Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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Making Civics Real Workshop 7: Controversial Public Policy Issues  
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Workshop 7

Workshop Session
Lesson Plan
Teacher Perspectives
Student Perspectives
Essential Readings
Other Lessons

Student Perspectives: Textbooks

Becky: Ms. Ambrose assigns it. We go home and read a chapter and take notes so that we have background information to do the activity in class. We really don’t read out of the textbook in class. We have a choice. We can either do the worksheet she gives us, or we can take our own notes. It’s whichever study way is better. The worksheets are not busywork. [They are] like a study guide. It’s just a general thing for people who need a little bit more help knowing what to study. In class, she’ll review it for a little bit. She’ll say, “What did you read last night? This is what I got out of it. Here’s what you should have learned. You should know about this.” Then she’ll say, “Now we’re going to apply what we learned in the textbook and what we’ve read in the textbook.” We don’t read everything. She doesn’t say just go home and read chapters one through five. It’s like, “Well, for tomorrow, you’re going to need to know what’s in Chapter 12, so you’re going to want to read that.” We only read what we’re going to be using. It’s going to be the stuff that we’re going to need to know and the things that Ms. Ambrose feels are most important for life and the activity.

Rayad: [We use textbooks] to level the table. We read through the material, but not always. It’s not always a full reading. We take a look at overheads. We’ll watch a video that’s pertinent to the topic. So some of it’s reading, and then some of it’s outside. That’s how Ms. Ambrose tries to keep things interesting. But we get everything that’s in there. It’s a pretty good text. It’s pretty user-friendly, I would say.

Renee: You get your choice of taking notes or doing a worksheet. After we do that, we talk about it in class. We ask questions if we don’t understand what the book is saying or why they have it written that way. We ask her about it, and make it so that we understand what they’re saying because there are a lot of really big words that make it really difficult to understand a lot of the stuff. We ask her to break it down, and we talk about it. So it’s kind of a guideline, but we expand out from it. We tell a lot of stories from the kids’ personal experiences. [A student] told a story of being pulled over. Then Ms. Ambrose will tell stories about articles she’s read about--people in the local area--to give us a real-life example of how it happens and what happens. Having readings other than just the textbook is really helpful because it makes you understand. Most people who write the books go by the rules. When you have examples and articles, it helps you realize, from the citizen’s point of view, what goes on with the rules that are written in the book.


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