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Black Ants and Buddhists: Thinking Critically and Teaching Differently in the Primary Grades Paperback – April, 2006

ISBN-13: 978-1571104182 ISBN-10: 1571104186 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Stenhouse Publishers; 1 edition (April 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1571104186
  • ISBN-13: 978-1571104182
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 0.6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #84,100 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"This fascinating text takes readers on a journey. The book is nothing short of provocative." - Childhood Education


"Written in an engaging style, this is an inspiring book for educators and parents alike." - Mothering


"Every page is jam-packed with valuable information that defies a single reading." - Education Review

More About the Author

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Customer Reviews

Its an easy and fun read.
Natalie lozada
As a teacher myself, reading this book gave me new insight into various lessons and children's thinking.
G. Reyes Illg
It will totally change your way of thinking... for the better.
Cindy Dugat

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Leslie Poynor on April 7, 2007
Format: Paperback
I have just finished one of the best books about teaching that I have ever read. It is written by a teacher of first and second graders, but the work she does with these culturally, linguistically,and economically diverse children goes far beyond the work covered in most high school AP courses. Whether you are a teacher or not, whether you teach first grade or graduate school, I highly, highly, highly recommend this book.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Mary Ann Sheets on January 30, 2007
Format: Paperback
I own this book and used it during my master's classes in education. It is a wonderful text to get you thinking about the different ways social studies and the world can be presented to your students while still meeting standards. I highly recommend it just for the sheer joy of the love of teaching Mary Cowhey teaches us!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Kathleen J. Weiss on January 4, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am learning so much about learning styles and how to really help the kids to understand what you are teaching. It's great.
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16 of 21 people found the following review helpful By bookhound on August 28, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
There are definitely elements of this book I like: her use of field trips, her ability to build collaborative relationships with parents and then bring them into her classroom for projects and lessons, her creative projects and many attempts to make her children feel empowered. I also really liked the way that she reads a picture book once a week that she feels will encourage some kind of lively discussion about the world - friendship, courage, social issues, etc.

BUT, I agree (and I am super liberal and very interested in anti-bias education) that much of her teaching was *deeply developmentally inappropriate and actually very biased (just with the opposite bias than the "traditional" ones of textbooks twenty or thirty years ago). Her book is super preachy and I was left wondering what the children did all day besides have intense conversations about how horrible Jefferson is because he owned slaves. I'm all for re-thinking our historical myths (e.g. that the Founding Fathers were some kind of saints), but I personally believe peace work, which the author is obsessed with, more comes from being able to listen and understand another's perspective in a way that doesn't cast them as villains, even if some of their actions look pretty horrible from our modern lens.

I really was not a fan of this book overall. It made me feel that the author really should have stayed in her former job of political organizing rather than using her job as a teacher of young children to politicize them. She may not realize it, but she is actually doing the same thing as the teachers of long ago did to her, which she bemoans at various points. She is quite actively pushing a particular political agenda on *6! year olds. I really was left just wanting to hear that she reads her kids Shel Silverstein and Winnie the Pooh occasionally, too. I hope that she does.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Kates on July 19, 2010
Format: Paperback
I have really enjoyed reading through this well-written, easy flowing text for my pre-service teaching course. Author has reminded me that teaching is not only a job but has responsibilities and privileges to be embraced. While the specifics may not be replicable in a classroom, the ideals are. I recommend this book highly to those wanting to embrace strategic thinking in the classroom, and how to integrate the everyday into lessons, planned or spontaneously.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Lioness on October 11, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have recommended this book to everyone I know who interacts with children, including a high school student who is completing an internship at her adjoining elementary school. I've also given the book to parents because it presents wonderful ways of relating to children. I am appalled by the lockstep, test-taking, "start them out of the womb" approach that so many are advocating as education these days. I am very worried about children experiencing the current educational system. So many of them are wounded and under-encouraged to learn. They are being taught to take tests, cheat and play the system. That is not learning. Children need the opportunity to think, create and have fun, and Black Ants and Buddhists is a brilliant example of true learning.

Mary Cowhey recognizes that children are quite capable of understanding complex issues if presented in a way that allows for their participation. When reviewers accuse her of pushing her political agenda or unduly influencing children in age-inappropriate ways, I think they are underestimating the abilities of these children to understand the world and to make their own judgements about social issues. If you notice, the children don't always agree with her or with each other; it's in talking it through that they all learn something. I only wish that all teachers were like Mary Cowhey.

I am currently writing a book about teaching (30 years of using activity based methods with adults) and I am using this book as part of my research because the same techniques she uses with children apply to adults. We all learn best when we are engaged, excited and having a good time.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Cindy Dugat on February 17, 2008
Format: Paperback
I would recommend this book to anyone teaches or works with children. This such an inspirational book with great ideas. I think every superintendent all the way down to the para-professionals need to read this book. It will totally change your way of thinking... for the better.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By G. Reyes Illg on October 7, 2008
Format: Paperback
This is a great book, hard to put down!!! She writes mainly about her days, and important things to keep in mind as a teacher.
As a teacher myself, reading this book gave me new insight into various lessons and children's thinking. It also was an affirmation piece, which I feel is important to teachers once in a while to remind us that we are doing the right things.
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