TLN book reviews: Professional literature for the teacher leader

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, with brief excerpts. Click on a review’s headline to read the compete article. Publishers interested in submitting books for review should contact TLN moderator John Norton.

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A Compelling Case for Detracking Schools

Detracking for Excellence and Equity
By Carol Corbett Burris and Delia T. Garrity
(ASCD, 2008)

Reviewed by Sherry L. Annee
Biotechnology Teacher
Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School (IN)
Teacher Leaders Network

The authors’ coverage of detracking is so comprehensive that it leaves readers with far more answers than questions — while simultaneously inspiring us to improve the educational opportunities for students at our local schools. Upon finishing the book, one is left cheering for Garrity and Burris as they claim, “By altering our methods of instruction in heterogeneous classes, we can accomplish what tracking never could – excellent educational experiences for all students.”

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A Book to Inspire a Culture of Trust and Build Teacher Community

Protocols for Professional Learning
By Lois Brown Easton
(2009, ASCD)

Reviewed by Michael Fisher
Instructional Coach and Consultant (NY)
Teacher Leaders Network

The protocols in this book help to inspire the atmosphere and culture of trust and collegiality that is necessary to open and maintain conversations among teachers. When there is a framework of understanding, and a foundation of value for everyone’s participation and unique voice, it helps everyone move forward.

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I Want to Belong to This Club!

A Sense of Belonging: Sustaining and Retaining New Teachers
By Jennifer Allen
(2009, Stenhouse Publishers)

Reviewed by Marti Schwartz
Teacher, Novice-Teacher Educator (RI)
Teacher Leaders Network

The plan of teacher support is frequent, intensive, individualized, and brilliant…. What Allen has given to all of us is a powerful model of strengthening the practice of novice teachers, in a book that is enjoyable to read and inspiring to emulate.

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You Can Be a Change Leader

Leading Change in Your School
By Douglas B. Reeves
(ASCD, 2009)

Reviewed by Elizabeth Stein
Special Education Teacher (NY))
Teacher Leaders Network

As I read this, I readily grasped the author’s attempt to create an “I can do this in my school” mindset. This book is a great read for those who are new to the idea of becoming a change leader or for those who wish to extend their abilities. It is helpful for teachers or administrators who have already succeeded with a few ideas and feel the need to continue making positive changes.

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Multiple Intelligences in Your Classroom

Multiple Intelligences in the Classroom
By Thomas Armstrong
(ASCD, 2009)

Reviewed by Kenneth Bernstein, NBCT
High School Government (MD)
Teacher Leaders Network

One should be able to see how the book can be productively used for a somewhat narrow purpose, such as curriculum development, without having to absorb the entire volume. Or one can choose to browse through the various sections to grasp more fully the possible implications of applying Multiple Intelligences theory in a variety of ways, up to and including developing a school around the principles of MI.

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Inside a Hip-Hop Lit Class

Beats, Rhymes and Classroom Life: Hip-Hop Pedagogy and the Politics of Identity
By Marc Lamont Hill
(Teachers College Press, 2009)

Reviewed by John M. Holland, NBCT
Early Childhood Educator (VA)
Teacher Leaders Network

This is not a how-to book. It does not include planning sheets, suggestions for “texts” or discussion prompts. It is an incredibly well documented artifact of a successful experiment in bringing students’ culture into the classroom and understanding that culture as a researcher and teacher. I recommend it because I learned things about myself, my students’ families, and research.

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And Then I Got to Dewey . . .

Classroom Conversations: A Collection of Classics for Parents and Teachers
by Alexandra Miletta and Maureen Miletta
(2008, The New Press)

Reviewed by Marti Schwartz
Novice-Teacher Educator (RI)
Teacher Leaders Network

These articles, these thinkers, from Vivian Gussin Paley and Eleanor Duckworth advising us to listen and learn from our students, to Peggy McIntosh and Sonia Nieto who seek to open our eyes to the cultural realms of our students in order to help us to understand their needs — all have wise words for us.