What would a classroom look like if understanding and respecting differences in race, culture, beliefs, and opinions were at its heart? Welcome to Mary Cowhey’s Peace Class in Northampton, MA, where first and second graders view the entire curriculum through the framework of understanding the world, and trying to do their part to make it a better place.
Woven through the book is Mary’s unflinching and humorous account of her own roots in a struggling large Irish Catholic family and her early career as a community activist. Mary’s teaching is infused with lessons of her heroes: Gandhi, Eleanor Roosevelt, Helen Keller, Martin Luther King, Jr., and others. Her students learn to make connections between their lives, the books they read, the community leaders they meet, and the larger world.
If you were inspired to become a teacher because you wanted to change the world, and instead find yourself limited by teach-to-the-test pressures, this is the book that will make you think hard about how you spend your time with students. It offers no easy answers, just a wealth of insight into the challenges of helping students think critically about the world, and starting points for conversations about diversity and controversy in your classroom, as well as in the larger community. [Publisher’s description.]
Table of Contents
Foreword by Sonia Nieto
Chapter 1: Introduction
Chapter 2: Compassion, Action, and Change
Chapter 3: Routines: A Day in the Life of the Peace Class
Chapter 4: It Takes a Village to Teach First Grade
Chapter 5: Talking About Peace
Chapter 6: Learning Through Activism
Chapter 7: Teaching History So Children Will Care
Chapter 8: Nurturing History Detectives
Chapter 9: Seeing Ourselves and Our Families Through Students’ Eyes
Chapter 10: Responding When Tragedy Enters the Classroom
Chapter 11: Building Trust with Families and Weathering Controversy
Chapter 12: Going Against the Grain
Afterword: “Take This Hammer”
ISBN: 9781571104182 | Published by Stenhouse Publishers.