Choices Blog

State of the Union Address

Amy Sanders

Some additional ideas may help students evaluate the President’s speech and the Democratic response that follows.

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Summer PD: New Directions in Choices’ U.S. History Series

Mimi Stephens

You may have read about the Choices Program’s recent launch of a three-year revision of its U.S. History series. As a first step, we retired some of our older titles and began writing our first new title, A New Nation.  A New Nation will immerse students in engaging lessons on Census data, the founding documents, […]

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Analyzing Maps: A new lesson with the Norman B. Leventhal Map Center

Ada Okun

Choices videos capture expertise of map specialists at the Boston Public Library. When I posed the question, “What is a map?” to my middle school students, their first response was something to the effect of, “It tells you how to get somewhere.” They mentioned Siri directing their family to a destination on a car ride. […]

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Lights, Camera, Action

Courtney Coelho

The Choices Program produces videos for new U.S. history curriculum. On a recent March morning, the Choices Program took over a room in Rhode Island Hall, a building on Brown’s College Green, and transformed it into a video set. There were two cameras and a host of lights, and at the center of it all […]

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Summer Program Scholars

Jillian McGuire Turbitt

This summer, scholars from Brown University and beyond will be joining us to give content presentation during our summer workshops. Read on to learn more about each scholar, his or her area of expertise, and what each will be speaking about during their presentation.  Explore all of our summer PD options. African Perspectives in World History […]

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History, Rewritten

Courtney Coelho

The first new unit, which they began in January, will chronicle the period from the end of the American Revolution through 1830. Titled A New Nation, the unit will highlight relevant themes, such as the dynamics of power, gender and race that were at play during that time, as well as labor and the economy.

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Teaching Tariffs and Trade

Andy Blackadar

These two very short videos produced by the Choices Program of Professor Mark Blyth provide brief and usable definitions that can be used as a springboard into a broader discussion about President Trump’s proposed tariffs on steel and aluminum.

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Connecting Students with Humanitarian Crises

Mimi Stephens

OpenStreetMap: A free, open & editable map connecting your students with humanitarian crises around the world. Did you recently use the Teaching with the News lesson Refugee Stories: Mapping a Crisis? Are your students eager to see real world applications of geography? If so, check out OpenStreetMap. OSM provides the platform for your students to play […]

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Immigration, Exclusion, and Race: It’s a Good Time to Teach About This

Andy Blackadar

We in the United States live in an era of superheated politics and a superheated news cycle where media attention flits from issue to issue, outrage to outrage. The president’s remarks on immigration from African countries and Haiti have put the spotlight squarely on him. The attitudes underlying his remarks deserve scrutiny. At the same […]

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We’re revamping our U.S. history series!

Jillian McGuire Turbitt

Choices is launching a new project that re-envisions our U.S. History Series. We will be adding new resources that provide additional breadth, depth, and rigor as well as new innovative lessons.

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The Kurdish Referendum

Andy Blackadar

On Monday, September 25, 2017, 92 percent of the Kurds in Iraq voted for independence in a vote that has been condemned by Iraq, Turkey, Iran, and Syria. Each of these countries, with their significant populations of Kurds, is reluctant to allow Kurds to establish an independent state.

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The Death of Liu Xiaobo

Andy Blackadar

Human right activist and Nobel Prize winner Liu Xiaobo died on July 13, 2017. I’ve reposted something I wrote in 2010 for the Watson Institute’s Global Conversation blog.

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Podcast: Histories that Inspire

Andy Blackadar

In this “Inside the Writers’ Room” podcast, Lindsay Turchan and I talk with James N. Green, the Carlos Manuel de Céspedes Professor of Latin American History at Brown University and the director of Brown’s Brazil Initiative.

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A Vote on Turkey’s Future

Susannah Bechtel

On April 16, Turkish citizens will go to the polls to vote on a package of constitutional amendments. The package proposes fundamental changes to Turkey’s parliamentary system of government—it would expand the powers of the presidency and dissolve the position of prime minister, among other changes. Public opinion is split on the referendum, and many […]

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Podcast: Role-playing Multiple Perspectives in the Classroom

Jillian McGuire Turbitt

Mackenzie Abernethy and Mimi Stephens of the Choices Program talk to Celeste Reynolds, a teacher at Mashpee High School in Massachusetts, about her experiences using Choices role plays as a way to get students thinking about multiple perspectives.

