and Jennifer Laden – Great reviews of it from AP World teachers overall, though Patrick has told me that he has not had much to do with the revisions of the book since 2011. 

Though I always provide the caveat to my students that they should always go by what I have taught them in class, or just check in with me about the accuracy of their statements and effectiveness of their strategies if they are unsure. Although many of the authors are AP World History teachers who are at the top of the field, I don't always know what may happen in the final edits of a review book.

Online Review Sites

There are more and more online review sites out that that help students review, usually for a fee. There are a few sites that offer some free services, but if you want more, will ask for your money. The quality of what is online is inconsistent, but serve its purpose in helping you review content.

The two I've listed below are ones that have gotten better reviews from other AP teachers than normal. I've looked at the Learnerator site as well, and though the questions are not up to par, it is still helpful for content review.
GetAFive: Online Review site
Learnerator: Online Review site

And another fun game that students can go through to compete with one another.


Videos Helpful for Review 
Of course, there are plenty of videos out there that could help you review, but the best series by far (the exception) are the ones by John Green, Crash Course World History.
Crash Course World History Series 1 playlist: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLBDA2E52FB1EF80C9
Crash Course World History Series 2 playlist: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL8dPuuaLjXtNjasccl-WajpONGX3zoY4M There are more videos below -- depends on how your students or you want to spend your time!
AP Review in 12 minutes
TED-ED Videos: There is an increasing number of history videos that are excellent to use for review! Browse through the Social Studies --> History topics.
Some of my favorites to show through the year or as a review are:
Atlantic Slave Trade
Silk Roads
Five Major World Religions


FINALLY, I have collaborated with a few other teachers across the nation to bring live online chats for students to do review in the evenings. See link below for the 2016 schedule of online reviews: ONLINE WHAP Review-A-Palooza


Thursday, April 21, 2016

Historical Argumentation: Using Art as Historical Evidence

I've been meaning to post this for months now.  Members of the Test Development Committee are tasked with presenting for teachers at various key conferences through the year.  I had volunteered to do one at the World History Association Conference in Savannah in 2015, and was paired with Craig Benjamin.  All I could think is, "WHAT? I'm presenting with Craig Benjamin, who has the biggest personality in all of the circles of world history!"  Even worse, Craig wanted to go FIRST. How do I follow in Craig Benjamin's footsteps?


Below is our abstract -- at the time of writing it, I had NO idea what I was going to do.
"Historical Argumentation: Using Art as Historical Evidence" Craig Benjamin - Grand Valley State, MI - benjamic@gvsu.edu; Angela Lee - Weston High School, MA - leea@weston.org 

Education researcher Sam Wineburg has been working with the Stanford History Education Group on a project titled "Reading Like A Historian”. The group investigates why students, even top students who have done well on AP history exams, do not utilize the skills that seem to come naturally to historians. This is certainly true about the way students deal with primary written sources, but it is even more true about the way APWH students struggle to use visual sources. Given that the AP world history exam continues to use a range of visual sources to assess student learning and skills, there is clearly an expectation that students should be able to use these sources effectively. In this workshop titled Historical Argumentation: Using Art as Historical Evidence, AP World History Test Development Committee members Angela Lee and Craig Benjamin focus on how to help teachers and students more effectively utilize visual sources as historical evidence. Craig Benjamin will present an initial overview of how art is referenced throughout the APWH Curriculum Framework, and how professional historians utilize art as evidence to support historical argumentation. Angela Lee will follow with a workshop based on a small selection of the images from the initial presentation, and have teachers work through various interpretations of these selected artworks. The presenters will also suggest methods and strategies for teachers to use on interpreting visual sources.  The overall aim of the workshop is to help high school and college students become more skilled at analyzing and interpreting art, and using it as evidence to support historical argumentation.

Almost a month before the WHA Conference, Craig sent me his completed Powerpoint, which he has graciously allowed any of us to use: Craig Benjamin's AP World History Historical Argumentation: Using Art as Historical Evidence  It helped me focus down and formulate what I felt would be the most helpful to teachers.

