This reads like a Malcolm Gladwell book. The author is a journalist, so he didn't actually do the research that he is citing and analyzing. I like andThis reads like a Malcolm Gladwell book. The author is a journalist, so he didn't actually do the research that he is citing and analyzing. I like and agree with his point - character is important and we should teach it in schools because it is part of how students succeed. I appreciate his argument because I've long suspected that drive and motivation and learning from mistakes is what compels certain people to be successful and satisfied professionally. It reinforces the idea that we need to teach students social-emotional skills and mentor them so that they can learn how to learn from mistakes and develop that "grit" that everyone is talking about. I also appreciate that in his final chapter, Tough addresses recent misguided education reforms aimed at eliminating "bad teachers," such as value-added ratings and pension reform. Still, a part of me is skeptical that some of this research is misinterpreted by journalists or "massaged" to fit their point. And the book also kind of wanders... Which made it hard for me to sometimes see where he was going with some of his insights. I am glad, however, that books like this will hopefully start conversations about how there are many personality factors that also go into education and creating passionate, motivated, and creative thinkers and learners....more
This was not to the most interesting book in the world. I don't really feel like it's worth all the money you have to pay for it. The Yellow Brick RoaThis was not to the most interesting book in the world. I don't really feel like it's worth all the money you have to pay for it. The Yellow Brick Road metaphor DEFINITELY gets old after a while and a lot of this just seemed super redundant. If you have to take an action research class, try to share this book with someone. You can skim through the readings quickly and this is one of those books you won't want to keep once you're done. ...more
This is basically a synthesis of a lot of research that's been done in several areas of reading instruction -- vocab, comprehension, phonics, etc. It'This is basically a synthesis of a lot of research that's been done in several areas of reading instruction -- vocab, comprehension, phonics, etc. It's a decent book but it was one of the last ones I read in my program and I found that it really seemed to tell me a lot of what I already knew. This is probably good if you don't know a ton about reading research and you want to have a single source to go to. ...more
If you love theory then you will love this! And if you love reading theory then you may just die happy reading this little gem of a resource. Really,If you love theory then you will love this! And if you love reading theory then you may just die happy reading this little gem of a resource. Really, Tracey and Morrow know their stuff and they do such a great job creating this easy-to-read, easy-to-digest resource that's truly jam-packed with all kinds of reading-related knowledge. I know the cover looks boring and the title may not grab you but give it a chance and I promise you will get a lot out of this. It's practical and theoretical all in one. I promise, if you are a teacher, you will love this little book. ...more
This is a pretty solid resource but it still left me feeling like a piece of the puzzle was missing. Still, a good overview of how to assess reading iThis is a pretty solid resource but it still left me feeling like a piece of the puzzle was missing. Still, a good overview of how to assess reading instruction. ...more
Definitely a must-read for reading teachers at all levels. Wilhelm gives very practical strategies for increasing student engagement and comprehensionDefinitely a must-read for reading teachers at all levels. Wilhelm gives very practical strategies for increasing student engagement and comprehension of texts through the use of drama. It sounds scary but this isn't performance drama but rather process drama, whose purpose is to help visualize and bring to life a particular moment, scene, or character. I got a TON out of this book and have been using the strategies in my classroom, with much success. ...more
One of the best professional development texts on reading that I have come across. It's actually focused on young adult literature and how to get kidsOne of the best professional development texts on reading that I have come across. It's actually focused on young adult literature and how to get kids to enjoy it. It's not about classics and traditional methods. A lot of what's in here is so easy to implement in your classroom (the book is probably geared most towards middle and high school reading classes). A lot of the activities are things that kids enjoy (I've tried them in my classes). Also, the book is really refreshing because each chapter is written by a different author so you feel like you've actually gone to a different workshop each time you read a chapter. It's a great book that I'd highly recommend to literacy teachers. ...more
I have VERY mixed feelings about this book. On the one hand, I think Jay McGraw means well and he tries to give kids some realistic, non-violent waysI have VERY mixed feelings about this book. On the one hand, I think Jay McGraw means well and he tries to give kids some realistic, non-violent ways to deal with bullying. On the other hand, I question some of his thinking and I feel like a the bulk of this book is fluff.
