At the beginning of October, I wrote a post about the “textbook challenge” proposed by Scott McLeod. My post concluded by asking educators to take the challenge and then let me know how it went. Okoboji principal Ryan Cunningham made that a reality by asking two of his teachers if they were willing to take the challenge and write about it. Their posts were amazing! I couldn’t have “staged” more compelling responses. Here are some of the comments that struck me from the posts by Justin Bouse and Sue Hilsabeck along with my comments in red.
“I felt comfortable with the quality of the sources as being reliable after comparing the information provided with not only the textbook, but also other sources of information on the same topics.”
This comment is very true. As a former Social Studies teacher, it seems that too often we accept anything in a book as true. We need to evaluate our resources whether they are online or in print.
“…I felt like the time spent was comparable to any unit I would have created as a new teacher.”
It doesn’t take much time to find online resources, and evaluating those resources doesn’t need to be terribly time consuming. I know that too often I am my own worst enemy spending too much time searching for the “perfect” resource.
“In short, I love teaching this way! I am excited and I feel like the students are excited. Don’t we all learn better that way?”
“Over the last few years I have found myself using it (textbook) less and less while finding my social studies lessons to be more and more engaging for students.”
I think most students would agree that the textbook isn’t extremely engaging.
“In order to make the learning more student-centered I had each student select a topic from our unit they wanted to learn more about and complete a Personal Lesson Plan.”
This would be extremely difficult to do without technology! Textbooks generally don’t provide in depth coverage over the wide range of things students can study.
” It is always so fun to see how engaged the kids are when they have ownership in what they produce and there is always a great amount of pride when they are sharing their learning with the class as they truly become the experts on the topic.”
My best memories as a teacher were when students were creating and then sharing their work!