Your guide to recently released books, CDs and other teaching resources.
For additional reviews of French-language resources, visit Pour parler profession. With the exception of some classroom sets, items reviewed are available on loan from the Margaret Wilson Library at the College. Contact us at 416-961-8800 (toll-free in Ontario 1-888-534-2222), ext 679 or email email@example.com.
By Miriam G. MacGregor
Leadership is a mark of character and character is a key building block for ethical and responsible citizenship. As teachers, we play an important role in fostering leadership in our students so they can contribute constructively to their classrooms, their school communities and to the societies they live in. Building Everyday Leadership in All Kids is a prime resource for learning how to teach these critical skills.
With its hands-on and practical approach, the book shows how to encourage the self-confidence that is so essential to positive group interaction. Each activity is clearly laid out and presented in a sequential manner so that students can explore and analyze their assumptions and ideas about leadership. Aimed at students in the primary and junior years, the activities can be incorporated into a daily program whether you have 10 minutes or 45 minutes to dedicate to structured leadership activities and games. For example, the leadership acrostic lesson not only incorporates leadership awareness skills but also a poetry lesson. Likewise, the balloon train focuses on the importance of teamwork and collaboration skills while touching on the science of static electricity.
The book clearly shows that leadership isn’t exclusively for the people we regard as “leaders” — it is for everyone. Leadership leads to enhanced social skills, a deeper understanding of bullying behaviours and greater empathy for the people around us. Although the book is aligned with American core standards, it is a valuable addition to any curriculum and can be easily adapted to any program. Printable blackline masters and graphic organizers attached to the many activities provide additional support.
Cheryl Woolnough, OCT, is a Special Education teacher with the Peel District School Board.
Building Everyday Leadership in All Kids: An Elementary Curriculum to Promote Attitudes and Actions for Respect and Success, Free Spirit Publishing, Minneapolis, 2013, softcover, ISBN 978-1-57542-432-3, 208 pages, US$29.99, freespirit.com
By Nancy Frey and Douglas Fisher
Finally there’s a book that successfully reaches across many grade levels to guide our instruction of reading complex texts. Rigorous Reading outlines an instructional plan that focuses on five key access points for teaching students how to dive deeply into texts for maximum comprehension and pleasure.
The first access point describes the purpose of rigorous reading, with teachers being expert guides to model how it’s done, using teacher think alouds to illustrate the process. Next is scaffolded reading instruction in which small chunks are read closely, while teachers guide their students through the analysis of text. The third component is collaborative conversation among peers to amplify understanding. The fourth is encouraging students to read widely and independently to build knowledge and to apply new reading skills. Performance is the final access point so that teachers can assess and provide feedback to show their students where they are now in the reading process, and guide them toward what they need to work on. The assessment process allows students to show their grasp of text in many creative and authentic ways that mesh with their understanding.
This book is a helpful tool for teaching reading comprehension at all levels. In addition, it offers access to video footage or clips using codes found in the margins of the text. An online facilitator’s guide provides PowerPoint modules for professional development and teacher training in faculties of education.
Dorothea Bryant, OCT, has retired from teaching in the University of Windsor’s Faculty of Education and now tutors ESL and primary/junior-level reading and writing.
Rigorous Reading: 5 Access Points for Comprehending Complex Texts, Corwin, Thousand Oaks, CA, 2013, softcover, ISBN 978-1-4522-6813-2, 256 pages, US$24.95, corwin.com
By Joey Mandel
Moment to Moment argues that children who display challenging behaviours haven’t learned how to behave appropriately, and that teachers can create a learning opportunity for students who consistently make bad choices in their conduct. Once teachers recognize the escalating pattern that leads to poor behaviour, they can apply a calm and consistent approach toward supporting their students in mastering more appropriate behaviour choices for the future.
Mandel’s book is structured using a four-step plan: 1. looking beyond the behaviour to figure out what the triggers say about the deficits of a child; 2. understanding social-emotional skills so that specific skills can be taught; 3. introducing these skills in classroom activities, a strategy she calls “active skill development”; and 4. providing moment-to-moment support to individual children who are practising their new skills. Using profiles of students throughout the book to explore how various strategies can be used to address misbehaviour, the author explores how to actively help students develop the physical, language, social, emotional and cognitive skills to alleviate the problem. Most useful is the section on how to address meltdowns and de-escalate challenging behavioural incidents. Mandel carefully explains how specific teacher praise can show children what verbal and non-verbal skills they are performing well so that they can then apply them to other academic and social situations with their peers.
