• 2011 WHAP Discussion #1

    Posted by MICHAEL STEWART on 10/27/2011 12:10:00 AM
    See the Truth Behind 300 in the link library and tell us what you think.  Which version of the Spartans do you believe is most accurate? The Persians?  Why do you think such different viewpoints are out there? What other thoughts do you have? Be intelligent, respectful, and school appropriate.
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  • The Rise of China

    Posted by MICHAEL STEWART on 11/22/2010 8:00:00 AM


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  • Human Sacrifice

    Posted by MICHAEL STEWART on 10/27/2010 9:00:00 PM

     Why did the Mayan (and other civilizations) sacrifice humans?  Share your thoughts...please be serious and make sure you tell us where you found your information...where appropriate.

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  • Interesting Link...

    Posted by MICHAEL STEWART on 10/6/2010 1:00:00 PM
    On my home page you will find a new page called "WHAP Link Library". 
    The first link is pretty good. Check it out if you want/need help with your Reading Assignment for Unit 1.
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  • Interesting essay thoughts from WHAP teacher

    Posted by MICHAEL STEWART on 9/27/2010 2:00:00 PM

    ...I suggest not using "intro paragraph" which is a term beloved by English teachers which does some damage in a history essay, and instead refer to it as the "thesis paragraph".  

    When a student (or teacher) uses "introductory paragraph," the student's mind seems to instantly click into "background information, personal commentary, and miscellaneous chitchat" mode.  What we want at the beginning of a history essay is nothing at all like that.  We want the answer to the question -- along with any issues, topics, or points to be addressed and maybe some note about why it's an important issue.  

    Many of my students get all in a tizzy about their first paragraphs -- which seems to get a whole lot of attention in English class -- and worry theirs won't be long enough or chatty enough or whatever.  I let them know that even if it's a single sentence (or two), as long at it's the answer to the question, it's a good first paragraph for a history essay.   And if it is long and rambling, they risk having no thesis at all -- a very, very bad thing in a history paper. 

    An English "introductory" paragraph is all warm up and no delivery. An English paper's introductory paragraph is a little like those news "teases" they're always doing on the local news where they tell you they have an important upcoming story you'll want to stay tuned for . . . but they don't tell you anything about it.  In an English paper, you can begin with this kind of fairly broad commentary, perhaps saying something about literature and why we read it or about the familiar themes of literature , or even make a personal comment to show how this work of literature appealed to you.   In a history essay, all that would all be chitchat of the most meaningless type.  And it might hardly even get read by a busy teacher since the reader is looking for something different -- the point of the essay.  What I am looking for at the beginning of any history essay is how you plan to answer the question.  What is the paper going to prove?  

    For years, I rather sloppily used "intro paragraph" and "thesis paragraph" interchangeably, much to my students' constant confusion.  In recent years, I've insisted on calling it a "thesis paragraph".   In a thesis paragraph, you concisely answer the question and note the points you plan to address about it, or at least identify the topics you plan to address.  Anything else is chit chat, largely a waste of time, and risks not even having a thesis. 

    Drew Maddock
    Harvard-Westlake School
    LA, CA 
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  • Welcome to the WHAP Blog!

    Posted by MICHAEL STEWART on 9/27/2010 1:00:00 PM

    If you like this, let me know. I'll try to post some thought provoking questions, comments, etc. whenever possible. Feel free to do the same as long as it's school appropriate and WHAP related!

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