1) I love it when I can make a game out of something to introduce it. This week was the "Scramble for Africa" game. (The day after I finished playing it with my classes, I found a nicer "Scramble for Africa" game someone had made. I now have a whole plan on how to make a totally cool, SMARTboarded up, version. Next year, though. Now I need to concentrate on teaching World War 1.)
2) World/European History and American history classes should all stop around 1890. Then you should do a 20th century/modern history class that combines the two. Seriously, February-May is annoying. I teach about World War 1 in US and then the next week I'm teaching it in World. I feel like I'm getting planning whiplash. It's not exactly the same curriculum, since the emphasis is different. (Example: with the Great War, in US I emphasize why we got involved and the 14 points, whereas World emphasizes the actual course of the war, Russian Revolution and overall Treaty of Versailles effects.)
Considering how much I had to reteach my US class that was supposed to be in the World curriculum, and how truncated those emphases are without each other, it makes much more sense to devote an entire course to the 20th century and include both perspectives in it. (This might also give us a chance to do a better job at including Latin American, African and Asian perspectives on a lot of these events.)
3) I'm working on a dream electives list.
- There's already the "Media and American History" one that Tom and I wanted to teach together.
- I also want to teach "History vs Hollywood" as a semester course. The students would vote on 5 "historical" movies for us to examine, and it'd be very project-centered, encouraging them to use the research on the accuracy of the movie to jump off into research/projects about the time period.
- "Italian City-States: A Historical Soap Opera" would be fun, although I'd need to dust up on my Florentine intrigue.
- I also have always wanted to teach a social history-oriented elective that went at about the same pace as the regular World History courses. This would be my chance to incorporate all the pieces I think are missing from a standard history curriculum: art, music, clothing, food, daily lives of real people, social structures, literature, gender, advertising, propaganda outside of wartime, race outside of slavery, etc.
Finally, how many of you agree that all high school history and english should be taught as humanities courses? (History provides the context in which we practice those language skills. English provides the great literature that we read about in historical context. It's a match made in heaven.)