Rethinking Our Classrooms Two Volume Set

Rethinking Our Classrooms Two Volume Set

Edited By Bill Bigelow, Stan Karp, Wayne Au

Table of Contents

Buy the combined set of the first and second volumes of this groundbreaking series for only $24.95.

Packed with useful teaching ideas for kindergarten through college, this two-volume set is a great resource for new and veteran teachers, and is widely used in teacher education and staff development programs.

Volume 1 features some of the best classroom writing we’ve published.  Essays cover:

  • Science and environmental education
  • Immigration and language
  • Military recruitment
  • Early childhood education
  • Gay and lesbian issues.

Learn more about Rethinking Our Classrooms, Volume 1.

Volume 2 is loaded with essential articles, curriculum ideas, lesson plans and other resources grounded in the realities of the classroom. 

It is an invaluable tool for educators striving to promote social justice and high-quality student learning.

Learn more about Rethinking Our Classrooms, Volume 2.

Praise for Volume 1:

“Terrific! A dynamite collection packed with moral energy, but also very, very useful. Even more powerful, with even richer material, than the original edition. Buy hundreds of copies for your students, fellow teachers, and principals. Give some to your school board members. This is political pedagogy of the gutsy kind we almost never see these days.”

Jonathan Kozol, author of Savage Inequalities and The Shame of the Nation

“A treasure trove of insights, creative activities, and valuable resources for the critical classroom, Rethinking Our Classrooms will help teachers wrestle with many of the issues we face in this new millennium from racism and gender identity to immigration phobia, global warming and the testing craze. Inspired stories of real-life classrooms make this new edition of Rethinking Our Classrooms better than ever!”

Sonia Nieto, Professor Emerita, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Praise for Volume 2:

"A vital, useful, and empowering anthology of some of the best stuff about schools I have read in 30 years. I hope it reaches the vast audience it deserves."

—Jonathan Kozol, author of Ordinary Resurrections and Savage Inequalities.

"With Volume 2, Rethinking Schools continues its bold, unflinching confrontation of vital school issues and actions. Honest and clear treatments by great authors go to the core of matters of equality and justice. Rethinking Schools continues to set the standard for advocacy for our children."

—Asa G. Hilliard III - Nana Baffour Amankwatia II, Fuller E. Callaway Professor of Urban Education

Volume 1 - New Edition!

