History Today With Choices

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From Teaching with the News, an initiative of the CHOICES Program, EdTechTeacher Inc. is proud to partner with the Choices for the 21st Century Education Program at Brown University's Watson Institute to provide these resources. CHOICES is a national education initiative that seeks to empower young people with the skills, knowledge, and participatory habits to be engaged citizens who are capable of addressing international issues through thoughtful public discourse and informed decision making.

The CHOICES Program's Teaching with the News initiative provides online curriculum materials and ideas to connect the content of the classroom to the headlines in the news. Topics cover a range of foreign policy and international issues.

CHOICES Web Sites and Resources

Protests, Revolutions, and Democratic Change
This free lesson helps students analyze the potential effects of the protests on democracy and stability in the Middle East and North Africa.

After Mubarak: A New Middle East
This free lesson, After Mubarak: A New Middle East?, is the second in a series of activities on the recent events in Egypt. It helps students consider the implications of a leadership change in Egypt on the protests for democracy throughout the Middle East and North Africa.

  • For more sources on Egypt's History, visit the Best of History Web Sites' page on Egypt

Egypt's Uprising
This free lesson introduces students to the protests in Egypt, helps them consider the role of the media, and asks them to analyze the role of the United States in Egyptian politics.

  • For more sources on Egypt's History, visit the Best of History Web Sites' page on Egypt

Darfur: Violence and the Media
In January 2011 the people of southern Sudan will decide in a referendum whether to secede from or remain part of Sudan. In the midst of north-south tensions surrounding the upcoming vote, concern about escalating violence in Darfur has increased.

  • For more sources on World History, visit the Best of History Web Sites' pages on Modern History

The Global Security Matrix
The Global Security Matrix uses text, images, and video to help students explore a broad range of threats as they play out across the layers of the international system.

  • For more sources on World History, visit the Best of History Web Sites' pages on Modern History

Pakistan's Floods
This lesson introduces students to the disaster and encourages them to consider the impact of history, climate vulnerability, and current politics as they attempt to understand the terrible flooding in Pakistan.

  • For more sources on the Indian subcontinent, visit the Best of History Web Sites' pages on India

Darfur: Violence and the Media
In January 2011 the people of southern Sudan will decide in a referendum whether to secede from or remain part of Sudan. In the midst of north-south tensions surrounding the upcoming vote, concern about escalating violence in Darfur has increased.

  • For sources on ancient African History, visit the Best of History Web Sites' page on Africa

The Lessons of Iraq
In this one-day activity students examine and assess four different perspectives on what lessons the United States should draw from its experience in Iraq. Students assess the validity of these lessons and then consider their implications for other U.S. foreign policy issues.

  • For more sources on recent American history, visit the Best of History Web Sites' page on Post Cold War history.

The Gulf Oil Disaster
In this one-day activity students use political cartoons to consider issues raised by the 2010 oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico including impact, accountability, U.S. oil dependency, and energy policy.

The Haitian Crisis
Students are challenged to think beyond the earthquake and consider the role of Haiti's rich history in the current crisis. Students explore the historical reasons for Haiti's poverty and its relationship with the United States.

The U.S. in Afghanistan: Analyzing Political Cartoons
This lesson allows students to analyze a series of political cartoons to understand different viewpoints on U.S. involvement in Afghanistan.

  • For more sources on recent American history, visit the Best of History Web Sites' page on Post Cold War history.

U.S. Policy in Afghanistan
Afghanistan is one of the most daunting challenges facing the United States. President Obama and his advisors are reassessing U.S. policies in Afghanistan, a task complicated by a flawed presidential election. In this free two-day lesson, students debate three possible options for U.S. policy in Afghanistan and articulate their own views on the issue.

  • For more sources on recent American history, visit the Best of History Web Sites' page on Post Cold War history.

Dangerous Music
Choices Program has developed the lesson Dangerous Music to help students explore the effects of drug violence on Culiac?n, a city in northwestern Mexico, and on popular songs known as narcocorridos. The lesson is built around a video from Foreign Exchange and the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.

A Nuclear North Korea?
In this free online lesson students view videos from our Scholars Online video library and think critically about the issues surrounding North Korea and nuclear weapons.

Looking at the Tank Man: The 20th Anniversary of Tiananmen
In this free one-day lesson, students analyze an image from June 5, 1989 from multiple perspectives and consider the effect that censorship can have on the understanding of an event.

  • For sources on ancient Chinese History, visit the Best of History Web Sites' page on China

Crisis in Zimbabwe
This lesson helps students better understand the current political, economic, and health crisis in Zimbabwe. Readings explore the country's past and the historical origins of the crisis. The lesson asks students to consider what role, if any, the international community should play in Zimbabwe, through the perspectives of a number of UN member countries.

  • For sources on ancient African History, visit the Best of History Web Sites' page on Africa

Interrogation Tactics in the News
On April 22, 2009 The New York Times reported on the CIA's adoption of the Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape (SERE) program as an interrogation technique. Stories on this topic are headlining major media sources around the country and the world. The documentary film, Torturing Democracy, tells the inside story of how the U.S. government adopted these techniques as official policy in the aftermath of 9/11. The Choices Program has developed an accompanying study guide to this film as well as a media literacy activity to help students think critically about this complicated and politically-charged issue.

  • For more sources on recent American history, visit the Best of History Web Sites' page on Post Cold War history.

Globalization and the Economic Crisis
News of a global economic crisis has dominated the headlines in recent months. Reports of the effects of this crisis come from as far as Iceland, Japan, and Brazil, with reports of unemployment rates spiking across the world. But the roots of this crisis are in the U.S. economy. In this one-day lesson, students explore a series of political cartoons and consider the relationship between globalization and the economic crisis.

