Study Group: Summary – History Repeats Itself in the Classroom, Too! Prior Knowledge and Implementing the Common Core State Standards

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Global 10: This is more an idea for future use. One of Melissa’s favorite books is War Letters by Andrew Carroll, which is compilation of letters from soldiers during all US wars from the Civil War to the War in Iraq. There is a number of WWI letters in this book that vividly depicts life in the trenches for soldiers on both sides of the war. Even though this book depicts the war from American soldier’s perspective, it allows for great insight into WWI military history. Since there is typically not much emphasis on the happenings in Europe during US history, this book fits well with Global history.
Throughout the WWI unit students could read 2 different letters from Carroll’s book in addition to two separate letters, one from a British soldier and one from a German soldier. At the end of the unit students can be given the task of writing their own primary source letter, song or poem from the perspective of a European in 1917.

This project will encourage kids to think closely about the life of a WWI soldier and fits nicely with the ELA Common Core standards. Since this is not your typical piece of social studies writing (DBQ or thematic essay), many students hopefully will like the ‘freedom’ of writing in a way that allowed them to incorporate other talents such as music or poetry.

Chapter 8 – The Great Depression


An important part is the rise in fascism and it led to WWII. The Election of FDR and the influence of Keynesian economics resulted in major government influence throughout many aspects of society. Students should be aware that the Great Depression was not the first significant economic event in American history. Teachers should relate the Great Depression to recent events, such as the “Great Recession”

Classroom Example

Grade 7/8: The causes of the Great Depression include overinvestment and over production along with under consumption, tighter monetary policy, higher trade barriers, the Stock Market Crash and bank failures and the Dust Bowl

  • Most people were not wealthy during the 1920s, even though that’s how the Great Gatsby portrays the time period.

  • Unemployment had reached 25% in 1932; 1932 is also the year Americans stopped electing fiscally conservative presidents with the election of FDR

  • The New Deal brought Americans relief, recovery and reform but it did not end the Great Depression

Sample Essential Question

  • How did Americans seem oblivious to the potential for an economic crash despite the fact that there had been three previous recessions in the 1920s?

  • How was the Stock Market Crash of 1929 merely a symptom, but not a cause of the Great Depression?

Sample Readings

  • President Herbert Hoover’s 1932 State of the Union Address

  • Excerpt from The Road to Wigan Pier by George Orwell, 1937

  • The Grapes of Wrath or Harvest Gypsies by John Steinbeck

Sample Writing Assignments and Projects

  • Write a persuasive essay arguing which of FDR’s New Deal programs were effective in providing relief, recover, and reform for Americans and which were ineffective and/or unconstitutional?

  • Create a short story, historical fiction, about the life of someone struggling through the Great Depression

Global 9: Most of the Central Powers during WWI stopped paying their reparations during the depression. Europeans struggled to rebuild their economies. In desperation some Europeans turned to radical leaders.
Sample Essential Questions

  • Did the Treaty of Versailles contribute to the Great Depression?

  • How did the Great Depression demonstrate that the world had become a global economy?

Sample Reading

  • “The Great Depression: An Overview” by David Kennedy

  • Economic Consequences of the Peace, 1920, by John Maynard Keynes

Sample Writing Assignments and Projects

  • Write a short summary of the principles of Keynesian economics

  • The twentieth century was the American century, so many countries benefited from American successes, but they also struggled as a result of American failures. Write an expository essay comparing and contrasting the experiences of Americans and Germans during the Great Depression.

  • Draw a picture of a British person and a German in the three different eras: after WWI, in the midst of the 1920s, and at the beginning of the Great Depression.

