A Paradigm Change for my Apes Class. Ishmael, the Book.
My students need 33 copies of "Ishmael: An Adventure of the Mind and Spirit" as an introduction to our AP Environmental Science class.
This project expired on December 25, 2010.
Hooray! This project is fully funded
The class I teach is an Advanced Placement Class in Environmental Science (APES). I hope to jump start environmental interest and awareness to my urban students by reading and discussing together this book that was the winner of the Turner Tomorrow Fellowship. I hope to change their paradigm.
My students are Juniors and Seniors in a small urban school in NYC.
The majority of these Hispanic students are eligible for free school lunches. Though quite intelligent they are behind in reading and comprehension skills. This makes for a very difficult time in a course as vigorous as this AP one. Lack of reading skills and lack of understanding the importance of environmental sustainability add to this difficulty. Often lack of reading skills alone stop study and text reading.
I have several major objectives in having my students begin this course with a reading and daily class discussion of this book. The first is to get them to read! My students are those that can "decode" (read the words) but not comprehend. Quinn's book, "Ishmael" along with daily discussion will hold their interest. It may be the first book in a science class read in this manner. The daily discussion of assigned reading will enable comprehension of some key environmental concepts and inspire them to understand more of how the Earth's systems work together to enable sustainability. Provoking such interest is a second objective. The Orlando Sentinel writes: "The point remains that we are killing the earth along with ourselves and it is nearly too late to check our fate. This is reason enough for reading 'Ishmael'". Another reason is to bring a unity to the class. This unity brings needed support from one another. One important element in being an effective student.
Often times text books are overwhelming...and thus seldom read well.
Using a novel to introduce concepts prior to going to text will bring the subject alive and provide personal meaning to this important topic. This "personal meaning" translates in the child being ready to learn because they see a reason for knowing. To paraphrase A.S. Neil ("Summerhill"): "When the child is ready they will learn." A teacher-led reading of this book will enable this readiness.
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