Brief reviews for August 2007
Cayuso, Emily (2007).
Flip for Word Work: Phonics, Spelling and Vocabulary.
Gainesville, FL: Maupin
Flip for Word Work: Phonics Spelling and Vocabulary is a
comprehensive activity book focused on providing early learners with
strategies that will assist them in becoming better readers. Rather
than relying on boring rote lessons, which specifically target the
areas of phonics, spelling and vocabulary, this flipbook provides
teachers with creative, engaging and challenging activities for all
students. Furthermore, Cayuso's savvy approach to the teaching of
reading and writing really elevates this flipbook above others. By
incorporating multiple intelligence theory with higher ordered thinking
skills, and scaffolding the difficulty level of the activities, she
provides teachers with an invaluable classroom resource.
As a director of curriculum and instruction, I often spend time
searching for resources that improve reading instruction while adhering
to a very strict budget. Because the use of a specific text is not
required for this book, there is no need to purchase additional
material in order to successfully integrate the activities into any
elementary school's curriculum. The activities can be modified to meet
the needs of any primary classroom. Early language learners, special
education students, regular education students, as well as gifted
students will become fully engaged in the learning process when
teachers apply the strategies in this book.
One of the most creative aspects of this book lies in its design.
The reading activities begin with phonics, build to spelling and end
with vocabulary. This natural concept progression, which closely
mirrors the manner in which young readers acquire literacy skills,
gives this flipbook exceptional flow. Through the use of effective
teacher modeling, the activities can inspire a sense of wonder and
interest in early readers, aspects which are sorely absent from
traditional instruction. However, the focus of the flipbook is to
provide students with the phonemic awareness, decoding, and vocabulary
comprehension skills needed in order to develop the self-confidence
that is essential in the creation of independent readers.
Reviewed by Donielle Gary-Burton, Ed.D., Director of Curriculum and
Instruction for Austin Business and Entrepreneurship Academy in
Clifford, Tim (2007).
The Middle School Writing Toolkit: Differentiated Instruction Across
the Content Areas.
Gainesville, FL: Maupin
Tim Clifford, a middle school language arts teacher in New York,
brings to market a teacher's guide to organizing the writing classroom
with The Middle School Writing Toolkit: Differentiated Instruction
Across the Content Areas. The ten chapters are divided into three
sections. The first three chapters address the unique challenges of
middle school writers, as they adjust to working with as many as eight
different teachers, all with their own curriculum and style of
delivery. Teachers too face the challenge of meeting the needs of peer-
driven students with widely varying writing competencies. Clifford's
middle school experience prepares him well for setting up any classroom
as a writers' workshop.
The next five chapters differentiate instruction by targeting skill
development across content areas. The last two chapters model skill
lessons, workstation tasks, and a variety of composing techniques with
revision strategies. Well-designed rubrics follow workstation lessons
and provide both assessment and instruction, as they can be helpful
tools in revision. In a final section entitled "Teaching Resources,"
Clifford includes a variety of assessment and record-keeping worksheets
to monitor both individual and class progress.
The toolkit sorts the conventions of writing across content areas
into genre and content specific lessons. The lessons are easy to
follow, designed as single pages, and address a range of exposition
including reports, persuasive essays, and responses to reading. The
focus on expository writing instruction supports the middle school
curriculum where students are learning to write for a variety of
purposes and audiences.
Clifford's methodical approach to skill-based writing instruction
gives teachers a way to organize their classrooms for writers'
workshop. The workstation and mini-lessons provide practice for
adolescent writers experimenting with genre. Taken together, the
lessons remind us of the complexity of choices available to writers.
Teaching writing is as much about what to say as what not to say.
Models included in the text offer techniques such as interesting facts,
quotations, and anecdotes to demonstrate writing strategies for
students. The teacher guides for instruction include specific tasks
with suggestions for where the lesson best fits a curriculum, along
with time saving guidelines for assessing each task. If students have
opportunities across content classes to write, revise, and practice
when and how to use Clifford's tools, writing proficiency has a chance
to develop over time.
Teachers will find this a useful resource, especially teachers
outside language arts, challenged by organizing writing instruction in
their classrooms. While the target audience for the toolkit is middle
school content teachers, the workshop design assists teachers at any
grade level interested in getting more writing and writing to learn
strategies into their curriculum. The tools are here to begin and
sustain writing instruction in any classroom, as all teachers become
teachers of writing.
Reviewed by Roberta J. Herter, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Education,
Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, CA.
Cooper, Mark & Sjostrom, Lisa (2006).
Making Art Together: How Collaborative Art-Making Can Transform
Kids, Classrooms and Communities.
Boston: Beacon Press.
Making Art Together by Cooper and Sjostrom (2006) begins by
taking us on a journey of Mark Cooper's experience as an art maker
turned collaborative art maker-facilitator where he engages the
artistry of children of all ages in community and educational settings
to demonstrate the power of collaborative art making. This book is
written for the generalist or content area teacher who values
collaboration and is willing to explore what art has to offer as a
source of inspiration and education. Mark Cooper reaches out to the
artist and teacher in all of us asking that we endeavor to explore his
5 basic principles of collaborative art making in the classroom. These
five principles include: (1) The teacher serving as master artist, (2)
Using a framework to maximize the likelihood of success, (3) Working
collaboratively throughout, (4) Drawing on the perspectives and
techniques of contemporary art, and (5) Tying the artwork to the larger
Mark begins his story in a New York kindergarten classroom where he
and a kindergarten teacher collaborated on an art project that focused
on the Kindergartners' families and included a field trip to each of
the 18 student's homes, each time documenting what they saw through
painting. The paintings were then arranged on a larger canvas with a
border of transcribed dialogue. Each student had a quilted canvas that
reflected the class visit to their specific home. Mark's point was
that any teacher can use the five principles and effectively
incorporate art collaboratively.
