Sunday, October 26, 2014

Build your own DBQ for students

By request, here is the build your own DBQ assignment I created for my History of the Middle East class last year.  

Mongols and the Middle East
Creating a DBQ

Purposes:   1.  To gain a better understanding of how historians gather information and use it to make arguments.  2.  To understand the impact that the Mongol conquest had on parts of the Middle East.  3.  To develop research and citation skills.

Overview:  You will create a DBQ that would allow students to answer the question:  “How did the Mongols change (or not change) the Middle East politically, economically, socially, religiously etc.”  This is a type of essay known as a CCOT which stands for continuity and change over time. 

Your DBQ should have
·      at least 6 and no more than 8 documents.
·      at least one document must be a chart or graph
·      at least one document must be a visual image of artwork or material culture (an object). 

For each document you will provide: 
·      a citation of where you found the document as well as the original source if applicable. 
·      A short paragraph that explains why you included the document. Whose voice is represented?  Who is the audience? What does the document show?  How could it be used as evidence

Other parameters:
·      At least one document needs to show continuity.
·      At least one document needs to show change. 

Rubric:  Proper citation for the (documents further rubric to follow) 20 points
Documents and paragraphs.  80 points (further rubric to follow). 

Research sources:  Check the library Haiku page for electronic databases for starting places (ABC-CLIO, Gale World History). 

Day 1.  HW:  Overview readings on the Il-Khanate using ABC-CLIO, Gale, Wikipedia and other encyclopedias. 
Day 2.   HW:  Identify main themes for continuity and change
Day 3.  HW:  Identify a range of documents 10-15
Day 4:  HW:  Settle on 6-8 documents start paragraphs.
Day 5  HW:  Finish paragraphs.
Day 6 HW:  Proofread paragraphs.  Make sure each document is labeled with author (if known), title, date authored, name, where the document first appeared (if known).
Day 7:  HW:  Bibliography of where you found sources.  Everything ready to hand in.  

One of the interesting things about the assignment is that documents were really hard to source.  They found lots of quotes and documents in teacher created sources but it was often hard to track down the original source.  Each section of the class ended up pooling their resources and then choosing from the pool to build their DBQs.  For material objects and art, we primarily used the Metropolitan Museum of Art which has a great website.   The project was very successful and when students did DBQs later in the year they were very successful at them. 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Reasons to read conservative blogs #26

Withywindle asks "How do solve a problem like Ebola?"

And Prof. Mondo responds with this.  Genius.  Utter genius. 

A teaser: 

How do you solve a problem like Ebo-laaaa?
How do you keep the virus from your door?
There's not much you can do once you've seen it ain't the flu
And you're squirting blood from each and every pore!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Wineburg Watch

Nate Kogan over at The History Channel This is Not gets in on the Wineburg Watch action first in a comment and then in a whole blog post. 

So after reading Dave’s post tonight, I was reminded of an incident last year where I sought to adapt a HAT about the execution of Louis XVI for my Western Civilization classes and gained some insight into the sloppy and (ironically) poorly sourced lesson plan material that actually made meaningful historical analysis less possible as a result of the assignment’s structure.

Go read the whole thing!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Urban History Association (for Teachers)

I'll do a write up later on my full impressions of the Urban History Association conference that was here in Philadelphia this weekend a bit later, if I ever finish these letters of recommendation.  But in the meantime, here's some quick hits. 

First.   Three amazing websites I learned about.

A National Directory of HOLC maps  Sadly, Philly isn't on there yet but maybe my students and I can figure out how to fix that.  But you can see how this is a game changer for helping students understand things like Ferguson, suburbanization, urban renewal, and whiteness. 

The Roaring Twenties  This is part of a larger project to get us interested in the sounds of the past and the history of sound.  Absolutely incredible print, visual, and sound resources to create an aural portrait of what New York City sounded like in the 1920s.  Spoiler:  It was loud. 

The NOLA Oral History project  Oral histories of Katrina.  Transcripts, recordings, video.  If you are teaching Katrina, you need this site. 

There were two high school teachers there, as far as I know.  If you teach high school history and you've never been to a real academic history conference (NCSS does not count) you should try to get to one.  I liked the scale of UHA, and because it's every other year the panels were very high quality.  But really any conference would do (maybe not AHA as it is primarily for hiring). 

Sam Wineburg Watch - A New Ongoing Feature

Hi faithful readers.  We here at Looking Out From the Panopticon are pleased to announce a new feature:  Sam Wineburg Watch.  In this feature, we will keep tabs on Wineburg and his Stanford History Education Group which is rapidly becoming one of the most influential places for teachers to find lesson plans and information about how to teach history.  But there's a problem with Wineburg and SHEG.  They apparently don't prioritize the last 30 years of historiography.  They fetishize documents at the expense of other types of sources and that means they also prioritize the rich and powerful, the white and male, at the expense of others. 

Today was a good example of that.  Wineburg tweeted out a link to this article he wrote in 2005 when Berkeley stopped celebrating Columbus Day and started celebrating Indigenous People's Day.  In the article, he inform us that Columbus' legacy doesn't really matter because what Columbus Day is really about is getting urban Catholic votes for Benjamin Harrison and the Republican Party.  By coming up with a Catholic hero and nationalizing him as a figure of importance, Harrison hoped to persuade new immigrants to become Republicans. 

OK, so far so good.  But that's where Wineburg stops.  Missing from this analysis is the larger question of how immigrants that weren't white (he uses the term "swarthy") became white and the answer isn't just about politics.  As many, many studies have shown whiteness is predicated on differentiating the European from the "other" typically Native Americans (as in King Phillip's War) or African Americans (as in the Jacksonian creation of universal white male suffrage and simultaneous disenfranchisement of African Americans). 

