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Spectacular Things Happen Along the Way: Lessons from an Urban Classroom
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Spectacular Things Happen Along the Way: Lessons from an Urban Classroom

3.67  ·  Rating details ·  115 Ratings  ·  14 Reviews
This is an aspiring story of one teacher who resisted the pressures of 'teaching to the test' and created a curriculum based on his students' needs, wants, and desires.
Paperback, 173 pages
Published April 4th 2008 by Teachers College Press (first published 2008)
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Matt Peebles
Sep 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: adult, middle-school
Excellent read. The book discusses a classroom in Cabrini-Green that was badly in disrepair. The class decides to fight for a new school; a school that would have a lunchroom, gym, water fountains, working toilets, soap in the bathroom, windows that are not fogged out and accessorized with bullet holes. It doesn't seem like a silly request, but they must go to great lengths in their effort. They contact political figures and mount an impressive campaign for the heart of their community. Spectacu ...more
Mar 08, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: education
I read this for a grad school class, and I have a love hate relationship with it. I love what Shultz was trying to do, and I appreciated the honesty from his journal entries, but I hate that all we will hear from him is the inexperienced teacher stumbling through something new, because it is clear that he left the classroom after this experience. I would have appreciated reading about what his students accomplished after he'd been teaching like this for four or five years - how would different g ...more
Nov 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars. Very compelling story. Still feel a little conflicted about the white teacher in an urban school aspect of the work. Looking forward to discussing the book in class on Monday.
Jul 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing
"Spectacular Things Happen Along the Way: Lessons from an Urban Classroom"" is a beautifully written, well-researched, and heartfelt account of one classroom's journey from stereotyped and ignored to empowered, challenged and brilliant. Schultz's narrative intelligently interweaves the students thoughts, hopes, disappointments, work, and words with his own reservations, thoughts, struggles, and triumphs. Furthermore, he manages to connect, explain, and reinforce their story with some of the grea ...more
Apr 02, 2008 rated it really liked it
This book is truly inspiring. I had tears streaming down my face and had only hit page 7. Basically, these 5th graders in the Cabrini Green neighborhood are encouraged by their teacher to change their horrendous school. Toilets dont work, the heaters are broken, bullet holes decorate the windows. This is all only 2 years ago, minutes away from Chicagos richest neighborhood! So, the kids start writing to newspapers/senators,etc...and really do something. I just started it, but wow. Really inspiri ...more
Diana Fuerte
Feb 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This book was amazing. The children accomplished so much. Half of the things they did for their school seemed impossible for students their age to do. I couldn't believe there was schools out there in those conditions. If i attended that school i probably wouldn't want to go either. This book was an eye opener. When you think you have it bad just remember that there's someone else out there that has it worse.
Nikol Gordon
Jan 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
I had to read this book for a class and I have to admit it was pretty great. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed when I hear stories of teachers that do amazing things. The story of these amazing students and the teacher that learned right along with them is inspiring. I am pretty sure I could never reach the level of excellence he does as an educator, but how the students became the leader in this scenario is inspiring and motivating!
Emily Klein
Dec 25, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: education
This is a really excellent example of curricular co-creation and what can happen when a teacher allows students to take ownership of their learning. Schultz also does a really nice job examining his role as a white male teacher in a classroom of mostly African American students.

I'm using this text with my students this semester as they negotiate their own inquiry projects.
Jun 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
A great story and excellent use of sources. From Anyon's research on the hidden curriculum of urban schooling, to philosophers like Dewey on foundational elements of what true education should be about, Schultz does a thorough job of incorporating the key elements into intelligently executing a plan laid out by the students. I am utterly impressed.
Oct 16, 2009 rated it really liked it
This is an uplifting book for educators and basically anyone who works with at-risk and/or inner city youth. It shows us that kids can do some amazing things with the right motivation, a little creative thinking, and having teachers that show a little faith in them.
Oct 26, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This is a book written by a former teacher in Chicago. It was a great read for teachers!
John Kissell
Jun 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
Read this for a class ... very good and inspiring classroom success story. He doesn't address some issues, but it is a very good read.
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