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Middle School Workshops World History and Geography Seminar Series KENT ISD, August 2008. Dr. Craig Benjamin Grand Valley State University. Welcome …. To this two-day workshop on the new Michigan World History Content Expectations for Middle School teachers

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Middle School Workshops

World History and Geography

Seminar Series

KENT ISD, August 2008

Dr. Craig Benjamin

Grand Valley State University

Welcome …
  • To this two-day workshop on the new Michigan World History Content Expectations for Middle School teachers
  • We have much ground to cover, mainly through a series of illustrated lectures on the content of the new CEs
  • Every lecture PowerPoint is available for your use in the classroom, or in preparing your own lessons
about me teacher and musician
About Me: Teacher and Musician
  • History prof at GVSU
  • Before becoming an academic I was a professional jazz musician for 25 years in Australia
  • Studied big history at Macquarie University in Sydney with David Christian
  • After receiving my PhD in 2003, Pamela and I moved from Sydney to Grand Rapids
  • At GVSU I teach big history, world history, ancient Eurasian history and historiography to students at all levels, from freshmen to graduates

Playing Jazz in Grand Rapids

Pamela and Me – Lunch in Chicago

Experienced AP World History Table Leader
  • Frequent presenter of scholarly and pedagogical papers at conferences world wide
  • Author of numerous published books, chapters and essays on ancient Central Asian history, and world history historiography
  • Co-editor of three volumes in the Brepols Silk Roads Studies Series
  • My latest book is: ‘The Yuezhi: Origin, Migration and the Conquest of Northern Bactria’ published by Brepols in 2007, as volume XIV in their Silk Roads Studies series

What Really Goes on at the AP Reading!

Presenting at the NCSS in San Diego

Bain, Christian, Me, McArthur, Nov 07

work on the ces and textbooks
Work on the CEs and Textbooks
  • Member of committee that (under Chair Bob Bain) wrote the new Michigan World History and Geography Content Expectations
  • Currently under contract to produce a big history ‘text book’ with David Christian and Cynthia Stokes Brown for McGraw-Hill
  • Also writing Vols I and II in a new Facts on File world history series, ‘Witness to History’ (edited by Ken Curtis, Tim Kearns and Heather Streets)

Authors Brown, Benjamin and Christian hard at

work in Hawaii, Jan 08

workshop program day one
Workshop Program – Day One

8.30 – 9.30: Session 1- Introduction to the New Michigan WHGCEs; World History; Historical Habits of Mind

9.40-10.40: Session 2 - The Evolution of Humans and the Paleolithic Era

10.50-12.00: Session 3 - The Agricultural Revolution and Early Agrarian Era

12.00-12.45: Lunch

12.45 – 1.45: Session 4 - History and Geography of the Ancient Americas

2.00-3.00: Session 5 - The Americas through to 1500 CE

workshop program day two
Workshop Program – Day Two

8.30 – 9.30: Session 6- Early Civilizations and Cultures of the Eastern Hemisphere Part I

9.40-10.40: Session 7 - Early Civilizations and Cultures of the Eastern Hemisphere Part II

10.50-12.00: Session 8 - Classical Civilizations of the Eastern Hemisphere (Parts I, II, III, IV, V and VI)

12.00-12.45: Lunch

12.45 – 1.45: Session 9 - The Emergence and Spread of Global Religions in the Eastern Hemisphere

2.00-3.00: Session 10 - Contemporary Global Issues; Sample Units; Wrap Up

historical background first attempt 2004 2005
Historical Background – First Attempt! (2004/2005)

First attempt to create new SSCEs was foiled in July 2005 when, on the eve of the presentation to the Michigan Board of Education several committee members withdrew their support for the document. Never presented to Board!

second attempt 2005 2006
Second Attempt 2005/2006
  • Ready to go to the Board for a vote when a Detroit judge wrote an editorial criticizing the document because it eliminated the word ‘America’ when referring to the United States
  • An election year so the controversy over ‘America’ led to the document being pulled
  • Committee disappeared, but a couple of committee members received angry letters and even death threats!