ELA Common Core Summary

History Repeats Itself in the Classroom, Too! Prior Knowledge and Implementing the Common Core State Standards by Gregory Gray and Jennifer Donnelly, is written to help social studies teachers create lessons with the Common Core Standards as the basis for each lesson. The premise of the book is that “teacher collaboration, in the form of curriculum mapping, conversation within and among departments, and vertical alignment, creates an effective path to preparing students for college or career.” Each chapter is broken down into simple and easy to understand sections giving teachers “ready-to-use” essential questions and lessons that align perfectly with the Common Core. Writing assignments and projects are given that represent discipline-specific reading and writing with increasing degrees of complexity.
The ELA Common Core is broken down into four main standards: Key Ideas and Details, Craft and Structure, Integration of Knowledge and Ideas, Range of Reading and Level of Text Complexity. History Repeats Itself in the Classroom gives specific examples highlighting all parts of the common core. For example the book gives a variety of readings to meet the “Range of Reading and Level of Text Complexity,” standard. Our study group gave multiple examples of these readings with each chapter summary. The authors gives specific key terms and historical figures in each chapter, which meets the “Key Ideas and Details” standard. There are also numerous sample writing assignments and projects that meet the “Craft and Structure, and Integration of Knowledge and Ideas” standards.
During the last few months, our study group, which contains 7th through 9th grade teachers, has been able to have pertinent and specific profession discussions regarding the use of common core instruction in our classrooms. It has been a valuable tool for all teachers involved to make sure we have a joint understanding of the common core and how it applies to social studies instruction.
Success/Failure in the classroom

We did not get to this part due to our discussion of the Common Core and the double chapters, but did agree that we should integrate more small passages into our everyday teaching.

March 4, 2015: Chap 9 – The Second World War

Teaching students about World War II can be difficult. A common theme is that America is a diverse country with conflicts over political and economic issues, but when they set aside their difference, great things can happen. This should be a focus when teaching about WWII no matter the grade.

WWII is a topic teachers know a lot about compared to other 20th Century topics. Students and teachers tend to have more interest in it. However, teachers tend to spend too much time on it and shortchange other topics.
Classroom Examples:

Global 10: It is important to trace the events that led to indoctrination, passivity, or subjugation of people in the aggressor nation. In addition, it’s a great good guys vs. bad guys story
Sample Essential Questions

    • Was WWII preventable?

    • How did Japan, a rocky resource poor island nation, become an imperialist power and control at its peak a quarter of the world?

    • How and why did totalitarians come to power in Germany, Italy, Spain, the Soviet Union, and Japan in the 1920’s and 1930’s?

Sample Readings:

    • News Reports from the 1936 Berlin Olympics

    • Adolf Hitler’s Address to the Reichstag, Sept 1, 1939

    • FDR’s Four Freedoms Speech, Jan 6, 1941

    • The Diary of Anne Frank

    • Neville Chamberlain’s Peace of Our Time Speech, Sept 30, 1938

    • Winston Churchill’s “Their Finest Hour Speech, June 18, 1940

    • Emperor Hirohito’s Surrender Speech, Aug 14, 1945

Sample Writing Assignments:

    • Compare and contrast Germany and Japan with regard to their fascists and attempted continental takeovers

    • Find a piece of Dr. Seuss wartime propaganda, and write an expository essay about its message

Sample Projects:

    • Examine WWII propaganda from different countries and identify the tactics for persuasion

US History 11: The US had a bad reputation for its imperialist policies at the turn of the Century. However, after helping to liberate conquered peoples around the world, they were appreciated as saviors.
Sample Essential Questions:

    • Why did the United States try to remain neutral during the 1930’s

    • How did the political atmosphere delay US entry into WWII?

Sample Readings:

    • The Atlantic Charter

    • FDR’s State of the Union Address after the Attack on Pearl Harbor, Dec 8, 1941

    • Gen. Eisenhower’s Message before the D-Day invasion, June 6, 1944

    • Executive Order 9066

    • Farewell to Manzanar by John Hersey

    • Flags of Our Flowers by James Bradley

Sample Writing Assignments

    • Write a essay about whether the US should have joined WWII earlier?

Sample Project

    • Collect primary source materials that support or oppose President Truman’s decision to use the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki to end the war in the Pacific. Form two groups to debate the decision.

PIG 12: WWII completed the transformation of the federal government that we know today.
Sample Essential Questions:

    • What are the characteristics of a great president?

