My Enemy, the Textbook

Discussion in 'High School' started by DocHistory11, May 2, 2008.

  1. DocHistory11

    DocHistory11 Rookie

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    Our B.O.E. has been working on plans to incorporate more reading into our courses. Although our ELA scores have been high the past few years, a plan to continue such excellence is being worked out. Though I agree with this (and very much approve and support it), I have been told that the textbook will be used more frequentely in social studies.

    I have never used the textbook that often. In fact I didn't hand them out until October. They are purely there for project resource, nothing else. But under the new plan, all s.s. teachers are encouraged to incorporate daily reading assignments (by using the textbook).

    The textbooks we use are good ones, but I figure if I can teach the class without them, why not? So I'm wondering how I should go about doing book work (bleh). I will still give out my old reading packets as well. (For each unit, I normally have primary/secondary source readings, short paragraph readings, and excerpts.)

    I HATE using the textbook. Therefore, I'm thinking that if I assign a "Preview" assingment on Monday and a "Wrap Up" assignment on Friday that would work. In other words, students would read on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and then write a summary/reflection type thing on Friday. As to how many pages they read per night is up to them. However, I'm afraid that they won't space it out as I want them to.

    Any suggestions??
     
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  3. wldywall

    wldywall Connoisseur

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    Limit what you assign to read in the textbook, like an overview of each chapter, give them questions they have to answer. Then give your regular reading packets. I think using just a book, or a book heavily is always a bad idea. The darn thing becomes the students enemy! They begin to abadon the thing (in the locker, at home, at the "crib") Its just that they are dull to read, so why force them to read it more than they must. IF you are incorportating reading every day and using best practices reading strategies, should it really matter what they are reading?
     
  4. Tasha

    Tasha Phenom

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    One of my professors had us choose a quote from each reading assignment and write a short paragraph about how that quote influenced our teaching/changes something we thought we knew/etc... It was an interesting way to structure reading a book that we didn't have time for in class. Some of the material was on the tests too, so it wasn't as if you could skip over it.

    Another solution would be a simple KWL chart that they used to preview/ask questions on Monday and complete on Friday. Here is an example if you haven't used one before: http://www.ncrel.org/sdrs/areas/issues/students/learning/lr2kwl.htm
     
  5. ancientcivteach

    ancientcivteach Habitué

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    Doc, do you have to use the textbook, or could you use excerpts from nonfiction books or articles? That's still reading, and far more interesting than your average textbook.
     
  6. DocHistory11

    DocHistory11 Rookie

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    According to my director, I may provide them with articles and so forth, but I must include textbook readings. Which I do not agree with (or see the logic in) but I guess that's why I'm not making the big bucks.

    My wife, also a teacher, suggests that I have them read 2-3 pages for a Do Now in the morning. That way they get a preview of the lesson and they don't have to read boring textbook pages for hw.
     
  7. INteacher

    INteacher Aficionado

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    Are you directed to have students read the chapters? Most good history textbooks have the good stuff on the sides - looking at art work, primary sources, connecting history to today, technology and history ect . . . Can you have your students read those more interesting parts of the text and be able to legitamately say you are using the text??
     
  8. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I guess I'm not really seeing how this new requirement is going to alter your current teaching practices in any way. The only thing different is that you're going to be assigning a few reading passages from the textbook, right?

    Your wife's idea to have them read as part of your morning bellringer sounds like a good one to me. You could also have them read and take notes (Cornell or SQ3R or whatever) using book articles.

    Books, even textbooks, aren't inherently bad. And, in fact, they often have a lot of good information. We shouldn't dismiss them entirely, in my opinion. We need to teach kids that books store valuable information, and we need to give them the resources and the confidence to use them.

    (Of course, I'm a Latin teacher, so I value old things and old ways.)
     
  9. DocHistory11

    DocHistory11 Rookie

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    Well, I've never placed much emphasis on using the textbook (besides research). I give lectures (Power Point) and we have a class debate/discussion per week. Therefore, I never saw the purpose in assigning 6-9 pages to read and then answer questions on. This year my HW all consisted of worksheets. This year my HW focused on what we did in class.

    For example if we learned about Lincoln's plan for Reconstruction, they would have a worksheet to complete on Lincoln's Plan for Recon. for HW.

    With a textbook, I'd have to change my style of teaching to "previewing" the next day's lesson. If I gave them textbook HW on what we did in class that day (like I normally do with my worksheets) then they are just rereading what we did in class and that's a waste. Therefore, I'd have to change it so they were reading about the next day's lesson. I prefer to reinforce what we did that day in class (like in a math class).