Principle I: Master Teacher as Artist (chapter 2) describes the
"attitudinal and practical" (p. 16) steps needed to begin. This
includes seeing yourself as an artist/master and dismissing the idea
that "only special people make art" (p. 20); knowing that the everyday
has made you visually literate already, beginning to see, experience,
and trust your own "visual sensibilities" (p. 23); having an "anything
goes" mentality, and understanding that art making is investigation and
discovery. As part of this principle the teacher should create a
successful plan, make it exciting (Studio Mystique, p. 29), "commit
wholeheartedly to the project," and be a decision maker (pp. 29-30).
Principle 2: Frameworks for Success (chapter 3) reminds teachers
that the structure for creating a successful project relies on a "step-
by-step" (p. 37) process, having an attitude of success and a physical
framework for the project as an organizing principle. This principle
also invites us to "think large, think impact, think emotion" (p. 39)
using examples such as billboards, murals, numbers, letters, shapes,
sculpture, and found objects/forms. Here the most important framework
Principle 3: Encouraging Collaboration (chapter 4) speaks to the
idea that each participant deserves a voice in the process and the
process takes time. There needs to be dialogue for decisions to be
made and this involves discussion, voting and using teachable moments.
The starting point here might begin small, incorporate mini
collaborative assignments that grow into the bigger idea, allow
reflection and acknowledge success.
Principle 4: The Perspective of Contemporary Art (chapter 5)
addresses the idea of challenging students to think beyond the
traditional perspectives of how and what art has been in educational
settings. This includes as Cooper puts it "aim to blow kids minds with
what's possible, what constitutes art, and all of the different
approaches they might take" (p. 83). Drawing on his own work he
discusses how the perspective of contemporary art draws into
collaboration with histories and how meanings change through context.
In Principle 5: Tying Art to the Larger World (chapter 6) Cooper
demonstrates how art can be integrated into mainstream curriculum and
gives us excellent examples of how this takes place. Examples include
themes such as getting along, hope after the Holocaust, freedom of
speech, molecular biology, building community, and more. Creating
public art takes on new meaning for each group of students.
In Making Art Together Cooper and Sjostrom clearly outline
the advantages of using these principles. In this easy to read book,
they give hope to those teachers who are not quit sure where to start
and define who the stakeholders are in the process. The text clearly
outlines the evaluative process, the signs of documentation, and how to
close out a ceremony. These authors clearly understand not only art,
but how to communicate great teaching. Making Art Together is
an EXCELLENT blend of teaching practice, artistic knowledge, and big
project know-how! I would recommend this book without reservation to
all classroom teachers!
Reviewed by Dr. Heidi C. Mullins, Assistant Professor of Art and Art
Education, Eastern Washington University
Duran, Elva (2006).
Teaching English Learners in Inclusive Classrooms. Third
Springfield, IL: Charles C.
Price: $92.95(Hardcover) $67.95(Paperback)
ISBN: 978-0-398-07674-0(Hardcover) 978-0-398-07675-7(Paperback)
The subject matter of the updated third edition of Teaching
English Learners in Inclusive Classrooms is the teaching of English
to learners with mild-moderate to severe disabilities and also learners
in culturally and linguistically diverse families. It combines
information on Inclusive Education legislation, results of research
studies and practical orientation for teachers and families of learners
with disabilities, but also for anyone interested in learning more
about these learners and Inclusive Education.
The book has a foreword by Bruce Ostertag, Ed.D., a preface by
editor Elva Duran, Ph.D. who also authored five chapters, and an
introduction by Lou Brown, Ph.D.. Brown explains the reasons for high
unemployment rates of learners with disabilities, and makes a number of
suggestions for changes in the current educational system, such as the
restructuring of high schools, the purchase of services which cannot be
provided by the schools from private vendors, and the "finishing
school" as a second chance school where students could learn what "is
actually necessary to become a productive member of society" (p.
The fifteen chapters which follow can be roughly divided into three
themes. In the first theme, learners with disabilities, chapters 1
(Creating Inclusive Schools for All Learners), 3 (Functional Language
and Other Language Intervention Strategies), 4 (Transition Planning for
Students with Disabilities from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse
Backgrounds), 5 (Teaching Adolescent Students with Autism and Other
Spectrum Disorders) and 6 (Students with Multiple Disabilities) provide
a detailed account of legislation to help increase the provision of
services to these learners. These chapters provide updates on IDEA (The
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004) and the No Child
Left Behind Act, information on autism and other disorders and
practical strategies drawn from several studies and projects to
facilitate learning for students with disabilities.
In the second theme, articles focus on learners in culturally and
linguistically diverse families. In chapters 7 (Culturally and
Linguistically Diverse Families), 8 (The Education of Latinos as
Linguistically and Culturally Diverse Students: a Socio-cultural
Perspective), 9 (Teaching Asian American Children), 10 (Education and
the Academic Achievement of African American Students) and 14 (The
Culturally and Linguistically Different Student) we learn about each
one of these groups of learners, whether new or well-settled
immigrants, what relationships are like in their home cultures and what
can be done to make the schools more welcoming to ethnically diverse
students and their families.
In the third group of articles, strategies for teaching English
learners, chapters 2 (The Power Language), 12 (Literacy Development),
and 15 (Strategies for Teaching English Learners) deal with language
and strategies for teaching students with or without disabilities. Also
on this theme, chapter 13 (Social Studies Content Made Comprehensible
for English Learners With/Without Special Needs) provides special and
general education teachers with lots of practical strategies to help
English learners to learn Social Studies content through special
teaching approaches. Sheltered and adapted instruction are suggested as
ways to increase the amount of time for English learning and promote
However difficult it is to highlight a few chapters in this
insightful publication, the following chapters are worth a special
Chapter 1 covers legislation on Inclusive Education over the past
forty or fifty years within schools across the USA and how they have
gradually adopted Cooperative Learning to encourage interaction among
all students. This chapter also explores the principles of Universal
Design and how it has been used to redesign the school curriculum in
order to accommodate all learners, regardless of their abilities.
