I'm biased, Chip Heath is one of my best friends on the planet and belongs to a list I refer to as "people on this planet that I love." Basically ChipI'm biased, Chip Heath is one of my best friends on the planet and belongs to a list I refer to as "people on this planet that I love." Basically Chip and his brother investigate what people remember, and what they don't, and how to structure your work so that it falls into the former and not the latter....more
The author, who normally writes about politicians, sets out to investigate what is it about Wayne that made him so iconic/political that he continuedThe author, who normally writes about politicians, sets out to investigate what is it about Wayne that made him so iconic/political that he continued to be listed as one of the greatest American male movie stars long his death. A character accepted as definitively Male, and yet is usually overlooked by academics who specialize in gender-studies. The goal (according to the intro) isn't a biography written for fans so much as a critical analysis interested in the part Wayne plays in America's political myth of self. The book says its intent is only to consider who Wayne really was and his actual history, in order to compare those to the constructed (spun) image and the Hollywood myths surrounding him, in order to clarify that construction.
Please note that above I referred to the intent as described in the intro and title, not what the book actually does. This book reminds me of some of my very WORST papers, the ones where I write a great intro paragraph, get lost and confused along the way, never actually support any of my arguments, or have a clear central one to begin with, and then at the very end I come up with biggest 'grand' statement of utter bullpuckie I can, hoping the proff will get so confused in my grandiose conclusions as to forgive the mess that was the paper.
Additionally, there are parts of Wills' narrative that ring false, so for instance when talking about the director Ford, it feels like the author has his own 'narrative' that he's pushing so hard that it feels like listening to partisan politics. There's no nuance to it, it's too black or white and therefore untrustworthy. Now you might be saying to yourself, 'well Wills' very liberal and this reviewer must be a conservative' only I'm not, I'm also a liberal. However, it sort of puts my teeth on edge when authors are so busy trying to indoctrinate that they push their arguments to incredulity.
The final conclusion is out in L.A.-L.A. land, making comments about how our relationship to cities is different from the rest of the world, and that this is an extension of our separation of church and state....??? The author says that all cities are built around a religious point (rather than an economic one, as most are), and even gives St. Paul's in London as an example. Problem is, St. Paul was built on the site of roman temple, and London was never a religious center, not even in ancient times.
The book says its about the construction of Wayne, and spends a lot of time describing scene by scene various movies he was in, and what went on behind the scenes of the making... but rarely if ever does the author broach the central issue of the introduction of how did these movies ring in the national consciousness as part of the construction that is the political image of John Wayne the movie star.
The book is in fact over 300 pages, and if you whittled it down to just the bit where the author does do this, its maybe a 15 or 20 page paper .... double spaced. Now these 20 odd pages are very good.
Also, if your interest is not in the political image of Wayne but rather you're a film student interested in how the films were made, a shot by shot analysis, what was going on in the background and any petty squabbles on set, this book does go into great detail about that.
It does not however do what it claims it set out to do, at least not really. By the end of the book you're not really any more knowledgeable about the politics of celebrity of Wayne than you were at the start
I honestly believe the fact that we've rejected teaching in this way is why the schools are in such shambles. I've sat in classes at some of our top uI honestly believe the fact that we've rejected teaching in this way is why the schools are in such shambles. I've sat in classes at some of our top universities and watched students simply read and ingest anything a book or a teacher says them without any critical thought... in large part because no one has taught them how to do it. Logical critical thought has to be carefully developed. Our public schools aren't doing it... why?
As far as I'm concerned, what distinguishes high SES students from low ones is parents who ensured this ability to think critically in their children even when the schools (and I'm talking some of our best) made no real effort to teach it for fear of angering one group or another. Critical thought requires judgment, this is good, that is bad... not everything and everyone can be good... at least not in the initial stages of the learning. One has to get the point where you can split fine hairs before you can logically understand it and still be critical in the doing of it.
If anything, and I know that writing this is basically putting myself up as a target, the fact is that private schools, and in some cases charter schools, don't suffer this problem. If parents don't like the way is the school is teaching they can just put their money and their children elsewhere. Public schools by being forced to the lowest common denominator, rather like our Television shows on the major networks (as to HBO which can be compared to a private school).