    Normally my worksheets would just have them think critically about what we took notes on that day and would take about 30 mins top. If I continued that method and added in textbook reading it could jump to an hour and I don't really want to assign an hr's worth of HW.
     
  10. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Yes, but...

    In college, students have to read. In fact, they have to read, read, read, read, read. And some of what they read is very technical, dry, and boring. But they still have to read it. And understand it.

    If we don't help them (read: force them to) build those reading and comprehension skills now, we are doing them a tremendous disservice.
     
  11. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    I use my textbook quite a bit in my AP class they have two chapters to read per week and they have to complete the accompanying workbook assignments (which I made) for homework each week (thats it).

    In my other classes we use it as our background information and use certain pages in it for certian worksheets and activities. We never use a whole chapter and usually not even a whole section; just the information I think is useful.

    Regardless of the level In class we use other readings from our supplement texts, or ones that I have created or found (from nonfiction book, the web or other teachers) and reading worksheets. Of course we have many other activities, worksheets, lectures, etc. that they need the foundations of these readings to complete, but thats the extent of reading.
     
  12. smarkham01

    smarkham01 Companion

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    This is fascinating! It explains why so many students I've subbed for tell me that books (not just text books, by the way) are a waste of time.
     
  13. DocHistory11

    DocHistory11 Rookie

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    That seems to be the census lately.
     
  14. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I think a lot of students hate reading because they never mastered comprehension skills. Many students don't know how to use context clues, can't identify theses, and miss lots of vocabulary words. How much fun can something be when you don't understand the message at all?

    In a similar vein, I don't particularly care for golf, and it's because I don't understand why people need to screw around with different clubs and whatnot. I'm sure that if I understood the principles and physics of the game a little better, I might end up enjoying it.
     
  15. DocHistory11

    DocHistory11 Rookie

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    I've decided I will give them a packet with key questions on it. Some questions will require reading sections in the textbook but I will not assign every section. For examle, I'm thinking of just assigning sections that are highly stressed in my class. With that being said, it will hopefully only need to be done once or twice per week.

    I'm also doing "textbook stations." For example, when we learn about the Classical Med., I will have 1 station set up for them to read and jot down notes on the Roman Republic, then the Republic Empire, then Life in Rome, etc.
     
  16. HMM

    HMM Cohort

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    I doubt it...golf is just incredibly boring.
     
  17. smarkham01

    smarkham01 Companion

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    But why?

     
  18. smarkham01

    smarkham01 Companion

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    I agree Cassie753, but how do packets with key questions help to correct the situation? Students search for an answer to the quesiton ignoring the historical context entirely.

     
  19. DocHistory11

    DocHistory11 Rookie

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    I've never done pure factual questions except for Do Nows and review sheets. Homework questions normally consist of in-depth, critical thinking type questions. Therefore, it's actually easier to read the few pages and then answer than it is to just look for the answer. Because they won't find it by itself. For example, I don't ask "What were the Crusades?" I ask things like "Assess the validity of the following sentence: 'The Crusades brought Europe out of the Middle Ages.'"
     
  20. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    Doc,

    You don't use the textbook in your AP class??
     
  21. DocHistory11

    DocHistory11 Rookie

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    To be completely honest, I don't use it as much as my colleagues. I use it of course, just not as much. I tell my students to keep up with the reading but I don't require a lot of work with it. I tell them to complete either a question sheet I hand out or take detailed notes. But the notes must be turned in before we cover them in class. Therefore, most students just answer the questions. Next year I'm going to add on flash cards for each chapter too.

    (For this thread, I was referring to Honors, I don't think AP can be taught without a textbook.)
     
  22. DocHistory11

    DocHistory11 Rookie

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    (Oh, I use a lot of AP material in my honors classes. Such as "assess the validity" and I love doing WHAP type essays.)
     
  23. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I don't necessarily agree that they do. I don't use packets with key questions... I make my students read original texts, in Latin, and we discuss the historical context before, during, and after the read.
     
  24. wig

    wig Devotee

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    This is an interesting thread. I teach middle school SS. My textbook is not the curriculum, but I do use it as a supplement and resource. I suspect that requiring the use of the textbook is for a couple of reasons: To ensure that reading gets done and since they paid for the books, may as well use them. :D

    I do find value in my books. Mine has a great primary source section which requires reading and reacting to it. It has charts and maps to interpret. Previewing skills can be taught/reinforced by reading headings, captions, charts and pictures and writing a summary of what will be covered in that chapter. Mine always know that it will go beyond what is in the text, but it is a valuable reading strategy. Learning vocabulary in context is important. Outlining is an important skill to learn and can be taught using the text. A short quiz on the assigned reading the night before should tell you whether they did the reading. Mine have written Readers Theater scrips using the book and other sources. Reading fluency is a skill I have notice a rapid decrease in over the years.