Chapter 7, entitled Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Families,
is one of the new chapters in this updated edition. Readers learn what
legislation says about these learners and their families. The chapter
also provides a definition of diverse families, the meaning of
disability in various cultures and consequently its likely impact is on
affected families, and finally what steps can be taken in order to
bridge the gap between these families and the schools. Again,
collaboration is seen as the ultimate goal of any program of Inclusive
Nearly all the chapters discussing strategies for teaching English
learners are a must read for all English language teachers interested
in getting better at what they do and who wish to make a positive
contribution to their learners, with or without disabilities. Chapter
12 gets a mention here because it is succinct and a pleasure to read,
being an account of all the phases and factors involved in becoming
literate. The basics of phonological awareness, decoding and word
recognition, vocabulary development, fluency, comprehension and writing
are described through various types of exercises and activities.
As a suggestion for a future edition, a list of acronyms would help
readers preview and familiarize themselves with this shorthand right
from the start. The reorganization of chapters into sections by theme
as suggested above would help readers establish easier connections
among the chapters, and smoothen the flow of reading over the book as a
Finally, a few recurrent messages in this volume are as follows:
- Inclusion Education is beneficial to all learners with or
without disabilities and consequently to creating a more equal and
strong society for all;
- Families of learners with or without disabilities play a
crucial role in strengthening the provision of Inclusive Education
- Collaboration among learners, between families and
schools/work place and among school staff is key to any successful
Inclusive Education program;
- Teachers and other professionals in Education should be slower
and more careful at passing judgment on parents;
- Following up on the above, all teachers, Special Needs and
General Education, need to be offered on-going training and
opportunities to meet and share during their weekly work load;
- Very often very little adaptation and small changes in the
school and work environment are what is needed to make learners with
disability succeed in their tasks.
Nevertheless, the single message across all the articles in this
unique volume can be summarized as the need for more sensitivity to
culturally and linguistically diverse learners, with or without
disabilities, to help create a better environment for everyone,
including our families, friends and communities.
For all the reasons above, Teaching English Learners in Inclusive
Classrooms will fit nicely into a recommended book list of any
course on Inclusive Education and also into any Teacher Education
Reviewed by Ana Falcao, Cultura Inglesa Sergipe, Educational Co-
ordinator, Aracaju, NE Brazil
Fisher, Douglas & Frey, Nancy (2007).
Scaffolded Writing Instruction: Teaching with a Gradual-Release
New York: Scholastic.
In Scaffolded Writing Instruction: Teaching with a Gradual-
Release Framework, Fisher and Frey want to revive the teaching of
writing so that it receives the instructional time and attention in the
classroom that it deserves. Most teachers would agree with the
rhetorical question, "We all know readers who can't write, but do we
know writers who can't read?" (p. 6). Fisher and Frey argue that while
reading is important, so too is writing. Moreover, reading and writing
are interrelated and if students' writing skills are improved, their
reading skills will also likely improve.
While Fisher and Frey believe that systematic writing instruction is
important, they challenge the frequently used five-step writing
process: prewriting, writing, revising, editing, and publishing.
According to the authors, this five step process is problematic for
three reasons: writing is not a linear process but instead recursive;
not every writing piece needs or should be published; and the process
gives little information to teachers about their instructional role
during each of the five steps. Fisher and Frey are also critical of
formulaic writing instruction, such as the popular "hamburger
paragraph" model. These types of formulaic writing models seem to be
growing in usage in schools but serve little purpose in authentic
writing tasks: "When was the last time you read a hamburger paragraph
on the editorial page of your favorite newspaper?" (p. 91).
Instead, the book provides a flexible framework for systematic
writing instruction that uses two key components: scaffolding writing
skills for students though teaching, and through using the writing
workshop model. Teachers model and support new writing skills while
students work towards using these new skills independently. In their
framework, Fisher and Frey present six key instructional approaches
that vary in the level of teacher support required. The first two
approaches are forms of shared writing: the language experience
approach wherein the teacher and the students create a text and the
teacher acts as a scribe, and interactive writing, during which the
teacher and the students share the pen and the responsibility of
writing. In order to increase writing fluency, power writing (also
commonly referred to as quick writing) is an approach which allows
students and the teacher to track fluency over time. Generative
writing is another approach to teaching writing. It uses teacher
prompts but its focus is on syntax, grammar, and sentence construction.
The use of writing models is an approach in which the students rely
less on the teacher and instead use previously written texts to serve
as models to write their own. Independent writing is the final
approach in which the students write a text on their own with the
teacher providing minimal support but still acting as a consultant and
coach. Within each of the six approaches, Fisher and Frey provide
examples that describe how the workshop approach (focus lessons with
the whole class, guided instruction with small groups, collaborative
learning and independent learning) should be used to support this
There are many strengths that make Scaffolded Writing
Instruction a worthwhile resource for teachers. First, the chapter
on assessment and feedback provides many practical ideas for assessment
as well as reproducible masters of rubrics, checklists, and tracking
tools. This chapter also includes ideas on how to improve peer
feedback on writing to make it more meaningful. Another highlight of
the book is the chapter on generative writing which contains many
creative and innovative methods of reinforcing and improving syntax,
style, and grammar in students' writing. This instructional approach
may be unfamiliar to many readers, but is clearly explained so that any
teacher can implement it in his or her classroom.
Throughout the book, Fisher and Frey provide samples of actual
student writing to bring the concepts and instructional approaches to
life. In the margins throughout the book, tips and ideas about the
approaches provide the reader with additional resources and
information. Scaffolded Writing Instruction also includes many
classroom vignettes so that the reader can gain a clearer understanding
of how the approaches are implemented in a real classroom setting.
