Important Message from Mo!!!

Everybody should go to the mhsbookmark wiki and request membership to it. Visit it regularly to get good book suggestions and share your own.=

Spring -- Japan!

So much to learn about this amazing and complex culture. Bushido and Beyond!


Winter 2012 - China!

Looking forward to the 8th Grade Debates! Mao's Legacy: Lasting or Lost? and Communism in China: Deliverance or Degradation?
More details soon......



Here's a great video for you all to see as we look forward to our field trip to the Asian Art Museum
later next month:

Great Website on whether Gandhi was a"saint" or a politician,
- Dea

8th Graders, news as of September 27th! ! Check the 8th grade page for the first research assignment of the year.
It's due October 6th!

6th graders, news as of September 27th! Remember your group posters are due tomorrow

and you'll be presenting them to the class.

Lesson One: "Wuffle250px-IGI_british_indian_empire1909reduced.jpgs and Puffs". If you need a copy of the Check for Understanding
sheet, here is the PDF:

To know more about Asia geography and get basic background, "play" this "game" (don't you love what teachers
consider games? :)

Here's a cool little PowerPoint on the idea of Mercantilism and a real example of the "Wuffles and Puffs" lesson.
Take a look, it is worthwhile:

Here's the 8th reading assignment for annotation...just in case you can't find your "hard copy" xoxoB

This Brain Pop video will give you some great background info: You need to 1) log in (log in info is on the board in 202) 2) be sure you are watching the video on the
British Empire 3) take the "Review and Practice" quiz. . We'll practice logging in during class.

hey Beth I posted the video above because i tought it was a really good educational rap about Gandhi.

EARLIER YEARS' UNITS: (may be helpful later in the current year -- as a reference)

The picture below was taken in 1864. It was taken when a group of rebel samurai were firing canons on passing American, French and English ships as
those ships were sailing into port to trade in Japanese ports. (Those very canons were eventually captured by the French and are now in a
park in Paris. ..."history geek" detail.) This was when the Shogun, who was still in power, was signing treaties with Western powers that
were really unfair and these rebel samurai were very unhappy with the Shogun. This was the root of the movement that finally led to Meiji
being restored to power. The key here is to look at the weapons being used. Here are samurai (with Saigo in the group) fighting the west with
western technology. Think about this primary source picture in comparison with the weapons presented in The Last Samurai which is set in 1877.


January 30th -- Remember you have reading of the Satsuma Rebellion article due on Monday the 2nd of February. You should actively read it.

Here is what I did with the packet (this is middle school...a high school teacher most likely wouldn't do this:)
January 28, 2009 --
Here is a great, short powerpoint slide show about the Meiji Restoration that would show what Omura and the cabinet were
aiming for, it's worth your time to watch:

January 27, 2009 -- In response to your requests here are sites to help you, remember to cite sources for this paper:

Here is a picture of Edo in the period: it is below all these links. It is a hand-colored photo and is from 1880, so maybe 3 to 5 years after the film is set.
Here is a site that has the whole movie kidding the complete script:,-The.html
Here is a site with LOTS of images of Kyushu:
Here is a site with all sorts of photos of the period:
Here is a site where you can see climate statistics for Kyushu:
Here is a decent student essay about imperialism and it's affects on Japan
And here is a photo from the Boshin War which was the conflict that restored the Emperor to power. Notice the TRENCH warfare... not exactly
what the film presented:


January 25, 2009 -- Hi 8th graders! Here is a little gift for you in learning about the history vs. the Hollywood of the period. Hope it helps. Seems like you should all read it and understand it by the 27th. So that is the due date for reading it. Extra credit (tiny bit) email Beth with a definition of the verb romanticized and what it has to do with analysis of this film.

An addendum: here is the Wisdom of the Samurai (little bits of primary sources) that some of you want to use in your sections on bushido.(Could also be used to support analysis of how realistic the characters are and how romanticized they are. ) Hope it is helpful.

Another help might be this packet that you completed but that has good information about motives of the western powers and imperialism etc.

Sophie's request :
Here is the character list and plot summary for The Last Samurai: The Last Samurai iMDB, The Last Samurai Wikipedia cast list

January 21, 2009


8th grade you have some due dates to pay attention to! They should be in your planners:

Due Dates for the Last Samurai: History or Hollywood? Essay. Length of paper to be a minimum of 1000 words and
a maximum of 1600 words. Citations of quotations will be required and a bibliography will also be required.