2006 another Committee convened to revise work of previous committee and turn the doc. back to the MDE

role of cherry commission
Role of Cherry Commission
  • Then in 2006 Cherry Commission argued that Michigan needed more rigorous and relevant curricula
  • Asked MBE to produce new content expectations and standards in math, English, science and social studies
  • At that time the only graduation requirement legislated by the State was Civics – Michigan known nationally as the ‘Civics State’ – although local ISDs all had their own mandatory requirements
  • April 06 Gov. Granholm

signed into law a set of

new high school graduation

requirements to be effective

for graduating class of 2011

- languages for class of 2016

third time lucky 2006 07
Third Time Lucky! 2006/07
  • Summer 06 MDE asked Bob Bain to chair task force to develop content expectations for the new graduation requirements
  • New CEs would establish specific goals for students and give guidance to teachers, assessors, publishers, and programs for pre- and in-service teacher education
  • With no foundation in the current framework, Bain knew greatest challenge would be in world history and geography
  • World history/geography writing subcommittee that included:
  • Two university academics (one geographer from WMU, one world historian from GVSU - CB)
  • One world historian from Henry Ford Community College
  • Three very experienced high school world history teachers
whgces presented greatest challenges for the following reasons
WHGCEs presented greatest challenges for the following reasons:
  • Current state standards and benchmarks offer little guidance for world history teachers (less than 8% of benchmarks even mention WH and those have a western civs focus)
  • State assessment exam did not assess world history so many districts did not even offer world history courses to their students
  • Few Michigan teachers had taken much course work in world history, and PD opportunities for teachers to deepen their understanding of world history and its pedagogical approaches were very rare
  • So legislature was mandating a course in WHG without a sense of what such study would entail, how rare is was throughout the state, how it would be assessed, how few teachers studied WHG in college, and what type of education middle and high school teachers needed to understand and then to teach the history and geography of the world!
the committee s work
The Committee’s Work
  • Committee met multiple times in 06/07 and produced many drafts of the document
  • Early battle fought over when the CEs should start, and which Eras might realistically be moved to the middle school
  • Committee wanted to retain all eras in the HSCEs but we were overruled by MDE who decided to move Eras 1-3 to Middle School
  • Drafts faced rigorous scrutiny from several experts around the country, plus critical public review
  • Final version has survived all of these

reviews and numerous rewrites to receive

widespread acclaim from the Board and

national reviewers

rationale behind the whgces
Rationale Behind the WHGCEs?
  • Review of other standards, textbooks and syllabi showed that most approaches to the history of the world either gave priority to one region, or engaged in a “cultural cavalcade” that found students and teachers studying nations or civilizations one right after another
  • Little coherent effort to situate these

in larger contexts or attempt to

understand a global story

multiple lenses
Multiple Lenses
  • Focus now is on a global and comparative

approach to develop greater understanding

of the development of worldwide events

and interactions

  • CEs organized using both time and space to engage

students in cross-temporal and cross-spatial studies

  • To integrate geography and history CEs organized within historical eras and different geographic scales
  • Just as a photographer uses multiple lenses—close-up, wide-angle, and zoom—to tell pictorial stories, CEs ask teachers and students to study the world’s history and geography through several different lenses to understand the whole most completely
michigan s whgces consider the world in time and space
Michigan’s WHGCEs Consider the World in Time and Space
  • Encourage students to work with and across different scales of time and space to:
  • Investigate global patterns and developments over time while connecting more local patterns to larger inter-regional and global patterns
  • Employ different analytical schemes, including global, regional, national and local to understand developments over time from the global to the particular
  • Compare within and among regions and societies, and across time
  • Develop an understanding of the historical and geographic context of human commonalities and differences, particularly in considering claims of universal standards or of cultural diversity
chronological structure of the ces
Chronological Structure of the CEs
  • Foundational Expectations (Eras 1 – 3) to establish necessary background to begin high school study (Middle School) P21
  • Era 4 Expanding and Intensified Hemispheric Interactions, 300 to 1500 C.E./A.D. PP22-23
  • Era 5 The Emergence of the First Global Age, 15th to 18th Centuries PP24-25
  • Era 6 An Age of Global Revolutions, 18th Century to 1914 PP26-27
  • Era 7 Global Crisis and Achievement, 1900 to 1945 PP27-29
  • Era 8 The 20th Century Since 1945: The Cold War and its Aftermath PP29-30
  • Contemporary Global Issues P31
the problem with world history
The Problem with World History!

Too much stuff!

How can I cram it all in?

The wrong way of thinking about world history!

World History is not just more of the same old history

World History focuses on different themes and topics

Because different things can be seen at different scales

So to teach world history

We need to be clear what these different themes are

And to do that, we need to think at different scales

Let’s start!


Craig Benjamin, Cynthia Brown and

David Christian near Kaena Point

W. Coast of Oahu, Hawaii, January 2008

What do you notice at this scale?

What seems important?

What would you emphasize to your students at this scale?


Seeing the Whole Island

We Were Here

What do you notice at this scale?

What seems important?

What would you emphasize to your students at this scale?


Seeing the Whole of the Hawaiian Islands

We Were Here

What do you notice at this scale?

What seems important?