    • How did WWII change the relationship between the president and Congress

Sample Readings:

Sample Writing Assignments

    • Write an essay about the characteristics of great presidents

    • Write an essay no if President Truman had the constitutional authority to drop the atomic bomb on Japan

Sample Projects:

    • Debate topic: Should mandatory service and the draft be reinstated

Success/Failure in the classroom

Grade 8: Melissa had the students read excerpts from the Korematsu case and then tied it do the events of the Holocaust. She also connected it to the US government’s treatment of the Native Americas. To culminate the activity she had the students write a journal agreeing or disagreeing with the Court’s decision.
Global 10: Again, Steve does not cover this topic in Global 9, but could see himself using some documents (maybe political cartoons from Dr. Seuss) to analyze the totalitarian regimes of the times period. He could take it a step further by giving student one of the dictators of Germany, Italy, Spain, Soviet Union, or Japan and ask them to do research on these places. The students can be stressed to bring of the prior events that allowed these people to come to power in these countries.

March 11, 2015: Chap 10 – The Cold War


World and US History teachers struggle to get to the post-WWII period. This leaves a major gap in modern day history

Classroom Examples:

Global 10: Most leaders were wary not to make the mistakes they had after WWI, but the climate was still ripe for conflict. America’s former enemies (Germany/Japan) were allies and formers Allies (Soviet Union/China) were enemies

Sample Essential Questions:

    • Why did the ideologies of socialism and communism become attractive during the first half of the 20th century

    • How did the Cold War competition between the US and the Soviet Union shape global relationships and events in the post-war era until the fall of the Soviet Union

Sample Readings:

    • UN Declaration of Human Rights

    • Winston Churchill’s “Iron Curtain” speech on March 5, 1946

    • Nikita Khrushchev’s Speech Denouncing Stalin, Feb 25, 1956

    • “The World the Superpowers Made” by Jeremi Suri, History in Focus

    • “India and Pakistan: The Great Wall of Silence” by MJ Akbar, India Today, Aug 2012

Sample Writing Assignments

    • Write an essay about the establishment, conflict, and triumphs of Israel since its founding in 1948

Sample Projects:

    • Assign students the roles of key figures in the Cold War in a particular year and engage in a debate of important issues

US History 11: The US’ half-century Cold War mission was to contain the spread of communism by supporting struggling democracies financially and militarily.
Sample Essential Questions:

    • Were the communists ever a serious threat in the US?

    • How and why did the US support certain dictatorships as part of its Cold War strategy?

    • How did the Cold War affect many aspects of American life

Sample Readings:

    • Excerpts from Secret Senate testimony before McCarthy Subcommittee

    • President Eisenhower’s Domino theory Speech, April 7, 1954

    • President Eisenhower’s Farewell Address, January 17, 1961

    • The Truman Doctrine

    • “The Kitchen Debate” between Khrushchev and Vice President Nixon, July 24, 1959

    • President Kennedy’s Speech during the Cuban Missile Crisis, October 22, 1962

    • Gulf of Tonkin Resolution

Sample Writing Assignments

    • Write an essay about the space race from Sputnik to the moon landing

    • Write an essay arguing for or against US involvement in the Korean War or the Vietnam War

    • Write an essay about the escalation and resolution of the Cuban Missile Crisis

Sample Projects:

    • Find American songs that represent specific moods or events during the Cold War

    • Determine where US military intervention was beneficial during the Cold War where it was detrimental, and write the dates and descriptions of those military engagements on a blank map of the world. Use different colors to indicate the positive versus the negative intervention

Economics 12: This looks at the effect of decolonization on the developing world. This period has produced an economic structure to the world that raises many questions about the effects of decolonization and the economic relationship between former colonies
Sample Essential Questions:

    • How did economic theories influence US foreign policy toward newly independent countries around the world?

    • Who is responsible for much of the poverty in the developing world? What can be done to alleviate its effects?

Sample Readings:

    • “Comparative Advantage” Library of Economics and Liberty

    • “Imperialism, the Cold War, and the Contradictions of Decolonization” by Anthony Mustacich, Global Research: Centre for Research on Globalization

Sample Writing Assignments

    • Writing an essay summarizing and evaluating the goals of the Green Revolution

Sample Projects:

    • Assign students into groups and give a former colony. As a research project they will present an economic history of the country, both as a colony and since independence. The project will include extensive economic data about resources, exports and imports, and social and economic indicators. The project will conclude with a forecast and recommendations.

