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Possibilities in Practice

Social Justice Teaching in the Disciplines

Edited By Summer Melody Pennell, Ashley S. Boyd, Hillary Parkhouse and Alison LaGarry

This edited collection illustrates different possibilities for social justice practice in various grade levels, disciplines, and interdisciplinary spaces in P–12 education. Chapters in this unique volume demonstrate teaching with a critical lens, helping students develop critical dispositions, encouraging civic action with students, and teaching about topics inclusive of race, class, gender, and sexuality. Based on empirical research, each contribution is rooted in a critical theoretical framework and characterizes findings from sustained study of pedagogic practice, spanning subject matter from social studies, English Language Arts, music, mathematics, and science. Through this work, both pre- and in-service teachers as well as teacher educators will be inspired to practice social justice in their own classrooms.

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Chapter Sixteen: Teaching Columbus to Newcomer Students: Social Justice in the Classroom and Across the Urban Landscape 9th–10th Grade (Jay M. Shuttleworth / Josef Donnelly)


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Teaching Columbus TO Newcomer Students

Social Justice in the Classroom and Across the Urban Landscape

9th–10th Grade


In 2016, on the second Monday in October, about 35,000 people marched up Fifth Avenue in New York City. Nearly 500,000 gathered along the route to watch, and millions more joined as the audience of a globally televised event. In previous years, attentive observers would have glimpsed Grand Marshals like Joe DiMaggio, Frank Sinatra, Sophia Loren, and Antonin Scalia. It is a grand affair where the governor and mayor march, too. If you are lucky, you will see popular musical groups and representatives of professional sport teams. Such is Columbus Day in America’s largest city.

If for some reason you missed seeing the actor portraying Columbus marching along in his billowy outfit (complete with sword and plush hat), do not worry; one can see him any other time in the city, typically in enduring bronze. K–12 students around the country are likely to register at least an acknowledgement of him when school closes in his honor: out of America’s ten federal holidays, Columbus is one of three people to adorn such a day. Only Martin Luther King, Jr. and George Washington, the most famous Americans identified by young people (Wineburg & Monte-Sano, 2008), have also received this Congressional nod.

While Columbus’s position...

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