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Your guide to recently released books, CDs and other teaching resources. For additional reviews of French-language resources, visit Lu, vu, entendu. With the exception of some classroom sets, items reviewed are available on loan from the Margaret Wilson Library at the College. Contact Olivia Hamilton at 416-961-8800 (toll-free in Ontario 1-888-534-2222), ext 679, or e-mail library@oct.ca.

More web-only reviews

Some questions and a few answers

Key Questions for Educators

by William Hare and John P. Portelli

This is an original collection of essays about central concepts in contemporary educational discourse. The contributors are well-known educational thinkers from the UK, US, Canada, Australia and Singapore - including Stout, Burbules, Hare, Noddings, Steinberg, Pinar, Bai, Thayer-Bacon, Maher, Davis, Dei and Solomon.

The writers cover a wide range of questions from what is teaching and democratic education to what is anti-racist education and character education. They do an exceptional job of highlighting the central issues while being engaging, provocative and informative - all the more remarkable in light of their brevity.

I would have loved to have this resource as a student. As a teacher at a faculty of education I am excited to share it with my students.

I highly recommend the book. It offers an inspirational and informative vision of education.

Key Questions for Educators, Edphil Books, Halifax, 2005, ISBN 0-9697253-3-7, softcover, 133 pages, $23.95, edphil@gmail.com, www.edphil.ca

Carlo Ricci teaches in the faculty of education at Nipissing University.

Bullied Teacher: Bullied Student

by Les Parsons

If you intend to buy only one book about bullying, this is it. Les Parsons offers a succinct and readable analysis and the most practical advice. His greatest contribution, however, is his willingness to state what very few books on school bullying are willing to admit.

Bullying is an adult contagion that erupts most noticeably in our schools among students, but principals also bully. So do teachers and so do parents. What we're coming to realize is that bullying can be eradicated only if everyone in a school environment - adults as well as students - takes the cure.

I have given many workshops on bullying and one of the most disturbing things I see is adult bullying. As head of the English department, I regularly step in to help teachers who are being bullied by parents. Most sadly, over the course of 25 years in teaching, some of the worst bullies I've seen have been principals. After a recent workshop I gave, a young teacher, almost in tears, spoke to me about the bullying she had suffered at the hands of the head secretary.

Parsons points to studies showing that the two professions where boss-to-employee bullying is most common are health care and education. Bullying is not just a kid problem. We live in a culture where bullies are rewarded.

As Parsons points out, if we're going to protect kids from bullying we have to start with adults.

Bullied Teacher: Bullied Student, Pembroke Publishers, Markham, ISBN 1-55138-190-7, softcover, 96 pages, $21.95, tel 905-477-0650, fax 905-477-3691, www.pembrokepublishers.com

Michael Reist is head of the English department at Robert Hall CSS in Caledon East. He speaks on bullying and other topics of interest to teachers (www.michaelreist.ca).

55 Teaching Dilemmas

by Kathy Paterson

How often have you thought you'd never finish the required curriculum or that you spend more time getting ready than actually teaching?

Chances are most teachers have had these or similar thoughts during their career. Kathy Paterson has created an excellent resource to assist teachers with many such stresses in this demanding profession.

The book offers 10 real-life solutions to 55 different classroom issues including how to prevent burnout, be more observant, teach tolerance and self-discipline and teach a diverse student population in one class.

Teaching strategies - kick-starting the day, communicating effectively with parents, opening a lesson well - offer excellent ideas for teachers of all grades. The chapter on classroom management provides many practical solutions to difficult challenges: aiding struggling stragglers, diffusing a power struggle and forming random groups.

This invaluable resource will inspire and is well worth reading and sharing.

55 Teaching Dilemmas, Pembroke Publishers, Markham, 2005, ISBN 1-55138-191-5, softcover, 96 pages, $21.95, tel 905-477-0650, fax 905-477-3691, www.pembrokepublishers.com

Andrea Murik is a Special Education resource teacher for the Simcoe County DSB.

Building Reading Comprehension Habits in Grades 6-12

by Jeff Zwiers

Zwiers has produced a wonderful and practical workbook full of teacher-tested activities that address the needs of students in Grades 6 to 12. Implementing the suggested strategies will take time and energy but the reward will be better readers of difficult texts.

Six comprehension strategies or habits are included: organizing text information by sculpting the main ideas and summarizing, connecting to background knowledge, making inferences and predictions, generating and answering questions, understanding and remembering word meanings and monitoring one's own comprehension.

