I know the title of this list sounds a bit “meta,” but there are a number of useful articles out there sharing ranked lists of influential people and events. I use them as models for my student assignments where they have develop their own while providing evidence to back-up their positions. I’ve posted a few of these in the past, and thought it would be helpful to readers and to me to bring them together into one place.
So, here are my choices for The Best Lists Of Lists Of Influential People, Events & Ideas (feel free to contribute more):
The 10 greatest changes of the past 1,000 years is an excellent article in The Guardian. In it, a historian describes shares his opinion of the greatest change that occurred in each of the last ten centuries (note: please see an important critique of this list in the comments section).
It’s a fascinating article, I think, for anyone to read. The real reason I’m posting about it, though, is because I’ll be using the idea in my World History class for English Language Learners. We’re just finishing up a unit on the “First Civilizations,” and I think I’ll ask them to identify what they think is the greatest change that happened during that period and why they chose it. If it goes well, I might make it a regular assignment at the end of each unit.
TIME has published an accessible feature called The 20 Most Influential Americans of All Time.
The Discovery Channel published a similar project a few years back (that link is to its Wikipedia page that shows their list — they took the original neat website off-line).
Here’s the simple assignment I gave my students using it (and, the next time I teach U.S. History, I’ll add the TIME piece, too):
A television channel did a poll to find out who people thought were the Greatest Americans, and then ranked them from the most important to the one hundredth most important.
Think about all the Americans we have studied so far. Pick who you think are the top five Americans and rank them one-through-five. Find a picture of them, write about what you think was their major accomplishment, and explain why you ranked them where you did.
Meet the 100 Most Significant Americans of All Time is from Smithsonian Magazine.
80 Moments That Changed The World is from The British Council.
100 Years; 100 Thinkers: The New Republic Ranks The Minds Who’ve Defined Our Century.
The 100 Most Influential Figures in American History is from The Atlantic.
I’m sure I’ve posted other similar lists over the years, but just can’t find them right now. Again, feel free to share suggestions of others to include…