So, I went the route of what I know best -- how do I capture all the work I do with art into lessons plans that could be used across different time periods?    I decided to focus on the syncretism that occurs with art as cultures interact, and the art that made sense to focus on was Buddhist art, Chinoiserie and then I tacked on impressionist artists at the end because I've been fascinated by Japanese and Asian art and it's impact on Western art movements.  (Eisen's Courtesan and Van Gogh's The Courtesan below).  To be truly global, I also wanted to add Picasso's integration of African art, but ran out of time, so if anyone wants to take that on, please do, and let me know!



So, the result was my presentation with these three mini-lesson plans which can be found on this Google Slide presentation:  Buddha's Journey Through Art, Chinoiserie Goes West and Japanese Art Meets Impressionism.  I also threw in some cool edtech using Google Cultural Institute's Art Project and set up "galleries" for students to walk through at their own pace.  Not all the images match that of the Google Slide presentation, however,  it was whatever is accessible in their project.  Still, most of my images came from Google's Cultural Institute:


Here is the overall presentation, with corresponding documentation, student handouts/worksheet, bibliography.

As with all things I put together, I would love to get feedback!

Monday, February 1, 2016

Printing 3D History - Empires Project - Guest Blogger @alidahanson

I've been doing this Empires Museum Project with my AP World students since the first or second year of the course.  It has gone through quite a few transitions, but initially it was mainly a stab at integrating a creative Project-Based Learning opportunity into what seemed to me at the time a very rigid curriculum.  I was a new teacher, and I had not yet discovered the paradigm shift in terms of focusing more on skills rather than content.  For some reason, this year, the project took another spin and after posting the results on the AP World History Teacher's Facebook page,  I got more "LIKES" than any of my other posts ever did.  Many asked about the process, and since I don't have the technical know-how, I invited my colleague, our school's librarian to be a guest blogger for this post.

Guest Blogger: Alida Hanson, WHS Librarian @alidahanson and @WestonHSLibrary
3D printing arrived at Weston High School this year. The printer, requested in a grant by me, the librarian, is a fabulous Ultimaker 2, a highly rated workhorse. Each school in our district received one in August 2015. I knew nothing about printers until I got one of my own. I visited several makerspaces so I knew they existed (and more importantly worked), but actually having one was scary. How would I learn to work this thing?


Our district did something inspiring: they hosted a professional development day this summer about tinkering in the classroom. When we walked in the room, the Ultimakers were humming. Our Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum, the Technology Director, and the Assistant Superintendent of Finance spent who knows how long unpacking these new machines and getting them to work. If they could do it, so could I!


I took the machine home and got to know it. Dealing with clogs and breezes from the AC became important. I learned how to use Tinkercad, an excellent free 3D modeller. The machine was ready for September. Lest you think all the learning is over, no it’s not! I continually tinker to solve problems and keep the machine printing. Remember, learning = time.


The Ultimaker lives on the front desk of the library. Students are fascinated by it and use it for a variety of personal and curriculum based projects. Personal projects include phone covers, gaming objects, and room decor. Curriculum based projects have been mainly for English, History, and Engineering.


One of the best projects was the Empires exhibit for Angela Lee’s AP World history course. Students created museum exhibits of objects describing the rise, height, and fall of various civilizations. Some students found 3D drawings of artifacts, printed them, and included them in their displays. Experiencing these objects in 3D was richer than seeing them in a photograph.
We saw samurai helmets, Japanese temples, and the Hagia Sofia.  In fact, we printed three copies of the Hagia Sofia for different groups.


Japanese Torii gate being printed
Finished Japanese Torii gate

At one point students realized that the Hagia Sofia model didn’t have enough spires. Then they realized that early in the mosque’s development there were no spires at all--so they clipped off the extra spires and added them where they were needed, creating two iterations of the building. This kind of learning and thinking never would have happened with pictures or a hand built model. The easily duplicated multiples were key.


