Lesson Plans & Curriculum Support
On this page are:
● General Lesson Plans
● Lesson Plans for World History Part 1: prehistory to 1500
● Lesson Plans for World History Part 2: 1500 to the present
● General Lesson Plans
The Student's Friend concise narrative of word history may be used in place of a traditional textbook. It's free and may be downloaded in pdf and MS Word formats. If viewed online, it may be used in the classroom as an online textbook, also termed an electronic textbook or digital textbook.
This is the periodization scheme used by the Student's Friend concise narrative of world history.
Basic essay question format & grading rubric
This form presents the essay question to the student, providing a basic format for answering the question and includes a grading rubric. Insert your question in the blank area near the top of the form.
for a sample essay question using this format.
Five-paragraph essay format & grading rubric - or
The five-paragraph essay is a common essay format in schools; it is more formal than the basic essay described above. This sheet provides a space for the teacher to insert the essay question plus instructions for writing the essay and a grading rubric. Click here for a sample essay question using this format. or (can be modified)
Research paper package
This 16-page package includes complete student instructions for producing
a quality research paper including guides to references, notecards, outlines and report writing; includes two scoring options. Instructions specify a 3-4 page report (for 9th graders) but the package is appropriate for a report of any length or grade level from high school through college. Also available here is an optional First Draft Feedback form.
-Report package: or (can be modified)
-Two scoring options:
-First draft feedback form: or
Plagiarism prevention package
To avoid uncomfortable and tearful meetings with students and parents, both need to be aware of the importance and the consequences of plagiarism. This package includes a description of plagiarism, an exercise meant to aid student understanding of plagiarism and to document that understanding, and a form to be signed by both the student and parent.
-Plagiarism description, large print for projection:
-Plagiarism exercise: or (can be modified)
-Annotated version of exercise with teacher notes:
-Student/parent form: or (can be modified)
Students gain experience in the useful life skill of making a presentation before an audience. Students research a topic, prepare a written report, and present a five minute multi-media presentation to the class using at least two different types of media. Presentations may be scheduled at times when the class is studying the corresponding historical content. This package includes instructions for a one-page written report, a media contract, and a grading rubric.
-Report instructions: or (can be modified)
Sample unit plans
shows how a teacher might put together the first unit of World History Part 1 (prehistory to 1500) at the beginning of a new school year or semester.
Teacher Joel Allen provides (1500 to the present) plus plans for the remaining five units of Part 2.
This summary is found on the first page of the Student's Friend, Part 1 (prehistory to 1500). Teachers of Part 2 (1500 to the present) might wish to use this summary as a recap of important historical eras prior to 1500 and as a brief introduction to the modern era.
Citing sources worksheet
Students practice writing in-text citations and bibliography citations. Prepared by teacher Joel Allen.
- pdf file
Students may use this form to analyze primary and secondary sources including documents, book excerpts, films, cartoons, etc.
(For examples of source-analysis activities, see the first activities listed under Part 1 and Part 2 below.
Seminar, inner/outer circle format
In many respects this activity resembles a Socratic seminar, but students manage the seminar by taking turns discussing prepared questions. Students learn from one another while the teacher observes. Half the class discusses while in the inner circle; the other half takes notes in the outer circle. This package includes guidelines with student instructions and a scoring sheet for recording student participation.
-Guidelines, or (can be modified)
-Scoring sheet, or (can be modified)
Students learn history by writing lyrics to popular songs. Then they teach history by performing their songs to the class.
● Lesson plans for Part 1: prehistory to 1500
for Student's Friend Part 1, Units 1 through 6
Primary vs. secondary sources: Hammurabi's Code
In this source-analysis activity, students examine one primary and one secondary source relating to Hammurabi's Code. In the process, students learn about the code itself and relative strengths and weaknesses of primary and secondary sources. Materials:
-Excerpts from Hammurabi's Code with related questions and an essay
question. Pages 1 and 2 contain primary source excerpts from the Code and related questions about the Code. Page 3 has a suggested essay question with teacher notes. or (can be modified)
-A play about the Code is contained in the book 24 Exciting Plays for Ancient History Classes (available from the ).
(I used additional plays from this book as "reader's theater"activities when time permitted, and I made name placards for students to wear around their necks to identify their characters. We performed the Buddha play twice in succession to accomodate reincarnation. Perhaps I shouldn't mention this, but I added a dog character who had no lines but occasionally woofed and lifted its leg on other actors. After reincarnation, the dog becomes the new Buddha. After all, dog spelled backwards...)
This sample unit plan shows how a teacher might put together the first unit of World History Part 1 (prehistory to 1500) at the beginning of a new school year or semester.
Illustrated timeline project, Part 1 (prehistory to 1500)
A project designed to cement knowledge of the chronological sequence of civilizations studied during Part 1 of the Student's Friend and also to generate lasting mental associations as students create illustrations representing each civilization. Includes instructions and a grading rubric.
