Choices Blog

Expanding on Westward Expansion

Jo Fisher

By Guest Blogger Brian Schum, Choices Teaching Fellow My favorite Choices unit to use is Westward Expansion: A New History because it does such a good job of making the complex relationships that existed on shifting peripherals of expansion so tangible to students. While the case study approach is excellent for diving deep into the topic, […]

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Teaching About North Korea and Nuclear Weapons

Andy Blackadar

North Korea’s recent nuclear test is a reminder of the serious challenges facing the United States and other countries in the region. The video shows high school students doing the role-play simulation from Conflict on the Korean Peninsula: North Korea and the Nuclear Threat. Although the video was made before the February 13, 2013 test, it […]

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Globalization in a Modern Asian Experience Class

Jo Fisher

by Guest Blogger Sophia Bae, Syosset High School Robert Scoble One of the main topics I address in my Modern Asian Experience class is globalization and the interconnectedness of the world. It is a topic of relevance that has many manifestations – whether we are discussing the explosive popularity of Psy’s Gangnam Style, comparing the benefits […]

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iPads as Collaborative Student Tools

cramsay

The classroom is a dynamic space, and iPads can be powerful tools for students to interact with one another. In this video from EdTechTeacher,  Greg Kulowiec shares six ways that students can use iPads to collaborate on projects. See his post on Edudemic for a breakdown of each way. In every Choices curriculum unit students work in […]

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Technology Integration in the Classroom

mdervinackerman

Edutopia recently put together a short video of why the integration of technology in the classroom is so vital. Over the past several years we’ve been integrating more and more technology into our curriculum units and our Teaching with the News lessons. With Scholars Online Videos you can bring university scholars and policy experts into your […]

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Using Infographics for Policy Deliberation on Afghanistan

Jo Fisher

by Amy Sanders Yarmouth ME High School Teacher & Choices Teaching Fellow Infographic 5 © Newsweek I incorporate the CHOICES curriculum, The United States in Afghanistan, into my Middle East Studies course. The curriculum is an excellent resource that provides helpful information about Afghanistan’s history, geography, and people, and is the framework around which I build […]

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Teaching the U.S. Role in the Middle East in 11th & 12th Grade Social Problems

Jo Fisher

By Guest Blogger Hayley Vatch Choices Teaching Fellow The U.S. role in the Middle East is a surprisingly popular topic of interest for students in my 11th and 12th grade Social Problems class.  Although the class is focused on U.S. domestic social issues such as poverty and racism, I also make time to address more […]

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Martin Luther King Day Speaker Tells of Current Human Rights Violations in Darfur

Jo Fisher

By Derek Reichenbecher Choices Teaching Fellow and High School Teacher, Farmingdale, NJ Last summer I attended the Choices Leadership Institute on Human Rights. One of our guest speakers was, El Fadel Arbab , a refuge from Darfur who now lives in Maine.  (Read about his incredible story here). I was so touched by El-Fadel’s story this summer that I […]

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Genocide and The Responsibility to Protect (R2P)

Jo Fisher

By Kenneth Hung, Choices Teaching Fellow and high school classroom teacher, Philadelphia, PA I am putting together a unit on Genocide and R2P to be used in my Contemporary World Conflicts class this January.  The goal of the unit is to have students understand and assess whether R2P could have/should be used as a justification […]

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Teaching Critical Reading and Persuasive Writing Skills with Choices’ French Revolution and Haitian Revolution units

Jo Fisher

By guest blogger Amy Howland, Academy of the Pacific Rim teacher and Choices Teaching Fellow I work at the Academy of the Pacific Rim Charter School in Hyde Park, MA.  Our school is small, with just around 200 students in grades 9-12.  Most of our students will become the first to attend college in their […]

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Is this America?

Andy Blackadar

On August 22, 1964, Mrs. Fannie Lou Hamer of Ruleville, Mississippi spoke to the Democratic National Convention and to a national television audience. As millions watched her speech on television, President Lyndon Johnson, who did not want political controversy to interrupt his march to his party’s nomination for the presidency, called a press conference to cut […]

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Afghanistan: Cost of War infographic

Tanya Waldburger

Here’s a beautifully executed motion infographic about the true cost (from the British perspective) of the war in Afghanistan. (Commissioned by Stop the War UK.)

