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Teaching History with Big Ideas: Cases of Ambitious Teachers, Paperback by Gradwell, Jill (Used)

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Publication Date: 2010-07-16
Paperback : 234 pages
Author: Gradwell, Jill
ISBN-10: 1607097664
ISBN-13: 9781607097662

Product Description In the case studies that make up the bulk of this book, middle and high school history teachers describe the decisions and plans and the problems and possibilities they encountered as they ratcheted up their instruction through the use of big ideas. Framing a teaching unit around a question such as 'Why don't we know anything about Africa? ' offers both teacher and students opportunities to explore historical actors, ideas, and events in ways both rich and engaging. Such an approach exemplifies the construct of ambitious teaching, whereby teachers demonstrate their ability to marry their deep knowledge of subject matter, students, and the school context in ways that fundamentally challenge the claim that history is 'boring.' Review In Teaching History with Big Ideas, coeditors S.G. Grant and Jill Gradwell have compiled a series of powerful cases of ambitious teaching that highlight the challenging, complex, and messy world of working in a high-stakes testing environment. The cases cover a range of topics and experiences, different students, different contexts. Yet all of these teachers provide fascinating insight into their journeys as teachers, how they've thought about using big ideas in social studies instruction, and how they make sense of working in diverse contexts that all seem to value test scores, albeit in different ways. . . . This book clearly highlights how scary it is to move away from teaching to the test, but how rewarding and powerful that decision can be. (associate professor of social studies education, University of Virginia, Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education, University of Virginia) S. G. Grant and Jill Gradwell achieve their worthy goal of creating a road map for ambitious history teaching. This engaging, accessible book features narratives written by teachers who navigated a variety of instructional dilemmas and constraints, undertook the hard work of reflecting on their established practices, and decided to try something new that they believed would benefit their students. The teachers' insightful stories, combined with the editors' practical recommendations, leave no doubt that ambitious teaching is an arduous journey with changing itineraries and destinations. Fortunately, social studies educators now have an invaluable resource that shows us a variety of ways that such a journey can be undertaken. (Elizabeth Anne Washington, professor of social studies education, University of Florida) Teaching History With Big Ideas is the book we've been waiting for. Chapters are written by teachers who are achingly honest about their struggles and triumphs, candid about frustrations with principals or their setting, aware when they teach in a privileged school, and ambitious in their goals for teaching and learning. This is a book of teachers doing many things and letting the reader peer into their classrooms as they try different approaches and eavesdrop on their thoughts during class and as they reflect afterwards. Grant and Gradwell contextualize these chapters and offer their own analysis, but the chapters are rich enough to provide readers with the material to define other themes or discover nuances of their own. This book provides a model for the field to emulate, replicate, build on, and develop. (David Gerwin, associate professor of social studies and history, Queens College, CUNY) In this lively and honest book, Grant and Gradwell breathe life into the concept of "ambitious teaching" and then passing the pen to eight teachers who describe in specific detail how they learned to use important questions and inquiry to improve the quality of what their middle and high school students learned. Through their struggles and successes, it becomes apparent that it is possible to up the level of intellectual challenge and engagement of students, even in this era of high-stakes testing. This is an important book for social s

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