I know that Sayer's work is often pointed to as the basis of the resurgence of classical Xtian schooling, but the fact of the matter is that a Jewish school or an Islamic school could also do it. While she points to theology, the fact is one could replace it as well with philosophy, or multiple theologies (which would go a long way towards showing how cultural differences exist between the theologies) ...more
Read for class: Actually a fairly decent book. It's the collected papers of a cognitive scientist who specializes in how we learn and teach history. HRead for class: Actually a fairly decent book. It's the collected papers of a cognitive scientist who specializes in how we learn and teach history. He offers a variety of studies that look at generational differences in how history is understood, and taught. He investigates what does it mean to think historically (rather than suffering from present-ism, or ascribing to others motives and priorities that have more to do with modern sensibilities than seeing the person as a product of their time and judging them by that historical standard). Etc... While it does not tell you how to teach history well, it offers examples of case studies of teachers who do and an idea of what their classrooms are like. It looks at the role of the media in shaping kids ideas of the past, etc....more
One of the books I read on how to end gender bullying in the schools made the point that part of the problem is that, just as women, African AmericansOne of the books I read on how to end gender bullying in the schools made the point that part of the problem is that, just as women, African Americans and other minorities used to be absent from history lessons, so to are gays. That as history teachers, if there's a substantive debate that believes an important historical figure was gay, than if we as teachers should make the point of 'we can't be sure but there's strong evidence' of it... this will not only help gay students in their self esteem, but also promote acceptance from their peers.
To this end, I bought this book which is basically reference guide to that effect. So for instance James Buchanan (the only president to never marry, who referred to his male best friend as his better half) is pretty much at this point thought to have been gay (the fact that family members saw fit to destroy many but not all of their letters to each other, suggests those letters were evidence of the full nature of their relationship), and there's a debate that Lincoln might have been bi-sexual. So there's a good chance there has already been a gay president, if not two, something that would go a long way towards the self esteem of gay students....more
I have mixed feelings about this book, one one hand it is a valuable piece of research, but it's value gets derailed by its progressive agenda. EssentI have mixed feelings about this book, one one hand it is a valuable piece of research, but it's value gets derailed by its progressive agenda. Essentially, the folks who most need to be impacted by the book will be so put off by the politics it espouses as to stop listening, which is a shame. The investigation of textbook industry is highly valuable, as are some of the other parts. But when he starts using it as an excuse to vilify the Bush administration... well I think the saying is 'its like hitting your nose to spite your face'?...more
Read this for a class; its a tiny little book that gives an overview for teachers on the various problems inherent in overcoming these sort of bullyinRead this for a class; its a tiny little book that gives an overview for teachers on the various problems inherent in overcoming these sort of bullying. It talks about the need for community involvement and ways to 'nudge' recalcitrant school officials past their own prejudices. I would suggest as a good FIRST reading, but in some ways its a little too shallow to be truly useful, but is a good first read for the teacher who wants to help but hasn't a clue what to do about it....more
As this is the only one of these I've read, and I'm a student, its hard to be fair in the appraisal. On the up side, if you're being forced to read thAs this is the only one of these I've read, and I'm a student, its hard to be fair in the appraisal. On the up side, if you're being forced to read this because you're training to be a teacher, it does put a lot of effort into explaining why you should care and how this stuff might vary based on the grade of the student. Disturbingly, the reading level of the book is kind of low, which is more of a sad comment on who is training to become a teacher these days than anything. I mean seriously, one would hope that college level reading skills in a group of people who are going to become teachers would be assumed, but I guess not....more
hard to read and utterly out of date, but its got really good stuff in it and I can see why the teacher uses it (2009 edition talks about how in 2007hard to read and utterly out of date, but its got really good stuff in it and I can see why the teacher uses it (2009 edition talks about how in 2007 congress is going to have to reconsider No child left behind... authors they didn't revise, they just moved things around and slapped on a new cover). As long as you're reading about the stuff that sort of timeless, this book is ok, but anytime it moves into 'of the moment' such as using VHS in the classroom and some classrooms are now equipped with laser-disks (in the 2010 edition) you're going to giggle....more
Written for the classroom or the stage, is FULL of read-alouds, mini-plays, etc. Most plays include annotations or are followed by explanations. MostWritten for the classroom or the stage, is FULL of read-alouds, mini-plays, etc. Most plays include annotations or are followed by explanations. Most plays are for a single voice, but some are multi-voiced. ...more
Well written, factual 'play' leading up to and including the battle, 16 different people, 8 from each side. Written in reader's theater format, this cWell written, factual 'play' leading up to and including the battle, 16 different people, 8 from each side. Written in reader's theater format, this could easily be used in the classroom. Each 'chapter' is at most a typewritten page long (double space, font 12), with each voice having between 3 and 6 parts to read. ...more
As a student in a teacher's training program, I can only WISH that the rest of my textbooks were this good (they aren't). Our teacher on giving us theAs a student in a teacher's training program, I can only WISH that the rest of my textbooks were this good (they aren't). Our teacher on giving us the book said, 'you're going to want to use this as a resource for classroom exercises for the rest of your careers... I go back to it for ideas all the time.' Basically the textbook completely makes the argument for how teaching reading is ALL of our problems (even the P.E. teachers) and offers suggestions of how to teach it in your classrooms.
