Category: Book Reviews

Challenging ELA Activities & Extensions

Gifted and advanced fifth graders will find the four units in this book – fiction and nonfiction – packed with graphic organizers, tech, and student discourse. Each unit focuses on a text exemplar. Instructional coach Donna Wall says the units provide suitable rigor.

Good Intro Lessons for Teaching Complex Texts

Nancy Dean’s “Finding Voice” will help teachers in grades 4-6 supplement their studies of complex text using brief, compelling mentor texts as they study word choice, detail, imagery, figurative language and tone. Reviewer Linda Biondi likens it to “a GPS system.”

Effective Principals Must Listen, Learn & Lead

Russell Quaglia advocates for “principal voice” using a creative Three L’s framework, surfacing our awareness of things that we know are good leadership practices. Former principal Rick Jetter finds Quaglia’s tips and take-aways thoughtful and easy to implement.

Ways to Go Gradeless in a School That Grades

Arguing that grades not only limit learning but can actually interfere with it, Starr Sackstein makes the case in “Hacking Assessment” for going gradeless and shows how it can be part of a traditional grading school. Teacher Marek Dzianott agrees it works well with PBL.

From Student Apprentice to Published Writer

Reviewer Mary Langer Thompson believes every writing teacher needs Meigs-Kahlenberg’s The Author’s Apprentice, whether to expand their thinking of what writing can be or to put a year’s worth of strategies and ideas into action now. Writing novels with 7th graders?!

A Leader’s Guide to Formative Assessment

The authors’ step-by-step formative assessment approach, along with a wealth of detailed resources, gives teachers and administrators the tools to implement a system of shared assessments with the power to transform a school. Erik Kreutner has just one reservation.