Saturday, September 27, 2014

Changes to the AP U.S. History Exam

In light of recent suburban Colorado teenage protests regarding the censorship of U.S history in school, I thought I'd post an older article I wrote for a site that may explain why this is just now (allegedly) occurring in Advanced Placement courses. Only this year, teachers were given more freedom in creating their own lesson plan which is great if you are Mr. Keating and terrible if you are Professor Umbridge.

Image source: Warner Bros.

I will always find an applicable Harry Potter reference. Always.

Changes to the AP U.S. History Exam
by Chelsea McInnis
April 7th 2014

The AP U.S. History Exam for the 2014-15 school year is ch-ch-ch-changing? Fear not, students and teachers: we will give you the lowdown (and it's not as bad as you think). 

Up until now, the AP U.S. History curriculum covered all of the nation's past. Lack of narrowing down U.S. history to specific topics put pressure on teachers to cram nearly 500 years’ worth of history into their lesson plans to prepare students for any possible exam scenario. In the end, student's brains were bursting with historical facts and figures, leaving little time for analysis or interpretation. It's like knowing the ABCs but not being able to form words. Or something.

The newly-designed AP Exam allows teachers to devote more time interpreting major historical events instead of the usual half-a-millennia marathon. The changes reflect the curriculum of today’s college history courses. Now, focus will shift away from the 19th century and concentrate more on the nation’s beginnings in the 17th and 18th centuries, as well as modern history of the 1900s and onwards. Buh-bye War of 1812, Abolitionism, Manifest Destiny, and Civil War. We will miss you. Teachers and students now have the opportunity to explore topics in greater or lesser depth. See? Teachers are happy. Students are happy. Everybody wins. The new exam also gets rid of a long essay question (yay), but adds short answer and additional multiple-choice questions in its place (boo).

Teachers: To prepare for the changes, read the new AP U.S. History Course and Exam Description, become familiar with the AP Course Audit process for deadlines of submitting your new syllabus (yes, you need a new one, we are sorry), and make plans to participate in professional development to receive support in planning. You can then plan a farewell party for your previous well-developed syllabus that you have nurtured and raised over the years. 

Students: enjoy your summer while it lasts.

Friday, September 26, 2014

HTHS Weekly: History from the Interweb #3

HTHS Weekly: History from the Interweb is a round-up of brand spankin' new history articles, selected by yours truly. Click on the link to be directed to the home site where you can read a professional being professional in their entirety.

Advanced Placement U.S. History high school students in suburban Colorado are protesting proposed changes to the class curriculum which 'promote citizenship, patriotism, essentials and benefits of the free-market system, respect for authority and respect for individual rights and don't encourage or condone civic disorder, social strife or disregard of the law.' These are AP high school students who care, people. I slept my way through AP U.S. History, perked up only to watch news coverage on 9/11/01, and traced my hand on the end of the year exam instead of attempting to pass. ***drops the mic. ***then remembers having to take U.S. History in college when I could have just passed the test in high school, thus saving loads in tuition fees.

Could also be called 9 Times Zeus Was A Slutty, Ruthless Asshole. Yet people continue to name their dog Zeus.

As archaeologists continue excavation at a large tomb in northern Greece, all signs point towards it belonging to Alexander the Great's mother, aka Olympia, aka Angelina Jolie in that terrible Alexander movie where she speaks in a Transylvanian accent for some reason???

So lets rip them apart and do tests, y'all.

A chinchilla thought to have been extinct for more than 500 years is not so extinct anymore.

Yes. Just, yes.

Rob Roy's sporran stolen from Scots museum at Herald Scotland
Ooh yah cun'! Away an boil yer heed! The sporran (pouch traditionally worn in front of the kilt to serve as a pocket) was ripped off the wall at the Abbotsford House in the Borders and the culprit is still at large. Rob Roy is a famous Highland folk outlaw who is referred to as the 'Scottish Robin Hood.'

Wait, what? An interesting article about how mankind is continuously a "story of sin and suffering played out again and again."

Friday, September 19, 2014

HTHS Weekly: History from the Interweb #2

HTHS Weekly: History from the Interweb is a round-up of brand spankin' new history articles, selected by yours truly. Click on the link to be directed to the home site where you can read a professional being professional in their entirety.

The votes are in, and it's a big fat 'NO' for Scotland's independence. Articles poured in from around the internet this week:
What Happened Last Time Scotland Tried for Greater Independence? at Time 
Pssssst, it didn't happen…The 'No's won by a landslide.

The History Behind the Scottish Independence Vote at History
England and Scotland need couple's therapy.

25 Times Scotland Changed The World at BuzzFeed
Featuring everyone's favorite cloned sheep.

The Surprising Origin Story of Wonder Woman at Smithsonian
Wonder Woman was created to balance out the testosterone of preexisting superheroes such as Batman and Superman. The 'feminist fighting fascism' was developed by a psychologist who had three Harvard degrees, was a lawyer, scientist, professor, credited with inventing the lie detector, who wrote screenplays, a novel, magazine articles and oh, ya know, kinda sorta lived with two women under the same roof whom were each bearing his children. Did you know the 'DC' in DC Comics stands for Detective Comics? Detective Comics Comics.