Success/Failure in the classroom

Grade 8: Melissa has not gotten to this unit yet, but she thinks the ideas of the Cuban Missile Crisis could really work. She would have students see video clips of the news footage involved during this process and have the students use documents (pictures/charts/readings) revolving around this event. Ideally she would like to see the students complete an essay asking about the cuases and effects of the crisis. This would be in the form of a thematic essay, which the department has been working on.
Global 10: While it was not actually done, Steve mentioned that some sort of research project on the Green Revolution could end of being very valuable for the students as it is commonly asked on the Regents. In addition to bringing up discussion of the Neolithic and Industrial Revolution students could be asked to look at primary source documents and analyze the effects of the Green Revolution.

March 18, 2015: Chap 11 – Post-Cold War World

History teachers know students have difficulty evaluating the significance of news stories when they lack the historical context. Many recent historic events are rooted in long standing conflicts. Here is history teacher’s eternal dilemma: state standards do not include many items covering the 21st century past 9/11 so some teachers top before then. This creates a knowledge gap before students move on to study government and economics. Students need the historical context to understand the social and cultural changes occurring in the world today. Current events can be a valuable support to reinforcing important concepts in American government. Often only for simple homework activities, with little follow-up, instead of an assignment that actually enriches topics being studied.

Classroom Examples:

Global Studies 10: After the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Soviet Union, Eastern European countries were able to change their political systems and attempt to become more democratic. Some countries did not head into the millennium so peacefully and prosperously. Peace in the Middle East is still elusive. Literacy, basic health series, women’s rights, and other vital freedoms are still lacking in many developing and war-torn countries.
Sample Essential Questions:

    • Is there a correlation between imperialism and ethnic conflict in different regions of Africa?

    • In what ways has Western intervention in the Middle East been helpful or harmful?

Sample Readings:

    • Gorbachev’s Speech to the UN on December 7, 1988

    • “The End of History?” by Francis Fukuyama, Summer 1988, The National Interest

    • Nelson Mandela’s Election Victory Speech, May 2, 1994

Sample Writing Assignments

    • Write an essay comparing and contrasting the ethnic conflicts in South Africa, Rwanda, and the Sudan

Sample Projects:

US History: The US is still struggling to find the right balance, somewhere between world power and world policy. 20th Century was the so-called American Century, but the beginning of the 21st Century was a time of American vulnerability
Sample Essential Questions:

    • Why did the US intervene in Latin America, Africa, and the Middle East in the post-Cold War era?

    • What are the differences between the US War in Iraq and the US War in Afghanistan?

    • Is the US more or less involved in international conflicts in the post-Cold War era as compared to the Cold War era?

Sample Readings:

    • “Afghanistan.” CIA World Factbook

    • “Riots and Rebellions: LA Police Reform 1965-2012 by Robert Garcia, 2012

    • “Was Bill Clinton a Good President?”

    • “Patriot Act: What is the Proper Balance Between National Security and Individual Rights,” The Constitutional Rights Foundation

Sample Writing Assignments

    • Write an essay arguing for or against US involvement in the War in Afghanistan or the War in Iraq

    • Watch the PBS American Experience documentary “Silicon Valley,” and then write an essay comparing and contrasting the innovators of the last 20th and early 21st Century with the industrialists of the late 19th and early 20th Century.

Sample Projects:

    • Form two large groups, create a list of questions, research the answers, and debate the Patriot Act

PIG12: The question is how does American government teachers take advantage of recent history? PIG teachers can combine background knowledge with current events to reinforce several concepts throughout the course
Sample Essential Questions:

    • How has presidential foreign policy changed since the end of the Cold War?

    • Should US foreign policy include intervention in ethnic conflicts?

