Social Studies Methods Class, Reading Tips.

Common Ground tops the list of must-read books going forward for my Social Studies Methods students.

Common Ground tops the list of must-read books going forward for my Social Studies Methods students.

It’s the final day of our Social Studies Methods Class, and today I am sharing some of the books that can be useful in developing their content knowledge:

1. Common Ground, by J. Anthony Lukas.  This Pulitzer-Prize winning work tells the story of three families in Boston during the turbulent decade that began with Dr. King’s assassination, and it is very much an American story about race, class, history and neighborhoods.  A master work.

2. There Are No Children Here, by Alex Kotlowitz.  Former Wall Street Journal reporter and my former professor Kotlowitz expanded stories he wrote about brothers growing up in the Henry Horner Homes on Chicago’s West Side.  The title comes from a quote by the boys’  mother.

3. The Burning Tigris, by Peter Balakian.  Acclaimed poet, memoirist and literature professor Balakian tells the story of the human rights movement in America that sprung up to protest the Armenian Genocide.

4.  The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, by William Shirer.  Journalist Shirer provides one of the definitive accounts of Hitler’s rise to power and move toward genocide.

5. The Redemptive Self, by Dan McAdams.  This book by Northwestern professor McAdams talks about the concept of generativity, or what people create with their lives.  It can provide a useful framework for how teachers can evaluate what they and their students have accomplished.

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