Table of Contents

    Cover Theme
  • Free The Library That Target Built

    By Rachel Cloues

    When Target donated a library “makeover” to a San Francisco elementary school, the district’s anti-branding policy wasn’t enough to keep the students from being engulfed by corporate messaging.

  • Free La biblioteca que construyó Target

    Por Rachel Cloues | Traducido por Nicholas Yurchenco

    Cuando Target le donó a una escuela primaria en San Francisco la remodelación de su biblioteca, la política del distrito en contra de las marcas no fue suficiente para impedir que los estudiantes fueran bombardeados por mensajes corporativos.

  • Disarming the Nuclear Family

    Creating a classroom book that reflects the class

    By Willow McCormick

    Most children’s books—even those with animals as the protagonists—portray families with two heterosexual parents. A 2nd-grade teacher has her students create a book that represents their own more diverse families.

  • Free El desarme de la familia nuclear

    Un libro que refleje la realidad del salón de clases

    Por Willow McCormick | Traducido por César Peña-Sandoval

    La mayoría de libros para niños –hasta los que usan animales como protagonistas– retratan a las familias con dos padres heterosexuales. Una maestra de 2do grado pide que sus estudiantes creen un libro que represente la diversidad de sus propias familias.

  • Free “May the Odds Be Ever in Your Favor”

    Teaching class and collective action with The Hunger Games

    By Elizabeth Marshall, Matthew Rosati

    The Hunger Games becomes the basis for a role play that deepens students’ understanding of social class and its impact on alliances and resistance.

  • Free “Que las probabilidades estén siempre a su favor”

    Enseñar sobre las clases sociales y la acción colectiva a través de Los juegos del hambre (The Hunger Games)

    Por Elizabeth Marshall, Matthew Rosati

    Los juegos del hambre se usa como base para una dramatización que profundiza el conocimiento de los estudiantes sobre la clase social y cómo esta impacta las alianzas y la resistencia.

  • '12 Years a Slave': Breaking Silences About Slavery

    By Jeremy Stoddard

    A teacher educator puts the award-winning 12 Years a Slave in the context of other films used to teach about slavery.

  • Features
  • Free Singing Up Our Ancestors

    By Linda Christensen

    Students learn some cultural history, “raise the bones” of a biographical poem, and then write their own.

  • Free Independence or Catastrophe?

    Teaching Palestine through multiple perspectives

    By Samia Shoman

    A social studies teacher uses conflicting narratives to engage students in studying the history of Palestine/Israel, focusing on the events of 1948.

  • Free Carbon Matters

    Middle school students get carbon cycle literate

    By Jana Dean

    A 6th-grade teacher uses the carbon cycle to help students understand climate change. Along the way, she deals with a parent who wants her to give equal time to “climate change is a myth.”

  • Departments Free
  • Our picks for books, videos, websites, and other social justice education resources.
  • Good Stuff
  • Affirmations

    By Herbert Kohl
  • Letter from the Editors
  • Targeting Books and Films

    By the editors of Rethinking Schools
  • In Memoriam
  • In Memoriam: David McLimans

    By Patrick J.B. Flynn


Invent to Learn: Making, Tinkering, and Engineering in the Classroom

By Sylvia Libow Martinez
and Gary Stager
(Constructing Modern Knowledge Press, 2013)

Sylvia Libow Martinez and Gary Stager’s Invent to Learn is a persuasive, powerful, and useful reconceptualization of progressive education for digital times. Influenced by the work of Seymour Papert, Marvin Minsky, and Cynthia Solomon of the MIT Media Lab, the authors put forth a socially relevant program that engages students in creating software programs, experimenting with building computers, developing applications, and working cooperatively. The authors approach science and technology education from an alternative and resolutely progressive angle, drawing on Solomon’s thoughts on what constitutes “real” science: “It seems that, to many people, tinkering connotes a messiness and unprofessionalism that doesn’t apply to ‘real’ jobs in scientific fields. I believe the opposite is true—tinkering is exactly how real science and engineering is done.”

This book provides concrete instances in which making—learning by doing—can work in classrooms as an inexpensive, fun, and educational way to celebrate students’ creativity and ingenuity. With the current demand for more science and math in schools, the usual route emphasizes mechanical learning and continual evaluation in structured, competitive learning situations. As a much-needed alternative, Invent to Learn provides a vision of a libertory science education that integrates arts, digital technology, cooperative experimentation, and what David Hawkins calls “messing about.”  


Hold Fast to Dreams: A College Guidance Counselor, His Students, and the Vision of a Life Beyond Poverty

By Joshua Steckel
and Beth Zasloff
(The New Press, 2014)

How can you help students not only get into college, but also succeed there? Hold Fast to Dreams explores the everyday challenges faced by Joshua Steckel, a high school college counselor in Brooklyn whose support and guidance don’t end at graduation. The book delves into the complex issues that surround higher education in the United States as students from poor and underserved communities negotiate both the grueling admissions process and the unfamiliar college landscape. Beautifully written accounts of 10 students portray their perseverance and intelligence, struggles and successes, as they pass through high school and into college. This book reaffirms the essential role teachers can play in the lives of their students, and raises important questions about the failed promises of higher education as the key to class mobility.