While the back cover of the book states that these vignettes are from
"grades 3-5 classrooms," they actually consist of higher grade examples
as well, including grade 8. The book is very well organized and one of
its particular strengths is that each chapter explains how the
instructional approach is used within the different groupings of
students in the writing workshop, such as whole class and small groups.
Overall, Scaffolded Writing Instruction is a book that could
help many teachers transform their writing programs. Fisher and Frey
have created a writing framework that complements balanced reading
programs to create a truly balanced literacy program. While the book
has many ideas that could be used in primary classrooms, it is
primarily for use by teachers of grades 3-8. For many teachers,
teaching writing can be daunting and difficult to implement; thus, many
teachers rely on the traditional five-step writing process model.
Fisher and Frey provide junior and middle school teachers with an
alternative research-based framework for teaching writing that is
practical and that supports students as they become proficient and
Reviewed by Kristen Ferguson, Assistant Professor of Language Arts at
the Faculty of Education at Nipissing University and doctoral student
in Education at York University.
Fullan, Michael (2006).
San Francisco, CA: Jossey-
Fullan writes, "The real reform agenda is societal development. Not
in an abstract sense, but empirically. Not in broad strokes, but
through identifying precise themes and their consequences for better or
for worse."(pg. 1) His book Turnaround Leadership discusses the
need for education to play a constructive, proactive and responsible
role in the development of an equitable society.
Fullan strengthens his presentation by using specific examples.
The book is also embedded with references to recent reform bringing
about sustainable change within entire state systems; these references
provide depth as well as validity to his goal to turn a system
around by substantially raising the bar and closing the gap in
educational performance, while realizing that this is part of a larger
goal to reduce the income differential in society as whole (p. 97). His
strong belief is that there must be a unified agenda which goes beyond
bringing about change at the school level and instead calls for working
towards system transformation with its major goal being to reduce
income and education gaps. Fullan believes this is the true calling for
education in the twenty-first century.
In Chapter One, Fullan outlines the state of society within the
developed world. He uses references from Wilkinson's research study
(2005) to show that the core problem in most developed countries is
differential social status amongst groups. He ties in the role of
education in reducing this disparity. In his words, "Reducing the gap
as you raise the economic bar makes economic sense" (pg.7). Using
findings from the economist Heckman (2006), Fullan states his argument.
"First, focus on the societal problem of income differential and employ
direct community-based short-term and long-term strategies. Second,
conceive of education as playing a role in gap-closing, especially as
we shall see by working intensely on the three basics of literacy,
numeracy, and what I will call the well-being of the students" (pp.9-
10). Using the results from the OECDÕs project PISA 2000 (2001),
Willm's study of vulnerable children (2002) and Berliner's study of
poverty (2006), Fullan proposes that in order to produce turnaround
schools one must work with a greater understanding of the social
context and its consequences on mental and physical well-being.
In Chapter Two Fullan focuses on turnaround leadership to move
reforms beyond the initial improvement from awful to
adequate. He advocates that strategies need to be in place to
move them onwards from adequate to good or great schools.
He agrees that the initial steps taken to bring about change in schools
such as new leadership, closer attention to assessments, support from
experts and specialists and an accelerated adoption of new programs,
projects or strategies are essential. Fullan agrees with Kanter's
(2004) turnaround solution identifying accountability, collaboration
and initiative as essential elements for capacity building with a
focus; which essentially means getting the schools to work on
continued improvement and reform by understanding the mysteries of how
people and systems change (p.33).
Chapter Three, provides the basis for change and then the process to
make change a permanent mindset within an organization. Fullan begins
with the need to close the gap between high and low performers. He
stresses the need for attending to the three essentials of literacy,
numeracy and well-being. He acknowledges the need for respect and
dignity as essential to keep stakeholders such as teachers and students
motivated. The more intra-school variance within classrooms is
minimized the better consistency in the quality of education delivered
to the student. Essential to any change process, for Fullan, is the
need to have the best people working on the task at hand He aims to
unlock people's potential to improve the overall talent in the system.
Hence, capacity building is crucial, "to secure new beliefs and higher
expectations Š critical to a turnaround situation Š people first need
new experiences that lead them to different beliefs" (p. 60). Fullan
strongly advocates that external accountability can be addressed as the
system works on improving its internal accountability through the
alignment of individual responsibility, collective expectations and
accountability data. All of this leads towards building public
confidence Š that is creating the conditions under which the vast
majority of teachers will be motivated to invest in success (p. 65).
Fullan's final chapter provides a glimpse into how one can turn a
whole system around. He uses as examples the York Region District
School Board, England's National Literacy and Numeracy Strategy and the
Ontario Case to present strategies that work towards a large-scale
reform where a large number of leaders (change agents) within and
across the different levels of society work to jointly own the
Fullan envisages what he terms as permeable connectivity
an integration of top-down and bottom-up forces in an ongoing,
dynamic manner (pp. 95-96). Summing it up his book provides a
sociological aspect to the transformation that can be brought about by
education within a whole system and indeed boldly enough within a
nation. He advocates a visionary approach for mobilizing the million
change agents that it will take to accomplish two giant things at once:
greater equality and multifaceted prosperity. His belief in positive
human endeavour and ingenuity can be seen clearly through each line and
indeed each page of this motivating book. The book is an essential
resource that can be used by researchers working in Development and
particularly in Education as it provides recent, valid findings from
others within the field integrated with the experience and knowledge
that Fullan brings into any discussion on societal improvement and
development. The book provides a number of research frameworks that can
be used by researchers in further analyzing and developing theories and
practices within the field. It is a book that has to be re-read again
and again and again so that the full essence of Fullan's vision can be
envisaged by the reader who might be a student, a teacher, a
researcher, a school leader, a policy-maker or even a systems
developer. Fullan has indeed catered to a broad spectrum of societal
change agents as he has written a book on the change and improvement of
Berliner, D. C. (2006). Our impoverished view of educational research.