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Be Kennedy

Andy Blackadar

Fifty years ago the United States and the Soviet Union came uncomfortably close to launching a nuclear war. What was it like to be John F. Kennedy during the missile crisis? Our friends at the Armageddon Letters produced this short video and others to engage young people in an exploration of this important topic, a […]

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Being Khrushchev

Andy Blackadar

This short film produced by Koji Masutani ’05 in collaboration with James Blight and janet Lang is part of a research effort called The Armageddon Letters. This multimedia project, based at the University of Waterloo, focuses on the most dangerous moment of the Cold War: the Cuban Missile Crisis. The project website when it is […]

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2012 Leadership Institute

Sarah Massey

Choices just completed its 2012 Summer Leadership Institute, which centered around the Competing Visions of Human Rights: Questions for U.S. Policy unit.  We welcomed twenty-three exceptional teachers from across the country.  These new Choices Teaching Fellows are now planning outreach activities in their schools and at many state conferences.  Visit our Upcoming Workshops page to […]

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TED-Ed: Lessons Worth Sharing

Tanya Waldburger

Use engaging videos to create customized lessons. You can use, tweak, or completely redo any lesson featured on TED-Ed, or create lessons from scratch based on any video from YouTube. Get started at TED-Ed!

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Revisiting Westward Expansion

Andy Blackadar

In recent years, scholars have worked to reexamine the history of the West by focusing on Native American groups. With limited sources, they have pieced together histories that do not generalize the experiences of Native Americans, and that accurately portray the complicated interactions that occurred in the West. A new curriculum resource from the Choices […]

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The U.S. in Afghanistan unit in a Comparative Philosophy of War Class

Sarah Massey

By Guest Blogger Lisa Carter Choices Teaching Fellow, Housatonic Valley Regional High School, NY We have just completed the Afghanistan unit in an honors level seniors course, “The Comparative Philosophy of War”. We spent the semester studying attitudes about fighting wars throughout history and ended the course with an in-depth look at the war in […]

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Using Choices in the Middle School Classroom

Sarah Massey

By guest blogger Caitlin Moore, Excel Academy Charter School I just finished teaching a unit on foreign policy for an 8th grade government class at a high performing urban charter school in East Boston, Massachusetts. It serves 210 middle school students from primarily East Boston and Chelsea. Approximately 72% of the students qualify for free […]

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Afghanistan: Graveyard of Empiricism

Andy Blackadar

Afghanistan will continue to be a topic of debate in U.S. foreign policy, and will likely garner extra attention because of the presidential election.

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YouTube for Schools

Tanya Waldburger

Google has just launched YouTube for Schools, a network setting that school administrators can turn on to grant access only to the educational content from YouTube EDU. Teachers can choose from the hundreds of thousands of videos on YouTube EDU created by more than 600 partners like the Smithsonian, TED, Steve Spangler Science, Khan Academy […]

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Events in Syria Bear Watching

Andy Blackadar

The situation in Syria continues to worsen. A UN sponsored commission, led by Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro, has just issued a report on the deteriorating conditions there and the suffering of civilians. Pinheiro, who collaborated with Choices on its human rights curriculum, testified today (12.2.11) in an emergency meeting of the UN Human Rights Commission, “The extreme […]

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Digital Tools for Active Learning

Emmett Fitzgerald

The Choices Program is midway through a multiyear initiative to increase our use of digital media as a teaching tool. While we are enthusiastic about the potential of digital curriculum, we want to make sure that any new materials we produce enhance, not obstruct, the most important part of the student experience—what happens inside the […]

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New in Scholars Online: Benjamin Hopkins

Tanya Waldburger

“[Afghanistan] turns from being this…central player in a regional order into being this…land of endemic chaos that doesn’t really fit any place.” How did Afghanistan become the country it is today? Professor Benjamin Hopkins takes a look back at the history of Central Asia and how British imperialism shaped the future of Afghanistan. This video […]

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Afghanistan Curriculum Materials

Andy Blackadar

Today we released our new curriculum materials on the U.S. role in Afghanistan. We’re excited! All of us have been working hard on this for parts of the last year. The video gives you a sense of the ideas and themes in the printed curriculum as well as the content of the Scholars Online videos. […]

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Great Resource on the Green Line

Andy Blackadar

An upcoming vote in the General Assembly of the UN on recognizing a Palestinian state is going to be getting more and more attention in the coming days. Here’s a useful resource from the New York Times on the role of the Green Line in Israeli-Palestinian relations. There’s a terrific animated map, four short videos […]

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New in Scholars Online: Charles Tripp

Tanya Waldburger

In November 2002, a team of Iraq experts was assembled to meet with Prime Minister Tony Blair and advise him on the consequences of going to war in Iraq. Charles Tripp, a professor of Middle East politics at the University of London, was a member of that team. Here he gives a fascinating, behind-the-scenes account […]

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Values and Public Policy: Helping Students Make the Connection

Sarah Massey

An examination of the values that motivated historical actors is an important part of understanding history. I think one of the most effective elements of Choices materials is the role play that calls on students to first observe the values of historical actors, and then to articulate the values that underlie their proposed option for […]

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Maine Teachers Use Lesson for Innovative Project

Sarah Massey

Media coverage of pro-democracy protests across the Arab world – collectively known as the Arab Spring – has captured the world’s attention. Amy Sanders (Social Studies teacher) and Cathy Wolinsky (Instructional Technology Integrator) at Yarmouth High School in Yarmouth, Maine, seek classroom partners for a collaborative study of the Arab Spring. The project, modeled after […]

