Learning, Online - Reflections on teaching history

Archive for the ‘History’ Category

Curriculum,Historical Thinking,History

November 25, 2017

Keeping an open mind: historians’ helpful habit

Word around my house is that I may be over subscribed to professional publications.  To be honest, there are more journals articles coming through the front door than I am reading. Occasionally surveying new historical scholarship is integral to an understanding of history as constructed knowledge, not as a settled fact.  History is not the […]


September 20, 2017

World History Must Be Global History

After a summer of thinking about World History in a variety ways, school is underway. My interest in educational equity and disciplinary fidelity continue to motivate me to globalize the high school World History course. An excellent professional development session led by Dr. Keith Mayes refined my reasoning for continuing to globalize the course. In […]


August 13, 2017

Putting the World in the World History course

For the past several years globalizing my World History classes has animated my teaching practice.  I was fortunate to be able to share some of this work at the second annual Minnesota History Fest, where I presented “Putting the World in World War One in the World History Classroom.”  Teaching about World War One presents […]


February 21, 2017

Beyond Cause and Effect: Assessing Colonialism, Part III

I recently covered turn of the twentieth century imperialism and colonialism for the second of three times this year (regular World History, recently in AP, and will again during third trimester). Presenting this topic should involve much more than defining imperialism and showing changing colors on a map. Colonialism had consequences, often horrific, for millions […]


January 2, 2017

Assessing Colonialism: Part II, Using Images

My interest in assessing colonialism involves the content as much as the process.  In the photograph assessment, which I am currently grading, I want students to address the racism inherent in both colonialism itself and how it is presented in textbooks.  The assignment, however, raises as many issues as it closes.  I am finding it much […]


December 5, 2016

Assessing Colonialism: Part I, the Process

Last Spring I piloted an assessment of  student understanding of the “new” Imperialism in regular level World History classes with eleventh graders.  Students created google slides centered on photos of imperialism.  Students interpreted the photos and analyzed causation, with three slides–before, during, and after–for each photo.  I modified a History Alive! World Connections lesson, and students used History […]


November 27, 2016

White innocence and legality

My earliest known American  forebear was a seventeenth-century migrant, Peter, who traveled from Flanders to New England.  In a political season when legal questions surrounding migration have been hot, it is tempting to ask: was he a “legal immigrant?” I have no idea, and to pretend otherwise is to innocently conflate Whiteness, Americanness, and legality.  Such conflation is […]


November 20, 2016

History, white folks need it now more than ever

I’m frankly a little embarrassed as a history teacher that I was slow to take seriously the popular support for and acquiescence to the possible authoritarianism of President-Elect Trump (for more on Trump’s authoritarianism see @sarahkendzior and Brendan Nyhan). Despite extensive reading and research since I started teaching in 1990, America, its past and present, is always more racist than […]


July 21, 2015

Comparing Textbook Treatments of the Iranian Revolution

For high school history teachers, comparing secondary source treatments of historical events is no longer just a good idea, it’s the law. In Minnesota that’s state social studies standard, benchmark: “Evaluate alternative interpretations of historical events; use historical evidence to support or refute those interpretations.”  This work is also a requirement for College Board approved AP history syllabi, which is […]

Assessment,History,Uncovering History

June 9, 2015

DBQs for everyone

In a decade of teaching AP History, first Euro and now World, I have developed an appreciation for the Document-based question.  Students will ultimately forget many of the historical facts that we cover in AP History. The skills developed practicing and writing DBQ should be much more durable and transferable, because students practice in my […]