Teachers College Record, 108, 945-995.
Heckman, J. J. (2006). Investing in disadvantaged children is an
economically efficient policy. Paper presented at the Committee for
Economic Development Forum on Building the Economic Case for
Investments in Preschool, New York. Retrieved July 14, 2007, from
Kanter, R. M. (2004). Confidence: How winning and losing streaks
begin and end. New York: Crown Business.
Organization for Economic Coooperation and Development (OECD), (2001).
Knowledge and skills for life: First results from PISA 2000.
Wilkinson, R. G. (2005). The impact of inequality: How to make sick
societies healthier. New York: New Press, 2005.
Willms, J. D., (Ed.) (2002). Vulnerable children: Findings from
Canada's national longitudinal survey of children and youth.
Edmonton: University of Alberta Press.
Reviewed by Venesser M. Pate, Doctorate of Education student, Monash
University, Melbourne, Australia.
Geller, Anne Ellen; Eodice, Michele; Condon, Frankie; Carroll, Meg &
Boquet, Elizabeth H. (2007)
The Everyday Writing Center: A Community of Practice.
Logan UT: Utah State University
Born out of informal conversations at conferences and continued
post-conference communication, this book is a true collaboration
authored by five writing-center directors from small and large, public
and private institutions. The authors seek to examine the role of the
writing center as central to what Wenger (1998) calls a "community of
practice" and a place where directors, peer and professional tutors and
students interact and learn from one another. As the authors examine
the potential for creating a community of practitioners within the
university writing center, they carefully thread theory through their
explorations of what happens in the writing center. They do so "to use
the hows to illuminate the whys and the whys to
illuminate the hows" (p. 9). This book is not a how to set up a
successful writing center manual, but instead, a reflective look at how
a writing center can and should become a place of reflective practice
and community building.
One of the writers' basic premises is that the pedagogical
foundation of the writing center is one that cannot be prescribed,
ordained or prescripted. Indeed, the authors assert that the magic of
learning is tied to the moment of discovery, which can only result when
the center and its tutors, teachers and writers are open to mutually
exploring new and unfamiliar territory. While one primary role of
writing center directors is to train tutors, the authors emphasize that
though training manuals have their place, training must show beginning
tutors that there is no "'toolbox' full of no-fail strategies and
quick, easy answers" (p. 25). Instead, directors need to promote the
recognition of moments of opportunity in both tutors and students, and
in so-doing the authors suggest writing center directors can effect a
culture of learning that transcends the center and spreads to other
aspects of the campus community.
As writing center directors, the authors acknowledge some of the
realties and difficulties that face them as they establish procedures
for students and tutors. They explore the concept of time: how long
should tutoring sessions be; should there be a deadline before papers
are due that students must meet in order to schedule a tutoring
session; how can tutors be taught to use time to reflect on their own
practice, thereby encouraging the flexibility the authors advocate.
Another problem the authors address is how to create a culture of
learning within writing centers. Based on and adapted from Marcia
Connor's Learning Audit, they have developed a Writing Center Learning
Audit that other directors will find useful in assessing the degree to
which their centers have a pro or anti learning culture. An important
aspect, they maintain, of establishing a pro learning culture is to
choose tutors from a wide range of backgrounds, and then to expose them
to new learning situations so they begin to appreciate what it is to
learn, what it is to teach, and how inextricable the two are. Some of
their favorite tutoring training sessions include all writing center
staff learning new skills like making jewelry, balloon animals,
origami, ikebana or clay pigs and subsequently having to teach the new
skill. Their goal: "we want co-learners, conscious of their
interactions, listening and asking as much as they're telling" (p. 68).
Perhaps the most transformative view that the writers share is that
of a writing center's potential to confront campus racism. The authors
recognize that as five white women they are products of their own race
and gender, but they see the need for the writing center to tackle the
necessary but difficult struggle against racism. They suggest actively
recruiting tutors who represent racially and ethnically diverse groups.
Another method of confronting racism that each of the five directors
use is an adaptation of Peggy McIntosh's (2005) "Unpacking the
Invisible Knapsack" to heighten awareness on the part of predominantly
white, privileged tutors. The authors remind us that tutors, as well as
writers, need to be aware of multicultural and multilingual modes of
expression. The authors go a step further, however, than merely
addressing racism within the confines of the writing center and
advocate that writing center directors forge alliances with others on
campus who are also willing to effect change. They suggest that writing
center directors can assume "leadership roles out of a sense of
mission, need, and purpose and require the participation of others to
accomplish this purpose" (p. 96).
Overall, The Everyday Writing Center: A Community of Practice
inspires just what it purports to do: reflection on how best to devise
a writing center that supports mutual and interactive teaching and
learning in a nurturing environment. The book also gives rise to
thoughts of how writing centers can take a leadership role in
establishing pedagogical and institutional awareness of learning
communities and opportunities for growth.
McIntosh, P. (2005) White privilege: Unpacking the invisible
knapsack. In P.S. Rothenberg (Ed.), White privilege: Essential
readings on the other side of racism (pp. 97-101). New York:
Wenger, E. (1998). Communities of Practice: Learning, Meaning, and
Identity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Reviewed by Pat Mytkowicz, Ed.D, an associate professor, writing
teacher and coordinator of a program for multilingual students with
learning disabilities at Curry College in Milton, Massachusetts.
Gilmore, Barry (2007).
"Is It Done Yet?": Teaching Adolescents the Art of Revision.
Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
This entertaining book not only provides practical advice and
activities for revision in student writing but also encourages teachers
to reconsider their own philosophies about teaching language arts. The
author's easy-to-read style is practical and humorous, often including
student examples to demonstrate his points. His voice comes through
loud and clear; yet the book is concise and clearly organized from the
six page introductory chapter to the appendix outlining a semester plan
for teaching writing. Undoubtedly, Barry Gilmore follows his own
advice about writing and revision.
"Is It Done Yet" is more suited to upper level high school
teachers and even college writing instructors. The author focuses on
research and literary analysis papers, with only a brief chapter about
creative writing, although some of the techniques can be adapted for
different genres. Gilmore also includes a brief chapter about writing
with technology, not just word processing programs but also the
Internet, and a chapter about revising on demand, which includes a
useful checklist for students to use when they have finished a timed
writing. Most of the techniques and activities attempt to raise the
sophistication of the writer after at least one draft has been already
written, by incorporating quotations more smoothly or adding an
additional paragraph to a five paragraph essay, for example. The
author pays special attention to the introduction and conclusion of
papers, usually what students struggle with most, and how they reflect
the organization and purpose of the writing.
Gilmore emphasizes that students must be required to revise, not
because they want to improve their grades (in fact, he believes no
grade should be assigned to the first draft), but because they want to
improve their writing. He emphasizes how to help students revise their
own writing, rather than having the teacher do it by marking up papers
with incomprehensible scrawls. To truly help students revise, the
author believes the teacher must model the techniques, maybe even with
past student work. True to his word, Gilmore does just that with
excerpts from essays before and after revision strategies. Peer
revision is also a major element in the book, with ideas specific
enough to be practical but general enough to work for many different
types of writing and classrooms. For students to improve their work,
they must have some sense of ownership through input in both
assignments and rubrics, which the author says in his list of rules on
the front cover of the book, "are only useful if they donÕt feel like a
cage to students." He even offers some examples of student-written
scoring guides and tells the readers to trust their students.
The most important of Gilmore's rules is "Getting better at writing
increases your desire to do it," which is the goal of any writing
teacher. He offers countless realistic strategies of how to improve
student writing through revision, especially how to avoid the wordy,
repetitive academic language so many students seem to use. Some of the
strategies involve sophisticated writing techniques such as using an
anadiplosis, antithesis, or even chiasmus; terms probably unfamiliar to
most high school students. However, by encouraging and even forcing
revision, teachers may find their students capable of more than they
imagined. While the book has very few references, the authorÕ's ideas
are enough to make any writing teacher rethink assignments and
activities in the classroom.
Reviewed by Beth Kania-Gosche, graduate teaching assistant in the
educational studies department of Saint Louis University.
Laminack, Lester L. & Wadsworth, Reba M. (2007).
Reading Aloud Across the Curriculum: How to Build Bridges in
Language Arts, Math, Science, and Social Studies.
Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
Some of the best stories I remember from my childhood were those
read aloud to me by my parents and grandparents. I can still recall the
covers of those books and sometimes even single pagesI certainly
do for my favourite picture book which was about a mischievous black
and white tomcat.
The Commission on Reading states in its 1984 report Becoming A
Nation of Readers, 'The single most important activity for building
the knowledge required for eventual success in reading is reading aloud
to children" (p. 51). One of the best read-aloud resources, because
they are so memorable and visually appealing, is picture books. With
Reading Aloud Across the Curriculum, Laminack and Wadsworth
provide an easy-to-read, well-structured and practitioner-oriented book
on reading aloud with children and demonstrate how picture books can be
utilised across the curriculum to develop successful, critical and
Reading Aloud Across the Curriculum is especially useful to
teachers who have little experience in reading aloud in the elementary
classroom. In the Introduction Laminack and Wadsworth provide their
readers with clear general guidelines on how to utilise "reading aloud
as a deliberate and thoughtful act of instruction" (p. x). The authors
also set out the teaching goal as "to slowly move students toward
independence" and explain that the role of the teacher is "to serve as
the one who is demonstrating the thinking, not thinking for them" (p.
xi). As Calkin states, "Helping children think about texts is as
essential to the teaching of reading as it is to the whole of our
lives, and the most powerful way to teach this kind of thinking is
through book talks based on read aloud books" (Calkin (2001), p. 228)
Laminack and Wadsworth then take us through a sample collection of
books for the study of a sample topic, ‘The Underground Railroad’, and
suggest an order for using the books that reflects their rationale for
approaching the sample topic successfully. Readers with little
methodological experience will embrace the clearly structured, hands-on
guidelines for planning and delivering a read-aloud unit that suits the
needs of their learners
Each of the four chapters in the book is dedicated to the use of
picture books and read-alouds to support a specific curriculum:
language arts, mathematics, science and social studies. In each
chapter, Laminack and Wadsworth first provide the curriculum standards
or strands as set by the corresponding teaching council, then discuss
these and highlight considerations and approaches on how to develop the
appropriate skills in the young learner through picture books and read-
alouds. For each curriculum, they then select one book and provide a
sample lesson before inviting us into their libraries. The collated
starter sets, which make up more than 150 pages of the book, enable a
quick familiarisation with a wide range of picture books and the sheer
variety of topics that can be tackled in an interesting, learner age-
based way. The books are organised into bookshelves alphabetically by
the title of the book. Each book entry contains title, author and
illustrator, publisher, date, ISBN number and a brief introduction to
the book's content and how it could serve to support the learning
For the Language Arts curriculum, for example, the authors introduce
books that illustrate the features of writing organised under the sub-
headings Alliteration, Relevant Details, Interesting Use of Italics,
Language That Extends Vocabulary, Memoir Like Story, Metaphors and
Similes, Onomatopoeia, Patterned Text, Personification, Questions as a
Story Structure, Slows Time and Shows a Small Moment, Unusual
Punctuation and, last but not least, Varied Sentence Length.
