Here is where you're going to find all of your weekly assignments for the Honors World History class (2nd and 5th periods). As always, my regular Google website will be available to you (at Huffman's JHS Social Studies), and now all of the notes should be public, as well. Obviously, there are going to need to be some changes from the regular system of doing things. One of the first things that we are all going to have to come to terms with is this: we are not providing the optimum educational experiences in the world, we are doing damage control. As such, we are going to be striving to maintain a balance between an understanding that your learning environment may not be ideal, and that our teaching situation won't be ideal either. We will all try to do the best we can!
So. What can you expect? Here are my initial plans, with the understanding that these will be changed as necessary to adjust to what may continue to be a very fluid situation.
1) All reassessments from the last test will be taken to a grade of 80%. Maybe you would have gotten there, maybe not, but the fact that you did all of the required work means that you would have gotten the opportunity to get there- and I'll give you all the benefit of the doubt. Grades from the projects and such are being processed as well, and will be done as soon as I can get them done and entered.
2) Doing formative homeworks, summative tests, and reassessments will not be realistic in the foreseeable future, so I will now be giving you summative homework through Microsoft Forms, which will not have the opportunity to be reassessed. They should be pretty straightforward, given that you have access to both your textbooks and my notes, but there will not be any opportunity to reassess. That will apply to both the regular work and the Lies My Teacher Told Me chapters.
3) There will be no tests, since the homework will cover the need for grades. There might be projects, if those look feasible given our mutual constraints.
4) I will continue to post videos and other links on this class website on a weekly basis, and those will be labelled as either optional or required. If they are required, there will probably be questions about them on the homework. If they are optional, then there won't be questions, but they will help further your understanding.
5) If and when we return to school, we will do our best to pick up the pieces and go on from whatever situation we are in at the time. We should all know more by then. In the meantime, try to stay healthy and be good to each other.
Week Eight (May 18 - May22)
Well, this is it. The last week of stuff, and we have been specifically asked to lighten the load during this last week to give you the time to catch up. So, normally, this week, we would be looking at Latin America one last time, and wrapping up the year with that. This spring, given everything that has happened, I'm not going to actually assign you anything this week that will be taken for a grade, but I will give you two optional things to look at. First, I recommend that you look at section W24:1, which gives you a basic overview of Latin American politics through the period of the Cold War, and gives you some idea of why the region has developed the way that it has today. The other thing that I'm going to recommend is a last Frontline video on the immigration crisis, shown through the lens of El Paso, Texas. In this episode, it addresses some of the issues that have been critical in the last few years, such as the ongoing immigration crisis, anti-immigrant violence, and (to a lesser extent) the reasons for the mass immigrations that we have seen in the last few years. It does a great job of talking about the isses that we face with this, and is worth watching- especially if you've ever wondered about the migrant caravans or the detention center controversies and such. The link is below. In any event, I will continue to take any and all make-up work that you haven't yet completed for full credit. Please get it in as soon as possible, and e-mail me if you have any problems!
Also- I know that I asked you to read from Lies My Teacher Told Me, but (again) we have been asked to minimize any new materials that aren't strictly necessary, so I guess you're off the hook. You're welcome! If you already read it, you're just going to have to be happy wiith being a better human being.
Have a great summer!
Week Seven (May 11-May 15)
This week we are covering Africa again, and looking at the post-colonial era. Africa, as we discussed in class, is a large continent with over 60 countries, and so glossing over it is hard to do in just a couple of sections, but most of those countries went through similar processes in terms of both gaining and then coming to terms with their independence from the European colonial empires that had dominated their countries for decades. Some of them had to fight bloody wars of independence, while some of them had relatively peaceful transitions once the Europeans gave in to the inevitable, but then they all had to try to build or rebuild nations based on their new situations- and they have often struggled.
There are a couple of relatively easy-to-find movies that I recommend for this section, and there are also some good documentaries available on different specific issues. In class, I was going to show you the movie Hotel Rwanda, and I think that that movie is probably the best. It gives you a really good look at the legacy of European colonialism and the impact it had on indigenous ethnic groups in Africa, specifically by using one ethnic group to aid in oppressing others. It is also an amazing (and accurate) story of hope and human courage. You could also watch Black Hawk Down, which is about the U.S. military action in Somalia in 1993- which is one reason why we didn't interfere in Rwanda. Blood Diamond is also an interesting look at a particular part of the colonial African legacy.
Please be aware that we are nearing the end of the school year. If there are sections of work from this nine weeks that you have missed, please go back and do them. I will still count them, but they count as zeroes if you don't do them. Many of your grades are lower than they should be because you are missing a few assignments- sometimes from the first week or two. Please don't hesitate to contact me if there are any problems. Have a great week!
You should also read Chapter 10 of Lies My Teacher Told Me, entitled "Down the Memory Hole: The Disappearance of the Recent Past." That will be your last required section from Lies. Next week will be the last written assignment based on the book. As a comment, when I ask you to "explain" something, please really explain it- don't just give me a quote or a single sentence. SHow me that you read and understood what was being talked about. Shoot me questions during the week if you are having trouble with understanding the book.