For starters, I really like the Anti-Bullying Pledge for Students (p. 138-139). I think this can be useful, especially in classrooms. I also thought the chapter summaries pages (that look like pages out of a notebook) could be pretty helpful and I plan to use those in some lessons. And I like that Chapter 9, which is about educating parents, acknowledges that sometimes parents have some really bad ideas about how to deal with/solve the problem of bullying. Plus, I like the fact that he tells the reader that they are in control and that it really is largely up to them to react in ways that will limit the likelihood that they will become a victim of bullying.
But I have major issues with the way that I think Mr. (not Doctor) Jay McGraw oversimplifies everything. He seems totally obsessed with cyberbullying, which I think is a problem but it's nowhere near as prevalent as he makes it sound like it is. He also seems to think that just about every coming of age experience that isn't positive turns out to be bullying. I'm a teacher and I see bullying and I was once a kid and I've experienced mild bullying. I think a part of life is figuring out who your friends are, what good friends, and how you should deal with unpleasant situations. NOT EVERYONE IS GOING TO BE YOUR FRIEND. And I think it's a little naive for Jay McGraw to want everyone to feel good all the time. As teachers we need to build learning communities but there is something to be said for developing life skills including dealing with people who may be angry and may not want to interact with you in positive ways.
What is his experience with bullying, anyway? I mean, he flat-out tells you that he was never bullied in school. He was friends with "everybody." He's Dr. Phil's son but he has absolutely NO experience that makes me believe he is the "teen expert" that he claims to be.
I also question some of his stats. On p. 78 he says, "By the time they are 24 years old, four out of 10 adults who used to be bullies will commit at least three crimes." He cites NO sources and does not go on to explain what kind of crimes they commit. I get really annoyed with people who make claims like this and don't back them up.
I also don't agree that bullying "is worse than it's ever been" (his claim on the back cover of the book). I think bullying has been around forever it's just that we've actually started to have more of a national dialogue about it in recent years.
I think there is some value to this book and I don't mean to sound so negative about it but I think he oversimplifies certain things and then goes nuts over-explaining and over-rationalizing others.
If I was a middle schooler and I was reading this I think I'd feel pretty pessimistic, not optimistic about the problem. He spends the first half of the book talking about how horrible bullying is and then it seems like his solutions really aren't all that ground-breaking. Considering all of the build up, I thought Chapter 7: Taking on Bullies was pretty weak. The reality is that it's a complex problem and I'm not sure any cookie-cutter solution works.
I also wish he had talked at least a little bit about gangs as a form of bullying. I realize he probably has little experience with inner-city youth but that's a very real form of bullying that goes on in inner-city communities, where there is a strong culture of "no snitching." His examples all seem very small town-ish and suburban to me.
So I sort of hesitate to recommend this. The tone annoyed me, at times, and I think some kids would be turned off of it. Yet I do see myself recommending this to a few kids in particular, who I think are likely to have problems with bullying.
I do plan to use some of the chapter summaries and hopefully the Anti-Bullying Pledge (or some variation of it). He raises a lot of important issues and I'm glad people are talking about this in a "what kids can do about it" kind of context. ...more
This is not so much a practical how-to guide as it is a policy kind of book that gives a big-picture approach for creating respectful schools. I likedThis is not so much a practical how-to guide as it is a policy kind of book that gives a big-picture approach for creating respectful schools. I liked this because I do think it provides a very realistic starting point for schools but as a teacher I also feel frustrated because I know that there's only so much I can do on my own to end the culture of hate and violence that permeates our schools.
This book is broken up into two parts: Part I is the "what" and Part II is the "how." Part I tells you why bias, harassment, and violence are a problem and, I think, it does an excellent job of illustrating how small-time bullying can very quickly escalate to big-time violence.
Part II is the "how" and it tells you exactly how to create change in the school climate. There is a chapter that talks about teacher intervention, which is useful but it really is only a starting point. There's a lot more, I think, that teachers need to know in order to effectively intervene. There is also a chapter on addressing the needs of victimized students, which I think is extremely important because their needs are hardly ever address and they are often marginalized and/or blamed.
I particularly liked the parts of the book that talked about the role of administrators, especially with regard to setting a tone for harassment and bullying. However, it was also very disappointing since I realize administrators really need to be on board and need to lead this effort in order for the whole school's climate to change. Often they are too busy worrying about test scores or violence, not the small stuff that leads to violence.
