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This practical book shows how veteran, justice-oriented social studies teachers are responding to the Common Core State Standards, focusing on how they build curriculum, support students’ literacy skills, and prepare students to think and act critically within and beyond the classroom. In order to provide direct classroom-to-classroom insights, the authors draw on letters written by veteran teachers addressed to new teachers entering the field. The first section of the book introduces the three approaches teachers can take for teaching for social justice within the constraints of the Common Core State Standards (embracing, reframing, or resisting the standards). The second section analyzes specific approaches to teaching the Common Core, using teacher narratives to illustrate key processes. The final section demonstrates how teachers develop, support, and sustain their identities as justice-oriented educators in standards-driven classrooms. Each chapter includes exemplary lesson plans drawn from diverse grades and classrooms, and offers concrete recommendations to guide practice. Print and ebook available from Teachers College PressAmazon, and at your favorite independent book store.

Book Features:

  • Offers advice from experienced educators who have learned to successfully navigate the constraints of high-stakes testing and standards-based mandates.
  • Shares and analyzes curricular and pedagogical approaches to teaching the Common Core, including lesson plans teachers can use in their own classrooms.
  • Examines a range of philosophical and political stances that teachers might take as they navigate the unique demands of teaching for social justice in their own context.

“This inspiring book invites us into conversations that cannot help but to make our teaching more collective, impactful, and profound.”
Kevin Kumashiro, University of San Francisco

“This is a must-read book for practicing and aspiring educators interested in learning how to teach justice-oriented, critical social studies.”
—Brian D. Schultz
, Northeastern Illinois University

“At a time of increasing pressure on teachers, this book provides practical approaches from teachers, for teachers to teach within the confines of the Common Core without compromising rigor, integrity, or social justice.”
Tyrone C. Howard, director, UCLA Black Male Institute, UCLA

“20 veteran teachers candidly show how they have been able to meld standards with rich, demanding, and authentic social justice content and pedagogy. Their marvelous letters to new teachers challenge and inspire as they demonstrate that teaching is truly an ethical and humanizing intellectual endeavor.”
Christine Sleeter, professor emerita, California State University Monterey Bay

Ruchi Agarwal-Rangnath works as a teacher educator and consultant, and is vice president of the National Association of Multicultural Education, California Chapter. She is author of the book, Social Studies, Literacy, and Social Justice in the Common Core Classroom: A Guide for Teachers (2013, Teachers College Press)Alison G. Dover is an assistant professor of secondary education in the Department of Educational Inquiry and Curriculum Studies at Northeastern Illinois University. Nick Henning is an associate professor in the Department of Secondary Education at California State University–Fullerton.