Home > Archives > Volume 24 - Issue 4, Summer 2010
Volume 24 Number 4

The U.S. poet Robert Frost said, “A poem begins as a lump in the throat, a sense of wrong, a love sickness. It finds the thought and the thought finds the words.” Our cover section focuses on three teachers who guide students to find their voice through poetry, to take the lump in their throat and transform it into poetry that gives them a sense of their own power. At the same time, Tom McKenna, Renée Watson, and Elizabeth Schlessman show us how to use poetry to help students think critically about their personal experience and connect it to a larger social reality.

Pain and Poetry • Facing Our Fears
By Tom McKenna
Poetry becomes the vehicle for students to strengthen the classroom community, think critically about their collective experience, and push their teacher to push them.

Five Years After the Levees Broke • Bearing Witness Through Poetry
By Renée Watson
A poet in the schools leads students to compare three natural disasters—Hurricane Katrina, the San Diego wildfires, and the recent earthquake in Haiti—and turn their grief and anger into poetry.

Aquí y Allá • Exploring Our Lives Through Poetry — Here and There
By Elizabeth Schlessman
An elementary teacher uses the poetry of Jorge Argueta to help students express their feelings about leaving one country for another.

Steady Work • Finland Builds a Strong Teaching and Learning System
By Linda Darling-Hammond
An insightful look at a country that decided to invest in teachers and social support instead of standardized testing.

Wise, Wiser, Teacher • What I Learned in Finnish Schools
By Therese Quinn
A U.S. educator reflects on her experiences in Finland.

A Librarian in Every School, Books in Every Home • A Modest Proposal
By Bob Peterson
Elementary school students join a campaign to save school librarians.

Coming Soon to Your Favorite Credential Program • National Exit Exams
By Ann Berlak
A California teacher educator analyzes the impact of Arne Duncan's pet standardized test for credential candidates.

Those Awful Texas Social Studies Standards • And What About Yours?
By Bill Bigelow
The new Texas standards deserve the bad press they’ve received, but Oregon’s aren’t that much better. How about the standards in your state?

‘Greco-Roman Knowledge Only’ in Arizona Schools • Indigenous Wisdom Outlawed Once Again
By Roberto Cintli Rodriguez
The Arizona legislature attacks ethnic studies, and it’s the tip of the iceberg.

Fighting for Electives • Lessons in Change
By Melissa Bollow Tempel
A middle school teacher tries to reclaim electives for students assigned to READ 180 instead.

Free To Teach • The Journey, in Comics
By William Ayers
A peek at the new graphic novel that brings to life a best-selling memoir.

Free EDITORIAL • What’s Up with All the Teacher Bashing?
The Editors of Rethinking Schools

Free Letters to the Editors

March 4 Protests
Free the Hikers
King Celebration in Racine
Victory for Gibran Academy

Free GOOD STUFF • New Looks at Old Problems
Herbert Kohl

Our picks for books, websites, and other resources for social justice teachers.