Mandel’s approach is very proactive. Much of the advice is common sense, like modelling how a child might act in order to calm a situation down. She also includes games and activities to target specific social skill deficits. Many of these tools are useful for teaching younger students how to be courteous and how to act in order to gain respect during discussions, group work and playtime. The book is most suitable for educators who work with children in the K to Grade 6 range. It would also be useful for special educators and those who support students with special needs at the higher levels.
Mary Shaughnessy, OCT, is an adjunct instructor at Queen’s University in Kingston.
Moment to Moment: A positive approach to managing classroom behavior, Pembroke Publishers, Markham, 2013, softcover, ISBN 978-1-55138-287-6, 160 pages, $24.95, pembrokepublishers.com
By Henry Cole
If a picture is worth a thousand words, this book is the exemplar. Told in a series of highly detailed pencil sketches, it allows readers to see the story with their own eyes and to hear it with their own words and voices. The story is simple: A young farm girl somewhere in the American South, prior to the emancipation of the slaves, is faced with a dilemma when she spots the eye of a runaway in her barn. Following her heart, she decides to help him as he follows the North Star toward freedom.
The author, who grew up in Virginia hearing relatives tell stories of the American Civil War, uses basic graphite line illustrations to create texture and build energy. Following the maxim that the eyes are windows to the soul, the illustrations form the lens through which all the characters are viewed, particularly those of the runaway slave. All anyone ever sees is his eye, and even then it is seen only if the reader looks closely enough through the landscape of ordinary life. Appropriate for readers ages 9 to 11, the beautifully illustrated pages are rich in imagery, from the signal quilt hung on the fence to the checkerboard napkins and the wanted poster. A profound silence settles over this wordless story that perfectly captures the secrecy and danger of the Underground Railroad. Anne Marie Landon, OCT, is a teacher with the Renfrew County Catholic District School Board.
Unspoken: A Story from the Underground Railroad, Scholastic Press, New York, 2012, hardcover, ISBN 978-0-545-39997-5, 36 pages, $18.99, scholastic.ca
By Michael Hlinka, Co-written and Illustrated by Kevin Sylvester
What is the true cost of that movie at the theatre? How much does your homemade lunch cost? What is the cost of extracting and refining gas for our cars? Written for elementary and middle school students, Follow Your Money is an insightful and easy to understand book that not only answers those kinds of practical money questions but describes more esoteric concepts like banking, credit card use, interest, taxes, spending and how money drives our economy. Using examples that relate to the stuff children want, like cellphones, new sneakers, blue jeans, pizza and movie tickets, the book looks at the route money follows to buy everything — the raw materials for manufacturing, the salaries for employees, the transportation, packaging and advertising. It asks questions like what is the value of a consumer good and what is it worth — questions that are deceptively simple and alarmingly complex. More than 20 practical scenarios are included and each could be used individually as a mini-lesson in financial literacy and budgeting. The examples also make numerous connections to multiple subject areas — social studies, health, English, math and physical education.
An extensive website supports the book and includes a series of podcasts, a workshop video trailer, teacher guide and lesson plans to assist in the classroom. With so many advertisers marketing directly to our children, we owe them the information they need to become savvy shoppers and consumers.
Teresa Ross, OCT, is a technology, computer science and business teacher at Lakeshore Catholic High School in Port Colborne.
Follow Your Money: Who gets it, Who spends it, Where does it go?, Annick Press, Toronto, 2013, softcover, ISBN 978-1-55451-480-9, 56 pages, $14.95, distributed by Firefly Books, annickpress.com
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To support the College’s mandate to develop Ethical Standards for the Teaching Profession, an Ethical Leadership Institute for members of the profession is being offered on March 14, 2015, at the Ontario College of Teachers’ office at 101 Bloor St. West, Toronto. Teachers interested in exploring the ethical standards, ethical decision-making processes, as well as ethical leadership knowledge and practices are invited to attend this experiential institute.
We would like teachers and members of the public to share their experiences, insights and recommendations for the review of this important leadership role in education.
The Professional Learning Framework for the Teaching Profession articulates the diverse ways that members of the teaching profession engage in ongoing professional education and learning. We are interested in hearing about your professional learning experiences.
We would like members of the teaching profession and the public to share their experiences, insights and recommendations for the review of this important senior leadership role in education.