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What's the Big Idea?: Question-Driven Units to Motivate Reading, Writing, and Thinking unknown Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
What is especially valuable about What's the Big Idea is not just the "big ideas"--or guiding questions of the book's title. While questions may help a teacher structure a lesson, the book moves beyond being merely an application of the essential questions pedagogy. The book presents many practical ideas for structuring and sustaining deep levels of student inquiry into whatever the subject of study. And that is the book's grandness--wonderful lessons that help teachers create conditions of deep engagement that Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi calls flow.
In addition to the materials in the book itself, there are helpful links from the book to parallel resources on the publisher's website that make the printing of clear copies of handouts easier.
There are books out there that attempt to frame teaching and learning through one narrow theory or approach. What's the Big Idea is different. In it, Jim Burke tells a wonderful story, a story informed by years of teaching, supported by research, and immersed within the individual journeys of his students to explore, learn, and discover.
Jim's claim is that questions can and should be the core of our instruction--the foundation for delivering our curriculum; the result will be motivated students engaged in high level critical thinking throughout the year. He states, "...education should disturb when possible; it should challenge students' perspectives, inspire curiosity, and pose questions about why things are the way they are." (78)
To demonstrate the role inquiry plays within instructional units, Jim takes us through his teaching of Romeo and Juliet, Of Mice and Men, and Crime and Punishment so we can witness his instruction and student results from beginning to end. Another unit he shares is an end-of-year project focused on independent reading experiences in his senior AP course. At the same time, Jim shows how he differentiates instruction for struggling students by describing how he scaffolds lessons when necessary so that all students are able to master the same skills. He states, "I began the year committed to the idea that my students could do challenging work, wrestle with big questions and complex ideas, if I guided my instruction not by the questions, `How low must I go?Read more ›
It doesn't, however, teach me enough to design my own curriculum or thoughtfully use questioning in my own classroom context.
Great content, though!
Jim draws on and makes connections with many of the best contemporary thinkers as he provides the theoretical bases for his chapters. Although many of the lessons deal with specific texts, they are easily adaptable to any works a teacher might be using in class.
This important book is supported by superb graphics, online access to handouts and organizers, and useful appendices.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The book had a lot of helpful information. It was used in one of my college Education classes. A must-read for teachers!Published 23 months ago by Taylor_Reviews
I do a lot of one-on-one tutoring with middle school students, and this particular book has been a great addition to my resources for reading comprehension.Published on August 10, 2013 by Kindle Customer
With this book I have gotten some ideas for helping students become better readers. I hope to find some ideas for pieces to present to my classroom.Published on April 1, 2013 by Bkc4
There are issues with words/images being cut off. It wasn't so bad that I couldn't utilize the content well but it was frustrating. Read morePublished on February 19, 2013 by E-Marie
As a fairly new teacher, I love it when I find a book that helps me do my job better. This book does that. Read morePublished on October 7, 2011 by Ted Persinger
Although I've taught high school English for fifteen years, I am still an avid reader of teacher resource books. Read morePublished on September 30, 2011 by Dahliasbooks