    As someone else noted, knowing how to read a text is important before going to college. More often than not I found the profs expected us to read the text and they taught the information that was not in the text.
     
  25. nafisa

    nafisa Rookie

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    Teacher and textbook are not poles apart. I don't like using textbook a lot. KWL method is fun and great. Even a teaching and learning process has a system, as what we find in a textbook, in the form of lesson plan. in fact, if we hate textbook, we kill the hatred by loving it. To make learning process fun, and help the students understand what the book says, we must know the book first right? please correct me.
     
  26. DocHistory11

    DocHistory11 Rookie

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    Another obstacle . . .

    Which textbooks to use:
    U.S. History - The Americans vs. The American Vision
    World History - Glencoe's World History vs. McDougal Littel's Patterns of Interaction

    (I'm planning on incorporating all textbooks, but I'm lost at which ones to each for my primary textbook....)
     
  27. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Does your district have an adopted text?
     
  28. DocHistory11

    DocHistory11 Rookie

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    Nope. In fact, we have about 8 different textbook sets (for just World History). Ranging from 1989 to 2008. My classroom got new ones thankfully.
     
  29. DocHistory11

    DocHistory11 Rookie

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    Oh, I also have Prentice Hall's Global Mosaic or something like that. It's from the early 90's and is complete crap so I'm definitely not using that. (Classical Rome cannot be summed down to a measly 4 pages or so.)
     
  30. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    You're right about that! I have a hard time shrinking it down to 4 years!

    :lol:
     
  31. DocHistory11

    DocHistory11 Rookie

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    Oh wait, I forgot to mention my class also has "American Voices." It, too, is from the 90's but it seems more in depth.
     
  32. DocHistory11

    DocHistory11 Rookie

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    In a total of five pages, all of Greek and Roman culture is included. :eek:
     
  33. wig

    wig Devotee

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    Use the one you like best for whatever you happen to be teaching at the time. Or if you just want to use one, use the one that is overall the best.
     
  34. Emily Bronte

    Emily Bronte Groupie

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    Also, about the use of a textbook, many people (such as parents) have complained that history taught via the textbook is boring, and that students find it as such when it is done this way. This has likely contributed to teachers getting away from reliance on a textbook. Reading is important, that is for sure. It is expected by college profs. I do remember that in many of those college history courses, more often than no, the material for reading was not discussed in class or lecture.
     
  35. INteacher

    INteacher Aficionado

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    Your school doesn't go through a textbook adoption phase? Any teacher can use any textbook? In Indiana, during our textbook adoptions years we are given a list of approved texts by our DOE and we can only pick from that list. We must have a textbook adoption committee formed with 1 content area teacher from high school, jr high and elementary schools, 1 admin. and 2 parents. We all have to use the same book - all World History teachers must use the same book. Have you had to doing any curriculum mapping within your department?
     
  36. DocHistory11

    DocHistory11 Rookie

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    No, we don't have an adopted textbook plan. Every classroom has a copy of Patterns of Interaction & The American Vision. But the rest vary between personal preferences.

    I did think about using the ones that are best per unit, but then there's a storage issue and taking books home.
     
  37. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Do you teach in a public school?
     
  38. DocHistory11

    DocHistory11 Rookie

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    Yup.
     
  39. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    I would use them all, anyways thats what my teachers end up doing, we buy new textbooks every so often, but its up to the teacher which text they wish to use.
     
  40. Exclaimation Po

    Exclaimation Po Habitué

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    As a social studies teacher who's been forced to teach straight language arts for two years, I believe that students should read and write in every class almost every day. With the exception of P.E. Many students end up thinking "Writing is only for English class" or "Reading is only for English Class". The real world doesn't work like that. The sooner they understand that all skills are needed equally, the better.

    DocHistory Does the reading have to be for homework? Or can it be for classwork? My suggestion would be to stick with the text(s) you like the best or have the best info. Just have them read the paragraphs that are relevant to whatever you're working on. When I was doing student teaching, this is what one of my master teachers did. He only taught the state standards, and text books always go beyond what's necessary. So, he'd have the students read the paragraphs that had the necessary information then skip to the next section with relevant information. If I ever get to teach socials tudies, I'm going to do this, too.
     

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