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Starting from Scratch: One Classroom Builds Its Own Curriculum 1st Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
A friend who heads a prestigious business school told me that the dissertation reminded him of Steven Levy's book, Starting from Scratch, which was his favorite educational book. I immediately borrowed a copy from the Lexington, Massachusetts library and settled in for some great reading.
The book's center point describes how Mr. Levy and colleagues designed new curricula over the years to enhance learning by exposing students to things they would never learn in their environment. Like the ancient Greeks, Mr. Levy asks questions and encourages students to do the same . . . and then to find the answers. Research may include surveys, measurements, or contacting far-away experts. More than just a subject matter, students learn how to learn.
Mr. Levy's central example involves the concept of having students arrive on the first day of school in an empty classroom and then decide what to fill it with . . . and provide for themselves by raising money, making what they need, and borrowing assistance where appropriate. I loved it!
Mr. Levy is obviously a great teacher. He also displays great humility by not taking too much credit for what goes right . . . when it goes right. He describes stumbles and falls as well as close calls.Read more ›
Reading the book felt a little like reverse-engineering my own mind. My classmates in college and graduate school economics and statistics classes really frustrated themselves trying to memorize formulas. I never even attempted that, because I found that if I took the time to understand what the formulas meant, I could spontaneously derive them during the test. I think this came from the fact that Mr. Levy not only avoided giving us answers, he actually discouraged us from calling out answers we might have already heard somewhere. Even if we knew where we were supposed to end up, he would still lead us through the path of questions, so that we would have to think about how we got there.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The point of this book is how classrooms can, when teachers don't start from where the students are at ("Scratch"), leave kids disengaged, bored and frustrated. Read morePublished on March 8, 2004 by Stuart Goldstein
An excellent and highly entertaining book. The classroom stories are wonderful: creative and humorous. I've had great success with several of Levy's ideas in my own classroom.Published on February 1, 1999