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.

read more

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, […]

read more

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. […]

read more

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 […]

read more

Summer Program Scholars

Jo Fisher

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 […]

read more

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.

read more

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 […]

read more

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

Jo Fisher

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.

read more

Podcast: Role-playing Multiple Perspectives in the Classroom

Jo Fisher

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.

read more

Podcast: Teaching Controversial Issues

Jo Fisher

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.

read more

Podcast: Challenges of Writing Curriculum About Immigration

Jo Fisher

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

read more

Choices Teaching Fellow Steve Seltz Wins National Teaching Award

Jo Fisher

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 […]

read more

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 […]

read more

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 […]

read more

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 […]

read more

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

Jo Fisher

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 […]

read more

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 […]

read more

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 […]

read more

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 […]

read more

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

Jo Fisher

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 […]

read more

The Costs of War Project

Jo Fisher

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 […]

read more

Meet the Choices Staff – Leah – International Education Intern

Jo Fisher

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 […]

read more

Meet the Choices Staff – Maya – International Education Intern

Jo Fisher

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 […]

read more

IB 20th Century Course: Cold War Historiography

Jo Fisher

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 […]

read more

Meet the Choices Staff – Kathie

Jo Fisher

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 […]

read more

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 […]

read more

Meet the Choices Staff: Andy

Jo Fisher

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. […]

read more

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, […]

read more

Meet the Choices Staff – Mimi

Jo Fisher

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 […]

read more

Evolution of the Recent Conflict in Syria

Jo Fisher

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 […]

read more

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 […]

read more

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 […]

read more

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 […]

read more

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 […]

read more

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 […]

read more

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 […]

read more

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 […]

read more

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 […]

read more

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 […]

read more

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 […]

read more

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 […]

read more

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 […]

read more

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 […]

read more

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 […]

read more
Back to top