Spectacular Things Happen Along the Way: Lessons from an Urban Classroom / Edition 1

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What Happens when a teacher resists the pressures of "teaching to the test" and creates a curriculum based on student needs, wants, and desires? Brian Schultz did just that when he challenged his students from a housing project in Chicago to name a problem in their community that they wanted to solve. When the students unanimously focus on replacing their dilapidated school building, an unforgettable journey is put into motion. As his students examine the conditions of their blighted school and research the deeper causes of decay, they set off on a mission of remedy and repair. It is finally their own questions and activities that power their profound self-transformations. This moving story is a tribute to what determined teachers can achieve in the current stifling environment of high-stakes testing and standardization. Anyone who has faith in creativity, commitment, and the deep potential of inner-city children and youth will want to read this book.

About the Author:
Brian D. Schultz is an assistant professor of education and honors faculty at Northeastern Illinois University (NEIU) in Chicago

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Editorial Reviews

VOYA - Kathy Starks
Hollywood loves to produce movies that feature the formulaic story line in which a white teacher in an urban school inspires students of color to succeed against all odds. Many of these stories are based on real-life events but often take great liberties in depicting the actual characters and situations. Schultz initially seems to follow the same pattern, but his scholarly tone, research-based analysis, and authentic depiction of the students place his work squarely in the realm of required reading for new and veteran classroom teachers alike. Schultz explains in his preface that the text is drawn from his dissertation, wherein he used inquiry-based teaching to guide his inner-city fifth grade class through a project to improve their school. The students spent the semester determining the most serious problems within the school, designing and implementing data collection instruments, organizing and interpreting data, and presenting their information to first the school and then eventually to local and national news and educational outlets. Their engagement and enthusiasm throughout the project is both moving and encouraging: "Like a family, they genuinely cared about one another, celebrating successes as they worked together, allowing every member to expand individual horizons to whatever level they were capable.o Especially compelling is the narrative structure of the text. The book is organized as a reflection upon the project, where Schultz describes his thought processes as each event unfolds. His use of direct quotes within the text and as chapter and section headings lends authenticity and emotion to otherwise straightforward language. Reviewer: Kathy Starks
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807748572
  • Publisher: Teachers College Press
  • Publication date: 4/12/2008
  • Series: Teaching for Social Justice Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 192
  • Sales rank: 326,028
  • Product dimensions: 6.12 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.48 (d)

Table of Contents

Foreword   Carl A. Grant     ix
Preface and Acknowledgments     xi
Embracing Students' Interests for Schoolwork     1
What's Worth Knowing?     1
"Inverting" the Curriculum     11
Education as a Two-Way Street     16
Our School Is a Dump! Identifying a Problem That Needs Solving     24
This Ain't No Schoolwork, This Is Important!     24
Feelin' Like a Big and Powerful Grown-up     33
Needin' Them Pizza Things     40
Getting the Word Out: Sharing Authority in Room 405     53
You Wouldn't Let Your Kids Come to a School That Is Falling Apart     53
When Are We Going to Do Work?     60
Just Like a Record Deal     68
Seeking a Perfect Solution     76
The Chicago Tribune     76
Young Warriors     82
Carr's "Savage Inequalities"     86
Television, Radio, and Protecting the Kids     93
Process as Product     102
Practicing What I Preached     102
Do You Have Any Pets?     107
The Bestest Year Ever     113
Nader Comes to Carr     121
Bittersweet Final Days     124
Justice-Oriented Teaching     126
Negotiating Risks     126
Needing Support     128
Theorizing with Students     134
Education with Authenticity and Purpose     136
Developing Classrooms for Social Action     139
Progressive Education in Disadvantaged Neighborhoods     141
Complicating Good Intentions     144
Conclusion     149
How Ya Gonna Help Us?     149
Understanding Each Other     152
Let Those Voices Be Heard!     154
Enduring Achievement and Impact     156
References     159
Index     163
About the Author     173

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