What would you emphasize to your students at this scale?

Is this ‘world history’ yet?


We Were Here

What do you notice at this scale?

What seems important?

What would you emphasize to your students at this scale?

Surely this is ‘world history’ now??






We were somewhere

near here

What do you notice at this scale?

What seems important?

What would you emphasize to your students at this scale?

Is this ‘world history’? Or something more?

We’re seeing the whole of the earth now; is that the perspective we need for world history?

what do we see at large scales
What Do We See at Large Scales?

World history as a Whole


What are the most important things we see?

What are the historians’ equivalents of continents?

three eras of human history based on population growth data from david christian maps of time p 143
Three Eras of Human HistoryBased on Population GrowthData from David Christian, Maps of Time, p. 143

Modern Era: Change

faster than ever

Agrarian Era:

Change accelerates

Paleolithic Era: extremely slow change

plate tectonics matters too history very different if we had evolved in pangaea
Plate Tectonics matters too. History very different if we had evolved in Pangaea!

A single “world zone”

for history


but plate tectonics meant that humans evolved on a planet that looked like this

India has collided



But Plate Tectonics Meant that Humans Evolved on a Planet that Looked Like This

Humans flourishing

present and from c 12 000 years ago the americas are isolated
Present (and from c. 12,000 Years Ago) The Americas Are Isolated

Atlantic Ocean

an effective

barrier to all

but the Vikings

(and the Basque?)

until 1492

Beringia Land Bridge

closed at the end of

the last ice age,

isolating the Americas

plate tectonics created 4 world zones
Plate Tectonics Created 4 World Zones





most of world history focuses mainly on one of these zones
Most of World History Focuses Mainly on One of these Zones

THE AFRO-EURASIAN WORLD ZONE:Its history is so familiar and so important


GENUINE WORLD HISTORY NEEDS TO BE AWARE OF ALL THESE ZONES:Comparing their histories is a helpful way of constructing a unified world history

comparing different zones key questions
Comparing Different Zones: Key Questions?

How different are their histories?

How similar are their histories?

Can we explain the similarities and differences?

What do these comparisons tell us about human history in general?

a model of world history taking place in four different zones
A Model of World History Taking Place in Four Different Zones

Almost like 4 different planets!

The task:

To compare and contrast these different histories

To understand what the comparisons tell us about world history in general

A fundamental challenge for world history, and for Middle School teachers!

p 41 divided into western and eastern hemisphere studies in grades 6 and 7
P. 41: Divided into Western and Eastern Hemisphere Studies in Grades 6 and 7
  • Grade 6 and 7 focus on the study of the W. and E. Hemispheres during ancient and modern times
  • Includes geography, economics, government, inquiry, public discourse and decision making, citizen involvement, and World History and Geography - Eras 1, 2, and 3
  • Components may be arranged over the two years with the understanding that all grade level content expectations for 6 and 7 must be included
  • Grade level testing is not currently planned for social studies
  • So districts have flexibility in the organizational delivery models for the content in grades 6 and 7
grade six western hemisphere studies p44
Grade Six: Western Hemisphere Studies (p44)
  • Explore tools and mental constructs used by historians and geographers
  • Develop an understanding of Ancient World History, Eras 1 – 3, of the Western Hemisphere and study contemporary geography of the Western Hemisphere
  • As a capstone students conduct investigations about past and present global issues
  • Using content knowledge, research, and inquiry, they will analyze an issue and propose a plan for the future
  • Compose civic, persuasive essays using reasoned argument.
grade seven eastern hemisphere studies p56
Grade Seven: Eastern Hemisphere Studies (p56)
  • Seventh grade students review the tools and mental constructs used by historians and geographers
  • Develop an understanding of Ancient World History, Eras 1 – 3, of the Eastern Hemisphere and will study contemporary geography of the Eastern Hemisphere
  • As a capstone, the students will conduct investigations about past and present global issues
  • Using significant content knowledge, research, and inquiry, they will analyze the issue and propose a plan for the future
  • As part of the inquiry, they compose civic, persuasive essays using reasoned argument
6 th 7 th gd history overview
6th/7th Gd HISTORY – Overview

H1 The World in Temporal Terms: Historical Habits of Mind(Foundational Expectations Addressed in Grade 6)

1.1 Temporal Thinking

1.2 Historical Inquiry and Analysis

1.4 Historical Understanding

W1 WHG Era 1 – The Beginnings of Human Society

1.1 Peopling of the Earth

1.2 Agricultural Revolution

W2 WHG Era 2 – Early Civilizations and Cultures and the Emergence of Pastoral Peoples

