In the case studies that make up the bulk of this book, middle and high school history teachers describe the decisions and plans and the problems and possibilities they encountered as they ratcheted up their instruction through the use of big ideas. Framing a teaching unit around a question such as 'Why don't we know anything about Africa?' offers both teacher and students opportunities to explore historical actors, ideas, and events in ways both rich and engaging. Such an approach exemplifies the construct of ambitious teaching, whereby teachers demonstrate their ability to marry their deep knowledge of subject matter, students, and the school context in ways that fundamentally challenge the claim that history is 'boring.'
S. G. Grant is the founding dean of the School of Education at Binghamton University. His research interests include the intersection of curriculum and assessment policy. Jill M. Gradwell is an assistant professor and coordinator of social studies education in the Department of History and Social Studies at Buffalo State College, State University of New York. Her research centers on teaching, learning, and assessing history.
Chapter 1 Introduction Chapter 2 The Evolution of a Big Idea: Why Don't We Know Anything About Africa? Chapter 3 Defining Success with Big Ideas: A New Teacher's Growth and Challenges Chapter 4 From the Holocaust to Darfur: A Recipe for Genocide Chapter 5 How I Learned To Stop Worrying about the Test and to Love Teaching Students to Write Well Chapter 6 Big Expectations: Big Ideas in Honors and Inclusion Chapter 7 Big Ideas: A Methodology to Engage Students Chapter 8 Reconstructing Reconstruction and History Chapter 9 Big Ideas and Ambitious Teaching: A Cross-Case Analysis Chapter 10 Implications