January 22nd -- parent signed initial outline with ideas of topics you need to research to complete the essay
January 27th -- detailed and final outline for essay with research data included
(class time will be devoted to scene analysis on January 23rd and January 26th)
February 3rd -- rough draft due

Assignments you've already had to support research for the data needed to support your suppositions in this paper:
1. The history bee material (see below)
2. The European Imperialism packet you just completed on the 15th of January.

Thesis will be a derivation of one of the following three options:
1. Last Samurai is a clear, accurate, and moving retelling of the history of the last gasp of samurai culture in the Meiji period.
2. Last Samurai was a mixture of history and fictional storytelling and it's important for an educated consumer to be able to distinguish
between the two.
3. Last Samurai was a great story (or boring story or whatever your opinion of the story was) that had little to do with the actual
history of the period.

January 6, 2009

8th graders: Here is a copy of the project homework handed out today. Remember the "history bee" and quiz will be on Friday with tomorrow
as a work session with your partner.

Also you may want to watch this video for a bit more background for the paper on Last Samurai: History or Hollywood. Hope you find it useful.

December 11, 2008

8th grade:
So the question becomes, "Can Hollywood teach history or at least interest people in history enough to make them learn from it?" We'll be
doing scene analysis and discussion of The Last Samurai....comparing it to the reality of history..... find out as much as you can about the following
the Satsuma Rebellion and Jules Brunet. To get an overview and a START to this study you can check out this website:

NO due date yet...but no time like the present to get started!



the 2nd/3rd graders have a lot more food than we do
i'll have current stats posted on the discussion page

December 5, 2008

So....earn a little extra credit.... who is this? Email me with an answer, name and why he's important and he is!


November 22nd -- Shogunate Japan -- Feudal organization under the unique structure of a "figure-head" Emperor and a military leader called a Shogun. Begins in the late 1100's.....Look below this image of the great shogun Tokugawa and your current assignment and due date ....:) Scroll below til you see the BLUE text! Extra credit opportunity: create a page on the life and legacy of Ieyasu Tokugawa (pictured below.) Was his life an example of the "great man" theory? Here's a great site to help your page to the navigation bar BELOW the 6th grade page...

Under the portrait of Ieyasu Tokugawa there is a video of a "history geek" (and that is a term of HONOR on this wiki:) touring the Shogun's castle...worth taking a few minutes to watch. Enjoy and learn....


Current assignment: Date assigned: November 18th. Date due: Tuesday, November 25th.

Directions: Read the following attachments carefully. There are three of them. Complete the chart that is part of one of the attachments BUT use all the information in ALL THREE attachments to do it. This is a two-weight assignment. However, there will also be a one-weight quiz on the material on NOVEMBER 25th as well.

Here are the attachments: AND AND

If you need more information on European Feudalism to do a GREAT job on the assignment, check out this website:


Don't be shocked if there is a quiz on Tuesday the 18th on the silly simulation from Friday the 14th.... See if you know the endings to these possible multiple choice questions:

A regency is …..

The meaning of the term shogun was…

Th e Heian period lasted "in round numbers" from to ….

The Shogunate period lasted "in round numbers" from _ to ….

The Heian culture was based on…

The power base of the Heian period was based on ….

The power base of the shogunate period was based on ….

In the late Heian Period after an emperor had fathered a son…..

The Tale of Gengi depicts life in the _ era.

Hubris was a …..



October 31st -- A NEW ASSIGNMENT: Cultural Exploration of Heian Japan (that time when the capital of Japan was moved to the area that is now modern day Kyoto) using the power of primary sources!

8th graders, my dears, here is the assignment sheet for the project. You were given the primary source packet today in hard copy. Use it and this assignment sheet to begin the assignment. Check those due dates...pretty important!!!!!!! If you have any questions, email me on this website, please.

Here's the primary source reading packet if you need it:

We'll use primary sources: selections from "The Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon" and selections from The Tale of Gengi to find out about this formative period of Japanese culture.The Tale of Gengi is considered the world's first novel (it was based on the author's experience at court) and "The Pillow Book" contains both beautiful poetry and interesting "lists" of likes and dislikes of the author. "The Pillow Book" is slightly older than The Tale of Gengi. This year, 2008, the novel is celebrating it's 1000th year in existence.Here is a start to a slide show to support what you are learning. Review it to remember the main ideas that we've been learning:

Here is a site with a good summary of the whole plot of The Tale of Gengi This site also has some really nice art work depicting scenes from the novel.
Here is a lovely site that gives a well written translation of The Tale of Gengi. "Evening Faces" is the portion of part one that we'll be sharing. If you want to get ahead go ahead and read it. It has wonderful illustrations too!
And this site gives you LOTS of great information. Take the time to explore and read so you can make YOUR page the best you can!