Introduction: Creating Classrooms for Equity and
Social Justice x

Part One: Points of Departure

“Lions” 2

By Langston Hughes

Unlearning the Myths That Bind Us: Critiquing
Cartoons and Society 3

By Linda Christensen

Rethinking ‘The Three Little Pigs’ 8

By Ellen Wolpert

10 Quick Ways to Analyze Children’s Books for
Racism and Sexism 10

By the Council on Interracial Books for Children

Celebrating the Joy in Daily Events 12

By Linda Christensen

“Ode to My Socks • Oda a los calcetines” 13

By Pablo Neruda

Taking Multicultural, Anti-Racist Education
Seriously 15

An interview with Enid Lee

“My Hair Is Long” 18

By Loyen Redhawk Gali

Part Two: Rethinking My Classroom

Race and Respect Among Young Children 20

By Rita Tenorio

Holding Nyla: Lessons from an Inclusion
Classroom 25

By Katie Kissinger

Teaching for Social Justice: One Teacher’s Journey 28

By Bob Peterson

Songs That Promote Justice 33

By Bob Peterson

“Forgiving My Father” 35

By Justin Morris

Playing with Gender: Lessons from an Early
Childhood Center 36

By Ann Pelo

The Challenge of Classroom Discipline 41

By Bob Peterson

Helping Students Deal with Anger 43

By Kelley Dawson Salas

Building Community from Chaos 47

By Linda Christensen

Discipline: No Quick Fix 53

By Linda Christensen

“Honeybees” 55

By Paul Fleischman

Teaching About Global Warming in Truck Country 57

By Jana Dean

Students Use Math to Confront Overcrowding 63

By Erin E. Turner and Beatriz T. Font Strawhun

Getting Off the Track: Stories from an Untracked Classroom 68

By Bill Bigelow

“what the mirror said” 76

By Lucille Clifton

Part Three: Teaching Ideas

Using Pictures to Combat Bias 78

By Ellen Wolpert

My Mom’s Job Is Important 80

By Matt Witt

Father Was a Musician 83

By Dyan Watson

There’s More to Heroes Than He-Man 84

By Marcie Osinsky

The Military Recruitment Minefield 85

By Bill Bigelow

Coping with TV: Some Lesson Ideas 93

By Bob Peterson

What Do We Say When We Hear ‘Faggot’? 95

By Leonore Gordon

Learning from Worms 97

By Rachel Cloues

The Organic Goodie Simulation 100

By Bill Bigelow and Norm Diamond

World Poverty and World Resources 103

By Susan Hersh and Bob Peterson

Math, SATs, and Racial Profiling 106

By Eric Gutstein

The Day Sondra Took Over: Helping Students
Become Self-Directed 109

By Cynthia M. Ellwood

Little Things Are Big 113

By Jesús Colón

Haiku and Hiroshima: Teaching About the Atomic
Bomb 114

By Wayne Au

Students as Textbook Detectives: An Exercise in
Uncovering Bias 116

By Bill Bigelow and Bob Peterson

What Can Teachers Do About Sexual Harassment? 118

By Ellen Bravo and Larry Miller

Flirting vs. Sexual Harassment: Teaching the
Difference 121

By Nan Stein and Lisa Sjostrom

Celebrating the Student’s Voice 124

By Linda Christensen

“Rayford’s Song” 125

By Lawson Inada

Promoting Social ImaginationThrough Interior Monologues 126

By Bill Bigelow and Linda Christensen

“Two Women” 128


Role Plays: Show, Don’t Tell 130

By Bill Bigelow

Testing, Tracking, and Toeing the Line: A Role Play
on the Origins of the Modern High School 133

By Bill Bigelow

‘Salt of the Earth’ Grounds Students in Hope 141

By S. J. Childs

“The Funeral of Martin Luther King, Jr.” 144

By Nikki Giovanni

Part Four: Rethinking Our Assumptions

My Dirty Little Secret: Why I Don’t Grade Papers 146

By Linda Christensen

Expectations and ‘At-Risk’ Children: One Teacher’s Perspective 151

By L. C. Clark

Teachers and Cultural Styles 152

By Asa G. Hilliard III

Teaching Standard English: Whose Standard? 154

by Linda Christensen

Seeing Color 158

By Lisa Delpit

When Small Is Beautiful 161

An interview with Héctor Calderón

I Won’t Learn from You! Confronting Student
Resistance 165

By Herbert Kohl

Food Is Not for Play 167

By Jean Hannon

The Politics of Children’s Literature: What’s Wrong
with the Rosa Parks Myth 168

By Herbert Kohl

“In Memory of Crossing the Columbia” 172

By Elizabeth Woody

Heather’s Moms Got Married: Creating a Gay- and Lesbian-Friendly Classroom 173

By Mary Cowhey

Thoughts on Teaching Native American Literature 175

By Joseph Bruchac

Why Students Should Study History 179

An interview with Howard Zinn

History Book Resources 182

By Howard Zinn

“To the Young Who Want to Die” 186

By Gwendolyn Brooks

Part Five: Beyond the Classroom

Why We Need to Go Beyond the Classroom 188

By Stan Karp

“Rebellion Against the North Side” 194

By Naomi Shihab Nye

Teachers Teaching Teachers 195

By Linda Christensen

Equity Claims for NCLB Don’t Pass the Test 200

By Stan Karp

Why Standardized Tests Are Bad 203

By Terry Meier

“Lineage” 205

By Margaret Walker

Students Mobilize for Immigrant Rights 206

By Ryan Knudson and Al Levie

Part Six: Resources

Poetry Teaching Guide 212

By Linda Christensen

Videos 215

By Bill Bigelow and Linda Christensen

Video Teaching Strategies 216

By Bill Bigelow and Linda Christensen

Books for Young People 219

Curricula and Teaching Resources 224

Periodicals 228

Organizations 229

Poetry Credits 231

Index 232

Volume 2:

