Rethinking Schools quarterly educational magazine and publications are testament to the organization’s vision of creating a human, caring, multiracial democracy.
Written by and for teachers, these lessons get to the heart of learning in and beyond the classroom. They are not about memorizing facts, figures, and data. They are about deeper understanding, engaging students’ thinking, and bridging ideas and theories with what’s going on in the world. They also draw on students’ experiences, making for a greater connection. Simply said, Rethinking Schools is about meaningful learning and change.
Explore Rethinking Schools' compelling and dynamic lessons that are featured in both their quarterly magazine and publications. Written in story form, the teacher-author walks you through a lesson with inspiring and supportive narrative. There is a range of essays for grades K-12. Here is a sample of what you will find:
:: GO TO LESSON PLAN: Knock, Knock: Turning Pain into Power
Linda Christensen knew that Daniel Beaty’s three-part poem, “Knock, Knock,” would inspire her students when she watched him read it on HBO’s New Years show “Def Poetry Jam.” Christensen starts the lesson by asking students to “turn and talk” about what works and doesn’t work for them--a prompt for examining content to form. Her assignment to take a page from Beaty and write a letter poem to yourself, giving yourself the advice you need to hear, uncovers mind-blowing feelings from students. If you’d like to give your students an opportunity to write about what really matters to them, and turn pain into power, this is a lesson for you.
This is an excerpt from Linda Christensen's new book Teaching for Joy and Justice: Re-imagining the Language Arts Classroom.
The Healing Power of Poetry
Writers help teens in jail learn to express difficult truths by putting pencil to paper.
Secrets of a Poet Spy
Award-winning poet Martin Espada talks about his Latino roots, the pen as an activist's tool, and why we have to imagine a more just world before making it happen.
:: GO TO LESSON PLAN: Living Algebra, Living Wage
It seems too often that math is taught in a way that is disconnected from our lives. Jana Dean has two goals going into this lesson on linear relationships: One, for her students to engage their math skills to form their own opinions about minimum wage, and two, to motivate her students to stick with their algebra studies. The main assignment is to graph a day’s and then a month’s full-time wages for four service industry occupations, such as a retail clerk at Costco and a home nursing aide. This task and the many following conversations provide students with the framework to learn more than math and consider their own personal circumstances and the world around them.
Teaching Global Warming in Tumwater
What happens when you pause and listen to your student's fears and allow space for them to work through their feelings of powerlessness? In Tumwater, WA they created a new recycling system for the entire school.
How the Middle Class Got Stuck
Surging prices, stagnant wages, spiraling debt. This is what stuck feels like.
100 Years of Human Rights
Explore 100 years of human rights achievements and losses in the US: racial justice, immigrant rights, women's rights, worker rights, and more.
:: GO TO LESSON PLAN: Afghanistan’s Ghosts
An increasing number of high school language arts classes across the country are adopting “The Kite Runner” in their curricula. It can be a tricky novel to teach given the history of U.S. military involvement in Afghanistan. Ian McFeat feels it’s important to ground his students in the history of social conflicts that frame “The Kite Runner” before students read the novel.
In this essay, McFeat describes two activities that prepare students for reading “The Kite Runner.” The first has students choosing one photo that they find powerful from a website of photos taken of the aftermath of the U.S. bombing of Afghanistan post- 9/11, then writing a first person narrative about his or her feelings . The second activity is a tea party where students encounter a diverse array of individuals from Afghanistan's past and present to help them better understand today's conflicts. From these activities, students not only come prepared to read “The Kite Runner,” but also begin thinking critically about U.S. foreign policy and how novels reflect the times and consciousness of our country.
The story of clandestine teacher Fahima, 39 in Kabul, Afghanistan
With All Our Strength
The Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan.
Rethinking School Publications
In addition to the quarterly magazine, Rethinking Schools offers a number of publications that support teachers in their teaching of community, justice, and equality. You will find replicable, ready-to-use lesson plans and activities, essays, poetry, and reflections for kindergarten through college classrooms.
Creative teaching ideas, compelling classroom narratives, and hands-on examples show how teachers can promote the values of community, justice, and equality while building academic skills.
This comprehensive book from Rethinking Schools helps teachers raise critical issues with students in grades 4 - 12 about the increasing globalization of the world's economies and infrastructures, and the many different impacts this trend has on our planet and those who live here.
This unique collection of more than 30 articles shows teachers how to weave social-justice principles throughout the math curriculum, and how to integrate social-justice math into other curricular areas as well. Rethinking Mathematics presents teaching ideas, lesson plans and reflections by practicing classroom teachers and distinguished mathematics educators. This is real-world math - math that helps students analyze problems as they gain essential academic skill.
Rethinking Schools publishes resources to defend and transform public education, and is most noted for their concrete examples of how educators can engage students in social issues from a perspective of equality, anti-racism, social justice, and sustainability. The non-profit organization promotes school policies and approaches to teaching that help educators respect the students and communities they serve. In over 20 years of publishing a quarterly magazine and books, and leading workshops, Rethinking Schools has reached millions of students, future teachers, current teachers, teacher educators, and parent and community activists.