Summer Reading part 2

New England BoundSo this wasn’t a part of my original stack of summer reading books (see Summer Reading part 1 post), I happened to stumble across this while browsing on Amazon for something else so I purchased it (along with 4 other books – yikes! I have even more to read now…).  This was worth the read.

Published on June 7, 2016, Princeton assistant professor Wendy Warren focuses in great detail on the origin and institution of slavery in New England.  Normally, we don’t think of slavery having deep roots in the earliest days of colonial New England but Dr. Warren’s copious research and documentation shines new light on how slavery and the slave trade emerged as a significant part of the economic, political, and social structures of New England.

This is also a deeper look into globalization. One of the things I want to be more intentional about with my 9th grade American Studies students is globalization through the context of  17th, 18th & 19th century America. This paragraph on page 113 really struck me:

“The work of colonization had proceeded thus: Indians and Africans had replaced each other in ways orchestrated by settler colonists, for the purposes of profit and expansion. The Atlantic slave trade was a process, consisting of a series of moments in which people of diverse nations and cultures (African elites, European merchants, Indian adversaries) all agreed, at various times in different places, to capture and commodify other people. If enough had said no, the system might have faltered. but people predictably, tragically, said yes, in Europe, in Africa, in the West Indies, and in New England, and their individual moments of agreement helped facilitate, in the seventeenth century, a global trade. The eventual decision make by other people to say no, more than a century and half later, would create a continental rupture.” 

This is not a book for my 9th grade students to read. It could work with strong junior or senior readers and is certainly appropriate for college students.  I have to figure out how to take some key excerpts like the paragraph above and embed them into my instruction. There are also excellent primary sources referenced so I will seek out those documents for students to work with.

I might also use NPR’s Fresh Air interview with Wendy Warren with my students. Having them listen to a segment of the Terry Gross’s interview may be a good entry point into our study of slavery. Fresh Air Interview Transcript





Summer Reading part 1

It’s summer vacation. Finally.   In addition to more time for relaxing with family, cooking decent meals, working out, and attempting to garden, summer also means that I have a stack of books I’ve been meaning to read, reread, or finish reading for a long time.

Summer Reading 1



Yesterday I got through book #1:  Yong Zhao’s Catching Up or Leading the Way: American Education in the Age of Globalization. ASCD, 2009.

Catching Up or Leading the Way

Dr. Zhao was the keynote speaker at the Rowland Foundation Conference at the University of Vermont which I attended last fall after receiving his book at the Teachers for Global Classrooms Global Symposium in February 2015.

Rowland foundation 2015

One of the questions that he poses in his book is What knowledge is of most worth in the global and digital economy?   This is an important question given another of Zhao’s points, “what can we do to help our children live, work, interact with people from different cultures and countries?”  Schools need to seriously consider, especially given current presidential campaign rhetoric about “Making America Great Again”, how students develop global perspective and citizenship. Zhao writes on page 113, “As citizens of the globe, they need to be aware of societal issues, to care about people in distant places, to understand the nature of global economic integration, to appreciate the interconnectedness and interdependence of peoples, to respect and protect cultural diversity, to fight for social justice for all, and to protect planet Earth – home for all human beings.”   This is a long and difficult list to tackle in most public schools given all of the other pressures teachers face and it certainly can’t be done by social studies teachers alone.

As I continue my summer reading stack, this is the big idea that will continue to be first and foremost in my mind as I plan my courses and student learning experiences for next year.