Jeff Beals

Reconstructing the South by Bill Bigelow really stands out as an exceptional lesson on every level, provoking deep conversation among teachers and among the students when run in class.

This lesson manages to accomplish two things extraordinarily difficult to do in the social studies classroom: make history seem undetermined and make the students see themselves as actors in shaping history.

The issues at stake are so profound that the students are invariably engaged and the methodology of stepping back and letting them deliberate lets loose powerful and unpredictable energy.

Leaders and conflicts invariably emerge. Students’ true personalities come to the surface and the line between radicalism and conservatism in politics becomes clearer than ever before.