Category: Book Reviews

Professional books reviewed by educators

A Guide to Creating an Inquiry Classroom

The second edition of John F. Barell’s “Why Are School Buses Always Yellow?” shows teachers how they can inspire young minds to think beyond the text, to ask questions and to wonder, achieving inquiry learning while meeting standards, says reviewer Linda Biondi.

A 90-Day Plan for Coaching New Teachers

Bambrick-Santoyo’s Get Better Faster offers a convincing argument and a comprehensive program for developing new teachers. Retired principal and teacher educator Mary Langer Thompson finds the 90-day plan sensible, fast paced, demanding, and dense with resources.

A Sentence-Composing Approach to Nonfiction

Those eager to share “pristine” nonfiction text with students may appreciate the Kilgallon’s mentor sentence choices, which cross genres, topics, and cultures. But ELA teacher Amy Estersohn finds their workbook approach at odds with her workshop vision of teaching.

Energizing Ideas for a Flexible ELA Classroom

Ariel Sacks says teachers who read The Flexible ELA Classroom will get to know “an enthusiastic, skilled teacher” effectively applying “many of the best current teaching trends.” Amber Chandler’s practical, student centered ideas include flexible differentiation, PBL infusion, family involvement and more.

Learning Life Science with Picture Books

Bring exploration, fact-gathering and deduction to grades 3-5 life science classes with Stewart and Chesley’s “Perfect Pairs.” Full of standards-based lessons aligned to fiction/nonfiction picture books. Literacy coach Pam Hamilton eager to share it with teachers.

Active Learning Ideas for the Middle Grades

The fully developed strategies and techniques Susan Edwards offers in Active Learning in the Middle Grades Classroom are simple to use and will have students engaged in active, purposeful learning across content areas, says teaching consultant Anne Anderson.

DIY Literacy Tools for Blended Learning

In her blended classroom, reviewer Nicolette Lesniak finds the tools included in DIY Literacy – demonstration notebooks, teaching charts and visual note taking – help students recall what was taught and motivate them to work harder, to the best of their abilities.

An Action Plan for Innovative Teaching

Gretchen Morgan’s Innovative Educators: An Action Plan for Teachers is a good, concise book for teachers who want to innovate in their classrooms, especially through action research, and aren’t really sure how to go about the process. Reviewed by Laura Von Staden.