AP World: Teaching Imperialism in Unit 6

Unit 6 is one of my favorite units to teach in AP World, and is arguably one of the most important for understanding contemporary global issues. The unit's content demands thinking about how we teach imperialism as much as what we are teaching. Student engagement is important, but also building historical empathy and training students to think critically about sensitive issues.

ChatGPT in AP World History

I finally tested out ChatGPT with my AP World History classes. Seeing the changes that technology brings to education is both scary and exciting; particularly as that change seems to be growing exponentially. Also includes are some great resources I have found on using AI in the classroom.

AP World History: Industrialization Spreads Lesson

For better or worse, I have grouped together some of the content from topics 5.4 and 5.6 in order to cover Industrialization's spread outside of Europe. The goals of this lesson are to establish that industrialization, modernization, and westernization are not synonyms, understanding change requires recognizing unique cultural contexts, and that within colonial encounters and imperial relationships change flows both ways affecting everyone involved.

AP World History: Teaching the Industrial Middle Classes

For the last several years I have used a set of images from French artist Honoré Daumier entitled "les bons bourgeois" as a part of my lessons on topics 5.8 and 5.9. I like to use image sets when I can, especially when lecturing the content might otherwise become boring. Image analysis breaks up the routine of text-based documents, is easily accessible for students at multiple reading levels, is a great way to introduce topics, and can be used as a great hook into more difficult content.

Teaching the complexity point in AP World

The AP history complexity point, which many teachers call the "unicorn" point, can be frustrating to teach and assess; especially considering AP exam data shows how rarely it is awarded to students. However, teaching it is still possible, adds value to student learning, and can be an opportunity for fun in the classroom. Throughout the year I have a list of topics that I call "guaranteed complexity points." Here are two of them.

Teaching the Document Based Question

The DBQ is not about teaching content, nor is it about finding the "right" answer. It's about giving students the knowledge and skill to construct an argument after questioning and analyzing sources. I don't want the DBQ to become a research essay, nor should it be a content dump where the document citations serve as nothing more than window dressing. This is neither its purpose not its potential.

Strategies for Inquiry in Social Studies

"Doing Inquiry" can be easy, and does not always have to involve huge projects. Embedding small protocols and activities that introduce the various components and stages of inquiry help scaffold towards the larger projects that empower students and enrich traditional curriculum. I've learned that inquiry should not be a "special activity" but a frequent, even daily, classroom routine. Here are some strategies I have found success with.