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…

A Thematic U.S. Survey (Second Half) Model

For quite some time I have been tinkering with my ways of teaching the survey (the second half, AKA USII). I’ve flipped, I’ve themed, I’ve occasionally flopped, I’ve blended, digitized, and problematized in the some thirty-odd sections that I’ve taught in the past seven years. (I have not yet backwarded or role-played, but I’m sure…

Un-collapsing history

Teaching the US I and II surveys every semester, one of the first challenges is getting the material to “catch” with students. It’s usually a little easier with US II, but there’s no magic formula. Getting students to see people in the past as people, living complicated lives and facing difficult choices, is key to…

To My Students:

To my students, past, present, and future: I usually write entries to this blog with my colleagues in mind, but this time, I want to write something, very briefly, for you. You will always be welcome in my classroom, no matter where you come from, no matter what language you speak, no matter how you…

What’s in Your Pedagogy Toolbox?

A few weeks ago, at the annual meeting of the American Historical Association in Denver, I had the opportunity to chair a session centered around rethinking History Ph.D. education. It was a great conversation, and the two panelists–both Ph.D. students doing some really remarkable work–powerfully articulated the ways in which we can expand some of…

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…

From Survey to Elective: Connecting through Learning Outcomes

What differentiates learning outcomes at the survey and elective levels in American history courses?  This semester I taught ONLY the U.S. survey. Next semester, I’m teaching the survey, a team-taught introductory American Studies/transnational course on Nazism and American culture and politics, and an upper level elective in U.S. Economic History (History of American Capitalism). As…

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…