Instructional Activities for the Second Millennium by Nancy Livingston Associate Professor Emeritus and Lillian Heil Professor Emeritus Brigham Young University As we begin the third millennium, the second one becomes part of world history and a new way to catagorize, teach, and learn about the past one thousand years. For teachers and students, the use of trade books in the classroom offers some creative ways to learn about and appreciate the historical milestones of the second millennium. In Fall 1997, “The Millennium: 100 Events that Changed the World,” was published in a special issue of Life. The article featured descriptions and photographs of one hundred of the most important events and people of the past one thousand years. In 1998, the book The Life Millennium (ISBN 0-821-22557-X) was published. An expansion of the article, the book is a treasury of ideas and events of the past millennium and an excellent impetus for an instructional unit in world history. Nancy Livingston, a children’s literature lover and frequent speaker at workshops for teachers, was inspired to create a list of children’s books that align with the top ten events cited in the article and book. The list lead to instructional activities which include the use of trade books in a world history curriculum. First is Livington’s list of book for young people which corresponds to the ten most important events of the second millennium as identified in The Life Millennium. After the list are suggested activities for world history instruction. Livingston’s Reading List of the Second Millennium Most Important Events Event Number 1: Gutenberg Prints the Bible in 1455 The books that describe the event: Gutenberg’s Gift: A Book Lover’s Pop-Up Book Written by Nancy Willard Illustrated by Brian Leister Published in 1995 by Harcourt Brace ISBN 0-15-200783-0, $20.00 Breaking Into Print Written by Stephen Krensky Illustrated by Bonnie Christensen Published in 1996 by Little, Brown ISBN 0-316-50376-2, $16.95 Event Number 2: A Global Civilization: Columbus’s Voyage, 1942 One book that describes this event: Westward With Columbus Written by John Dyson Photos by Peter Christopher Published in 1990 by Scholastic ISBN 0-590-43846-8, $15.95 Event Number 3: Luther Knocks Down the Door: The Protestant Reformation, 1517 A book that describes this event: Thunderstorm in Church Written by Louise Vernon Published in 1993 by Greenleaf Press ISBN 1-882-51408-4, $7.95 Event Number 4: The Machine Age Gears Up, 1769 A book that describes this event: Industrial Revolution Edited by John D. Clare Published in 1994 by Harcourt Brace ISBN 0-15-200514-5, $16.00 Event Number 5: Galileo Sees the Moons of Jupiter and the Earth Moves, 1610 A book that describes the event: Starry Messenger Written and illustrated by Peter Sis Published in 1996 by Farrar, Straus, & Giroux ISBN 0-374-437191-1, $16.00 Event Number 6: The Germ Theory of Disease, 1882 A book that describes this event: Invisible Enemies Written by Jeanette Farrell Published in 1993 by Farrar, Straus, & Giroux ISBN 0-374-33637-7, $17.00 Event Number 7: China Develops Gunpowder Weapons, 1100 A book that describes the event: Science in Ancient China Written by George Beshore Published in 1998 by Franklin Watts ISBN 0-531-15914-0, $8.95 Event Number 8: A Declaration to the World, 1776 A book that describes this event: Thomas Jefferson Written by James Cross Giblin Illustrated by Michael Cooling Published in 1994 by Scholastic ISBN 0-590-44838-2, $16.95 Event Number 9: Hitler Comes to Power 1933 Two books that describes this event: No Pretty Pictures: A Child of War Written by Anita Lobel Published in 1998 by Greenwillow Books ISBN 0-688-15935-4, $16.95 Smoke and Ashes Written by Barbara Rogasky Published in 1988 by Holiday House ISBN 0-8234-0697-0, $16.95 Event Number 10: The Chinese Invent the Navigational Compass, 1117 A book that describes this event: Sailing Ships Illustrated by Thomas Bayley Published in 1998 by Orchard Books ISBN 0-531-30065-X, $16.95 Instructional Activities Find a copy of the article “The Millennium: 100 Events that Changed the World” or the book The Life Millennium. After reviewing the materials, decide which of the following activities would most benefit students, or adapt these suggestions as needed. Activity One: As an introductory activity in a world history class, ask students to individually identify what they consider to be the ten most important events, people, and discoveries of the last millennium. Discuss the events in class. Introduce the article or book and check the publication to see if the events chosen by the young people made the Life list. Use information from the article or book and from classroom discussion to generate a new list of the 100 most important events of the second millennium. Such a list could be published in the school newspaper or placed on the school’s web site. At the end of the course, a revised list could be compiled and published. Activity Two: Have students read all or part of the article or book. Both are designed so that they be read/viewed in segments. Discuss the importance of the events, why they merit inclusion, and what impact they have had on society and on each individual in the class. Challenge students to develop their own lists of most important events of the second millennium, to justify their choices, and to locate books dealing with the events. In lieu of books reports, ask the class to construct a time line on craft paper around the perimeter of the classroom using facts and events gathered from their readings. Activity Three: Compile a reading list similar to the one above using sources such the school’s library catalog, World History for Children and Young Adults: An Annotated Bibliographic Index by Vandelia Van Meter, Literature Connections to World History by Linda G. Adamson, and Children’s Books in Print. Include both information books and historical fiction. Ask each student to select and read a different book . In lieu of book reports, ask the students to construct jackdaws relating to the book. Although some people know a jackdaw as a bird that mimics the human voice and gathers brightly-colored object to build a nest, in the educational context, a jackdaw is a collection of artifacts based on a historical event or period. According to Dodd, “jackdaws may include such items as maps, a time line, diary entries, recipes, biographical sketches, newspaper clippings, music, clothing, artwork, letters, or advertisements.” Jackdaws make great individual, team, or class projects and enhance both learning and retention. With the use of trade books and creative instructional activities, both teachers and students will gain new insights and a greater appreciation of the past. Have an exciting time visiting the second millennium in your classroom.
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