Monday, July 31, 2006

Summer Reading

Every summer I reread all or parts of each of these books to refresh my aging memory on the kind of teacher I want to be.

"How to Talk So Kids Can Learn" Faber & Mazlish (ISBN 0-684-82472-8)
This is a great book on how to interact more successfully with students (well really anyone) and to make them (and you) better people.

"Tools for Teaching" Fred Jones (ISBN 0-9650263-0-2)
I love his methods on discipline. Here's just one thing that sticks in my head: no means no. So if you say no the first time and then the student/child keeps pestering you or whining and you finally give in, then you're teaching them to whine again in the future. But if you're consistent with your "no", that works out better in the long run. He also has a section on body language of the students and their compliance and such. I don't use all his methods, but several things have helped me.

Three David R. Johnson books: "Every Minute Counts", "Making Minutes Count Even More", and "Motivation Counts".
They're all math related, and he has great ideas on how to ask questions, collect homework, structure a class, etc.

This year at an airport bookstore of all places I found "Fish for Schools". I was excited because I'd heard of it before. It's basically a structure for living that's based on 4 concepts the authors developed by watching the Pike's Place Fish Market workers. I like their ideas, and I was eager to see how this book could help, but alas, it seemed to be just an advertising to get their school video package. I wouldn't have minded, but it was really pricey. Still, the book had some great ideas and teacher stories.

I also skim through "The First Days of School" by the Wongs to remind myself of (for example) what 7 things (7? ... better start skimming) students want to know on the first day of class, etc.

Any other teaching book recommendations out there?


  1. I've seen the Fish market video and while it was entertaining, I did not walk away from it with anything I could use.

  2. I agree that it doesn't seem manageable. It sounds like it's stuff you have to take the time to talk about and model in class and practice (I guess, thus the video and workbook(s) to give ideas). While that seems doable in elementary school, I could never figure out a way to take time away from instruction.

    Maybe I can keep it in the back of my head and if an opportunity arises, I can use it.

    Ms. Cookie

  3. I am so glad I found your blog. I've really enjoyed reading your thoughts and I've learned a few things too! (and it reminded me of some things... I was also at the San Antonio conference had forgot about the midnight "wake-up call" :)

    Your list of "back to school" reading is almost identical to mine. I love the David Johnson books and read them every summer.

    I would like to get a copy of your calculus activity that used the foam. One of our calculus teachers loves to use ideas like that.

    Thanks again!

  4. Thanks, Mrs. Temple. Send me e-mail at, and I'll send you what I wrote up about the foam project. I may do it earlier this year (or not), but either way, I'll definitely use the models my kids made last year (and left me) to show some solids to this year's class(es). They had trouble visualizing things. I'll probably take off the extra decorations, though, so as not to give them ideas or limit them for their project.

    Ms. Cookie