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Fake News? Teaching Media Literacy through Choices Curriculum

Ryan Sprott

More students are arriving to our classroom with uncertainties about what constitutes “fake” and “real” news. To address these questions, my co-teacher Laurie Smith and I used a recent Choices Teaching with the News lesson to strengthen students’ media evaluation skills. The following passages outline specific pedagogical strategies we implemented during this unit. Syrian Refugees […]

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Intersectionality in the Women’s March and the Classroom

Mackenzie Abernethy

Gender inequality often goes unaddressed in the classroom due in part to the complex, varied experiences of historical and current events through the lens of identity politics. This can be unfamiliar or intimidating territory for teachers. Fortunately, experienced researchers and educators have shared strategies and tools for discussing these issues with students. We hope that the resources […]

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Oral Histories: Students in the Civil Rights Movement

Andy Blackadar

On August 28, 1963, before a crowd of over 200,000 people in Washington D.C., Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered the most famous speech of the U.S. civil rights movement. “I have a dream,” he declared, “that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the […]

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A Digital Tool for Connecting with Stories of Immigrants

Mackenzie Abernethy

At a time when the refugee crisis and issues of immigration permeate social media and political debates, I wanted to put forth another resource that may provide teachers with an entry point for leading a one-day spotlight on the diversity of immigrant experiences or for continuing a longer discussion on this complex topic. This is applicable to […]

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Podcast: Teaching Controversial Issues

Jillian McGuire Turbitt

We have a conversation with Choices Program writer, Mackenzie Abernethy and Moses Brown School teachers, Graham Holland and Jonathan Gold, about how to approach teaching controversial issues in the classroom.

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The Death of Fidel Castro

Andy Blackadar

The death of Fidel Castro marks a milestone. Castro was a key figure in U.S. foreign policy over the past fifty years, a villain straight out of central casting in the imaginations of many Americans. At the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis, he actually wrote a letter to Khrushchev encouraging him to use nuclear […]

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Values and Public Policy in the Classroom

Susan Graseck

We have just been through a contentious national election. Some people are pleased with the outcome; others are not. Most, regardless of their views, are surprised and need to recalibrate. Our students are no different. Since the election, we have heard from teachers around the country who decided to use the lesson Values and Public Policy to help […]

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Podcast: Teaching the Presidential Election

Andy Blackadar

The results of this election will be historic and consequential. For teachers, it’s a great moment to help students develop the skills to consider the substance of the election, as well as identify their own beliefs and values. In a highly-charged partisan atmosphere, there is an opportunity for teachers to encourage respectful civic discourse and participation. One set […]

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Podcast: Challenges of Writing Curriculum About Immigration

Jillian McGuire Turbitt

The Choices Program writing team talk about the challenges of writing a curriculum for high school students about immigration.

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The New School Year: Processing the Summer’s Events in the Classroom

Lindsay Turchan

A lot can happen in a summer. With the new school year already off to a start for some and soon to begin for others, all of us at Choices want to take a moment to recognize the many tragic events that have taken place in the past few months throughout the world. International terror […]

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Login to Learn—The Global Refugee Crisis: Where Do We Go from Here?

Andy Blackadar

Login to a talk on the global refugee crisis with the Choices Program Leadership Institute, Friday, July 15, 1-2:30. Expert Madeline Campbell will discuss her work with refugees from Iraq and Syria at camps and communities throughout the Middle East, the confounding global circumstances, and strategies for addressing this growing crisis. The UN reports that a tragic record […]

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Brexit: Connecting it to Classrooms

Andy Blackadar

This week’s Brexit vote was a shock to many and has been cast as the result of many forces. Here are some short commentaries put together by faculty at the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University. They cover a range of subjects: NATO, oil markets, identity, the future of the UK, to name […]

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Brazil: Curriculum Development, or Sometimes History Happens While You Write

Andy Blackadar

For the past year, the Choices Program has been working on a complete revision of its curriculum resources on Brazil. The project is a collaboration with the Brazil Initiative at the Watson Institute at Brown University and incorporates fantastic scholarship, new lessons, and videos. We hope to publish the new materials in the coming weeks. The new (and as you’ll see, […]

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Approaching Race in the Classroom, Actively

Mackenzie Abernethy

Authors: Mackenize Abernethy, Camisia Glasgow, and Lindsay Turchan Inequalities embedded in the history of the United States—the legacies of colonialism, slavery, and imperialism—and the resilience of communities of color striving for liberty and equity, may gain more of a spotlight in the classroom during Black History Month. These discussions may raise new questions for some […]

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Pursuing Happiness: Whose American Revolution?