Part One provides background and support for the teaching tools. Zwiers explains his theory and its experiential base. Part Two explains the six habits and identifies activities to support learners in reaching their full potential as readers.

The multiple-intelligence nature of the activities means that lessons are motivating, invigorating and appealing to all types. Not only will struggling readers improve, all will develop good reading habits that will help them in their lifelong learning.

Part Three offers a wealth of reproducible graphic organizers to support lessons. Appendices direct readers to more specific information.

This is a wonderful resource for any school striving for literacy excellence.

Building Reading Comprehension Habits in Grades 6-12, International Reading Association, Newark, Delaware, 2004, ISBN 0-87207-539-7, softcover, 214 pages, US$24.95, tel 1-800-336-7323, fax 302-737-0878, customerservice@reading.org, www.reading.org

Naomi Babineau is a teacher/librarian at Stonehaven ES in Newmarket, York Region DSB.

The Learning Power of Laughter

by Jackie Silberg

This book links the skills and concepts of early-childhood education with the benefits of laughter.

Over 300 games, poems, stories, finger plays, riddles, tongue twisters and jokes are delivered in eight chapters. Included is a mix of well-known childhood activities, such as Duck, Duck, Goose and The Ants Go Marching, alongside new ideas and literature, all using laughter and fun to teach important developmental concepts.

Each chapter begins with an explanation of the importance of laughter to the activities that follow, and each activity begins with a Learning Power box that lists the skills and concepts covered - among them language development, emotional well being and physical movement.

The book is a tool for anyone involved in teaching young children.

The Learning Power of Laughter, Gryphon House, Beltsville, Maryland, 2004, ISBN 0-87659-268-X, softcover, 560 pages, US$12.95, tel 301-595-9500, fax 301-595-0051, info@ghbooks.com, distributed in Canada by Monarch Books, www.monarchbooks.ca

Maureen Doeler is a Grade 6 teacher in Simcoe County.

Giggles in the Middle

by Jane Bell Kiester

Being a teacher or a parent often means making kids listen to lessons we think they should hear but don't. For many, a child's command of grammar - like table manners - is a sign of good breeding. But for many children, since learning these skills is not fun, it's not worth doing.

The book proposes that teachers turn learning grammar into a challenge to which students will rise. The trick is this - write two to four faulty sentences on the blackboard, allow students individually to correct them, and then to correct them as a class while you explain the points of grammar. A journal assignment follows.

Sentences are drawn from three stories about students in Horribly Hard Middle School. As promised, the grade-specific stories are designed to teach "grammar, usage, mechanics, vocabulary, paragraphing, varied sentence structure, spelling of homophones and commonly misspelled words, use of literary devices and how to avoid fragments."

Keister's system is labour intensive but the marking scheme, based on sampling, is efficient and the book includes a CD with the editable exercises and a concise 23-page Grammar, Usage and Mechanics Guide that explains common grammar concepts without unnecessary complexity.

The book's vices are its off-putting title, occasionally stilted prose and overly earnest tone. Will these methods work? Yes - judging from my experience with a comparable system, created decades ago by a colleague in French Immersion, which I later successfully adapted for use with my English students in middle school. But Keister's title notwithstanding, have no illusions - grammar, however taught, is rarely a laughing matter.

Giggles in the Middle (CD included), Maupin House, Gainsville, Florida, 2006, ISBN 0-929895-88-6, softcover, 406 pages, US$24.95, tel 1-800-524-0634, fax 1-352-373-5546, info@maupinhouse.com, www.maupinhouse.com

Fred Duval is a bilingual accreditation program officer at the College.

Helping Students Fix Problems and Avoid Crises

by Lawrence J. Greene

Ideally, our students would all be happy and well-adjusted, with endless self-confidence. Unfortunately, this isn't the reality most teachers face. So Helping Students Fix Problems is a welcome intervention guide for teachers in the early grades.

Sections of the book address different issues: the child who doesn't have friends, the child who has difficulty learning, the child who steals, the child who tells lies, the child who does poorly in sports and the child who is a bully. Each section includes information for students and provides educators with a way of examining the dynamics and implications of the behaviours.

The section on learning difficulties provides a learning-modality inventory teachers can apply to their students' specific strengths and intelligences to help them feel successful in the classroom.

The author also provides a method of developing analytical thinking skills to enhance students' empathy, a realistic story depicting a given behaviour, questions for guided discussions, interactive activities and reproducible paper-and-pencil exercises.