So you can see what it was like to get dressed as a woman of the Emperor's court (like Sei Shonagon) watch these two quick videos of a modern day model being dressed in tradition Heian court kimono:

Exploration of "Great Man (Person)" Theory of History..... October of 2008 in the 8th grade

For the paper on whether Buddha, Confucius, Lao-Tzu, or Prince Shotoku proves/supports the "great man" theory OR disproving the are four helpful links...
1. The assignment sheet:
2. A website on MLA bibliography style and MLA citation format:
3. Here is a great biography of Prince Shotoku, if you are thinking you may want to make him the subject of your essay:
4. Here is a short biography of Lao Tzu and some great quoations (it's a great starting place...)
5. Here is a good confucius site that Ian found (he got some extra credit for doing that!) Confucius site Thanks, Ian! :)

Geographic Determinism and Social Compact....

September 25th....images.jpgimages-1.jpg
More hints about the paper....look back at the primary source myth reading you did..... think of geography and compare CHARACTERS, HAPPENINGS, AND MORES that are evident in the myth and tie them to geography. Need more on the geography of Japan...look at this site: What do you know about the geography: (Here is what I heard you say in class discussion.)
  • archipelago -- a sense of isolation/ uniqueness
  • mountainous and isolated valley -- clans
  • 17% arable, so inventiveness and cooperation needed for terracing for farming, discipline and tenacity may be outgrowth
  • rainy/stormy -- have to be respectful/careful about nature and maybe in awe of it?
  • visually beautiful
  • densely packed population even in historic times -- personal space needs, value of land
  • long and narrow, hence many different climate zones -- trade within archipelago, lack of cohesion?
  • water around it is rough with currents makes trade with mainland Asia challenging -- trade limited
  • volcanic/earthquakes -- resourcefulness and resilience
  • and so on -- what else can you observe and think of...there are many other features and possible outcomes

September 23rd...
Roots and Role of Mythology Assignment help...

Hi dears,
Here is the reading and assignment. Remember there is a quiz on the content of the packet on Thursday, September 25th after lunch.

Here is a website that when you read carefully and thoughtfully you'll get some great stuff.....

For example read carefully the little blurb on Oni...what does it say the Japanese thought people from distant lands were during their period of isolation (1600 to 1850 ish)? What does it say about the power of myth in the society when foreigners are seen that way? Read carefully and you'll get some very thought-provoking stuff.
oni mask

Here is another site that talks about, in general, what myths are and why they are important in a society in creating it's mores and values. It's a page of dense reading but worth it I think. It is from Washington State University, so it is a useful source.

September 13th...

So 8th graders you dear souls... I hope you check out the following info...It will probably help you for the reading assignment on Japanese creation mythology due on Tuesday the 16th.
Vocabulary help: ts020901.jpg
On page 22:
abyss -- means a deep cavern/ means they are looking down into a hole that is very deep so the bottom is not visible
coagulated -- means became thick and solid (congealed also means thickened from liquid to solid)
lovely youth -- is another word for a cute guy
ingenuous -- means without lying, innocent, honest. It looks a lot like the word ingenious but it means something totally different

On page 23:
effulgence means something that flows a this case she's so bright, beautiful and shining that her goodness is being compared to a flowing substance like a river
impetuous -- means stubborn, strong, and without a lot of judgement
Land of Yomi is their underworld, the world of death, the scholar is comparing it to Hades which is the ancient Greek version of the same idea

On page 24:
festering means open and growing sores or blisters (ewwww)
The Even Pass of Yomi means the passage from life to death that happens at the end of life (even in this case means evening and is being used to compare the end of life with the evening which is the end of the day...)

On page 25:
copious means a whole bunch of something
ablutions means washing and cleaning; purifying
So....copious ablutions means he washed and purified a WHOLE lot

On page 26:
commotion of the sea means a big storm
Yaskak jewels means pearls
allotted means given or designated
penitent means to say you are sorry or to act like you are sorry
countenance is a fancy word for someone's face and expression

On page 27:
reconciled means figured could he be such a rotter and now be so nice
filial piety means the honor and love between siblings
flayed means cut apart and gross
shuttle is the sharp big needle-like tool that weavers use to weave threads between each other to make cloth
divinations means actions that are meant to foretell the future and tell a person using them what to do to control the future

On page 28:
chastised means yelled at, corrected, and punished

Okay on this page the scholar writing this book then says that the next time in mythology of Japan we see Susa-no-o he's really changed from being a "pain" to being a heroic character is is working for the good and is clever and brave. Sort of like a Greek hero from last year. Not perfect, but not a villainous character.