Danielle Johnstone

“Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” are the words that established an independent United States. It is these values that many continue to point to as essential to the nature of the country—the promise of existence as human, the assurance of freedom from tyranny, the right to pursue wellness. They are supreme ideals, a […]

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Refugee Stories—Mapping a Crisis

Susannah Bechtel

“I was just a mother taking care of her children and living in Homs…. I enjoyed life. One day I’d spend an evening with my friends, another day I’d go to a birthday party. That was our life…. Now it’s all gone.” —Umm Ala’a, Syrian refugee in Lebanon What does a ten-year-old boy, working alongside […]

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Join us at #NCSS15

Jillian McGuire Turbitt

We are excited to be traveling down to New Orleans for the National Council for the Social Studies 95th Annual Conference this week. Come visit us in the exhibit hall. We will be at the head of International Alley in Booth 1000. We will also be presenting five workshops.  See our workshop descriptions below. Can’t wait to […]

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Outsports.com: News Engagement Series #4

Lindsay Turchan

October 6 is National News Engagement Day, a day when “everyone is encouraged to read, watch, like, tweet, post, text, email, listen to, or comment on news.” News and the media is a vital part of social studies education today, which is why The Choices Program does our best to get current affairs content available […]

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Seed Magazine: News Engagement Series #3

Mackenzie Abernethy

October 6 is National News Engagement Day, a day when “everyone is encouraged to read, watch, like, tweet, post, text, email, listen to, or comment on news.” News and the media is a vital part of social studies education today, which is why the Choices Program does our best to make current affairs content available […]

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Russia: News Engagement Series #2

Andy Blackadar

October 6 is National News Engagement Day, a day when “everyone is encouraged to read, watch, like, tweet, post, text, email, listen to, or comment on news.” News and the media is a vital part of social studies education today, which is why The Choices Program does our best to get current affairs content available […]

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South Africa: News Engagement Series #1

Danielle Johnstone

October 6 is National News Engagement Day, a day when “everyone is encouraged to read, watch, like, tweet, post, text, email, listen to, or comment on news.” News and the media is a vital part of social studies education today, which is why The Choices Program does our best to get current affairs content available […]

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Using Choices Values Cards to Examine Value Differences Between Generations

Jillian McGuire Turbitt

Anyone that has used the Choices Program curriculum units would agree that the Prioritizing Values Activity is a simple, yet powerful, strategy for encouraging students to think carefully about how their own beliefs, presuppositions, and values impact their opinions on political and social issues. I developed a lesson to use in a Sociology course that builds […]

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Continual Reconstruction: The Confederate Flag Controversy in the Classroom

Mackenzie Abernethy

The Confederate flag stands—or sits in a museum display case—as a symbol of very different sentiments depending upon perspective. For some, the flag flies in pride of past Civil War fighters and American heritage, but to others, it is an archaic symbol of racism, segregation and slavery in the United States. Following the fatal shooting […]

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Money in Politics

Danielle Johnstone

“Elections should be determined by who has the best ideas, not who can hustle the most money from the rich and powerful.” There are the words of Bernie Sanders, a candidate for the Democrat nomination for the 2016 presidential election, famous for being a self-described democratic socialist and the longest serving independent in Congress. While […]

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A Changing Cuba

jdf@brown.edu

Since December 17, 2014, when Raúl Castro and Barack Obama announced that the U.S. and Cuba would normalize relations after over fifty years without any diplomatic ties, Cuba has dominated U.S. headlines. Some people see this historic shift as the latest in a series of short, dramatic periods of change that characterize Cuban history—starting with […]