Lastly, I liked that the author spoke in detail about student leaders and creating strong students throughout the school, who can then model to the rest of the school how to stand up for each other. I really like his conclusion that students are NOT the problem and they are, in fact, a part of the SOLUTION. We need kids to be an active part of the school's anti-harassment, anti-violence policy in order to effect change. I think the author did a great job of illustrating how to do that and explained reasons for why this is one part of the big-picture plan.
I wish every administrator would read this. And I wish there was a supplemental resource by this same author that would focus in more detail on teacher interventions. ...more
HAHAHA this book is awesome! It's a picture book that tells the story of standardized testing through the eyes of students. It's hilarious because theHAHAHA this book is awesome! It's a picture book that tells the story of standardized testing through the eyes of students. It's hilarious because the students document how totally stressed out the teachers become about the tests and show how the whole atmosphere in the school changes during testing. I loved this. I'm not quite sure if anyone other than teachers would find it as amusing but I LOVED IT. ...more
This is a really useful resource for middle and high school teachers. I think the middle chapters are probably most useful because they actually tellThis is a really useful resource for middle and high school teachers. I think the middle chapters are probably most useful because they actually tell you what to do Before, During, and After reading. The beginning was a bit too "overview-ish" for me (too much fluff). The final section also seemed a bit redundant. But overall very good!...more
I don't agree with everything Dick Allington says but, WOW, this is an informative, insightful book that is a must-read for every teacher in America.I don't agree with everything Dick Allington says but, WOW, this is an informative, insightful book that is a must-read for every teacher in America. I think Allington makes some extremely valid points about instruction, the amount of time devoted to struggling readers, and the resources that we use (or should use but don't) in our efforts to help struggling readers. Every teacher needs to know about RTI and I think this is a great place to start. ...more
I have read selections from this text... probably about half of it in total. It's not really as useful as I had anticipated but I probably feel this wI have read selections from this text... probably about half of it in total. It's not really as useful as I had anticipated but I probably feel this way because I teach middle school, not high school or college. But I do think there's a lot of good information, especially for college professors. ...more
Hands down one of the best nonfiction picture books ever. Probably the best book on Africa that I've ever come across because it basically tells kidsHands down one of the best nonfiction picture books ever. Probably the best book on Africa that I've ever come across because it basically tells kids (and adults) that Africa is a HUGE continent with 53 countries. I love that the pictures show that all of the people don't actually look the same. Some are dark skinned, some have braids, some look much more Middle Eastern than you'd expect. I love that the seasons vary in the pictures (ex: snow in Lesotho, summers in Senegal) and that kids are wearing very different clothes, which goes to show that cultural norms are very different cross the continent.
I read this to my sixth graders and they were amazed by how much variation there was within cultures and countries. They were also surprised to see that kids in Africa also wear uniforms to school. Some of the uniforms look a lot like theirs and others are different.
This is a wonderful book to use with almost any kind of audience. I thought it was a neat way to launch social studies this year....more
Mildly useful but mostly a repeat of everything you should already know if you've been teaching for a while. I expected there to be more about how toMildly useful but mostly a repeat of everything you should already know if you've been teaching for a while. I expected there to be more about how to build community. Specific activities and such. There's a bit about this but not as much as I'd hoped. I was surprised (well, not really) by the amount of pages devoted to parents. Sending notes home to parents and building a community with parents is a wonderful idea but much more difficult to accomplish in reality. I also think I would have preferred a book for 6-12 rather than K-6 since a lot of the ideas were for little kids. ...more
Brilliant! A detailed-yet-concise overview of Lucy Calkins' Units of Study framework for teaching writing in a workshop format. I enjoyed reading thisBrilliant! A detailed-yet-concise overview of Lucy Calkins' Units of Study framework for teaching writing in a workshop format. I enjoyed reading this and am looking forward to implementing it in my classroom this fall. This book in particular really breaks down what workshop looks like, how it works, and what you do/don't do as the teacher. It seems to me that this "Guide" is much more useful and a good reference to go back to since it's so much more "big picture" than the six specific units of study that follow it. I feel like I'll be checking back in with this book periodically to see what I am doing well and figure out why certain things aren't working. ...more