Tom’s team teaching approach combining Social Studies and English reminds me of one of my favorite classes from high school: the “combo class” taught by Mickey Bogart and Carol Adams at Manhattan High School in Manhattan, Kansas. Mrs. Bogart taught the US History portion, and Mrs. Adams taught the American Literature piece. This was a 2 hour block class: sometimes we would study literature for the entire time, sometimes all history, and other times a little of both. Making connections across content areas is essential for authentic learning to take place, but in my experience this is definitely the exception rather than the rule in US secondary schools. Congrats and kudos to Tom for being innovative and creative, as he seeks to further engage his students!
Check out Tom’s school website American Studies, which documents their work getting students to use blogs and engage more deeply in their studies. Tom’s blog, “The Open Classroom: Using technology, transparency, and discussion to transform education,” is also excellent and worth adding to your personal blogroll. He describes it as “A blog about teaching as a conversation with a special emphasis on weblogs, interdisciplinary teaching, writing, journalism, high school newspapers, and the culture of high school.”
Tom also recommends “Writing America: Classroom Literacy and Public Engagement” by Teachers College Press. Great recommendations from another educator passionate about teaching and learning!
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