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Mexico: Searching for a Safe Future

Danielle Johnstone

  In September 2014, in the town of Iguala, Guerrero, first-year students from the teacher training college of Ayotzinapa came into conflict with the police, who fired on their bus. During the confrontation, forty-three of these students disappeared. The remains of only one of the students have been found. Guerrero is known as one of […]

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Young People Take Action on Climate Change

jdf@brown.edu

“Coming here today, I have no hidden agenda. I am fighting for my future. Losing my future is not like losing an election or a few points on the stock market. I am here to speak for all generations to come. I am here to speak on behalf of the starving children around the world […]

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Using Digital Tools to Teach Human Rights

Jillian McGuire Turbitt

by Choices Teaching Fellow Rita Jordan-Keller As an enthusiastic supporter of Choices curriculum, it has been my passion to introduce the many units of Choices to my students with new and innovative approaches. As a Choices Teaching Fellow, it has been exciting to include and expand the uses of technology in various ways to optimize […]

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The Armenian Genocide: 100 Years Later

Susannah Bechtel

This week marks the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide—a tragedy that took place against the backdrop of World War I, the effects of which are still being felt today. Choices provides a range of resources that offer students historical context to understand the circumstances in which the Armenian Genocide, and other genocides, were carried out. These resources help students wrestle with the […]

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Our Man in Tehran: The Relationship between Perception and Policy

Andy Blackadar

The Iran nuclear issue is dominating the news at the moment, and rightfully so. International politics, diplomacy, the threat of the proliferation of nuclear weapons are both fascinating and critical elements of security. As the merits of the plan undergo public scrutiny, I’m struck by how little many of those trumpeting their thoughts actually know about […]

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Can We Trust Iran?

jdf@brown.edu

“If the nuclear crisis is ever to get resolved, now is the time for it to get resolved.” —Payam Mohseni, Director of Iran Project, Harvard University With the deadline for an agreement on Iran’s nuclear program drawing near, The New York Times put out a video today outlining what is at stake in the Iran negotiations.   […]

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Yemen

Andy Blackadar

The New York Times video reporting from the Middle East over the past few days has been terrific. This piece on the Houthi forces in Yemen is interesting and vivid, focusing on the experience of ordinary people as the country changes. The reporter includes two video “sidebars.” (You can access them simply by clicking in […]

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Nukes Over North Carolina—Were We Lucky?

Susannah Bechtel

On January 24, 1961, two hydrogen bombs crashed to the ground outside Goldsboro, North Carolina. One hit a field at 700 miles per hour and shattered without detonating. The other remained intact after its parachute was snared by the branches of a tree. The plane carrying the bombs was a U.S. B-52 bomber. After taking […]

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Scholars at the 2015 Leadership Institute

Jillian McGuire Turbitt

One of the highlights of our Leadership Institute is hearing from Brown University scholars.  This year’s scholar presentations will investigate both the recent history of the Middle East and multiple perspectives on current U.S. policy towards the region. Read on to see who will be joining us this summer. Institute applications are due Monday, March 16th.  […]

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Choices Leadership Institute leads to a 15-hour course for my District

Jillian McGuire Turbitt

By guest blogger Lori Snyder, Choices Teaching Fellow and high school teacher from Longmeadow, MA. I teach Asian Studies and Honors World History at Longmeadow High School in Longmeadow, MA, and I attended the Choices Program’s 2014 summer leadership institute, China on the World Stage: Weighing the U.S Response. As a follow up to the […]

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How Do We Know the Climate is Changing?

jdf@brown.edu

“You will never see a headline that says ‘Climate change broke out today.’” —Andrew Revkin, New York Times reporter, 2007 Scientists around the world are confident that human activities, primarily the burning of fossil fuels, are drastically changing the climate. They draw this conclusion from a broad collection of evidence, including that: over the past decade, sea […]

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Black History Month Series #2: Women in the Civil Rights Movement

Danielle Johnstone

  “You had these women who were just amazingly strong… that didn’t mean there wasn’t sexism,” recalled Judy Richardson in an interview with the Choices Program about her experiences in the Civil Rights Movement. Richardson was explaining the involvement of women in SNCC (Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee), one of the most important Civil Rights organizations […]

