CE Sourcebook Series

Posted by Alythea

Critical Explorers Teaching & Curriculum Sourcebook

The Critical Explorers Teaching and Curriculum Sourcebook is an interactive guide to experiencing, understanding, and teaching Critical Explorers curriculum. It allows educators to practice and review listening and questioning strategies, as well as CE approaches to primary sources, activities, and student work, on their own at any time. They will find the series useful whether they teach in person and/or have students who connect remotely — and whether they are new to exploratory teaching, building on a CE course or workshop experience, hoping to expand their inquiry-based lessons into units, seeking to deepen their own investigative experiences as learners to re-anchor their practice, and/or working to involve colleagues and therefore more students.

In the Sourcebook series, the reader plays a central and active role. Rather than providing isolated steps to follow, the series welcomes readers as teacher-learners, drawing out what they notice about sources and student work — and about their own experience of the activities — and then discussing what we can do as teachers. Through their own engagement, readers internalize the value and potential of the questions, sources, and prompts. They come to understand how we can illuminate the sources — and the subjects and themes we hope to teach — through students’ observations and creative work. They begin to understand as well the design and inner workings of the activities, what kinds of sources can be paired with each one, how the activities might be adapted to suit other sources, and how sources and activities can be combined to further extend and deepen an exploration.

Preview Booklet 1

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Purchase and download Booklet + Teacher Journal 1

From the Introduction:

Why should I try Critical Explorers (CE) in my classroom?

Engaging students in analyzing evidence through democratic conversations is essential — and challenging. Students need texts that capture their attention, along with a range of opportunities to interact with the materials and with each other, and to express their evolving thoughts and perspectives.

Starting with close observation of primary sources, CE questions and activities offer students authentic occasions to think, speak, listen, draw, write, and design. This active involvement, building toward and anchored in creating and sharing their own work, helps students focus while their thinking about the sources and their discussions with each other continue to unfold. Students learn best when they are intrigued by the materials in front of them and provided the space to construct their own ideas. And the observing, sharing, and other activities integral to the CE process help students meet many history/social studies, reading, writing, and speaking and listening standards.

This series offers . . .
PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT allowing you to learn, practice, and review CE listening and questioning strategies whenever it’s convenient for you
PRIMARY SOURCES thought-provoking images and texts for social studies, ELA, and humanities — all classroom-tested and found to reliably capture and hold students’ interest
CURRICULAR SUPPORT writing, drawing, and other activities and strategies — tested in grades 6 – 8, applicable for grades 4 – 9 and beyond, and indispensable for teaching in person or in hybrid/online environments, whether you are introducing a topic or building larger CE units
GUIDANCE — as you learn more — on choosing sources and building CE units of your own

Comments from our reviewers:

“The CE Sourcebook can help you transform, enliven, expand not only your student’s lives as learners but your own lives as teachers, too. The approach can well be used in any educational setting, from public school to independent or alternative schools and homeschool/unschool.”

“I’m inspired to use more of a multi-media approach to engaging with source materials in order for students to explore them more deeply, and also so they go beyond their usual comfort zones and into activities they might not usually gravitate toward, so they can also expand themselves in skill and creativity.”

Preview Booklet 1

(Click preview, then enter your email address to continue.)

Purchase and download Booklet + Teacher Journal 1

Booklet 1 Contents

Part A. Encouraging Student Observations
Encountering a primary source through your own observations
Listening in on a CE class conversation
Adapting the journal strategy for students
Looking more closely at the teacher’s role
Key teacher questions and responses to practice through this booklet
Trying out these questions and responses in your teacher journal
How does my role in a CE class differ from the teacher’s role in other approaches?
Won’t students tire of recurring prompts and questions?
What if students ask me questions when I’ve asked them to share observations?
How can I build students’ confidence if I don’t tell them they’re right?
What content can students learn through exploring this primary source?

Reflections and classroom practice

Part B. Focusing on Student Work
Trying out CE activities, and understanding how they work for students
In responding to the prompts, should students reflect their own perspectives, or echo the beliefs and values of the primary sources?
Looking at the resulting student work in class together
Interspersing these activities with CE conversations
Looking ahead to other sources and activities
What if I have questions? And how can I learn more?
Reflections and classroom practice

Part C. Alternate Sources — and CE Activities Designed to Work with Them
Listening in on a CE class conversation
Drawing part of a poem
Looking at the resulting student work in class together
CE Interactive Gallery Walk Questions
How are CE glossaries designed, and how do they work?
Reflections and classroom practice
Trying out a text with a learner
Acting it out collaboratively
CE Collaborative Act-It-Out Questions
Reflections and classroom practice
Making an Open Mind Map
Reflections and classroom practice
Reconstructing historical settings — and themes
How these activities set the stage for further understandings in a larger CE unit
Reflections and classroom practice

Are you interested in purchasing Sourcebook 1?

If you are a donor, please complete this form to request your Sourcebook 1 license or transfer it to a teacher. Otherwise, the cost of the complete CE Sourcebook 1 package (including Booklet 1, Teacher Journal 1, and student handouts), is $30 for one teacher. To purchase, click any of the PayPal or credit card buttons below. After checking out, you will receive access instructions within 3-5 business days. If you would like to purchase for a group, school, or district, please fill out our contact form or email us at workshop@criticalexplorers.org to request a quote. Thank you!

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