2.1 Early Civilizations and Early Pastoral Societies

W3 WHG Era 3 – Classical Traditions, World Religions, and Major Empires

3.1 Classical Traditions in Regions of the Western/Eastern Hemisphere

3.2 Growth and Development of World Religions

western eastern hemisphere studies
Western & Eastern Hemisphere Studies
  • 6th Gd includes the Americas
  • 7th Gd includes Europe, Africa, Asia, and Australia. Europe and Russia are listed in the document for 7th grade, but may be included with either Western or Eastern Hemisphere Studies
  • World History Eras 1, 2, and 3 and The World in Temporal Terms and The World in Spatial Terms are included in Grades 6 and 7 as a foundation for World History and Geography in the high school
  • Capstone projects of historical and contemporary global issues that have significance for the student and clearly linked to the world outside the classroom are included.
in both grades 6 and 7 teachers need to discuss historical habits of mind ways of thinking
In Both Grades 6 and 7 Teachers Need to Discuss Historical Habits of Mind (Ways of Thinking)

Evaluate evidence, compare and contrast information, interpret the historical record, and develop sound historical arguments and perspectives on which informed decisions in contemporary life can be based.

h1 1 temporal thinking use historical conceptual devices to organize and study the past
H1.1 Temporal Thinking Use historical conceptual devices to organize and study the past.
  • Historians use conceptual devices (eras, periods, calendars, time lines) to organize their study of the world.
  • Chronology is based on time and reflects cultural and historical interpretations, including major starting points, and calendars based on different criteria (religious, seasonal, Earth-sun-and-moon relationships)
  • Historians use eras and periods to organize the study of broad developments that have involved large segments of world’s population and have lasting significance for future generations and to explain change and continuity.
h1 temporal thinking
H1 – Temporal Thinking

7–H1.1.1 Explain why and how historians use eras and periods as constructs to organize and explain human activities over time.

7–H1.1.2 Compare and contrast several different calendar systems used in the past and present and their cultural significance E.g.

  • Sun Dial
  • Gregorian calendar
  • B.C./A.D.
  • contemporary secular – B.C.E./C.E.
  • (ADDED FOR 7TH GRADE: Chinese, Hebrew, and Islamic/Hijri calendars).
h1 2 historical inquiry and analysis use historical inquiry and analysis to study the past
H1.2 Historical Inquiry and AnalysisUse historical inquiry and analysis to study the past
  • History a process of reasoning based on evidence from the past
  • Historians use and interpret:
  • a variety of historical documents (including narratives)
  • recognize the difference between fact and opinion
  • appreciate multiple historical perspectives while avoiding present mindedness (judging the past solely in term of norms and values of today)
  • and explain that historical events often are the result of multiple causation
  • Students will conduct their own inquiry and analysis in their studies about the ancient history of the Western and Eastern Hemispheres
h1 2 historical inquiry and analysis
H1.2 Historical Inquiry and Analysis

7 – H1.2.1 Explain how historians use a variety of sources to explore the past. E.g.

  • Artifacts
  • primary and secondary sources including narratives
  • Technology
  • historical maps
  • visual/mathematical quantitative data
  • radiocarbon dating
  • DNA analysis

7 – H1.2.2 Read and comprehend a historical passage to identify basic factual knowledge and the literal meaning by indicating who was involved, what happened, where it happened, what events led to the development, and what consequences or outcomes followed.

h1 2 historical inquiry and analysis contd
H1.2 Historical Inquiry and Analysis contd.

7 – H1.2.3 Identify the point of view (perspective of the author) and context when reading and discussing primary and secondary sources.

7 – H1.2.4 Compare and evaluate competing historical perspectives about the past based on proof.

7 – H1.2.5 Describe how historians use their methods to identify causes of change in history (noting multiple causes)

7-H1.2.6Identify the role of the individual in history and the significance of one person’s ideas.

h1 4 historical understanding use historical concepts patterns and themes to study the past
H1.4 Historical Understanding Use historical concepts, patterns, and themes to study the past.
  • Historians apply temporal perspective, historical inquiry, and analysis to spheres of human society to construct knowledge as historical understandings
  • These understandings are drawn from the record of human history and include human aspirations, strivings, accomplishments, and failures in spheres of human activity.

7 – H1.4.1 Describe and use cultural institutions to study an era and a region (political, economic, religion/belief, science/technology, written language, education, family).

7 – H1.4.2 Describe and use themes of history to study patterns of change and continuity.

7 – H1.4.3 Use historical perspective to analyze global issues faced by humans long ago and today


Okay, that’s the introduction over!Let’s get started after the break (10 mins only please) on the Evolution of Humans and the Paleolithic (Old Stone Age)