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Black History Month Series #1: Celebrating the Strength of an Oppressed People

Danielle Johnstone

February is Black History Month, carefully scheduled to coincide with the anniversaries of the births of Abraham Lincoln (February 12) and Frederick Douglass (February 14). In fact, the legacies of these two people show us that Black History Month is not only a time to celebrate African American culture and success, but also to recall […]

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Why Does Climate Change Matter?

jdf@brown.edu

That the climate is changing, and that human activity is playing a substantial role in accelerating that change, is not a new discovery. About one hundred years ago, a Swedish chemist first calculated how human emissions of greenhouse gases might influence global average temperatures. At the Earth Summit in 1992—the largest gathering of international leaders […]

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Free Speech: From Skokie to Paris

Susannah Bechtel

On January 7, 2015, two gunmen attacked the Paris headquarters of the French satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo, and killed twelve people. The attacks are presumed to be in response to several controversial cartoons that the magazine published depicting the Prophet Muhammad. The events have ignited a global debate on the topic of freedom of speech, explored […]

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Why is Nigeria important?

Danielle Johnstone

Choices recently released a Teaching with the News lesson on Nigeria and Boko Haram. In fact, Nigeria has been a country of interest in the Choices writers’ room this year—from this free lesson on the largest security threat faced by the country to inclusion as one of the key case studies in our soon-to-be-released full-length […]

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Breaking the Mold On Cuba

Andy Blackadar

  This classic cartoon on U.S.-Cuba relations from 2004 pretty neatly illustrates 50 years of a relationship frozen in place. That’s done. A chapter from the Cold War has come to a close, but what comes next? There are many questions that are getting attention in the news right now. These questions also offer opportunities for high […]

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Too Many Funerals

Andy Blackadar

One of the interesting things about the protests of the grand jury decisions in Ferguson and New York is how they are understood and interpreted.  TV news or the headlines tend to focus and report on them as responses to the grand jury decisions themselves, which they certainly are. But a long history is also at play here that can get missed […]

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The United States, Iran, and Flipping the Coin on Nuclear Non-Proliferation

Danielle Johnstone

For many this November, anticipating the outcomes of soon-concluding nuclear negotiations with Iran seems impossible. The idea that we could only predict the resolution (or lack thereof) with a “coin toss” is complicated by this video by Joe Cirincione of the Ploughshares fund. This concept of the interdependence of nuclear non-proliferation and nuclear disarmament brings […]

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The Umbrella Movement and Trends of Modern Protest

jdf@brown.edu

Over the past five years, we have seen a surge of public uprisings around the world. From Tunis, Cairo, and Madrid to Istanbul, Kiev, and Caracas, people have turned to public protest and civil disobedience to express frustration with their countries’ distinct social, economic, and political states. The Choices Program has just published a new […]

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Modifying Choices Materials for all Students

Jillian McGuire Turbitt

By Richard McNeil, Special Education Teacher, Massapequa High School, NY Why Choices? In my eternal search for the perfect combination of informational and awesome, I found the Choices Program: a resource that covers U.S. History, Global History, and current events, utilizing many different perspectives, mediums, and opportunities to help students become active citizens. I could […]

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Nobel Peace Prize Goes to Education and Children’s Rights Activists

Danielle Johnstone

On Friday, October 10, Pakistani teenager Malala Yousafzai and Kailash Satyarthi were jointly awarded the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize for “their struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education.” Satyarthi is the founder of Bachpan Bachao Andolan (English: Save Childhood Movement), an India-based movement that […]

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New Tools for the Options Role Play and Deliberative Dialogue

Jillian McGuire Turbitt

Choices recently reorganized its Teacher Corner web pages.  All of the tools listed below and more can be downloaded from the Teacher Corner and adapted to your classroom. A big thank you to Choices Teaching Fellows Amy Howland and Deb Springhorn for their Common Core-aligned assessments and other valuable Role Play tools. TOOLS FOR ROLE […]

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Scotland votes on independence

Danielle Johnstone

On Thursday, the population of Scotland will be voting in a referendum to decide on whether the nation will secede from the United Kingdom. “Should Scotland be an independent country?” says the ballot paper, and until recently it has seemed that the answer would be an inevitable “no”. However, the pro-independence “Yes” campaign has led […]

