Assessing students’ prior knowledge allows you to customize your teaching by anticipating their needs. Consultant Barbara Blackburn provides 8 simple strategies to help you gain an understanding of what your students do and do not know before launching into a lesson.
In High-Payoff Strategies, Jody Spiro promises a toolkit of strategies and templates for school leaders to facilitate change. Principal Matt Renwick says Spiro tackles too many agendas in the brief book but thinks readers can pull out some useful ideas, including a culture scan.
Catherine Collier’s strategies for building a multi-tier system of support (MTSS) fit into the planning, implementation, and monitoring of interventions to meet the needs of all students. Educator Rita Platt finds the RTI-focused book a useful addition to teachers’ resource shelf.
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.