“Big Expectations” discusses the benefits of developing and using big ideas for a diverse set of learners in social studies. Experimenting with both honors and inclusion classrooms at the middle school level, I found that all students are capable of relating to and thinking deeply about the content through the use of big ideas. Although the challenges of standardize testing and differentiated learning initially made me hesitant to try out big ideas in my transition from teaching an honors class to teaching an inclusion class, I came to recognize the importance of showing every student how to form their own answers to the key questions in the curriculum. This is my story of growth and discovery as a new teacher trying to reconcile a teaching philosophy with a complex and unpredictable world of learning.

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