Introduction — 1
The Power of Words — 5

The Power of Words

Where I'm From: Inviting Students' Lives into the Classroom — 6
by Linda Christensen
"Where I'm From" — 6
by George Ella Lyon
"I Am From Soul Food and Harriet Tubman" — 8
by Lealonni Blake
"I Am From Pink Tights and Speak Your Mind" — 9
by Djamila Moore
"I Am From . . ." — 10
by Oretha Storey
"I Am From Swingsets and Jungle Gyms" — 10
by Debby Gordon
An International Proverbs Project — 11
by Jim Cummins and Dennis Sayers
"Race" — 15
by Cang Dao
For My People — 16
by Linda Christensen
What Color Is Beautiful? — 18
by Alejandro Segura-Mora
Ebonics and Culturally Responsive Instruction — 22
by Lisa Delpit
Exploring Black Cultural Issues — 27
by Bakari Chavanu
"Ode to Writing" — 31
by Jessica Rawlins
"I am Proud to Be Bilingual" — 32
by Monica Thao

The Power of the Past

Unsung Heroes — 34
by Howard Zinn
Teaching About Unsung Heroes — 37
by Bill Bigelow
Discovering the Truth about Helen Keller — 42
by James Loewen
On the Road to Cultural Bias — 45
by Bill Bigelow
Fiction Posing as Truth — 57
by Debbie Reese, et al.
Rethinking the U.S. Constitutional Convention: A Role Play — 63
by Bob Peterson
A New U.S. Bill of Rights — 70
by Larry Miller
"Waiting at the Railroad Cafe" — 72
by Janet Wong
A Lesson on the Japanese-American Internment — 73
by Mark Sweeting
"In Response to Executive Order 9066" — 75
by Dwight Okita
What the Tour Guide Didn't Tell Me — 76
by Wayne Au

The Power of Critique

Ten Chairs of Inequality — 82
by Polly Kellogg
Teaching Math Across the Curriculum — 84
by Bob Peterson
Percent as a Tool for Social Justice — 89
by Bob Peterson
The Human Lives Behind the Labels — 91
by Bill Bigelow
"The Stitching Shed" — 100
by Tho Dong
Bias and CD-ROM Encyclopedias — 101
by Bob Peterson
Where's the 'R' Word? — 105
by Bob Peterson
Girls, Worms, and Body Image — 107
by Kate Lyman
Math, Maps, and Misrepresentation — 112
by Eric Gutstein

The Power of Social Action

"We Had Set Ourselves Free" — 116
by Doug Sherman
From Snarling Dogs to Bloody Sunday — 119
by Kate Lyman
Mississippi Freedom Schools — 126
by David Levine
Improvs and Civil Rights — 134
by Bill Bigelow
The Poetry of Protest — 135
by Linda Christensen
"Jorge the Church Janitor Finally Quits" — 136
by Martín Espada
A Bill of Rights for Girls — 138
by Mary Blalock
The Trial — 140
by Kate Lyman
Students Blow the Whistle on Toxic Oil Contamination — 144
by Larry Miller and Danah Opland-Dobs
"Garbage" — 146
by Bill Steele, Mike Agranoff, and Pete Seeger
AIDS — "You Can Die From It" — 149
by Kate Lyman
"at the cemetery, walnut grove plantation, south carolina, 1989" — 154
by Lucille Clifton

Rethinking School Culture

When Things Turn Ugly — 156
by Donn Harris
Rethinking Discipline — 160
by Jehanne Helena Beaton
Creating Classroom Community — 163
by Beverly Braxton
A Mother Speaks Out — 167
by Leslie Sadasivan
Teaching the Whole Story — 168
by Kate Lyman
Playing Favorites — 176
by Mara Sapon-Shevin
Black Teachers on Teaching — 181
by Michele Foster
School System Shock — 186
by Melony Swasey
Arranged Marriages, Rearranged Ideas — 188
by Stan Karp
Out Front — 194
by Annie Johnston
Staying Past Wednesday — 199
by Kate Lyman
"Earth's Last Cry" — 202
by Rachel M. Knudsen

Rethinking Assessment

Why the Testing Craze Won't Fix Our Schools — 204
by the Editors of Rethinking Schools
Basketball and Portfolios — 207
by Linda Christensen
One Size Fits Few — 211
by Susan Ohanian
Tracking and the Project Method — 214
by Bob Peterson
Motivating Students to do Quality Work — 219
by Bob Peterson
Resources — 225
Poetry Teaching Guide — 240
by Linda Christensen
Index — 242

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