Students needed to be reminded of scheduling. If many peers are printing for the same project, and the projects take a full day to print, you have to get in line a week or two before the project is due. A number of students came to me on Friday afternoon asking for completed projects on Monday morning. I could not make that happen.


Some people think the 3D printer is a gimmick, adding nothing important to the curriculum. I argue that it adds something important in short supply in school: permission to tinker, go through iterations, and experiment. Students and teachers think of new uses for it every week.

If you want to learn more how to 3D print, take a look at the libguide <http://libguides.weston.org/3dprinting>  I made for students. Pay attention to the vocabulary section. I recommend free software only, so it’s accessible to anyone. I spend a couple of minutes walking the students through the process, and they always come back with the right file with minimal involvement from me.


If you’re thinking of introducing 3D printing to your school, go for it! Be sure you have at least one person who will “own” it, i.e., keep the printer running. That could be a teacher, an aide, or students. In fact, Waltham High School in MA got seven 3D printers six weeks ago which are 100% managed by students. Their printers run all day long.

Friday, January 29, 2016

ABQs (Artifact Based Question) and Instagramming at the MFA

When AP World colleague, Cherie Pinchem and I had a history nerd date at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston in December 2015, we were both inspired by the "Made in the Americas" exhibit to do a joint field trip that combined our AP World classes.


Here are some reviews of the exhibit:

For this joint venture, we had several important goals in mind:
1) students must collaborate together - all groups had 2 students from WHS and 3 students from BLS.
2) students would have to explore the syncretism of that time period, and
3) students needed to look at and document the artifacts that helped them devise a historical argument.

All the artifacts on display showed evidence of syncretism. We wanted our students to focus on that as it tied into Period 4 (1450-1750) which highlights the increasing globalization that was occurring in the world.  This exhibit seemed pre-made for a DBQ structure, though one of my students enthusiastically changed the name more appropriately to "ABQ" or Artifact Based Question.

Here are the instructions for students and the prompt that they grappled with during the course of the field trip.

In order to capture the thoughts of 100 or so students, and to allow for easy sharing of those thoughts and documentation, I wanted the students to record and annotate their thoughts about artifacts electronically.  Although there are many great photo sharing sites, I also wanted to use something where students could write longer annotations, and not just quick labels as they would on Flickr or Picasa.  The head librarian at my school (who is amazing with integrating technology into the curriculum!) gave me the idea of using Instagram, which is a social media network that is primarily for posting photos, and allows space to document and comment on each others' work.  Another advantage for using Instagram is that almost all students are familiar with Instagram even if they did not have their own account.  I created 4 separate accounts so that students would not have to use their personal accounts.


Below is the Storify from all 4 Instagram accounts that captures the work of our amazing students.  As we were wrapping up, my WHS colleague commented that the activity felt very authentic, like the work that real historians are doing.  I will have to come back to reflect on the final outcome.

**UPDATE** I received this from a current student as she was grappling with the essay assignment.  I thought it was an apt analogy.  

A Metaphor for Writing Essays in AP World by HL:
A normal CCOT or Compare/Contrast essay in AP world feels like you get handed a piece of granite and you have to chisel it into a beautiful statue with just your brain
A normal DBQ feels like you get handed a piece of granite that has been cut up into many confusing pieces that you must get back together and then chisel into a beautiful statue with your brain
This DBQ feels like you have nothing and must use your brain to create a piece of granite...you will be proud of yourself for even finding a piece of granite big enough even if it can ever be made into a statue or not.


Unfortunately, the exhibit is only here until February 15, 2016, after which it will be dismantled with artifacts sent back to their respective institutions.    However, not to despair, there is an amazing book published associated with the exhibit and written by the curator Dennis Carr entitled Made in the Americas.  My wonderful librarian bought it for our school library on our way out of the museum.