Thus by picking someone closely associated with genocide, Harrison located Italian immigrants into the long tradition of killing Indians to become white.  That's an important part of the story and Wineburg, as is typical for him, totally misses the point.  He assures us that Columbus Day is just about politics and urban voting in the 1890s and a celebration of immigrants becoming American.  He somehow neglects to mention that the proclamation came a mere two years after the Wounded Knee massacre that ended the Plains Wars once and for all.  Visions of European Conquest and as Richard Drinnon put it the sub-title of an early book on the topic, "The Metaphysics of Indian Hating and Empire Building." 

So in other words, Columbus Day is all about the pattern that Columbus started.  And it is time to change the name.

In related news, if anybody hasn't seen Erik Loomis' #GenocideDay tweets, they really are worth a read.   

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Historiann's New York Times Book Review Challenge

Blogger Historiann has challenged her readers to answer the questions that James McPhereson was asked.  His answers were kind of predictable.  If it were 1985 maybe.  Is Bernard Bailyn still writing books?  He's still alive? 

What books are currently on your night stand?
Invisible Bridge, Rick Perlstein; Dead End in Norvelt, Jack Gantos
What was the last truly great book you read?
Thomas Andrews, Killing for Coal.  I'm a little behind but Andrews did amazing things with sources in that book. 
Who are the best historians writing today?
Jill Lepore, Laurel Thacher Ulrich, Richard White, and Bill Cronon. 
What’s the best book ever written about American history?
There isn't one.  Duh. 

Sorry–I didn’t realize.  Maybe I should ask if you have a favorite biography?
I don't really like biography.  The Kingdom of Matthias if that fits.  Or Midwife's Tale.  Neither is really a conventional biography. 
What are the best military histories?
Michael Sherry The Rise of American Airpower
And what are the best books about African-American history?
Not my area.  Let's talk multi-cultural history - that is history that treats more than one minority group at a time.    I think one of the best is still Sylvia Van Kirk's Many Tender Ties.  An amazing book that still holds up in my mind.  The Unequal Sisters series always impresses me.  Great teaching resources for my HS students there.  Just in Navajo History I really like both Colleen O'Neill's book on Navajo workers and Erika Bsumek's book on selling Navajo culture.  
During your many years of teaching, did you find that students responded differently over time to the history books you assigned?
Duh yes.  Do you really get paid to ask these questions?  Of course kids are different now than the were 10 or 20 years ago. 
What kind of reader were you as a child?
I read a lot.  And I reread a lot.  My Side of the Mountain and The Boxcar Children were huge escapist fantasies from my suburban upbringing.  Free to Be You and Me which I read most of when the stories ran in Ms. Magazine and my mom cut them out for me.  The Meet series.  (Meet George Washington, Meet John F. Kennedy, etc.)  Science Fiction as I got older:  The Tripod Series for example.  And lots of Life histories of World War II.  And 50 years of Life. 
If you had to name one book that made you who you are today, what would it be?
At the time I read it I didn't think I was going to be a high school history teacher, but a professor.  That said, Graham Swift's Waterland is a book I returned to many, many times and I took different lessons from it each time.  And I had a 5th grade teacher who made me read Macbeth because I was very squirrelly in class, especially when I finished my work.  It took me all year but ever after I was like "I'm an intellectual, I read Shakespeare".  I'm pretty sure I was an annoying prick in Junior High. 
If you could require the president to read one book, what would it be?
Seeing Like a State by James C. Scott for hubris.  Lizabeth Cohen Making a New Deal for understanding why the State needs to step it up sometimes. 
You’re hosting a literary dinner party. Which three writers are invited?
I would love to have dinner with Wallace Stegner and Joan Didion.  
Disappointing, overrated, just not good: What book did you feel as if you were supposed to like, and didn’t? Do you remember the last book you put down without finishing?
I finish books.  I even finished Twilight.  And that sucker was a piece of crap.  I wanted to like The Corrections but I hated it.  Hated it.  I've been slowly working my way through Mark Fiege's Republic of Nature but the font is so small I can't read it. 
What books are you embarrassed not to have read yet?
So many.  I'm like 10 years behind in terms of historiography.  I never read Foner's Reconstruction, not even the abridged.  I am ashamed. 
What do you plan to read next?
Andrew Needham's Power Lines:  Phoenix and the Making of the Modern Southwest. 

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Known, Unknown

Somebody knows me really well, as noted here.    Russell hit pretty much all my sweet spots with that one.  But on the Robert Duvall interview that's circulating he missed the boat badly. 

The disagreement between us is over whether Duvall's movie Tender Mercies is a Western.   

In the yes column:

1)  The movie is as much about Duvall's Mac being redeemed by the Slater Mill boys as it is about his being redeemed by Tess Harper's Rosa Lee. 

2)  The movie is also about Mac being redeemed by Alan Hubbard's Sonny.  

So far it sounds like the plot of Red River.  And since the Western is almost always about men's love for other men (sometimes negotiated through women) this makes total sense as a Western.  But wait there's more:

3)  The Western landscape is itself a character in the movie. 

All those shots of prairie, isolation, and wind.  Really how could anybody doubt it. 

In the no column. 

1)  The movie is modern? 

Maybe I'm missing some things - let me know in the comments.

And oh yes, my students are convinced that RAF is the most elaborate catfish every created, just because we have never met in real life.  I tried to explain to them that lots of people met online back in the late 1990s and early 2000s at places like Invisible Adjunct and 11D but they don't believe me.  Hell, Erik Loomis of LGM once had to remind me that we had been a panel together well before we started interacting online.  I'd totally forgotten.  The world is a very strange place.