Booklists for Undergrads

I don’t know about your institution, but we have already gotten our first call for Spring term books.  Every fall I find myself totally surprised by how early this call comes. I’ve cut back on assigning books in the survey for a number of reasons, but I’m always on the lookout for engaging, short(ish) reads…

Shedding Content: A List of Things Lost and Gained

I’m back! After a semester of maternity leave, I was thrilled to get back in the classroom.  Don’t get me wrong, my seven month old is cute and cuddly, but I really like college kids. Before the summer break, I contemplated on this blog about shedding content in favor of emphasizing analytical skills and modern…

Survey Tourism

When I was a graduate student, one of the professors I TA’d for taught the survey like, well, a survey.  We “visited” a variety of places examining not only the history but the ways in which the place had remembered that history.  So, for example, we visited Santa Fe and thought critically about the Fiesta…

Information Overload

I’m off this semester on maternity leave and currently hanging out with a very cute one week old so this post will be short and sweet.  Even before the recent public debates over fake news, I’ve been worrying about my students’ ability to read and evaluate internet sources. One activity I have used in the…

Teaching Holidays

Once again this academic year, I face a strange teaching week; my 16 day January term course on the history of American holidays will celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day today and examine the inauguration on Friday. When I realized months ago that these two holidays would fall In the same week, I was thrilled…

Assumptions and the Survey Course

My four year old is oh-so-helpfully sitting beside me while I write this blog post.  I told him I wasn’t sure what I wanted to write about and he helpfully told me I should write about something “I really want to write.” Thanks kid. Mostly he is mad because he wants to type nonsense words…

‘Tis the Season for Responsive Lecturing

A few years ago I went to a pedagogy round table at a conference. It was an excellent panel which involved some small group discussion. One of the members of my group proclaimed that they, “would never lecture again. The flipped classroom was the only way to teach.” I was taken aback by this statement…

Letting Go of Content

Much to my two survey classes’ delight, I have now, in week three, mastered their names.  I have only tripped over the podium twice and have only one chalk incident to report.  It is the beginning of a banner year! I spent some of time on the blog last year puzzling how to ensure my…