Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Chapter 2, History of the Medieval World

This chapter was about the time period 220-420 AD in China. I know nothing about Eastern history, so it's all new to me. 

In this time period, there was the rise and fall of several rulers. After the Han dynasty fell, there was the rise of three kingdoms--Shu Han, Cao Wei,  and Dong Wu. Then, in 265, the Jin dynasty started. In 280, the Jin unified China for a short period, until 316. Then there were small city states in the north, and the Eastern Jin in the south. 

In 357, Fu Jian started conquering cities in the north, and in 383 tried to defeat the Jin at the Battle of the Fei River. Even though Fu Jian had a much bigger army, the Jin defeated them. At that pont, Fu Jian's cities started falling away. 

Saturday, January 03, 2015

The History of the Medieval World Chapter 1

I'm reading The History of the Medieval World by Susan Wise Bauer this year. History is a weak spot of mine, and I am going to attempt to close the weak spot. This is especially good because my freshman engineering students will be taking World History next year. I like to sound intelligent when I speak with them on subjects other than math and engineering. I want them to realize that it is good to be well-rounded. So I had better get myself well-rounded!

The book starts with Constantine taking over as ruler of the Roman Empire. At this point, the previous emperor, Maxentius has died, but the two "under rulers", Licinius and Maximinus Daia are still in power. Constantine offers his half sister in marriage to Licinius to get rid of Maximinus. It works. The two get married, and Constantine declares Christianity legal in the empire. Later, Constantine has Licinius and his wife banished to Thessaloniki and later killed. 

Big things that happen--

Christianity is made legal in the Roman Empire

The Council of Nicaea meets and pens the Nicene Creed, which is still the definition of Christianity today

Constantine moves the capital of the Empire to Byzantium, including the governing people and many of the art works and relics from all of the great cities

Book 1 2015

The Art of Possibility by Rosamund Stone and Benjamin Zander

This book was recommended to me by a friend who is a executive consultant. I am not sure exactly what she does, but it has something to do with helping executives guide their companies and employees into a productive future, however they see that future being. I took on a new challenge this school year--helping to coordinate a new engineering academy within a large high school. I will have these students for the next four years, to help guide them into college and life. So, in my own way, I have become an executive. My friend is helping me on that journey.

This book looks at life as possibilities. Everything is invented, why not invent a new outlook on life? There are 12 practices that the authors go through, with stories from their lives to back them up, to make life about the possibilities instead of about the barriers.

Rosamund Stone Zander is a family therapist and Benjamin Zander is the conductor of the Boston Philharmonic. Together they narrate the reader to seeing the possibilities in life. You get to travel the world with youth orchestras, see inside the Boston Philharmonic, meet interesting characters, all while being inspired to change how you see yourself positioned in the world.

I will definitely have my students read excerpts from this book.