Week Six (May 4 - May 8)
Well, we are entering the home stretch! This week's topics include Japan and China since World War II. Japan turned itself around after the war, and became a world leader in technology and innovation, while creating a peaceful democracy that has led the world in foreign aid and development assistance. China had a communist revolution, and after a massive overhaul of its society, created a Soviet-like communist dictatorship. That didn't last, however, as Deng Xioping opened the door to capitalist investments and joint ventures with foreign companies, and China became one of the most capitalist countries on the planet (kind of), exploiting their workers like the robber barons of the 19th century while continuing to proclaim communist slogans!
I have included one optional video on the uprisings in Hong Kong, since that is happening right now in China. Although it is optional, it is pretty interesting. In order to really understand it, I suggest that you watch it only after having watched the Tank Man video, which is required. For that video, you don't need to watch the entire thing. You can stop at 1:05:00 (65 minutes); the end is also interesting, but you will get the sections I need in the first 65 minutes.
You should ask your parents if they remember Tiananmen Square and the Tank Man- it remains one of the most courageous things I have ever seen done by any person.
You should also read Lies My Teacher Told Me Chapter 10: Down the Memory Hole- the assignment will come next week.
Week Five (April 27-May 1)
So, this week we are going to be looking at the Middle East- which leads us finally to examine the terrorist attacks of Sptember 11, 2001, as well. Like I told you back in September, there is a lot of context to understand about September 11th and the Al Qaeda attacks on the United States, and most of it is tied up in the Arab-Israeli conflict over Palestine. As you look over the sections, pay attention to the fact that the United States has generally supported the Israelis, but we also play nice with the Saudis and the Kuwaitis because they have so much oil. It puts us in a strange position of looking like we are supporting both sides of the conflict- and we sort of are! That's one of the reasons that many Muslims don't trust us.
I have included a couple of videos about ISIS and Afghanistan today that you can watch (if you want to get a better feel for what is going on there at the moment), but those are not required. The only required video is the one on 9/11, and you should do that after you do the work for Sections 22:2 and 22:4- they will give you some context.
One of the questions that often comes up in class when I show the 9/11 documentary is about whether or not it was (or could have been) a conspiracy- and that's a tough issue. In order to believe that 9/11 was a conspiracy, you have to be willing to believe that the Bush Administration (or at least some of them) were willing to help (or at least allow) Al Qaeda terrorists to attack the United States and kill a lot of Americans, presumably so that the government could then launch a war on Iraq, which they had wanted to do all along. That's a big assumption, and the evidence is mixed. Sure, it seems strange that three buildings would collapse in New York after two planes hit the World Trade Center (WTC 7 collapsed later that day without even being hit), and there are some strange things that happened (the damage to the Pentagon looks more like a missile hit, and they haven't ever released good video), but that would also mean that the US government allowed almost 3,000 US citizens to get killed, and may have even helped by rigging the buildings with explosives or something- that seems unlikely. The best I can suggest is that you look at the evidence, two pieces of which I have provided below- and these are also strictly optional. I've also included a link to the virtual tour of the museum in NYC for those of you who have never been.
I am still hearing that some of you are not using your textbooks to do your homework. That will really help! In fact, that's more or less the point- so please use them- you will be much more successful if you do! Also, please remember that there can be no reassessments, so do your best work the first time out. Finally, remember that I check each assignment before I enter a grade, so if you miss something trivial like misspelling a name, but the answer is otherwise right, you'll get credit for it, so don't worry! I hope everything else is going well for you guys, and that you are staying safe and healthy!
Week Four (April 20-24)
Well, it seems that most of you are at least getting the hang of all of this. Over 90% of you are doing the work consistently, and most of you are being quite successful! Congratulations- I know that it's been a crazy swith, and I also know that each of you have had your own extra problems to deal with in your lives.
As I watch and listen to the news, I can't help thinking about what I have seen about the Influenza pandemic of 1918. As we talked about in class, that was a massive global killer, and part of the problem was the number of people who gave up social distancing too soon when they saw things starting to get better, and caused a second wave of the influenza to spread throughout the population. As hard as it is, we need to stay focused and keep doing the right thing- History could not be more relevant!
Okay, so enough with the Public Service Announcement. This week basically wraps up our coverage of the Cold War, as we look at the collapse of the Soviet Union and the fall of communist regimes throughout Eastern Europe. There aren't too many movies that look at this, but you can certainly watch more episodes of the CNN Cold War documentary (the last episode is required for the second assignment this week) if you want a better feel for the relief felt by the world when the Cold War ended (we really dodged a bullet there), and I've also added a History Channel documentary on the civil war in Yugoslavia if you're interested. That is strictly optional.
