Do Dates Matter?

Chronological Reasoning and Critical Thinking in World History

Wednesday, April 6, 2011 | 7:00 p.m.–8:30 p.m. (EST)


Deborah Johnston, Ph.D.

Deborah Smith Johnston, Ph.D.

Lakeside School History Department Head
Seattle, WA

About the Seminar

In World History we struggle constantly with the balance between the big picture concepts and the illustrative detail that makes history engaging. One of the AP historical thinking skills focuses on applying chronological reasoning skills to world history. This includes not only causation and periodization, but also thinking about patterns of change and continuity over time.

This seminar will seek to help teachers pace out the year, using a variety of periodization models and timelines and to consider what level of detail students need to know. Content examples will be used in this workshop from both African and Chinese history, as well as from general world history scholarship. Participants will have the opportunity to discuss different pedagogical approaches including advice on writing about time.

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Assigned Readings

Big Picture Questions on the Readings (PDF)
  1. Chris Peek and Angela Wainwright, “Time Management and Student Ownership — How to Get Through Your Curriculum in the Time Allotted” Roupp, ed. Teaching World History 2nd ed. (2010) (PDF)
  2. Africa Timelines
  3. Change Over Time Teaching Strategies
  4. Must-Know Dates (PDF)
  5. “Time” Activities from the Mundane to the Sophisticated (PDF)
  6. Periodization Argumentation Brief (PDF)
  7. Periodization AP Lesson (PDF)

Suggested Secondary Readings

  1. Jerry Bentley and Patrick Manning, “The Problem of Interactions in World History”, American Historical Review June 1996, pp. 749–782


PowerPoint, 2.1 MB

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