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ISIS, Iran, and the Nuclear Negotiations: A Teaching with the News Extension

Andy Blackadar

The Choices Program has just published two new Teaching with the News lessons. The first is on the Iranian nuclear negotiations. The deadline for coming to a final agreement is November 24, 2014, conveniently coming after U.S. elections and during a lame duck session of Congress. The second lesson is on the threat of ISIS […]

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Global Issues Since the Fall of the Wall: A Course Made for Choices Materials

Jillian McGuire Turbitt

Blog Post by Choices Teaching Fellow Deb Springhorn For 30 years I have lamented the lack of time to teach the current global situation in the context of a world history course that is supposed to go from the prehistoric to the present in one year!  Given the global paradigm shift after the fall of […]

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On the 100th Anniversary of World War I

Susannah Bechtel

By Leah Elliott, Choices Program Associate The upcoming year presents a special opportunity for classrooms to reflect on the history and impacts of World War I. While mainstream media coverage has granted attention to the war’s famous battles and grave sites dotting Europe and the United States, we encourage you to also explore with your students the […]

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Cultivating Decision Makers after AP Exams

Jillian McGuire Turbitt

by Derek Reichenbecher, Choices Teaching Fellow Howell High School, Farmingdale, NJ I have been teaching Advanced Placement US History II for twelve years. A tricky part of teaching the class is that the American History timeline must be completed in time for the Advanced Placement Exam in early May. This leaves a full month between […]

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Rethinking History: A Look at the Writing Process at the Choices Program

Andy Blackadar

Late last month, three members of the Choices curriculum team received the 2014 Franklin Buchanan Prize from the Association for Asian Studies for the outstanding curriculum resource on Asia. Leah Elliott and Maya Lindberg were recognized for their work as writers and Tanya Waldburger for her videography in Indian Independence and the Question of Partition. Congratulations […]

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Choices Teaching Fellow Steve Seltz Wins National Teaching Award

Jillian McGuire Turbitt

Choices Teaching Fellow Steve Seltz, from Urban Assembly School for Law and Justice high school in Brooklyn, NY was awarded a 2014 Teacher Award from the 9/11 Tribute Center in New York. The awards are given to educators who create projects that thoughtfully engaged their students in understanding 9/11 through a variety of disciplines. According […]

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Teaching a Long View of Russia and the United States

Andy Blackadar

The Choices Program was founded in the 1980s during a period of high tension between the United States and the Soviet Union. Thomas J. Watson Jr., U.S. ambassador to the Soviet Union from 1979-1981, and a former president of IBM, proposed that Brown University create a foreign policy center where scholars and practitioners could work […]

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Selected Resources for Black History Month

ml56@brown.edu

It’s February—Black History Month. The origins of Black History Month date back to 1926 when the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, as the group is known today, sponsored a week-long focus on the contributions of African Americans to U.S. history. Interestingly, the week purposely coincided with the birthdays of Abraham […]

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Choices International Education Internship

lmelliot@brown.edu

It will have been two years this summer since I joined the team at the Choices Program. I intentionally use the word team to introduce this job posting because my time at Choices has been constantly characterized by collaboration. The first day I started, I remember being asked to share my opinion on a unit […]

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Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty and the State of the Union

lmelliot@brown.edu

“This administration today, here and now, declares unconditional war on poverty in America. I urge this Congress and all Americans to join with me in that effort. It will not be a short or easy struggle, no single weapon or strategy will suffice, but we shall not rest until that war is won.” -Lyndon B. […]

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Have You Developed an Innovative Approach to Teaching About September 11?

