The fifth-graders inside are either immigrants or children of immigrants; most live in poverty and few speak English as their first language. They also play Vivaldi, perform unabridged plays by Shakespeare, and go on to attend the finest universities in the country. Rafe Esquith is the teacher who helps them achieve these accomplishments. And this extraordinary bestselling book is his gift to all those who care about our children's future: a detailed, unforgettable guide to turning kids on to the wonder of learning, the power of the imagination, and the wealth of finding oneself.
Esquith might be the only public school teacher to be honored by both Oprah Winfrey and the Dalai Lama; he is the only school teacher ever to receive the president's National Medal of the Arts. For the past 25 years, Esquith has taught fifth graders at Hobart Elementary in central Los Angeles. Like most progressive educators, Esquith is outraged by the tyranny of testing, the scripting of teaching under "No Child Left Behind" and the overwhelming bureaucratization of the education industry. Still, he's done wonders with the basic curriculum developing a hands-on arts program, a money-management curriculum and a sports-based statistics unit. Esquith and his Hobart Shakespeareans are world famous for the rock opera they create every year. Throughout each school day, Esquith teaches life skills: how to think about problems, how to plan a strategy to solve them and, most important, how to work together and be nice to each other. While his goals are inspiring, he's also practical most chapters include affordable, how-to directions for a variety of his most effective classroom activities; he's even got a few tips for revamping those inescapable "test prep" sessions. (Jan.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.