Category Archives: Social Studies

Lesson plans that use the high school social studies curriculum to build literacy and learning skills.

Superstition (n)

Finally, on this Tuesday morning, here is a context clues worksheet on the noun superstition, which seems like a word students ought to understand clearly–particularly, I think, in these times, as an antonym to reason or science. There is a lot of Counter-Enlightenment sentiment, basically superstition, floating around at the moment. It’s up to educators to keep alive the values of reasoned inquiry.

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Cultural Literacy: Vatican City-State

OK. I must go into work today, if only to show my face and return my computer. I’m finding the motivation for even this small task. It has been a tough year for this teacher.

Here is a Cultural Literacy worksheet on the Vatican as a city-state. I’ve used it, among other materials, to illustrate the concept of city-states in freshman global studies classes.

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

The Weekly Text, June 14, 2019

Today is the final Friday of the 2018-2019 school year, probably the most challenging year I have faced in my career. Enough said. Let’s move on.

Here is a complete lesson plan on trade and commercial interaction as a cause of history. I opened this lesson, when I was using it, with this context clues worksheet on the adjective efficient; I wanted students to use this word to understand that one of the many benefits the earliest human civilizations derived from the rivers next to which they were situated was the use of that water to increase efficiency in trade. Finally, here is worksheet and note-taking blank for student use in this lesson. Nota bene, please, that this is a brainstorming lesson that calls upon the teacher to serve as an active Socratic foil. You’ll need to prepare to ask a lot of broad questions about how trade increased human contact, created the concept of cosmopolitanism, fostered the rise of social class distinctions, changed diets, religion, languages clothing–hell, really, trade made the world what it is today.

And remember: in spite of all the talk in the last generation or so about “the rise of globalization,” the global economy really begins with the Silk Road.

If you find typos in these documents, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

The Gulag Archipelago

“(Russian title; Arkhipelag Gulag) A three-volume history (1973-6; English translation 1974-78) by the Russian novelist Alexander Solzhenitsyn (1918-2008) of the Gulag, the Soviet administrative department responsible for maintaining prisons and forced labour camps. ‘Gulag’ is the abbreviation of Russian Glavnoye upravleniye ispravitel no-trudovykh lagerey, “Chief Administration for Corrective Labour Camps.’ Such camps–scattered across Siberia like an archipelago of islands–were a notorious feature of the Soviet Union from 1930 to 1955 and resulted in the deaths of millions. Having been awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature (1970), Solzhenitsyn was in 1974 deported after the publication in Paris of the first two volumes and the suicide of his former assistant wh, after five days of interrogation by the KGB, had revealed where she had hidden a copy of the complete work.”

Excerpted from: Crofton, Ian, ed. Brewer’s Curious Titles. London: Cassell, 2002.

D-Day

I meant to post this reading on D-Day and its accompanying vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet last Thursday, on the 75th anniversary of the Allied invasion of Europe. In my end of the school-year haze, alas, I spaced it out, as we liked to say in the 1970s.

Better late than never, I guess.

If you find typos in these documents, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Cultural Literacy: Epicureanism

It’s time to get out for a walk, so I’ll wrap up this morning with this Cultural Literacy worksheet on epicureanism.

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Albigensian Crusade

“(1209-1229) A crusade launched by Pope Innocent III against Waldensian and Cathar heresies in southern France and carried out primarily by northern French forces, Primary targets of the crusading army were the counts to Toulouse, Raymond VI (d 1222) and Raymond VII (d 1249). In 1229 Raymond VII submitted to the crown of France. When Alphonse of Poitiers, Raymond VII’s son-in-law and brother to the King of France, died in 1271, the possessions of the counts of Toulouse devolved upon the crown of France and southern independence was irrevocably lost.

The crusade revitalized Occitan literature and gave it a new impetus towards the exploration of the narrative, resulting in a flowering of the sirventes, verse and prose narrative works, and vidas and razos (short prose biographies and commentaries . on troubadours and their poetry). The crusade is most vividly narrated in the 13th-century Occitan epic Canso del la crozada.”

Excerpted from: Murphy, Bruce, ed. Benet’s Reader’s Encyclopedia, Fourth Edition. New York: Harper Collins, 1996.