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A Creative Approach to the Common Core Standards
preview of book A Creative Approach to the Common Core Standards
text of book A Creative Approach to the Common Core Standards

A Creative Approach to the Common Core Standards

Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield
Publication Date: 2012
Category: General
Grades: Recommended
Number of Pages: 223
Appropriate for: General readers; upper-division undergraduate students and above
Choice rating: 
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About this title

A Creative Approach to the Common Core Standards: The Da Vinci Curriculum challenges educators to design programs that boldly embrace the Common Core State Standards by imaginatively drawing from the genius of great men and women such as Leonardo da Vinci. A central figure in the High Renaissance, Leonardo made extraordinary contributions as a painter, architect, sculptor, scientist, engineer, and futurist. A Creative Approach demonstrates that schools can cultivate genius such as Leonardo's while insuring that all students realize the core skills that are crucial to all citizens.

Chaucer's Da Vinci Curriculum is relevant to public and independent educators who are creating schools-within-schools, charter schools, renewing schools, or rethinking their own classrooms. A Creative Approach serves as a model of biographical curricula that embraces the standards that Americans share as citizens in a democracy. The text is rich in theory that has been tested in real classrooms. By example, Chaucer demonstrates that high schools can be more demanding, imaginative, engaging, and joyous that most high schools tend to be today. By adapting the Da Vinci Curriculum, all educators can participate in this educational renaissance!

About author
Harry Chaucer

Dr. Harry Chaucer has been recognized as a White House Distinguished Teacher; as Teacher of the Year by the National Association of Biology Teachers, as well as by the American Association of University Women; as a Klingenstein Fellow at Columbia University; as an Apple Fellow; and as an NEA Dorros Peace Trophy recipient. He designed the Da Vinci Curriculum, which has been featured by Teacher Magazine, Business People Magazine, Charles Kuralt's CBS News, and the text Classroom Crusaders. Dr. Chaucer writes not just from theory, but from having successfully designed and led a school that challenges many of the assumptions of conventional American high schools.


List of Tables and Figures

Preface: How to Read This Book



Chapter 1. The Common Core as Unprecedented Opportunity — Renaissance or Reform?
Chapter 2. The Da Vinci Core Curriculum in Light of Contemporary Educational Theory
Chapter 3. The Da Vinci Core Curriculum — Student, Teacher, and the Common Core
Chapter 4. Using the Mind Well — Inductive and Socratic Instructional Practices: Becoming Disciples of Experience
Chapter 5. The Da Vinci Teacher — Engaging Teachers, Engaged Students
Chapter 6. Recipes from the Da Vinci Curriculum — Chef Leonardo
Chapter 7. Details of the Da Vinci Curriculum and Alignment with the Common Core State Standards
Chapter 8. Selected Examples of Rich Inductive Content from the 7-9th Grade Da Vinci Curriculum
Chapter 9. Selected Examples of Rich Inductive Content from the 10-12th Grade Da Vinci Curriculum
Chapter 10. Leonardo da Vinci — His Life and His Relevance to Life Today
Chapter 11. Rounding out the Program — Satellite Programs and Common Questions
Chapter 12. Putting Theory into Practice — New Schools, Schools Within Schools, and Curriculum Renewal. (DuFour and Evans 101.)

About the Author


Chaucer, Harry. A creative approach to the common core standards: the Da Vinci curriculum. Rowman & Littlefield, 2012. 208p bibl index afp; ISBN 9781610486729; ISBN 9781610486736 pbk; ISBN 9781610486743 e-book. Reviewed in 2012nov CHOICE.

Chaucer suggests the marriage of two very unlikely curriculum aspects, namely the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and a meaningful, biographical context for the standards to evolve. Aimed at middle and secondary educators, the Da Vinci curriculum provides an inductive curriculum that focuses on higher-order thinking skills in math and written and verbal communication highlighting the CCSS. The author suggests this framework but also advocates for a local curriculum that is rooted in a history of ideas. Chaucer does not stop there, however. Chaucer provides a rationale, models, suggestions, and opportunities for educators, through the Da Vinci curriculum, to reexamine their current curriculum practice and elevate the learning of both teachers and students to a natural, authentic, and engaging process. Rather than allowing the CCSS to come and go in their classrooms, educators now have a choice to upgrade their thinking about what meaningful teaching and learning can be in the middle and high school years for their students or simply go through the motions of implementing the CCSS.

Summing Up: Recommended. General readers; upper-division undergraduate students and above. -- L. H. Bush, Northeastern Illinois University

Copyright © 2013 American Library Association.
Harry Chaucer incorporates Dewey's emphasis on experience into an up- to- date understanding of both interdisciplinary approaches to learning and adolescents' stages of emotional and cognitive development. While celebrating Leonardo as an example of intellectual and artistic integrity within the Gailer School's Da Vinci Curriculum, Chaucer's fundamental concerns as an educator are to encourage authentic engagement and expression in his students, along with responsibility, mutual supportiveness, and creative play in their school- community as a whole. I feel excited by this challenging and hopeful vision of what education can be.

— John C. Elder Ph.D, Middlebury Professor Emeritus of English and Environmental Studies, and author of Reading the Mountains of Home

As anyone who has suffered through what often passes for education in traditional schools will know, education can be a tedious affair, with uncertain results. Harry Chaucer -- a brilliant educator -- has gone to the roots of human knowledge, digging up unexpected wonders. The Da Vinci curriculum offers an inspired reformation, a genuinely fresh approach, to the process of learning. It takes the student back to the essentials, allowing knowledge to arise naturally from its sources. It's a hands- on, innovative program that favors intuition and inference over prescription, and it has immense potential to enliven, to re- create, our educational system.
— Jay Parini Ph.D, author of The Art of Teaching and of The Last Station

A visionary educator and innovator, Harry Chaucer has chosen exactly the right moment in American time to offer this important, potentially revolutionary call to arms in our at-risk educational system.
— Ron Powers, Pulitzer prize–winning author of Mark Twain: A Life, co-author of Flags of Our Fathers, and collaborator on the late Edward M. Kennedy's True Compass: A Memoir

We've always had standards in education and new standards alone won't transform our system. At best, they will make a better 20th Century system. Chaucer is talking about a needed transformation of the system where learners confidently use what they know against what they do not know, and “question storming” guides the way ahead. This work will bring excitement back to the learner.
— Raymond J. McNulty, president, International Center for Leadership in Education

In this book, Harry Chaucer has done for teaching what his Da Vinci Curriculum does for learning. He has found ways to engage students in discovering meaning while they also meet common standards and create personal understanding of their role in a democracy. He invites teachers to do the same, designing learning based on big questions that cross the boundaries of the disciplines in search of defensible answers. Under this principle, teaching and learning follow the pattern of inquiry rather than compliance with prescription.
— John H. Clarke, author of Patterns of Thinking, and Personalizing the High School Experience


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