School Culture Recharged is a good mix of philosophy, research, and practical strategy. Rita Platt recommends that “school and district leaders read it to get a handle on the what’s, how’s, and why’s of developing school cultures that help bring about success for all.”
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.
How can teachers use brain-friendly strategies to help students encode, store and retrieve vocabulary words? Educator and author Marilee Sprenger shares some high-interest activities designed for each stage of learning academic words. Some just require a few minutes!
If a school can agree to have both ELA and content area teachers use the ideas in “Strategic Journeys for Building Logical Reasoning” there is potential for students to achieve more intense thinking rather than surface learning, says reviewer Mary Langer Thompson.
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.
Math Running Records in Action by Dr. Nicki Newton is an easy-to-read book that offers a helpful framework for assessing, teaching and practicing math facts. Reviewer Rita Platt says “this book was a revelation to me” for its focus on how students think about math.
Some teaching practices help strengthen students’ self-efficacy, motivation and confidence, while others create learned helplessness. Author-consultant Sarah Tantillo identifies 17 common teaching actions that lead to student inertia and offers better alternatives.
Margaret Mary Policastro provides solid background on best practices for home literacy, says reading specialist Judy Harris. But Harris finds the book short on good advice for families that lack the resources and services more typical of upscale neighborhoods.
With short chapters, graphic organizers, rubrics and acronyms, the strategies in Barbara Blackburn’s updated Classroom Instruction for A to Z are right at the fingertips of busy teachers, ready for trial runs or implementation, says educator Laura Von Staden.
Warren Combs’ book on using constructed responses in everyday instruction “effortlessly demonstrates the power of using short, frequent writing to learn activities that focus on standards across the curriculum,” says literacy coach Laurell Parris. Great for PLCs.