Stimulating Higher Order Thinking

The four activities in the Haitian Revolution module are meant to engage students in increasingly higher levels of thinking.  The table below summarizes the four activities and shows how they employ the higher levels of Bloom’s taxonomy.  A Powerpoint Presentation will provide the context for this investigation.  This presentation and the readings for the activity can be downloaded here.

Assessment taxonomy table for Revolutions Unit in Global Studies

Module: Toussaint Louverture and the Haitian Revolution, 1791-1804

Bloom Category

Activity

Knowledge
Comprehension In cozy discussion groups students will summarize primary source document by or about Toussaint Louverture and interpret the impact of the sourcing on the document
Application
Analysis Students will analyze the impact of a primary source document’s source (i.e. author, context, and type of doc) on the document’s content by making a forum post’s on the documents by/about Toussaint.
Synthesis Cozy groups of students will use a wiki page to create a short profile of Toussaint Louverture as a leader of the Haitian Revolution. Profiles will integrate primary sources and secondary information presented by the teacher.
Evaluation Individual students will compose short recommendations about whether or not the World History textbook should expand its coverage of Toussaint Louverture from the current two sentences. If students recommend expanded coverage, they should advocate for the inclusion of their group’s profile of Toussaint.

 

The Revolutions Unit

The Haitian Revolution module will be part of the “Revolutions in Thought and Politics” unit in Global Studies.  This unit includes overviews of changes in thinking that led up to the French Revolution, a closer look at the French Revolution, and then revolutions that followed the French Revolution.  As created by the district curriculum committee this unit has a strong Western Civilization bias. As such, it provides a vehicle for teachers who still teach Global Studies as mostly Western Civ to focus on the Renaissance, Scientific Revolution, and the Enlightenment along and to take a long look at the French Revolution.  The Anoka High School Global Studies PLC has taken this to mean: “People in European and Latin America began thinking more logically and more democratically, contributing to revolutions in the 1700s and 1800s.”  Significantly, this idea allows a variety of revolutions to be used as supporting examples.

The district curriculum, however, also allows teachers to explore topics beyond the core, and I have taken this as an opportunity to make Global Studies more…global.  One way to do this is to shorten the coverage of the French Revolution to make it more thematic and less blow-by-blow, thereby freeing up time to discuss events beyond Europe.  This module reflects my recent work in this direction.

To see a graphic representation of how the activities in this module support the Essential Learner Outcomes for Global Studies please download Toussaint Concept Map.   A Powerpoint Presentation, downloadable here, will introduce students to the Haitian Revolution which forms the historical context for the documents.

Global Studies Online

The Institution

This course will be offered through Anoka-Hennepin School District.  The Anoka-Hennepin district is in the process of expanding online eduction options for students.  While Global Studies will probably not be offered in the 2012-13 school year because of insufficient enrollment, it will probably be in the future as the online program expands.  Anoka-Hennepin is the largest school district in the state of Minnesota with five large, comprehensive high schools, an alternative high school, and high school classes offered through Anoka Technical College.  The district includes suburban, exurban, and rural areas.  Some Anoka-Hennepin students currently take online classes through other educational institutions, and the district would like those students to remain in the district.  Ultimately, the district also hopes to attract students from outside the district.  District tudents will take online classes as part of their regular schedule; they would be out of their home building for first and/or last period for online courses, but would also take face to face classes in a high school.

The Course

Students in Global Studies should learn about the world, about history, and about working with information in an academic setting.  This is the only global social studies class in the high school sequence, and the course should expose students to people and places around the world.  The course is offered over two terms.  The first term surveys ancient civilizations and world religions and examines selected topics in world history from ancient times through World War I.  This module is part of the third unit in the first term: Revolutions.  The Revolutions unit centers on the French Revolution, and this module would immediately follow it.  I developed the activities in this module to broaden the perspectives in the Revolutions Unit beyond Europe and into the Caribbean.  I am also choosing to emphasize the agency of people of African descent.

Global Studies is the core eleventh grade social studies class across the school district.  The course is required for graduation and is designed to meet some of the Minnesota State Social Studies standards for world history.  The standards were very recently revised in 2011, but have not been adopted yet.  The draft standards do not appear different enough from the current standards to be the source of much change in the Anoka-Hennepin Global Studies curriculum.  The draft standards released on include a revolutions unit with the Haitian Revolution as a suggested topic.

The Anoka High School Global Studies professional learning community (PLC) has used the district curriculum to develop Essential Learner Outcomes, aka “The Big Ideas.”  These Big Ideas are concise expressions in student friendly language of what each student should know when they leave

The Students

For many of the students this will be their first or one of their first online classes.  I have constructed a survey to assess their experiences with internet technology, academic learning, and world history.  Eleventh grade students taking this class will have taken US Government and US History in the previous two school years.  In US History they will have been exposed to some of the elements of constructing historical knowledge.  The school district currently seems to envision online classes as being most appropriate for strong students with solid time management skills, although the class will not be designated as Honors.  Many of the strongest students will probably opt to register for AP European History, which also fulfills the eleventh grade social studies requirement, or Honors Global Studies.  Many of the strong, regular level students who are the intended audience are responsible and interested in developing stronger academic skills in preparation for college.