Knight-errantry means he's acting like a brave knight

On page 29:
caressed means stoked with love (a parent comforting a child kind of action)
lamented means told a sad story and felt bad about what they were saying
devoured means eaten
slay mean kill
sake is rice wine

On page 30:
lumbering progress means the monster was walking heavily, clumsily and slowly
ten-span sword means a really LONG sword

He discovers another sword, a second sword (the really LONG one got ruined chopping up the monster) and the sword has a name...

manifold means glorious and BIG and containing many parts

clamour means NOISE
objectionable means not nice, irritating, gross etc....something you would object to
insurrection means a group acting up against their leaders
prosperity means wealth and good times

On page 31:
envoy is a representative of one group to another
adotped the same course means doing the same actions and making the same decisions as
pheasant is an elegant kind of bird
ascertain means to make certain about find something out
just vengeance means he got what he deserved
mortuary house means a place of honor to keep a dead body
dirges is a sad song played at a funeral
condolence is offering comfort

Page 32:
August Grandchild means a really important, wonderful, good, powerful child of the gods

Page 33:
mirth means happiness
aspect means how the gigantic creature looked
impede means to get in the way
ignominiously means without honor, in disgrace

So 8th graders...notice that Lucas and Jared have already created their own page...we'll be able to use the smart board with it.... So use this great tool. Okay? xxxxoooBeth

Oh...PS.... Write an email to me on the wiki about why I selected this image for "geographic determinism" and you'll be a happy camper......:) B

Spring Semester -- 2008

April 1, 2008


No fool's joke...check out this website:

This place was the FIRST of a fabulous new buidling style that was very much MEDIEVAL EUROPEAN.. the GOTHIC STYLE...

Should you want extra credit....explore the site...and read about Gothic architecture in any of the textbooks I'll share tomorrow....

Make a poster....have a conversation with me....write a poem.....and you'll earn extra credit....this is a REALLY cool architectural style to know about ...think Chartes...Notre Dame....Westminster Abbey....

No homework required 'bout that....xxxB

March 30, 2008
Hi Sammy and Ricky...
You are both correct....That would be extra credit...on the HINT HINT that is happening tomorrow morning! :) Here's another one to try...anyone else want some extra credit....Phoebe, Sammy and Ricky are sure getting some.... What does Hijra mean? That would be a great one to know. xxxxB

Hijra means flight. The hijra was the journey Mohammad made to Medina. It was so important it marked the first day of the calendar. -Sammy

Hey Sammy,
All correct...why do you think I put this HINT here? What might be happening tomorrow? What are these questions samples of???? xxxx You have extra credit my dear....
Anyone else? Here's another one: True or False: Seljuks changed the name of Constantinople to Istanbul.....
Proud of you all....xxxb

I think you put this hint here because a QUIZ might be happening 2morrow. These r probably questions off the quiz.


Sammy- False. The Ottoman Turks changed the name of Constantinople to Istanbul.

Ricky - False. The Ottoman Turks captured Constantinople in 1453, not the Seljuks.

A few questions to think about:
The Umayyad and Abbaside dynasties were: Mongol or Arab or Turkish?
Or another:
True or False: Mohammad passed on his rule to his only son, Abu Bakkar.
Or one more:
The meaning of Ulema is what?

Just another little hint..... Anyone out there???

I don't know if im supposed to answer this on this page but i will....

1. The Umayyad and Abbaside dynasties were Arab.

2. False. After Mohammad died, he left no son to inherit his rule. Leadership passed to his companion on the Hijra, Abu Bakr.

3. The meaning of Ulema is learned teachers. They explained religious doctrine.

I hope that helps anyone looking on this page.


March 29, 2008
Did everyone get the HINT yesterday in class? You know about Monday.......:) Beth


March 24, 2008

So, my we are working on Murder in Byzantium, we need to continue on learning about the world of the "West" (what shown below on the map below) and that means learning about the cultures of the Islamic Caliphates and Western Christendom. The assignment below is to help you learn about the history of the Muslim Empire that developed from the mid-600's CE all the way to the modern world (1900's). It will also give you a more detailed understanding of the life and thinking of the Prophet Mohammed. The assignment is in three parts:

1. Read the attached reading packet. You can read it on line and enlarge it. Or you can print it out. The on-line version is in color so you can make sense of the great maps included in the reading. You should actively read this assignment. That means really looking at the illustrations and maps and tieing them together with the text of the pages.

