I’ve been using Ishmael for the past three years and have tried out different things. Some have worked, others I’ve tossed out. But I always assign the book at the beginning of the year, before I even hand out the textbook, so they start right out realizing that there is another point of view. They get a sense of the Leaver story as a basis for the rest of their study of world history. We spend about three weeks of class on Ishmael, then go on to the text. But throughout the year I refer the students back to the book. We talk about what Ishmael would say about the issues we’re discussing. This year, for the first time, I assigned only about 20 pages of the book each night and asked them to write out five questions about the material. This worked much better than what I’d done previously (assigning whole sections, which sometimes ran to 60 pages). Teaching style is crucial to understanding with this book. Mine is Socratic, so I when I make an assignment I tell students to come in with their questions, for me and for each other. I also generate questions, and each day in class we set up a dialogue around a body of information.