Category: Book Reviews

Professional books reviewed by educators

Creating a Schoolwide Climate of Excellence

The School Climate Solution serves as a blueprint for increasing positive climate from the classroom to the staff room, says reviewer Rita Platt. Jonathan Erwin provides practical guidelines for building a safe environment where relationships and SEL foster learning.

ELA & SS: Differentiating Formative Assessment

Sheryn Spencer Waterman shows the way to make the evaluation as well as the curriculum fit the learner. Middle school teacher Joanne Bell finds the author’s fully developed discussion of differentiated formative assessments helpful for social studies and English.

30 Modules to Promote Algebraic Reasoning

Accessible Algebra provides teachers a better understanding of where students might struggle, methods that can meet individual student needs, and fresh ways to teach a concept. The 30 modules can be adapted for any algebra class, says math teacher Trever Reeh.

Use Reading to Teach a World Language

Donna Spangler and John Alex Mazzante have “a keen understanding of a language student’s need for frequent changes, movement, playfulness, collaboration, and gentle competition,” says Spanish teacher Jane Swisher, noting this “gem of a book” is easily adaptable.

Two Books to Support New Teacher Mentoring

Carol Pelletier Radford’s 2017 books can help beginning teachers by giving their mentors detailed guidelines, a clearly defined schedule, and routines that allow flexibility for both mentor and mentee, says school district new-teacher liaison Michael DiClemente.

Differentiating ELA Instruction with Menus

With its ready-made product menus and immediate applicability, Differentiating Instruction with Menus is one of those books that won’t gather dust, as teachers will turn to it for quick reference throughout the school year, says ELA and gifted facilitator Kim Rensch.

50 Activities for the First Day of School

Walton Burns’ easy-to-use book can help teachers find creative ways to accomplish the necessary and often mundane tasks that come with the start of school. Renee Bogacz notes most of often engaging activities can be adapted for any subject area or grade level.

The Next Step Forward in Guided Reading

Fourth grade teacher Alex Valencic looks forward to integrating Jan Richardson’s assess-decide-guide framework into his guided reading instruction. Beyond its thorough introduction, the book shows in detail how students at 5 levels of reading can develop their skills.

How to Differentiate Rigor and Assessment

The refreshingly clear way that Barbara Blackburn collects and presents best practices in her book on rigor and assessment should help teachers become more effective at providing well differentiated instruction in a positive classroom environment, writes Roy Palmer.