Well, that was awful. My heart goes out to the families affected by Hurricane Harvey and while my family was extremely fortunate, I can’t really comprehend, and really don’t know what to say to help. I can volunteer and donate, but that won’t take away pain from the people who lost everything.
As a teacher whose first year was during Hurricane Ike in League City, I remember that making the year as normal as possible was important for both students and faculty. This is our schedule through Sept. 15 with a few notes: first, if you have any needs (lost/damaged textbook, supplies, etc.), please let me know as soon as possible. Second, please let me know if you need advice on how to manage the class workload in addition to your other (more important) priorities with your families. Third, if your living condition has changed since before the storm, please let me know privately if you feel the need to.
Though this is a difficult time, it is best to return to some sort of normalcy as soon as we can. With that said, I will do my best to remember that some of you may have gone through a lot. Remember though that when we take the AP Exam in May that you’ve now been through something 10,000x tougher than what the College Board throws at you.
Welcome to class!
Be sure to see the previous blog post for more about how to do well in this class. It includes your first-day packet.
First Day Handouts
Welcome to AP World History! Throughout the year, you will take the most challenging History course you've ever encountered - and will hopefully not only learn a lot but have some fun along the way. There is a time commitment and there will be expectations you will have to follow to do well in this course - and all of it is outlined in the first-day pack you will receive on Day 1. If you misplace these materials, they will be linked here as well as the "Important Docs" portion of the front page:
Resources for AP World History
I heavily encourage you to join Remind. I don't need to go through a spiel on what it is, but you can use the information below to sign up:
Weekly Calendar and AP Bootcamp
Each week (usually on Sunday night) I will post a weekly calendar on this blog. This will be the calendar we will use, but keep in mind that class announcements will override anything written here, so be sure to pay attention or ask a friend if you're absent.
For the next four weeks, we will be following this general schedule to become acquainted with the course and to help us be successful throughout the year as we practice AP skills.
About the Stimulus-Based Multiple Choice Question (SBMCQ)
The stimulus-based multiple choice question is a tricky beast when you first encounter it. It was first used in 2015 for the AP US History exam in order to expect students to practice Historical Thinking Skills rather than just regurgitate memorized facts. While there is still an element of these questions being "multiple guess" type questions and answers, they are meant to expect you to use real-world skills. In other words, the old way of just memorizing dates for a history test doesn't cut it in AP World History.
"Reverse Engineering" the SBMCQ
Each SBMCQ has a few basic parts:
You can visualize this sort of like this:
Stimulus + KC + HRS + student tears = Stimulus-Based Multiple Choice Question
Example Walk-Through Question - STEP 1: SINK (OR SKIM)
Your first task is to skim the stimulus. Identify what time period it comes from, who the author is, and what main concepts are being discussed. Luckily most of this is in the caption in this case and you can expect this often.
If you have a long passage to read, you need to be able to skim for main ideas. Remember, "sink or skim" - you only have 60 seconds per question.
STEP 2: READ THE QUESTION (WELL, OF COURSE)
This sounds obvious, but is often overlooked. I will tell you in class that AP means "Answer the Prompt" - whether it be a writing prompt or multiple choice question many students fail to get points because they miss the main idea of the question at hand. Let's look at it together.
First: when you come across names you don't know, don't panic. Are they listed in the caption? They are in this case. Read for yourself to see who Hammurabi and Shamash are.
Second: look at the question clause of the following. It reads that "The relationship... best illustrates which of the following features of ancient civilizations." This is the most important part to getting this correct.
STEP 3: READ THE ANSWER CHOICES CAREFULLY. USE YOUR KNOWLEDGE AND LOGIC.
All SBMCQ sets have a disclaimer that says you need historical content knowledge to answer them. Keep this in mind as you read the answer choices.
Let's move through the answer choices together:
(A) Rulers deferred to the priestly class for religious guidance.
First, ask yourself: is this statement true? Just for a second ignore the rest of the question and think for a second.
Well, it sure makes sense on its own. In fact, many rulers in ancient through even modern times look to religious leaders for guidance. OK, so it passes that test.
Second, ask yourself: does the source support this statement?
In other words: does the stimulus include any priests? It does not - it includes a god. The caption reads that Hammurabi is receiving the law from Shamash the sun god. A is NOT the correct answer.
(B) Rulers asserted that royal laws were superior to divine laws.
OK, A is out. Let's look at B.
The statement itself makes no sense. With that said, we can also rule B out as well by pointing out who is giving/presenting versus receiving the law. Shamash is giving the law to Hammurabi which means that Hammurabi received the law from a god - the law is therefore of divine revelation and will be used in Hammurabi's kingdom. B is NOT the correct answer.
(C) Rulers created new religions to unify conquered peoples.
Again, let's give it our "truth test" like we did before - this statement seems fishy. In fact, I would flat out call it false on account of it being overstated. Were people converted to existing religions or allowed to mix their religious beliefs when conquered? You betcha. Creating a new religion to unify conquered people though seems like an awful lot of work.
Further, it doesn't quite fit the stimulus. C is NOT the correct answer.
(D) Rulers claimed that their authority derived directly from divine power.
Well, by process of elimination, hopefully you know the answer now. With that said, what makes it correct? Let's cite the trusty Course and Exam Description, shall we? We will go to Key Concept 1.3 on account of the fact that this is about an empire during period 1. When you become more familiar with the Key Concepts you'll learn more about this later. I'm looking at p. 43 of the CED below:
OK so this has some information about legal codes - what about religion? Well, religion is covered later on in the course a bit more fully at the beginning of Period 2 and during that time we learn that religion is kind of a big deal in this course. One of the big roles of religion is to legitimize, or give authority to, kings and rulers. Similar to Hammurabi we we will study another example of this, the Mandate of Heaven - which is a great example of synthesis, but i won't confuse you more.
So - does the choice follow our requirement of being historically true? Yes.
Bear in mind that some questions will have all choices being historically true. Your task is to understand the question well enough to apply your historical thinking skills and make the right choice.
What about connecting to the stimulus? I would say that a sun god giving a king a code of laws definitely fits with answer choice D.
With this set of reasoning, go ahead and try the remaining questions. Answer key below.
Freeman-pedia, "AP World History Exam" section by Mr. Freeman
Course and Exam Description for AP World History Effective Fall 2017 by the College Board
(Questions taken from 2016 CED)
ANSWERS: 1 D, 2 D, 3 B