Gas chambers unearthed at demolished Nazi concentration camp at The Guardian

After 300 detainees escaped Sobibor concentration camp in eastern Poland in 1943, the camp was abruptly shut down and the Germans tried to cover up its existence. Archaeologists recently found remnants of the camp after a dig which exposed brick walls of the chambers. It is essentially an undisturbed crime scene. Unlike other concentration camps where you could maybe but likely not survive, prisoners (an estimated 250,000) went to Sobibor solely to die in the eight gas chambers.

Prince William relied on Harry through scandals, divorce, and death. Kate relied on Pippa and James through her thrust into the spotlight. Giving lil' baby George a younger sibling will give him a confidant to share the strains of life in the public eye, or so says this article which explores the big family tradition of the Windsors (and royalty in general).

Ancient Egyptian Woman With 70 Hair Extensions Discovered at Discovery
Ancient hair stuff. Read about ancient techniques like hiding your gray with henna or gelling it with fat.

The Strange Case of Emperor Norton I of the United States at History
Maybe it was a slow week in history, but to create an article based on what a crazy homeless man claimed in the mid-1800s is just stupid. Nonetheless, interesting. Stupidly interesting. Joshua A. Norton of San Francisco claimed to be the first and only Emperor of the United States and Protector of Mexico because he just felt like it. America humored him by giving him celebrity status for the next 20 years until he died from a stroke.

Why I'm not a vegetarian reason #34: Hitler was. Margot Woelk has come forward with her harrowing story from World War II. Woelk was one of 15 young women who were forcibly taken to Hitler's Prussian headquarters to sample Hitler's bland veggie deer food before he consumed it to ensure it had not been poisoned. Woelk was the only taster to survive after she escaped on Joseph Goebbel's train before the Red Army advanced on the headquarters.

America's favorite freaky families both turned 50 yrs old this week. 

Richard III killed by skull and pelvis injuries - but mysteries remain about his death at History Extra
The results of Richard's most-likely-cause-of-death test are in and conclude the king suffered 11 visible injuries before his death in 1485, three of which may have been fatal. Of the 11, nine were to the skull, suggesting he lost his helmet which opened further discussion on whether the helmet was forcibly removed.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Statue Selfies

Mixing Greco/Roman/whatever artworks with terrible 2014 pop culture references can be alright (sometimes). Statue selfies are making the rounds on social media and they disturbingly exhibit emotions and poses that you typically find in a non-statue selfie: duck lips, muscle flexing, gazing oh-so-inquisitively into the distance, pure joy at finding the perfect lighting, etc. Here are a few of these vain statues as well as an uncomfortable amount of cherubs, which are never creepy…

Friday, September 12, 2014

HTHS Weekly: History from the Interweb #1

HTHS Weekly: History from the Interweb is a round-up of brand spankin' new history articles, selected by yours truly. Click on the link to be directed to the home site where you can read a professional being professional in their entirety.

Stories of success (and lots of failures/casualties) concerning animals in space. Also, Russia sent a bunch of geckos to space for sex experiments and they all came back dead. There's a metaphor in here somewhere. Pictured is one of the OG space monkeys named Gordo, who returned to earth with a boom. Literally. His vessel crashed into the Atlantic and was never recovered.

The discovery of British Royal Navy officer Sir John Franklin's HMS Erebus and HMS Terror is being described as "the biggest archaeological discovery the world has seen since the opening of Tutankhamun's tomb almost 100 years ago." Franklin's expedition to chart the Northwest Passage in the Canadian Arctic in 1845 ended in mystery after the two ships vanished, most likely from being stuck in the icy waters. Want more shipwrecks? Telegraph published an article featuring ten great shipwreck discoveries.

Sportsball is back you guys and you can read all about its dude-bro history.

Everyone's favorite whodunnit may have been identified. Jack may actually have been Aaron Kosminski, a 23 year old Polish immigrant. Reportedly, Kosminski's DNA was found on a shawl that was discovered next to one of Ripper's victims. The guy who obtained the shawl sent it away for DNA testing and is so freaking sure he cracked the myth that he says "only non-believers that want to perpetuate the myth will doubt." How could you argue with that logic? Could Jack the Ripper have really been a 23 year old kid? And worse, Polish?

Britain's 100th anniversary since the beginning of World War I commemorations are rolling right along, and to add some variety, they honored warhorse Warrior, who so bravely and selflessly went to the Western Front to help defend his country. The grandson of Warrior's owner accepted the award on his behalf and said stuff like, "but now he rides again 100 years later."

Hitler without a Hitler mustache is no Hitler at all.

In response to the Jack the Ripper debacle, BuzzFeed compiled major stories throughout history that lack an ending. And we all love a good BuzzFeed list.

Wonders like the Great Pyramid of Giza, Sphinx, and various destinations around Cairo are going to be available on Google Street View to virtually visit as if you were walking through the streets of Egypt. Minus political turmoil.

In the largest geophysical survey ever, archaeologists scanned over a 7.4-square-mile-area around Stonehenge. The scan uncovered 17 more unknown henge-like religious monuments, including a very happy one.