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Retired teacher educator - UMass, EDC, various school systems

You're missing a punch line.

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You're missing a punch line. When I taught "remedial" world history (actually a blend of world, US and European, but that depended on the kid), I started with today and went backwards: there is no necessary reason to rely on an historian's sequencing from some hypothetical event to today, and history courses rarely (in high school) get beyond World War II anyway.

More recently, I've suggested students look at three "science fiction" books to see if their insights "worked." This came from running across Jules Verne's Paris in the 20th Century, and contrasting it with 1984 and Brave New World, since dystopia does have its charms, and all three might be seen to "come true," or "fail," depending on what a team wants to cite.
In other words, don't get too caught up in "covering" everything - particularly if there are teams, since somebody on the team will doubtless cover holes the others leave out. Don't play too smart in picking themes, since some of the kids might know more than they seem to know, and, ideally, may have either older siblings or literate parents (goodness!) to elicit other books, themes, and topics, once the cat is out of the bag.
And don't get caught in how much time goes for this or that, particularly if there are high levels of energy: intensity beats boredom, particularly at age 15.

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