TLN book reviews and interviews

Members of the Teacher Leaders Network regularly comment on professional books that may be of interest to colleagues. Below you’ll find links to our most recent reviews, as well as several author interviews conducted by TLN moderator John Norton.

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REVIEW: Notebook Connections: Strategies for the Reader’s Notebook
 (Aimee Buckner)

An effectively written balance between the philosophy and purpose of reading notebooks and the modeling of effective strategies to support them. — sixth grade teacher Kathie Marshall

 

REVIEW: The Book Whisperer – Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Child (Donalyn Miller)

This book is chock full of literacy wisdom that I myself would like to see schools embrace as they look for strategies that will boost student achievement in reading but also bolster students’ reading dispositions. — Cindi Rigsbee, reading specialist

 

INTERVIEW: Donalyn Miller, author of The Book Whisperer

“I think that my credibility with other teachers lies in the fact that I am a classroom teacher… Without the constant interaction with children and my own responses and reflections about my teaching, my contribution is not as valuable.”
REVIEWMaking History Mine: Meaningful Connections for Grades 5-9 (Sarah Cooper)

The entire book offers teachers the opportunity to gain a fresh approach to teaching strands of history…Through her use of diverse examples, the author is able to keep readers thinking about how they might apply strategies in their own classrooms.— Patrick Vernon, middle grades social studies
REVIEWTimesavers for Teachers: Book 2 (Stevan Krajnjan)

Any book that can save a busy teacher time is worth some attention. This is not a typical teacher book to be read cover to cover or scanned for lesson ideas. It’s really more of a tool kit, and its usefulness will depend on what you teach and how you go about your work. — Laurie Wasserman, special needs

 

REVIEW: Never Work Harder Than Your Students and Other Principles of Great Teaching (Robyn R. Jackson)

Jackson builds her work on the premise that the most effective teachers have what she calls “the master teacher mindset.” This mindset is built around a set of seven principles that Jackson says master teachers use to guide their practice. — Gail Tillery, high school English/mentoring

 

INTERVIEW: Anne Jolly, author of Team to Teach: A Facilitator’s Guide to Professional Learning Teams

“Effective PLTs are teacher leadership hothouses. They’re places where teachers increase their professional knowledge and leadership skills – and they can also serve as perfect vehicles for teachers to begin to put leadership into action at several levels.”
REVIEW: Successful Single Sex Classrooms: A Practical Guide to Teaching Boys and Girls Separately (Michael Gurian, Kathy Stevens, and Peggy Daniels)

This book is very useful for all teachers, in that it really describes excellent instruction, with one of the best summaries of techniques and strategies for teaching and classroom management I have seen in a very long time. — Laura Reasoner Jones, technology teacher

REVIEW: Better Answers: Written Performance  That Looks Good and Sounds Smart (Ardith Davis Cole)

The “Better Answer” protocol is straightforward enough to work with younger age students in elementary school and yet sophisticated enough to work with high school students. It has worked in diverse classroom settings from all over the country. — Marsha Ratzel, middle grades math/science

REVIEWRigor is NOT a Four-Letter Word (Barbara R. Blackburn)

I often find that professional reading simply affirms many of my current practices in the classroom. Here, I was not hoping for affirmation but for something to improve my instruction at this advanced stage in my career. I was not disappointed. I found this book to be both realistic and respectful. — Karen Molter, high school English

 REVIEW: Awakening the Sleeping Giant: Helping Teachers Develop as Leaders (Marilyn Katzenmeyer and Gayle Moller)

The new edition of Awakening the Sleeping Giant…continues to stand as a practical and effective foundation for the work of developing leadership in teachers — a kind of primer around the basic rationale for paying attention to teachers’ craft and collegial knowledge, and a self-help plan for teachers interested in building their own leadership skills. — Nancy Flanagan, music education

INTERVIEW: Gayle Moller, co-author of Awakening the Sleeping Giant

“School system leaders have begun to acknowledge that they’re not getting the results they would like. And many realize that mandates and limited professional development are not effective ways to improve results. The perceptive district leader is now turning to teachers who are competent and can work with their colleagues at the school building level.”

REVIEWBuilding Teachers’ Capacity for Success (Pete Hall & Alisa Simeral)

The framework of peer coaching and formative evaluation outlined in Building Teachers’ Capacity for Success certainly seems to provide a promising structure for elevating discussions about teacher quality above the usual frustrated tones that tenure clauses can create. — Ellen Holmes, Distinguished Educator, Maine Department of Education