Taking Cues from Kids: How They Think * What to Do About It

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9780325002101: Taking Cues from Kids: How They Think * What to Do About It

Is it possible to address the individual learning needs of thirty active multiage, multiethnic elementary students - all at the same time? Dorothy Peters has been doing this for almost twenty years. In Taking Cues from Kids, she demonstrates how - to twelve student teachers at New York City's Central Park East School, many of whom themselves began as skeptics.

A compilation of yearlong journal exchanges between Peters and her student teachers, this unique book immerses readers in the specificities of classroom life on a day-to-day basis - the actual framework in which any teacher must make decisions. Intelligent, perceptive, constructively critical, these student teachers raise questions all educational practitioners face and their discussions cover the spectrum of issues - everything from punishment versus consequence and dealing with "difficult" children to planning and implementing integrated curriculum, fostering inquiry, assessing and tracking students' growth, and managing hands-on experiential learning. The book also provides lots of practical support: sample room layouts, suggestions for classroom provisioning, a sample record-keeping form, a planning web for integrated curriculum, a sample lesson plan, a chapter on getting started, suggested readings, and lots of photographs illustrating how hands-on learning progresses across the grades.

There is something in this book for everyone. Experienced teachers will extend and deepen their understanding of child-centered practice, discovering additional techniques to add to their repertoire. New teachers will be encouraged to discover how much they already know and that moments of self-doubt and discouragement at the start of a teaching career are universal. Master teachers, mentors, and staff developers will find an effective model for coaching.

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About the Author:

Dorothy Peters began her teaching career in 1972 as the only open classroom teacher in a traditional public school on Chicago's south side. Nine years later she joined the faculty of Central Park East One, an alternative public school in New York City's East Harlem, under its founder and then-director Deborah Meier. Currently, Peters is a supervisor of student teachers enrolled in pre-K through sixth-grade placements, the preservice Master's degree program at Teachers College, Columbia University, in New York City.

Review:

“[This is] a remarkable book. . . . Dottie reminds us that wisdom is cumulative and the experiences of other teachers and other schools, as well as research on teaching and learning, are critical experiences to take with us into our classrooms.”–Deborah Meier

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Peters, Dottie
Published by Heinemann (2000)
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