The book, and the course, gave me religion and set me to reading EVERY Young adult historical fiction novel I can find, in order to be able to find ones to integrate into my history classroom. The fact is literacy is key, and kids today don't read anywhere as much as they used to on their own which is why what is considered at grade level is constantly dropping south... what used to be considered grade school level reading is now Jr. High, and many high school kids aren't able to read at what used to be middle school level, so we as teachers have to get them reading and keep them reading. This book explains HOW to work it into every kind of classroom...more
**spoiler alert** The book isn't so much a condemnation of teachers, as of school boards and the producers of text books. The book sets out to debunk**spoiler alert** The book isn't so much a condemnation of teachers, as of school boards and the producers of text books. The book sets out to debunk myths that are reinforced by these two groups who he claims care more about using history as a way to create a myth of America in order to reinforce nationalism rather than as a way of teaching students to think critically, but is SO rabidly left-wing partition that it shoots itself in the foot, if it weren't for that it would be a great book.
This book discusses the results of his multi-year study of how we teach history in our public schools, and in particular the textbooks most often used. While I would love also to be able to suggest it to state boards and PTA attendees before they vote on new textbooks for our nation’s classrooms, because of how political it is I just can't --- and this is doubly true for the newest edition.
I'm a liberal, and still I find that politically the book leans excessively far to the left, and prefers incendiary phrasing to a dispassionate and reasoned tone. Anyone, who knows history well, can easily poke the same sorts of holes in some of his arguments that he is poking into the arguments of the textbook’s he criticizes. Ironically, this weakens the book’s impact substantially, at the same time that it implicitly supports one of his central premises, that “history is furious debate informed by evidence and reason,” even though “textbooks encourage students to believe that [it] is facts to be learned (p. 8).”
Unfortunately, Loewen’s tendency in the new edition to employ those historical facts to substantiate his own political arguments, making it a political bomb. For example, he blames the historical context of the European arms race, the one that helped set the stage for colonization of the America’s after Columbus’s voyage, for Bush’s Iraq policy. Loewen argues that denying WMD’s to Iraq, North Korea, etc., is yet another example of trying to sustain European world domination via military superiority (p. 35). This is not to say that I think he’s completely wrong in his analysis, only that, in my opinion, if his purpose in publishing this book to the mass market was to influence our education policy at the state and local level, than to draw those particular conclusions here… was at best, ‘ill advised.’
In chapter 12 for instance, he takes numerous digs at Lynne Chaney for her decisions in her former role at the National Endowment for the Humanities. He includes her as one of those who rejected a grant for a documentary because it used the word genocide to describe Columbus’s actions in Haiti, which of course it was... but he seems more concerned with politically attacking these people in an incendiary way than in doing it in a way that might actually result in change.
The book is also a denunciation of how the textbook industry’s focus on profit is damaging our children’s education. Loewen presents disturbing evidence that it has become industry practice to let neophyte freelancers, who were never even history majors, write textbooks. While historians still do write some of them, more often, the names of respected historians are ‘rented’ by the publishers to grace the covers, and in those cases most of those never even bother to proof the texts. Loewen became aware of this when he started to find horrible amounts of duplication between books, duplication that boarded on plagiarism, and questioned why that might be. One result he found was that horrendous errors that no historian would make, such as Truman dropping an atomic bomb on Korea (p. 320) litter the texts, and even worse, he found these errors repeated across different publishers. Because textbook boards are so overwhelmed in terms of the number of books they have to consider, and their length (p. 308-309) these sorts of errors are generally not caught until they go before public review in states such as Texas. At that point, it is often concerned parents, rather than editors, who find not only the gross inaccuracies, but spelling mistakes as well (p. 312).
While for those who aren't aware of all this, the book can be an eye opening read, again, I think HOW the author chose to deliver his points is problematic
It's a text book *shrug* but as text books go.... I'm actually learning stuff that might be useful and it's chock full of resources that I might actuaIt's a text book *shrug* but as text books go.... I'm actually learning stuff that might be useful and it's chock full of resources that I might actually access again once I'm teaching, which is more than you can say for the average text book. The authors seem to think of it as sort of a cookbook for classrooms, full of recipes for things to do, and ingredient suggestions in the way of good books that kids might like and how the books can be integrated into different content areas... it also includes places to go (organizations, etc) to find more books. It's my opinion granted, but if you really dredge the pages for that sort of information, the book is more than worth its price tag. I'm already using it compile a shopping list of books to find at thrift stores for my classroom library....more