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Bridging the Gap is a book about making connections that make learning meaningful for students and teachers. It details a unique collaboration between an elementary and a middle school teacher as they introduce broad themes in their classrooms. Together, they worked to bridge the gap between subjects in their students' learning and the gap that existed in their understanding of each other's teaching situations.
Cora Lee Five describes in detail how she immersed her fifth graders in colonial life and the Revolutionary War through the creation of a "Discoveries" theme. She relates how her students become partners in the planning process, develop their own theme within the theme, and follow their own inquiries. Reading, writing, art, simulations, and debates bring the colonial mind to life, allowing each student to "become" a colonist and make present-day connections.
Marie Dionisio describes how her middle school language arts classes explored point of view within a theme entitled "Trying on Someone Else's Skin." These classes become an adventure in self discovery, perception, and empathy as her students explore what it feels like to be someone different and ask serious questions about stereotype and prejudice. Examples of student journal entries and classroom discussions recount their experiences.
Throughout the book, Five and Dionisio support inquiry and validate risk taking for both students and teachers. They walk readers through their own processes of experimentation and discovery, providing:
Bridging the Gap's solid theoretical grounding and practical advice have much to offer pre- and inservice teachers, curriculum coordinators, and administrators.
Trying on Someone Else's Skin
Making Learning and Teaching Whole
Appendixes: A. Professional Resources: Themes, Curriculum Integration, and Inquiry B. Resources for "Discoveries," compiled by Martha Rosen and Cora Lee Five C. Student Activities for "Discoveries" D. Example of Final "Discoveries" Reports E. The Computer Connection: Using Telecommunications to Support the Curriculum, by Gerald Crisci; Samples of E-Mail Between Schools F. Resources for "Trying on Someone Else's Skin" G. Student Book Talks for "Trying on Someone Else's Skin"