  • For more sources on World History, visit the Best of History Web Sites' pages on Modern History

India: Conflicts Within
Choices has developed lesson plans to accompany the Pulitzer Center's Global Gateway on India. Multiple lessons are available.

India and Pakistan in the Wake of the Mumbai Attacks
Today, India and Pakistan face each other with hostility and suspicion heightened by the terror attacks in Mumbai. Both countries have nuclear weapons. Some experts think that the nuclear face-off between India and Pakistan makes the region the most dangerous place in the world. How has it come to this? Resources are provided to help students understand the historical context of the forces at play in the region today.

  • For more sources on India, visit the Best of History Web Sites' pages on India

Russia and Georgia: Conflict and War
The violence and war in Georgia has brought the U.S. relationship with Russia back to the front pages and rekindled an important debate. How should the United States view Russia? How do Russian policies affect the United States? What policies should the United States follow to manage its relationship with Russia?

Russia's Transformation: Challenges for U.S. Policy
This article provides background and lessons that can help your students make sense of the news and explain why American leaders are paying close attention to the conflict.

U.S. Role in the World
An important debate is taking place in the United States concerning America's role in the world today.The U.S. Role in the World includes a lesson plan involving discussion of four distinct alternatives - or Futures - that frame the current debate. This activity features an online student ballot that allows your students' opinions to be included in a nationally distrubuted report. The material is available at no charge from the Choices web site.The material is drawn from The U.S. Role in a Changing World.

  • For more sources on United States modern history, visit the Best of History Web Sites' U.S. History Page.

Taiwan, Tibet, and China
Events in Taiwan, Tibet, and China are in the news. In and around Tibet, protests against the Chinese government have been met with a crackdown from Chinese security forces. The violence in Tibet has escalated to levels not seen in twenty years, and influenced the recent elections presidential elections in Taiwan.

China on the World Stage: Weighing the U.S. Response (2008 edition)
This provides additional background on these issues, including an extensive lesson plan on the relationship among China, Taiwan, and the United States. These resources can help your students make sense of the news and explain why American leaders are paying close attention to the conflicts.

Castro's Legacy and the Future of Cuba
On February 19, 2008, Fidel Castro announced to Cuba and to the world that he would not be a candidate for Cuba's presidency. In this lesson students will explore the reaction to Fidel Castro's decision, categorize competing perspectives on Castro and the future of Cuba, and consider the international response to Castro's resignation and assess possible consequences.
Choices is in the final stages of a full unit on the future of Cuba. This will be available in late March.

  • For more sources on the Cold War, visit the Best of History Web Sites' Cold War History page.

The U.S. and Iran: Confronting Policy Alternatives
News about the U.S. relationship with Iran and Iran's uranium enrichment program appears frequently in the headlines these days. There is much debate about how to respond to this issue. The U.S. and Iran: Confronting Policy Alternatives is an interactive lesson plan that engages students in consideration of divergent policy alternatives concerning U.S. policy on Iran.

Global Environment: Considering U.S. Policy
Climate change is a central focus of policy discussions in the U.S. and around the world. What should U.S. policy be concerning global environmental issues? This 2-day lesson plan invites students to explore four divergent policy options and then to articulate their own views. This online resource is available free from the Choices web site.

Conflict in Iraq: Confronting Policy Alternatives
Conflict in Iraq: Confronting Policy Alternatives engages students in consideration of a balanced range of views on the question of U.S. policy in Iraq. What is our purpose? Who should be involved in solutions? Are our troop levels right? How long should U.S. troops stay? What does this mean for the larger question of America's role in the world today? The material is available at no charge from the Choices web site.

Violence in Darfur, Sudan
Sudan has been embroiled in internal conflicts since independence in 1956. Most recently, a violent conflict between the central government and several opposition groups has devastated Darfur, the westernmost region of Sudan.

U.S. Immigration Policy: What should we do?
The Senate and House of Representatives are considering changes to current immigration law that will fundamentally change the rules on immigration. U.S. Immigration Policy: What should we do? enables students to consider U.S. immigration policy within the context of long-term goals for the country. This 2-day lesson is available at no charge from the Choices web site.

Nuclear Weapons: What Should Our Policy Be?
Nuclear Weapons: What Should Our Policy Be? engages students in consideration of a balanced range of views on the questions that surround the future of nuclear weapons. This 2-day lesson is available at no charge from the Choices web site.

Are We Winning the Global War on Terror?
Students consider whether and how the United States can determine the success or failure of our efforts to combat terrorism.

North Korea and Nuclear Weapons
The six-party talks on North Korea's nuclear program have resulted in a tentative agreement. This promises to be the beginning of a long and challenging process. North Korea and Nuclear Weapons engages students in consideration of the range of options that continue to face policymakers. The material is available at no charge from the Choices web site.

Terrorism: How Should We Respond?
This online lesson plan invites students to explore four divergent policy options on the question of how the United States should respond to terrorism and then to articulate their own considered perspective. This 2-day lesson is available at no charge from the Choices web site.

U.S. Role in the World
An important debate is taking place in the United States concerning America's role in the world today.The U.S. Role in the World includes a lesson plan involving discussion of four distinct alternatives - or Futures - that frame the current debate. This activity features an online student ballot that allows your students' opinions to be included in a nationally distrubuted report. The material is available at no charge from the Choices web site.

See the CHOICES Guidelines for Deliberation and Deliberating "Pros" and "Cons" of Policy Options for additional teaching resources.

Contacting Elected Officials

Encourage your students to communicate their views on international issues to elected officials and in public spaces such as letters to the editor. You can find contact information for the White House at www.whitehouse.gov/contact/ and your U.S. Senators and Representatives at thomas.loc.gov.

 

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