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The Debt Ceiling Debate

Tanya Waldburger

In less than two weeks, the Obama administration says the federal government will run out of money to pay its bills unless Congress raises the nation’s $14.3 trillion borrowing limit. Congress is now in a contentious debate with the White House on whether to raise the debt ceiling. Liberal Democrats oppose deep spending cuts, while […]

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The Teaching Profession in 2030

Sarah Massey

The Teacher Leaders Network (TLN) is a network of highly accomplished teacher leaders from across the nation who are dedicated to student success and the transformation of teaching into a true profession. Not to be missed on their website is a 5 minute, quirky video A Look at TEACHING 2030. A Look at TEACHING 2030 […]

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Apps for the Classroom: On this day...

Tanya Waldburger

A nice app for history class, On this day… tells you what important events happened on a particular day in history. (Reposted from Revolutionize Education.)

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More Resources on Afghanistan and Pakistan

Sarah Massey

As Choices prepares for our Summer Institute on Afghanistan, and as Afghanistan and Pakistan take center stage in the news again, here are some additional resources that teachers may find useful. A History of the World Through Islamic Eyes (2009) – This book contains all of the facts found in a textbook, paired with the human […]

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The Death of a Terrorist: A Turning Point?

Tanya Waldburger

Interesting data visualization tool from the New York Times showing the reaction to Osama Bin Laden’s death.

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One Year Later: The BP Oil Spill

Tanya Waldburger

On April 20, 2010, an explosion at the Deepwater Horizon rig in the Gulf of Mexico led to the largest accidental marine oil spill in history. Oil’d, a short animation by Chris Harmon, does a nice job of putting the scale of the disaster into perspective, by showing how those 205 million gallons of oil […]

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Five Good Books on Afghanistan

Andy Blackadar

I am in the midst of developing curriculum materials on Afghanistan. Here are five books that I would recommend to anyone interested in the current situation, the country’s history and people, and the U.S. role there. The Emergence of Modern Afghanistan: Politics of Reform and Modernization, 1880-1946. Author: Vartan Gregorian. Written in 1969, this is […]

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Keep Your Eyes on Yemen and Syria

Andy Blackadar

While the media focuses on Libya, events in Yemen and Syria also deserve our attention. I think that the scale of the protests there suggest that change is coming soon. Al Jazeera English is giving it good coverage.

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Thirteen Days: More than One Option

Andy Blackadar

There’s a scene in the movie Thirteen Days when the actor playing Bobby Kennedy shouts, “No! No! No! There’s more than one option here.”
The film isn’t perfect, but it really does capture a sense of the tension and drama of the Cuban Missile Crisis, arguably it’s a great way to introduce high school students to this critical moment in history

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New in Scholars Online: Senator Jack Reed

Tanya Waldburger

U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) is a member of the Armed Services Committee and the Appropriations Committee, and has been to Iraq fifteen times since the U.S. invasion in 2003. Here he talks about why high school students should care about the decision to invade Iraq. This video is part of the Scholars Online collection […]

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Teaching with the President's Libya Speech

Andy Blackadar

President Obama’s speech last night had a few media pundits talking about an “Obama Doctrine.” Below is an excerpt from The U.S. Role in a Changing World that helps students think about the role of presidential doctrines in U.S. history and what an Obama Doctrine might actually be. Have students read the excerpt below and […]

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Using Prezi as a teaching tool

Tanya Waldburger

Prezi is an online presentation-maker that takes PowerPoint to the next level. Rather than going through a presentation slide by slide, Prezi lets you lay out your presentation on a visual canvas and then move, rotate, scale, and zoom through it. For some ideas on how you might use Prezi in your classroom, take a […]

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The Arab Spring

Emmett Fitzgerald

Nowruz is the name of the Iranian New Year. It occurs each year on the vernal equinox (around March 21st) and is celebrated by Iranic peoples throughout the world. Nowruz is the holiday of spring, and people come together to celebrate light and renewal by cleaning out their homes, having bonfires, and feasting. This Nowruz, […]

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Economic Literacy

Andy Blackadar

Since the onset of the global financial crisis in 2008, The Choices Program has received numerous requests to develop curriculum materials for high school classrooms about international economics….

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New in Scholars Online: Robert Lee

Tanya Waldburger

In January, we interviewed Robert Lee, an associate professor of American Civilization at Brown University, on the topic of immigration. Lee studies the history of Asians in the United States, racial formations, and relations between Asia and America. In this video, Professor Lee talks about how race has affected the immigrant experience. Visit Scholars Online […]

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The path of protest

Tanya Waldburger

The Guardian has put together an excellent interactive timeline that tracks the events in the Middle East over the past few months.

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