Where I live in Duxbury, MA the 8th graders have half a year of US and the other some world with a focus on the middle ages. The 9th graders pick up with the Renaissance and a scattering of world topics but not up to the present. There is a set curriculum that the district has established that is currently undergoing revision. Sounds like they are moving toward a 2 year world history curriculum in 8-9th grades.
This is similar to what we have where I work in Weymouth. The 8th grade course is supposed to cover 500-1800--but obviously this is too much for 1 year so teachers pick and choose. Some get to Enlightenment, none cover French Revolution. In the 9th grade we pick up with 1800 and the industrial revolution and go to the present. The MA state framework includes every world history topic, but allows teachers and/or districts to use their discretion. There is no MCAS for world history and if there ever was to be a state test in history it would likely focus on US...so I don't know why admins are being so difficult.
Also curious how you organize the wh course...I mean in general terms, chronologically, thematically, regionally, in order of what works best with school calendar? Don't laugh, but a colleague of mine saves WWII until June because the kids enjoy it the most so they will still work hard even though they have end of year restlessness. Would you consider "Africa" or "China" to be a theme? Or do you consider themes to be broader and not tied to a particular country or time period, like imperialism or industrialization?
Hoping your thoughts can help me put things in perspective...thanks in advance!
I teach 8th grade World History I in Southborough, MA. The scope is 500-1800. I give much more time to Asia (China, Japan, India, Mongol Empire, and the Rise of Islam) than I do Europe, which, to my dismay, always gets squeezed right around now.
I usually go with the regional approach because it seems a bit easier to digest for 8th graders. However, I have been thinking seriously about trying a thematic approach next year. I intend to spend A LOT of time preparing this over the summer. Here is a mind map of the organization so far (it is still in development). Feedback would be much appreciated.
I am also building a LiveBinderfor the thematic approach.
I teach World History I to 9th graders in Washington, D.C. We go Rise of Islam (but I go back to Rome because they haven't had it since 7th grade & don't get the connections) up to the French Revolution. I will BARELY cover Englightement/French Rev this year in 1 ninety minute class period.
Our students can take World II (French Rev to Present) in 10th grade OR they can take AP World which ..ya know..covers everything. 11th grade is US History-Civil War to Present OR AP US History which ..ya know..covers everything. I think our obsession with coverage is ridiculous and our standards are out of control specific including names and battles we have to cover. Most teachers here ignore them completely. I try to stick to those units but organize in a non-chronological manner -- by region/theme rather than dates.
In NYS, there is a Regents Exam that covers the Neolithic Rev through about 5 years ago. It takes about 5 years for an event to become a question. It's a two year course, so we break it up into Ancient Civ and Modern World. Ancient Civ is Neo Rev through the Age of Absolutism. It covers everywhere but North America and Australia. Modern World starts with the Enlightenment. Most districts teach it somewhat chronologically. My principal is desperate for us to do this thematically, but I can't imagine doing it that way. My compromise is to review thematically. It's always a work in progress. I think it would be easier to teach this in 10th and 11th instead of 9th & 10th. But 11th is for US History and APUSH.
I think of themes in terms of concepts:
How is power used and abused?
Which is the more important agent of cultural diffusion: warfare or trade?
How do crises lead to revolutions? Are all revolutions the result of crises?
Ooh, I like how you do that! It gives the feeling of both themes and chronology! It sounds as if it is the same time periods as we do, too.
For contemporary history, I need to add more in terms of human rights. The Regents in increasingly human rights focused. I don't have it yet, I'm going to come up with stuff over the summer.
You're the 1st teacher from NYS I've found, so I'm eager to chat!
What did you think of this past Regents exam?
Increasingly focused on 10th grade material in my opinion. Interesting trends over the past few times the test has been administered, but it was fair...
I've always wanted to spend a few days doing a special focus on human rights. We were in an every day block for a semester that went very fast and left little time for such things. Now that there are no more January exams we have to go back to a year-long course. Maybe it will free up some more time for such "special focus" issues. Would you wait to teach it post-wwii? or do you think it could be anywhere in the year?
Maybe there should be a NYS discussion board here?
I hated the Regents. I thought the curve was awful, less forgiving than the US (on the US, they could miss FIVE more questions and still pass). The U.S. Regents essays had 4 components, then 2 components! For 11th graders?! The 10th graders had to write essays of 6 components EACH. Awful. And the DBQ topic was ridiculous. Am I supposed to be teaching Hollywood History? Should I have shown The Killing Fields and Hotel Rwanda? To 15 year olds?! We could have skipped the River Valley Civs, Greece, Alexander, most of Russia until Global II content. Some of the questions were fair, some were awful. I teach for learning and don't think my students were able to demonstrate their learning. Clearly, my students results were less than desirable.
Aren't you glad you asked?
I'm adding a technology theme and a human rights theme for review next year. I would do it after WW II so I could root it in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
I am glad that I asked. Always good to hear that the problems are universal and not isolated to my department. I think a lot of my point of view on this exam is that the January regents was a random mix of questions as well - some even more obscure, so I looked favorably on this one because I felt that my students were able to do better.
The DBQ was frustrating because it didn't really lend itself to any outside information. All the info (that I teach) was already in the documents, with the exception of Stalin in the Ukraine. Even my AP students didn't think enough to go back and explain the role of imperialism in Rwanda and even cambodia in order to try to get the 5. Frustrating! On the other hand, I think the thematic really did allow my students to prove that they learned something. Even some of my students who did poorly on the multiple choice were able to pull 3s and 4s.
I had two students get 64s and of course we couldn't go back and double check the grading. They don't even put 64s on the rubric for the US test with good reason...don't get why they do that for global. Even with the ability to revisit scores, we would have had to find 2 or even 3 points to move to a 65.
And yes it would be nice to get an NYS discussion section - we could share some ideas and materials!