(I limited illustrations to original and traced drawings so as to better connect mind with body.)
-Instructions: or (can be modified)
Overlapping timeline activity -
Focusing on ancient cultures, this is a useful activity for showing that cultures do not exist in isolation in time or space—that different cultures existed concurrently and influenced their neighbors. Includes instructions and questions to be answered based on the findings of the timeline and on prior learning.
Triple timeline activity -
Clarifies associations between the three chronological schemes used to organize history in Part 1:
a. six time periods associated with the six units of the Student's Friend
b. the tool cultures of stone, bronze and iron
c. four eras of history: prehistoric times, ancient times, middle ages and modern times.
Dates used in timeline activities -
Teacher's cheat sheet for all three timeline activities.
Change and comparison chart
This chart helps students analyze civilizations; it correlates with the time periods covered in Part 1. Students maintain one chart for each major civilization. During the course, students track the development of eight major aspects of civilization: geography, economy, technology, political, artistic, religion/philosophy, interaction, and society. Charts can provide the basis for answering essay questions about change over time or comparison across cultures.
- or (can be modified)
Movie lesson plans - pdf files
These activity sheets include cast of characters, background info, and questions. Films are available through the .
- - Claudette Colbert, 1934, unrated
- - Todd Armstrong, 1963, G
- - Leelee Sobieski, 1999, unrated
- - Robert DeNiro, 1986, PG - more info
Students become ancient Greeks for a week, and in the process learn an important lesson about democracy
- pdf file
Students work in teams to learn about an early civilization with extensive international trade and to hone their map skills by making maps depicting sources of trade goods, major trade routes and geographic locations. Necessary background information may be obtained from reference sources or textbooks. If students use a projector to project maps for tracing, the project goes faster, looks more professional, and students learn a useful technique for creating presentation graphics. Includes project requirements and grading criteria. more info
● Lesson Plans for Part 2: 1500 to the present
for Student's Friend Part 2, Units 6 through 12
Joel is an Iowa teacher who has developed an extensive curriculum to accompany Part 2 of the Student's Friend, and he is kindly sharing it here with other teachers. It includes PowerPoint lesson plans, DBQs, primary sources, videos, and more.
The fundamental question here is, "How can we know the truth?" These two complimentary activities involving Christopher Columbus and Queen Elizabeth I give students practice in analyzing and assessing the value of different kinds of sources. In the process, students learn that bias is to be expected and that corraboration is a useful means for approaching the truth
Introductory Exercise for Part 2 of the Student's Friend
This activity is especially helpful for students who have not taken World History Part 1. It recaps major concepts of history and geography to the year 1500 and provides a brief preview of some big ideas to come in Part 2. It is based on the one-page summary of world history that begins Part 1 of the concise historical narrative. Both the Timeline and the Study Questions sections of this exercise can be completed by referring to this one-page summary. You'll also need to refer to Item 1 in Part 1 for info about two of the exercise questions relating to historical sources.
-One-page summary of world history -
-Introductory exercise: or (can be modified)
- (represents the eras described in the
I like this simulation because it helps students learn factual information about world regions on a gut level...things like relative land size, population density, energy consumption, and wealth. As with many good simulations, considerable time goes into preparing the materials, but they can all be reused in subsequent classes with the exception of Hershey Kisses, which—as we know—are expendable.
- pdf file
This project promotes learning on several levels. Working in groups, students conduct actual research, compile results, identify findings and present information graphically. In the process, they identify world geographic locations and learn that the U.S. economy is interconnected with the rest of the world. This 6-page package includes teacher suggestions, student instructions, team roster, homework assignment, tally sheet, and judges' evaluation sheet.
Movie lesson plans - pdf files
Activities include cast of characters, background info, and questions. Movies are available through the .
- (Choices)- Robert McNamara, 2004, PG13
- - Ben Kingsley, 1982, PG
- - Ronald Colman, 1935, unrated
- - Ge You, 1994, unrated - more info
- - Jean Simmons, 1953, unrated
( for an additional multi-part lesson that uses the film Young Bess as a vehicle for learning about critical analysis of conflicting sources.)
Illustrated timeline project, Part 2
A project designed to cement knowledge of the chronological time periods studied during Student's Friend Part 2 and also to generate lasting mental associations as students create illustrations representing each period. Includes instructions and a grading rubric. (I limited illustrations to original and traced drawings so as to better connect mind with body.)
-Instructions: or (can be modified)
Isms activities - pdf file
The past two centuries have been fraught with "isms," the suffix indicating a belief system, or way of looking at the world. This two-part activity is meant to reinforce student understanding of a dozen of these important but abstract concepts.
- pdf file
Several current issues are considered in the last unit of the Student's Friend. To prepare for this unit, students may complete several current events activities distributed throughout the course. Includes instructions and a record of assignments on a single page.
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