2. Complete the worksheet packet that is attached here. It is a two-weight assignment. All the answers can be found in the reading packet. I have done sample parts of each section in pink pen.

3. Watch this History Channel biography of "The Prophet Mohammed." It is in 6 or 7 minutes sections, so you can split up your viewing over several nights.
Part One:
Part Two:
Part Three:
Part Four:
Part Five:

The total assignment is due on Monday, March 31st. That is one week from today.

March 2nd

We are going to continue on with Byzantium ...

Here is a PDF of the map that I will use on the test on Wednesday. I think you should use it with the "Places you should be able to locate" below. Think how I might ask you to identify those places. Use the map to practice. Remember there is a great map with answers in the Power Point attachment below.

Seems like folks need a good map of Justinian's's a good one...use key to really understand it. Hope it is helpful.... Justinianemp.jpg

Week of February 26, 2008 News (READ THIS CAREFULLY!!!!):

There will be a TEST on Byzantium on March 5th. Here is a study guide to help you prepare:

Vocabulary you should be able to define and explain: patriarch:Justinian's Code; Roman Catholic Church and what "catholic" means; Eastern Orthodox Church and what "orthodox" means; icon; iconoclast; Hagia Sophia; schism; strait; faction; secular; and "nika".
Places you should be able to locate: Constantinople; Ravenna; Bosporus Strait; Rome.
Events you should be able to tell about (what happened and why it was important): founding of Constantinople "New Rome" by Constantine; Justian's rule including the law code and the Nika Riots and the expansion of the Empire; The Great Schism; the Council of Nicaea; the Pope's coronation of Charlemagne as "Holy Roman Emperor."
People or Groups of People you should be able to identify and describe: Justinian; Theodora; The Empress Irene; Charlemagne; Constantine; and Ottoman Turks.
Key dates you should know the importance of: 330 CE; 527 to 565 CE; 532 CE; 1054 CE: 1095 CE; 1453 CE.
Questions you should be able to answer:

  • What do you believe Justinian's greatest accomplishment was as emperor and why do you think that?
  • Why was Constantinople and the Byzantine Empire so wealthy and so cosmopolitan (sophisticated)?
  • Why was Constantinople easy to defend and what did the rulers build to help it's defenses?
  • Who was the driving force in solving the Nika riots and why do you think that? Was the way the riots were stopped necessary? understandable? unforgivable? How would you characterize the solution?
  • What was the role of the Eastern Orthodox Church in the life of the Byzantine Empire?
  • Why did the Great Schism happen?
  • How did the Byzantine empire survive for such a long time?
  • What major contributions did the Byzantine empire make to world culture? (think about preservation of Greek and Roman culture; Protection and expansion of Christianity; Architectural innovation and artistry; artistic forms especially icons and mosiacs.)
  • Consider the statement, "The Greeks were thinkers, the Romans were builders, and the Byzantines were preservers." Do you agree or disagree with this statement. Explain your answer with reasons and specific examples.
Do use the PowerPoint slide show below help you study!

Alot of vocab and study material is on my (Nate's) page.


The other sources for study would be the green HISTORY OF THE WORLD book pages 181 to 188, as well as the handouts you have been given on trade, Justinian and Theodora, the Nika riots, and the Great Schism.

Study well!!!!!!! :) Beth
images.jpegThis is a map of the location of our first area of study, Constantinople, the capital of the Byzantine Empire. (Constantinople is marked by the dark black dot in the center of the map.) What do you notice about it's location and about the benefits of that location?

Assignment! Due on Friday, February 8th....

Please visit this site and click on the introduction and read it (two pages in length) and then click on images and look at the very beautiful pictures of a major architectural treasure the mosque (and formally a Christian church) of Hagia Sophia. Imagine you are an orator in the ancient world, write a two minute speech or a poem that takes about 1 minute to deliver that praises the power and beauty of ancient Constantinople. Use the information in the introduction and visual images to give you information. (If you wish you can click on the articles hot button and there are interesting articles on various parts of the population such as women, peasants and so on. ) Several of you (as drawn by chance) will be delivering your speech/poem in front of the class on Friday.