Jillian McGuire Turbitt

The 9/11 Tribute Center annually presents awards to teachers who have created exemplary educational projects that help sustain the memory of September 11th. Innovative teachers are honored for how they have engaged their students in the discussion of the ongoing impact of September 11th, and for their focus on humanitarian responses to 9/11. Projects selected […]

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Google Takes on History

ml56@brown.edu

On November 13, 2013, Google India released a video advertisement, Reunion, which tells the story of two fictional, elderly men—Baldev and Yusuf— who are long-lost childhood friends. Baldev lives in India, and Yusuf lives in Pakistan. Baldev’s granddaughter uses the Google search engine to track down Yusuf, and then coordinates a reunion between the two men […]

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Nelson Mandela—”A Giant of History”

ml56@brown.edu

On December 10, the official memorial service for Nelson Mandela was held in Johannesburg, South Africa. Tens of thousands of people from across the world—presidents, prime ministers, and everyday people—gathered for the service. As a nod to Mandela’s lifetime achievements, the memorial service coincided with the United Nations’ Human Rights Day. Coincidently, December 10 also […]

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Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda

ml56@brown.edu

On November 8, the typhoon known as “Haiyan” or “Yolanda” made landfall in the Philippines causing unimaginable destruction and loss of life.  As of November 20, an estimated ten million people in the Philippines have been affected and the death toll has risen to over 4,000. These numbers are predicted to climb. The international response—humanitarian […]

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New Course in Development: Global Issues Since the Fall of the Wall

Jillian McGuire Turbitt

By guest Blogger Deb Springhorn, Lebanon High School, Lebanon, NH The course I am creating during the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation sponsored Christa McAuliffe Sabbatical, “Global Issues since the Fall of the Wall,” is based on three observations that I have had as a result of my 30 or so years in the classroom: Most […]

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How The Economic Machine Works

Tanya Waldburger

Here’s a fantastic video that explains how an economy works: At 30 minutes, it’s on the long side, but it covers everything from the basic building blocks of an economy to more complicated concepts like short-term and long-term debt cycles. (Since it’s on YouTube, you have the option to share or embed a certain section […]

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The March (1963)

Tanya Waldburger

The National Archives recently released a digitally restored version of the 1963 documentary The March directed by James Blue. The 30-minute film chronicles the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom on August 28th, 1963. While (regrettably) the most iconic moment of that event, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have A Dream” speech has […]

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Update: Debating the U.S. Response to Syria

lmelliot@brown.edu

“When dictators commit atrocities, they depend upon the world to look the other way until those horrifying pictures fade from memory. But these things happened. The facts cannot be denied. The question now is what the United States of America, and the international community, is prepared to do about it.”       —President Obama […]

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50 Years after the March on Washington: Student Activist Stories

lmelliot@brown.edu

Today marks the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington. This day gives us an exceptional reason to reflect on that event, the civil rights struggle, and the challenges that remain. It is important that students not only focus on the philosophy and work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., but also on the experiences of […]

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Jean Shepherd and the March on Washington

Andy Blackadar

Jean Shepherd (1921-1999) was a fantastic story-teller who spun finely woven tales on the radio from the late 1940s into the 1990s. The stories were seemingly off-the-cuff improvisations about life as a kid in a steel town in Indiana, his time in the army, etc. The stories were often funny, but they were also filled […]

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Meet the Choices Staff – Tanya – Video and New Media Producer

Jillian McGuire Turbitt

Tell Us a little about yourself & your background. I grew up in Hong Kong, went to high school in Switzerland and came to the U.S. for college. I received a B.A. in Modern Culture & Media from Brown, after which I moved to New York City and took a 5-week digital filmmaking course at […]

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The Costs of War Project

Jillian McGuire Turbitt

by Josie Perry, Choices Teaching Fellow, Rising Sun High School, MD Whenever I am in need of new resources for my Contemporary World Studies course, my first go-to site is always the Choices website.  As I was nearing the end of my unit on Afghanistan, I came across the Costs of War Project in Teaching […]

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The Drone Wars

Andy Blackadar

President Obama spoke today on an aspect of U.S. foreign policy that arose in the years after 9/11: the use of drones to attack suspected terrorists. Choices has a Teaching with the News lesson that helps students analyze the issues and controversies surrounding the U.S. use of drones. The lesson draws on three videos of Pulitzer Prize winning journalist […]

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Meet the Choices Staff – Leah – International Education Intern

Jillian McGuire Turbitt

Tell us a little about yourself & your background I grew up in North Carolina and began working for Choices after graduating from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In college, I worked for an education non-profit at the NC General Assembly and studied education policy while living in Chile and Argentina. Both […]

