Academic journal article Language Arts

Spectacular Things Happen along the Way: Lessons from an Urban Classroom (Teaching for Social Justice Series)

Academic journal article Language Arts

Spectacular Things Happen along the Way: Lessons from an Urban Classroom (Teaching for Social Justice Series)

Article excerpt

Spectacular Things Happen along the Way: Lessons from an Urban Classroom (Teaching for Social Justice series) by Brian D. Schultz, Teachers College Press, 2008, 192 pp., ISBN 978-080-774-857-2

Spectacular Things Happen along the Way (2008) is the story of one teacher's journey with his fifth-grade class as they embraced a year of project-based learning they co-designed and co-constructed. Schultz's students lived in Chicago's Cabrini-Green public housing project, and he was determined to find a way to make learning relevant and engaging for them. He presents a narrative account in a way that allows readers to not only understand what he was thinking and doing throughout this process, but also to view the journey through his students' eyes. The chapters are focused on the natural process that occurred following Schultz's initial decision to reject "teaching to the test" trends. Instead, he takes up a teaching for social justice stance within his classroom. The chapters cover such topics as embracing students' interests, identifying a problem to be solved, sharing authority, seeking a solution, process as product, and justice-oriented teaching.

Schultz details the process he and his students went through as they tried to get a new school building because theirs was so dilapidated. He acknowledges being sure of his beliefs about education, but not always being sure about how to deal with the day-to-day realities of this kind of project. Students felt empowered by this project. They realized that their voices matter, and they became excited about using them to make a difference. Schultz frames his classroom experience with his reflective thoughts about his practice, which he examines through literature on the subject. …

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