I continue to notice that some of you are trying to do your homework with things like Google. You will really do better with the textbook, since that is where I am getting my answers from, and I usually try to phrase the questions so that the answer is clear from the text. This is a great opportunity for those of you who don't do well on tests to finish the year with a strong grade- please do it the right way and be successful!
Have a wonderful week, and keep up the great work!
Read Lies My Teacher Told Me Chapter 5- "Gone With the Wind"- Assignment will be next week
Week Three (April 14-17)
Welcome back from Spring Break! I know that that phrase would sound better if you had actually had the chance to go somewhere besides traveling from your bedroom to the living room to the backyard, and calling that your Spring Break- I get it. My Spring Break will probably be much the same. I've seen people talk about going from "work pajamas" to "bedtime pajamas," and I'm sure that that's exactly what a lot of people are doing.
There are two book assignments this week, plus the assignment from the two Crash Course videos on globalization- which you should do first. I've included another Crash Course video that happened to pop up for me about diseases, just because I thought it was timely and interesting. Note also that in the last part of the Globalization II video, he talks about all of the things going on could change in the face of a global pandemic. Coincidence? Hmmm... Finally, I've included a really informative video on the history of the European Union that explains all about it, including some of the recent problems with Greece and the Brexit situation, which I imagine that many of you have heard about- even if you didn't really know what it was. This video is not required, either, but you should watch it for a good understanding of how the EU has come about, and how it's developed since it was created.
I've also listed some movies about the Cold War that you could watch, if you wanted a feel for how things were during that time. I tried to stay away from the James Bond-type spy movies, beacuse they're only loosely based on real Cold War issues. Feel free to watch any or all of these (or suggest more, of course), but they won't be graded.
The Right Stuff (1983)
Thirteen Days (2000)
Dr. Strangelove (1964)
The Hunt for Red October (1990)
Bridge of Spies (2015)
The Falcon and the Snowman (1985)
Crimson Tide (1995)
White Nights (1985)
Finally, it appears that some of you may have some misperceptions about the assignments so far. Let me try to clear that up:
1) The summative assignments that I'm giving you on this site are your entire grade. That's it. No tests; nothing else. If I think that you might benefit from different types of assignments (and those look feasible), I'll assign them here.
2) You may do these assignments with your textbook open, out, and accessible. They aren't tests, and you don't have to "take your stuff off your desks."
3) I check each and every answer before entering a grade, so if I see that you have misspelled something, or forgot a hyphen, or put in an otherwise correct answer that the computer thinks is wrong, you will still get it right. Don't panic.
Week Two (March 30- April 3)
Wow! It doesn't really seem real yet, does it? It still seems strange to me, too! I miss debating things with you guys, and hearing about your sporting events, the musical, and all the other happenings in your lives!
Okay, so here are some important notes. First, I have heard that some people are having problems getting onto the website (although most of you seemt o be finding your way pretty well). If you have trouble, the best solutions so far seem to be to switch web browsers (like going from Microsoft Edge to Firefox or Chrome) or trying to do the Forms on your phones. That seems to have been successful for most folks. Second, several people are clearly looking up information from sources other than the textbook (I'm guessing Google searches) to answer the questions. While some of those might be valid answers, some are not, and I'm going to ask you to try to stick to the textbook for your information. I have deliberately phrased questions and answers to take advantage of the text which you all have, and if you decide to use another source for your answers, you might miss things unnecessarily.
This week, I have decided to add a YouTube video on the development of nuclear weapons. I normally spend a whole day or two explaining how they work, and why you don't want to be near them when they go off, but this documentary does a good job, even if it gets a little more into the development of the weapons than I would in class. As a result, I have given you an assignment on the video itself and taken out one of the sections for this week. Just try to have the video one done by Friday the 3rd, if you can. You should also watch these two short videos just because they're both good and informative- although I won't grade you on these.
Also, you will see that I have included an assignment for Lies My Teacher Told Me (Chapter 3). Many of the answers are short answer, and I will grade those myself. Make sure that I can tell that you have read the chapter and considered your answers carefully.
I hope things are going really well for you and your families! I miss actually teaching- this feels pretty strange for me, too!
Week One (March 23-27):
Read Lies My Teacher Told Me Chapter 3- Just read it- the assignment will be next week.
There are a ton of great movies about World War II that would help you to visialize and understand different aspects of the war. The trend in recent movies is to make them more realistic, and thus more unpleasant to watch, but I think that's the way war movies should be. War is unpleasant, and sugar-coating it doesn't really help anyone understand much of what it's about. I recommend any of the following movies for their portrayal of at least their parts of World War II. Feel free to watch any of these that you wish, even if we won't test over any particular films.
A Bridge Too Far (1977)
Enemy at the Gates (2001)
Grave of the Fireflies (Anime, 1988)
Letters From Iwo Jima (2006)
Memphis Belle (1990)
Pearl Harbor (2001)
Saving Private Ryan (1998)
Schindler's List (1993)
The Longest Day (1962)
The Thin Red Line (1998)
Tora, Tora, Tora (1970)