Readers who are unfamiliar with the method of reading aloud in the
classroom and who have not read the authors' Learning Under the
Influence of Language and Literature (2006) may struggle to find
some essential background information in the Introduction chapter; for
example, the age of the reader the suggested picture books are suitable
for. Reading Aloud Across the Curriculum is a useful resource
in its own right to guide teachers when reading aloud with children in
the classroom; yet it fulfils its purpose best as an extension of
Learning Under the Influence.
Anderson, R., Hiebert, E., Scott, J., & Wilkinson, I. (1984). Becoming
a nation of readers. Champaign-Urbana, IL: Center for the Study of
Calkins, L. (2001). The art of teaching reading. New York, NY: Longman
Laminack, L. L. & Wadsworth, R. M. (2006).
Learning Under the Influence of Language and Literature: Making the
Most of Read-Alouds Across the Day. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
Reviewed by Dorit Hahn, Ph.D. student in the School of Education at the
University of Nottingham, UK. Dorit Hahn is also a Senior Tutor for
German at Victoria University, Wellington, New Zealand.
Passman, Roger & McKnight, Katherine S. (2007).
Teaching Writing in the Inclusive Classroom: Strategies and Skills
for All Students.
San Francisco, CA: Jossey-
Teaching Writing in the Inclusive Classroom is written for
grades 6 to 12 teachers. Organized in 6 chapters, the TIP writing
approach is used (teach strategies, introduce skills and
mechanics, opportunities to practice). The intent is to provide
students with opportunities to write clearly and concisely in authentic
situations by having a voice, gaining authority, and writing for an
audience. Writing is about "making thinking visible...a unique way of
thinking," (p. 5-6) in both solitary (e.g., writing draft) and social
(e.g., revision, editing) environments. The authors emphasize the
importance of teaching writing through differentiated instruction so
all students, regardless of exceptionality or ability, can have their
needs and interests addressed, while identifying themselves as writers.
In chapter two, 16 activities and strategies are provided to help
students develop their voice and authority in writing. For instance,
Rich Description provides students with 3 choices to develop their
ability to write descriptively, strengthen vocabulary, and write with
depth. In Picture Writing, students are provided with a picture and
asked to write a story, focusing on the image details in their
narrative. In The Friday Essay, students' voices are developed by
writing an essay in any genre from a quote or prompt.
The remaining chapters focus on mini-lessons, requiring 5 minutes to
20 minutes, to support students in skills that organize their thoughts
in writing; support grammar, punctuation, and sentence structure; and
explicate how to write a research paper. Emphases are placed on
students being engaged and using multiple mini-lessons to address a
particular skill, which addresses students' learning styles and
multiple intelligences. To support students with organizing their
writing, activities make use of manipulatives (e.g., paper cups, beans,
candy, index cards), charts, web diagrams, checklists, and templates.
For instance, Paragraph Jigsaw helps students organize the sequence of
a passage by topic sentence, supporting sentences, and concluding
sentence by having students sort the cut pieces together.
As a high school mathematics teacher, I reviewed this resource with
a lens towards literacy. I was impressed with the originality of the
activities and strategies. I successfully made connections to some of
the strategies in the Ontario Ministry of Education's Think Literacy,
Cross-Curricular Approaches, Grades 7 to 12. I am convinced that all
teachers, regardless of subject discipline, have responsibility to
promote literacy. For instance, Vocabulary Pictures, which uses flash
cards to support the learning of new vocabulary (definition; antonym;
use in a sentence; draw picture) reminds me of the Frayer Model to
grasp key terminology in the subject discipline (definition; facts;
The book is a treasure trove of activities and strategies, many of
which originated from the authors' own experiences in the classroom.
The authors have done a wonderful job writing a resource for busy
teachers that is easy to read, with blackline masters ready to be
photocopied. The National Council of Teachers of English and
International Reading Association (NCTE/IRA) Standards for the English
Language Arts in the appendix is appreciated.
Like any reviewer, I believe suggestions should be provided since
there is no "perfect" book. I would have liked to see student exemplars
which would give me greater assurance that the activities have been
classroom-tested. To broaden the readership, I suggest a discussion on
how teachers in any subject discipline can incorporate the strategies.
The "Visualizing" activity on pages 53-54 did not sit well with me
since students must recall an accident or injury. I am surprised that
this went through in publication since students may recall a traumatic
Reviewed by Louis Lim, BScHons, BEd, MEd, MA (candidate), department
head of mathematics at Richmond Hill High School, located slightly
north of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He is also employed as a sessional
additional qualifications instructor with Queen's University and York
Reeves, Douglas B. (2007).
The Daily Disciplines of Leadership: How to Improve Student
Achievement, Staff Motivation, and Personal Organization.
San Francisco, CA: Jossey-
The re-release of The Daily Disciplines of Leadership: How to
Improve Student Achievement, Staff Motivation, and Personal
Organization reminds those of us genuinely interested in leading
complex organizations that there is no clear cut set of directions for
moving schools forward in the 21st Century, just as we
learned during the 1980s and 1990s. In fact given the new
accountability measures, we can even argue that we are now confronted
with more complexities than ever as we attempt to educate America's
most pluralistic group of children in the nation's public schools.
Reeves releases the text with a new preface which mentions a series
of demographic and educational trends existing in all fifty states and
on five continents. From his findings, he continues to suggest that
there are "six big ideas that are now more important than ever" (p.
Within the discourse surrounding the big ideas, Reeves simply
restates the arguments he originally articulated in the original
publication of this work in 2002.
- Leadership and management are inseparable
- Accountability is more than test scores
- Leadership leverage is key to maximizing results
- Feedback is as important to adults as it is for
- Students are not customers
- The value of strategic planning lies not in nicely
formatted documents, but in a focus on core values, clear strategies,
and effective action plans.
