Before the scourge of COVID-19 thrust schools across the world headlong into Distance Learning, digital resources were already gaining use in classrooms. For a good reason also. When technology is used effectively, it’s an amazing tool for teaching World History.
If your Distance Learning experience was stressful or just mildly exhausting, there’s still many exceptional digital activities you can (and should) still be using with Google Classroom in a traditional school setting, through distance learning, or in a blended learning format.
I never ran a paperless classroom and don’t think I would ever go fully paperless. There’s too many assignments that lend themselves better to printable PDFs done by hand. I think Distance Learning taught us all the limits of teaching through technology.
However, I do incorporate Google Docs, Slides, and digital interactive activities in every unit of World History throughout the year. There are just so many amazing digital resources available that enhance student learning. Here’s a few of the Google Classroom activities I like best for World History:
I based my first digital activities on the cut-and-paste interactive notebook pages that were most effective with my students. These graphic organizers and hands-on activities helped my students better understand many of the most difficult topics we covered throughout World History.
I set out to create resources in Google Classroom that did the same thing. The Digital Interactive Notebook pages I created aren't tech for the sake of it, but rather use the features of Google Drive and online sites to effectively engage students.
The activities feature graphic organizers that are similar to those students use in traditional notebooks. This helps them to easily understand what they need to do on each page.
Directions at the top of each page are simple and include links to reliable online sources. These might be primary sources to analyze, secondary source readings, or short videos to learn about the content.
Students then type directly on the pages, insert images, and drag & drop information for a variety of engaging, interactive activities. These digital notebooks are a fantastic way to integrate technology into your curriculum and can be completed without printing any paper!
These digital interactive notebook activities are perfect for classroom use, Distance Learning, or a trip to the computer lab. They can be downloaded in one giant bundle for all of World History here. There’s also bundles for World History 1 which covers Prehistory to the Renaissance or World History Part 2 which goes through the end of the Cold War.
If you just need a few pages of activities, all 20 complete units are available individually:
You can click on each link above for a preview of that unit's digital activities as well as read feedback from teachers who have used the materials already. Each can be downloaded individually or in the big bundles as well!
Digital Unit Guide Packets for World History
The digital notebooks make for interactive and engaging Google Classroom assignments for sure. Sometimes, however, I prefer a more straightforward assignment that covers everything my students need to know for the unit we happen to be covering in World History.
With that in mind, I created these Study Guide Unit Packets. These independent work packets don’t feature drag-and-drop or the more interactive graphic organizer activities that the notebook sets do. They are, however, more thorough and include a variety of activities that touch on every aspect of the units.
Here, you can see 3 images from the River Valley Civilizations PDF packet:
Each one starts off with a short introductory reading and essential questions for the unit. Following this page is 8 pages of activities. Each one includes pages on:
There are analysis questions so that students aren’t just copying but thinking about all the concepts. The pages include short primary source excerpts, pictures to analyze, mapping, timelines, and more.
All of the packets include both printable PDF and Google Docs versions. The Google Doc worksheets are filled with links to great online sources and are perfect for those using Google Classroom.
Here are 3 images from the River Valley Civilizations Google Drive packet:
These packets are great to use each unit to help your students understand exactly what they need to know. I assign them through Google Classroom at the start of each unit and allow students to work on them throughout.
Remember, when you join Students of History, you get immediate access to all the digital notebook sets AND all the unit guide packets for ALL of World History. Plus there’s lesson plans, flipped classroom videos, Google Slides, primary sources, worksheets, and more for every unit. Joining up gives you everything you need in one place so you never have to stress about planning again!
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