This book is a valuable tool with ideas that can be implemented within language arts, social studies or health curriculum.

Helping Students Fix Problems and Avoid Crises (Grades 1-4), Corwin Press, Thousand Oaks, California, 2005, ISBN 1-4129-0470-6, 2005, softcover, 168 pages, US$29.95, tel 1-800-818-7243, fax 1-800-417-2466, www.corwinpress.com

Elda Fredette is a Special Education resource teacher at St. James School in Oakville.

The Praeger Handbook of Urban Education

Volumes 1 and 2

edited by Joe L. Kincheloe, Kecia Hayes, Karel Rose and Philip M. Anderson

There is a lot of information in this book. Unfortunately, the whiny, accusing tone is going to turn off most educators. While acknowledging that the teachers in the trenches are key to student success, we are lectured for failing to raise student achievement levels to compete with students from more affluent areas. While insisting that key components are competent, highly motivated, caring teachers, good pedagogy and understanding of and empathy for students from urban areas, little mention is made of the need for parent, community and political support - except to point out that money will cure the ills of urban education.

Chapters cover a wide range of topics, including sections on race and ethnicity, the context of urban education, social justice, pedagogy, power, language, research and aesthetics. Each article contains extensive references and there is an excellent bibliography and index.

The editors of The Praeger Handbook are unquestionably well educated, but it is ironic that they criticize teachers in urban centres for not being in touch with their students' cultures, while they themselves seem to lack direct teaching experience in elementary and secondary classrooms.

This American study is almost overpowering in its thoroughness, but it does have something to say to teachers in Canadian urban environments. At over $300 though, many will prefer to read chapters of interest from a library copy rather than purchase their own.

The Praeger Handbook of Urban Education (2 volumes), Greenwood Press, Westport, Connecticut, 2006, ISBN 0-313-33324-6, hardcover, 680 pages total, $326.11 (school & library price) for 2 volumes, distributed in Canada by Edu Reference Publishers Direct, tel 1-877 674-8622, fax 416 674-6215, www.edureference.com Greenwood Publishing

Gail Lennon teaches distance-education online secondary courses for adults with the Bluewater DSB.

8 Essentials of Inquiry-Based Science, K-8

by Elizabeth Hammerman

This book is geared to teachers and curriculum directors. Its chapters cover the essential elements of inquiry-based science - from understanding basic concepts and developing process and thinking skills, to how to use the elements as a framework for lesson and unit planning and for analyzing curriculum documents.

These essentials are anchored in learning theory and stress meta-cognition and the IDEA approach (introduce, discuss, elaborate and extend, apply and assess). They are also linked to key concepts from the US National Science Education Standards, which are similar to the Ontario curriculum expectations for science (weather, water systems).

The book includes sample activities, probing discussion questions and graphic organizer templates for recording data and tracking student assessment. Extension activities and numerous lesson plan exemplars are included in each chapter.

This is a user-friendly resource book - full of useful tips for tapping into students' natural inquisitiveness. The book provides hands-on, minds-on activities to meet the challenge of teaching standards-based science.

8 Essentials of Inquiry-Based Science, K-8 , Corwin Press, Thousand Oaks, California, 2005, ISBN 141291499X, softcover, 184 pages, US$27.95, tel 1-800-818-7243, fax 1-800-417-2466, www.corwinpress.com

Maura Ross is an Intermediate teacher in Simcoe County and a doctoral student at OISE/UT.

Lands, Peoples and Cultures series

by Bobbie Kalman

This extensive series, authored primarily by Bobbie Kalman, covers 32 countries, progressing alphabetically from Afghanistan to Vietnam. Three books per country cover the land, the people and the culture respectively.

Even challenged readers will be tempted by these colourful and well organized books.

They will prove highly useful in history, social studies and geography classes - with up-to-date information about many aspects of daily life.

The series will make an excellent set for the reference section of a school or public library.

Lands, Peoples and Cultures series, Crabtree Publishing Company, St. Catharines, 2005, each 32 pages, hardcover $20.76, softcover $8.96, tel 905-682-5221, fax 905-682-7166, www.crabtreebooks.com

Gail Lennon teaches distance-education online secondary courses for adults with the Bluewater DSB.


The following four publications are available in French only.

La grammaire au cour du texte

edited by Réal Bergeron and Godelieve De Konninck

Anyone concerned about the teaching and learning of French grammar should read this selection of recent articles from Québec français.

