First, I’d like to thank Loren Hawkins, intrepid 3rd grade teacher here at Newnan Crossing Elementary, for agreeing to work with me on this Frederick Douglass unit. As I confessed to her, I don’t think the concept of using social studies readings instead of a worksheet-oriented basal reader is going to get us anywhere, but at least we will have an example of the way learning could be if anyone had the guts to make the significant changes called for by the new GPS curriculum. It can stand as a shining reproach to us all.
Second, thanks to Alison Zimbalist at the New York Times for providing a permanent link to the article “In Africa, free schools feed a different hunger,” by Celia W. Dugger. Check it out!
Loren and I will be working together to put together an instructional unit for the new 3rd grade social studies curriculum which will also cover the language arts standards. It will have media skills embedded, naturally, as well as all the vocabulary/writing/reading skills usually encountered. It will have explicit metacognitive reading skills instruction to use with the NYT article: how do you tackle something like that and make sure you understand it? It will have quizzes, performance tasks, rubrics, differentiation, and all that jazz.
As Hemingway says at the end of The Sun Also Rises, “Isn’t it pretty to think so?” Maybe that should be a new CLF mug.