Sample Readings:

    • Supreme Court Cases: Bush vs. Gore, Rumsfeld vs. Padilla, Rasul vs. Bush, Hamdi vs. Rumsfeld, Massachusetts vs. the EPA, Boumediene vs. Bush

    • Legislation: The War Powers Act 1973, The US Patriot Act 2001, “International Agreements without Senate Approval”

Sample Writing Assignments

    • The war powers of the president and Congress or the Patriot Act of 2001: from one of the above cases, write a concurring or dissenting Supreme court opinion that includes case citations

Sample Projects:

    • Write a paper comparing and contrasting specific executive agreements and treaties. Conclude with an evaluation of the presidents use of executive agreements

Success/Failure in the classroom

Ec12: We showed our classes the PBS documentary and had them compare and contrast the innovators of the 20th/21st Century with the 19th/20th. It was interesting how the students were able to use there prior knowledge in developing their essays. Both Melissa and Tim found that students required some prodding and initially didn’t think they could remember that far back. However, once they did this there were clear connections that were made.
We also started to talk about our final write-up.

March 25: Chap 12 – Globalization


Teaching history is deeply involved in linking the past to the present and using the historical background to modern globalization is applicable to a variety of curricular settings. It fits throughout the study of world and US history and contemporizes American government and economic courses

Classroom Examples:

Global 10: Globalization may be the last unit of study in a class: builds upon all prior learning. Globalization can be viewed in positive and negative ways
Sample Essential Questions:

    • What are the similarities and differences between alliances of the past and multinational organizations of today?

    • Is it impossible for an “isolationist” country to be politically and economically? Does national strength depend on activity in the global community

    • How can Cha be so competitive in the global community when it continues to cling to communist principles

Sample Readings:

    • A History of the World in Six Glasses by Tom Standage 2006

    • “Giving Globalization a Sporting Chance” by Henry Carey, June 2012, World Policy Blog

Sample Writing Assignments

    • Choose a developing nation and write an essay about how it has become more urban and industrialized, and weigh the costs and benefits of modernization and international competition.

Sample Projects:

    • Create a graphic timeline to show the history of Hong Kong from its colonization by the British in 1839 to the present.

US History: US dominated the 20th Century politically. Many predict the Chinese will surpass the US in the 21st Century. The opportunities and obstacles America faces in collaboration and competition with developing nations is a worthy study
Sample Essential Questions: economically, and culturally

    • How can the US serve as both a leader and a supporting member in the global community

    • With which countries does the US have a strong relationship and with which countries does the US have a strained relationship

    • Which US products have been most attractive to consumers throughout the world? Which product have been beneficial and which have been detrimental.

Sample Readings:

    • Globalization: Threat or Opportunity for the US economy” by Robert Parry, 2004

    • Rise and Shine, Detroit” by Andrew Nelson, March/April 2012, National Geographic Traveler

    • “America’s Most Powerful Global Cities” by Richard Florida, May 2012, The Atlantic

Sample Writing Assignments

    • Write an essay about the progress of a country since decolonization

    • Watch an episode of the TV series 30 Days entitled Outsourcing. Make an argument for outsourcing using the ideas of the Indian workers, and make an argument against outsourcing using the ideas of the American workers.

Sample Projects:

    • Form groups and take 20 minutes to write down the manufacturer of twenty different items in the classroom. Then on a blank world map, write the names of the products and where they were manufactured. See how many products that were invented in the US are now made in other countries.

Economics 12: The global economy should be an essential part of any high school economics course. The global economy presents significant challenges to our students and studying it may influence the career directions they choose
Sample Essential Questions:

    • Has globalization been positive or negative for the American economy?

    • How will the global economy affect me in the future?

Sample Readings:

    • “Was there vanilla in Old Coke? Cola makers won’t spill the beans.” Carole Sugarman, Aug 15, 1985, Orlando Sentinel

    • “China Makes, The World Takes,” by James Fallows, July-Aug 2007, The Atlantic

    • Career Education for a Global Economy” by Sandra Kerka, 1993

Sample Writing Assignments

    • Write an essay answering: “how will my understanding of the global economy affect my career and educational planning?”

Sample Projects:

    • Using sources like the CIA World Factbook, the US Dept of Labors website, and the site at the Bureau of Labor Statistics research occupations specific to countries in various economic categories. The purpose of this project is to get an idea of where certain types of jobs are located and what kinds of jobs are important in the US economy.

Success/Failure in the classroom

We used this time to complete our final summary.

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