It begins with a history of the main movements in the teaching of grammar and its recent redefinition. Articles in Part Two address this dramatic renewal - giving concrete examples that can be applied in the classroom. Noteworthy are articles by Marie-Christine Paret on the usefulness of the sentence as a concrete basic unit for the analysis and evaluation of the structures of your own sentences and by Véronique Léger and François Morin explaining the need for redefinition of the adverbial phrase.

For anyone who wants to improve their methods of teaching French, this publication is indispensable.

La grammaire au cour du texte, Québec français, Québec City, 2002, [isbn?], 120 pp, $9.95, 418-527-0809, www.revueqf.ulaval.ca/Anciens_nos.html

Guylaine Lachance is a teaching consultant with project FARE Est.

La grammaire française du 3e millénaire

by Michel David

Michel David creates a complete work about grammar based on the most recent research into the science of language education. Intended for high school teachers and students, the book explains grammar concepts and grammar using a simple vocabulary - so that exercises could even be used in Junior and Intermediate divisions.

The first section makes a distinction between spoken and written language, the second places an emphasis on etymology, meaning and relationships among words. Parts Three and Four explain textual grammar, enunciation grammar and phrasal grammar, and discuss classes of words and current spelling.

This is a useful, comprehensive book - 393 articles, 411 exercises, 26 tests and answer sheets for all the exercises and tests.

Grammaire française du 3e millénaire, Lidec, Montréal, 2001, ISBN 2-7608-5309-8, 592 pp, $34.50, 514-843-5991, lidec@lidec.qc.ca, www.lidec.qc.ca

Manon Valois is a teacher in the Conseil des écoles publiques de l'Est de l'Ontario, on loan to the Ministry of Education of Ontario as an education officer on the Literacy Team Education Foundation Program.

Les grammaires

Volumes 1, 2, 3 and 4

by Annie Desnoyers

You may well be wondering why the word "grammar" is currently being written in the plural, what text and lexicon have to do with grammar and whether the new grammar is more than a question of terminology. The Centre collégial de développement de matériel didactique (CCDMD) has made available, free of charge, four booklets in which you will find answers to these questions and a great many others.

The new grammar requires a change in perspective and the explanations in these booklets are remarkably straightforward, accurate and concise. The principle of multiple grammars and their use in teaching is well explained. Examples are also given of the kinds of corrections that are likely to stimulate student learning. Lastly, even though there is little talk of determinants, verbs or other parts of the grammatical nomenclature, tables illustrate admirably well not only how written sentences are structured but also the logic used in categorizing parts of the sentence.

These small books enabled me to thoroughly understand aspects of the new grammar that had escaped me thus far, and I will continue to consult them from time to time. At this price, who would do without them?

Les Grammaires (4 volumes), CCDMD, Montréal, 2002, ISBN 2-89470-123-3, each 32-40 pp, free, 514-873-2200, neogram@ccdmd.qc.ca, www.ccdmd.qc.ca

Lyse Ward is a Primary and Junior division teacher and editor of reviews for French-language resources.

Grammaire française

by Michel David

This work presents all of the components of the new grammar in five parts: syntax, textual grammar, sentence grammar, classes of words and the lexicon. Organized for easy access, definitions and explanations are brief and precise, with examples from French-Canadian literature.

Although intended for students in Grades 7 to 11, it will also find a place on my own reference bookshelf. Books that are this precise, concise and easy to use are rare. It makes me want to begin teaching the new grammar.

Grammaire française, Guérin éditeur, Montréal, 1999, ISBN 2-7601-5283-9, 296 pp, $29.95, 514-842-3481, france.larochelle@guerin-editeur.qc.ca, www.guerin-editeur.qc.ca

Lyse Ward is a Primary and Junior division teacher and editor of reviews for French-language resources.


The Women's Hall of Fame Series has two new titles. Aimed at 9- to13-year-olds, both books are filled with inspiring stories of success and positive role models for young women.

Remarkable Women Writers

Covers authors from Jane Austen to J.K. Rowling and includes several contemporary Canadian women writers, such as Margaret Atwood and Joy Kogawa.

ISBN 1-897187-08-4, softcover, 100 pages, $10.95

Magnificent Women in Music

Runs the gamut from classical pianist Clara Schumann, through jazz, blues and country, to the young Canadian opera diva Measha Brueggergosman.

ISBN 1-897187-02-5, softcover, 100 pages, $10.95

Second Story Press, Toronto, 2006, 1-800-565-9523, info@secondstorypress.ca