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Meet the Choices Staff – Maya – International Education Intern

Jillian McGuire Turbitt

Tell us a little about yourself & your background. I always find this question difficult to answer, but here is my best attempt. I am half-Swedish and half-American and grew up in Dubai, U.A.E and Stockholm, Sweden. I moved to the United States to attend Macalester College and ended up staying after I graduated. This […]

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IB 20th Century Course: Cold War Historiography

Jillian McGuire Turbitt

by Melinda Gale, 2012 Choices Teaching Fellow I’m reading through my student’s policy papers directed at President Truman as IB 20th Century students conclude their study of the Origins of the Cold War. I am again inspired both by the level of detail in their knowledge (given that we spent less than 3 weeks on […]

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Meet the Choices Staff – Kathie

Jillian McGuire Turbitt

Kathie – Administrative Manager Tell us a little about yourself I was born and raised here in Rhode Island and am considered the unofficial tour guide for out of towners that want to see a bit of our great state. I truly love RI! I worked for a local public school system for over 20 […]

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Resources in the Public Domain

lmelliot@brown.edu

The Public Domain Review is a project of the Open Knowledge Foundation and features resources that are free and available to the public. Known for highlighting “the most interesting and unusual out-of-copyright works,” the Review may provide a set of images or old texts that will intrigue your students and get their creative juices flowing […]

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Meet the Choices Staff: Andy

Jillian McGuire Turbitt

Andy-Curriculum Development Director Tell Us a little about yourself & your background. I’ve lived in Rhode Island for the last eighteen years. I love the history of the state and the value that people here put on preserving and living amidst history. I live in a very old house (built in 1790) in Pawtuxet Village. […]

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Virtual Exhibits

ml56@brown.edu

Teachers from all disciplines should check out the Google Cultural Institute. The institute partners with museums across the world to create virtual exhibits on topics including the Holocaust, Apartheid in South Africa, the Cold War, and the civil rights movement. Each exhibit paints a visually compelling story with the use of primary sources: photographs, posters, pamphlets, […]

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Meet the Choices Staff – Mimi

Jillian McGuire Turbitt

Mimi – Professional Development Director Tell Us a little about yourself & your background. I grew up in New Jersey and attended undergraduate school there, before moving to New England for graduate school. Since 3rd grade, I have always loved social studies, maps, and international travel. No one else in my family had or has […]

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Interesting Talk on North Korea

Andy Blackadar

Choices recorded this talk to teachers by Jonathan Pollack, a leading expert on North Korea. The talk was in 2009, but most all is extremely relevant given the events there right now. The talk has six parts, each fairly short, but packed with interesting information. A History of North Korea The Two Koreas A Nuclear […]

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Evolution of the Recent Conflict in Syria

Jillian McGuire Turbitt

Two years after popular demonstrations began, an estimated 70,000 Syrians have died and several million more have been displaced from their homes. As Brown University Professor Beshara Doumani remarks, “The optimism of the Arab Spring…has been replaced by the horror of protracted military conflict.” In this interview from the Watson Institute for International Studies, Professor […]

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Making the Most of iBook’s Features in the Classroom

Jillian McGuire Turbitt

By Felicia Ostrom, Choices Teaching Fellow I love the Choices approach to teaching historical and current events, and I am so excited about the new iBooks format.  Whether you are a 1:1 iPad school, are working out of a cart of iPads, or just have a handful to use in your classroom, there are so many […]

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Teaching Human Rights in a World Affairs Course

Jillian McGuire Turbitt

by Mike Gleason, Westerly High School, RI This past semester I used the Choices Program Competing Visions of Human Rights: Questions for U.S. Policy unit in my World Affairs class. This unit on its own is outstanding, especially the section on the history of human rights.  Another noteworthy activity is having the students define human […]

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Teaching Human Rights: Sudan, Syria, and R2P

Jillian McGuire Turbitt

Josie Perry, Choices Teaching Fellow Rising Sun High School-North East, MD As I began teaching the Competing Visions on Human Rights: Questions for US Policy unit, I wanted to pre-assess my students’ opinions on US involvement in international affairs, so I had my students watch The Devil Came on Horseback.  The students were fascinated by the […]

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