Given what American educators have since learned about
accountability legislation with the No Child Left Behind Act,
seemingly Reeves would have capitalized on the lessoned learned in
relationship to his big ideas. Because he has chosen not to update the
text, he does not make connections between the big ideas and the
existing state of education, with the exception of what is mentioned in
the preface. He maintains, "since the publication of the first edition
of The Daily Disciplines of Leadership in 2002, the educational,
economic, and political landscape in the United States and throughout
the world has changed in a dramatic fashion" (p. xiii). What Reeves
does not share with the readers are the answers to the following
- How have the current educational, economic, and political
structures impacted leadership?
- What are the impacts of the change on his six big
- How might educators begin to respond differently late into
the first decade of the new Century?
Perhaps the focus of the 2007 re-release was to share the contents
of the book to a new audience while presenting a more contemporary
voice of the author in the preface. Given that, Reeves has
satisfactorily accomplished this intention. However, I strongly believe
that in several areas of the text, Reeves could have pointed to many
new research-based innovations to further enhance this substantial
work. The most recent citations used are from 2002.
Taylor, Monica, editor (2007).
Whole Language Teaching, Whole-Hearted Practice: Looking Back,
New York: Peter
Whole Language Teaching, Whole Hearted Practice makes the
case that Whole Language belongs in the current discussion on literacy
instruction in the face of recent policy mandates. This is not a "how-
to" of Whole Language practice. Instead, the authors provide a rich
history, contextualizing the essence of what has become the proverbial
punching bag of reading reform; and a message of optimistic urgency for
the future. Despite policy changes and the marginalization of Whole
Language as a teaching philosophy the authors deliver nine separate
essays reminding us that Whole Language is "a pedagogy of possibility"
(p. 71), reinforcing its strong connections with social activism, and
arguing that now more than ever this kind of participatory democracy is
absolutely necessary for our children. The notion of possibility
highlights the largest divide in the reading wars. While the phonics
camp asks only, "What works?" the Whole Language camp dares to ask
"Why?" With its narrative history and challenges for future Whole
Language practice, this book is informative reading for current and
pre-service teachers, and all who observe and study reading
In today's classrooms, where code-based strategies and basals have
regained prominence, the impact of Whole Language practices is ever-
present. This can be seen in writing process models, and is apparent
when teachers offer student-selected projects, or integrate reading
across the curriculum. It is visible when teachers use miscue analysis
to guide instruction; and when teachers and students integrate prior
knowledge from the individual world with what is understood from the
text and visual analysis. The modern basals, while offering a
substantial amount of code based instruction, also integrate quality
texts that are far removed from the linguistically controlled world of
Dick, Spot, and Jane.
Whole Language practices contributed positively to the involvement
of teachers as decision makers for classroom practices. Whole Language
places teachers in the role of expert, advocate, and guide; and
encourages them to observe closely, match student interests to texts,
give choices for interpreting and acting on texts, and use student
responses to design future lessons. Yetta Goodman believes that current
practices provide a very limited role for teachers in determining how
teaching happens (p. 181). But the increased emphasis on schools as
professional learning communities, and demands for professional
development mandated by No Child Left Behind provide an opportunity for
renewal of the collaboration framework established by Whole Language.
Contributors to this book view Whole Language as an action-oriented
movement, political by necessity, whose purpose is to provide literacy
skills without bias for all who would take them. Denny Taylor argues
that the current "'reading wars' are not about Whole Language or
phonics . . . (but) are about the control of language, who reads, who
writes, and for what purpose" (p. 198). The elements of choice and
honoring children's language open doors of opportunity. These remain
closed when the primary instructional focus is on phonics, mastery of
the code, and unquestioning acceptance of the text's version of
meaning. This is in our eyes the strongest argument for Whole Language
and the strongest element in the book, echoing the criticism of current
policy and research by Gerald Coles (200) and Steven Strauss (2005).
Not all have agreed with this view of Whole Language, and the
contributors willingly take on some of the most salient criticisms.
Lisa Delpit (1995) argued that for many students the environment of
Whole Language classrooms actually limits student responses and
opportunities for learning and using the "codes of power" (p. xvi).
Thus, socially progressive classrooms in a socially conservative world
do not serve minority children well, as they do not have alternate
linguistic and cultural models from the dominant culture. Delpit's
arguments frame fundamental questions about the purpose of reading
instruction, and the form it should take to ensure that all children
have opportunities to develop literacy skills.
Debra Goodman counters that it is code based methods that have the
effect of controlling children, while Whole Language seeks to honor the
knowledge children bring to the table and give them opportunities to
use language in authentic ways for purposeful outcomes. Through this
pattern of teaching, children grasp the learning processes needed to
successfully control the codes of power (p. 71). Ken and Yetta Goodman
cast this argument in a political light: as an attempt to establish
fear that Whole Language means to capture the minds of children, or
keep children from learning (pp. 172-173). These assumptions are false,
and evidence is presented in depth in a 1997 interview between the
Goodmans and Time magazine. The willingness of the contributors to take
on these concerns is a strength of the text.
Another criticism has been directed at the Whole Language claim for
Aha! moments when students suddenly, after repeated exposures to text
in authentic settings, understand the code needed to read words. This
type of assumption, unsupported as it often was, was one of the
triggers for the movement toward more phonics instruction in today's
classrooms. This book does little to address the problems enveloped in
this assumption, and the evidence that presents a challenge to this
world view. Whole Language practices described provide a solid
framework for helping students interpret, make meaning, and apply
information from texts. The framework provides strategies for
capturing evidence of learning through portfolio assessment, miscue
analysis, and guided dialogue about texts. But the concerns around
teaching students for whom language and literacy don't easily click
must be addressed.
The willingness of the contributors to take on concerns about
classroom culture and power is a strength of the text. But the
inability to separate elements of critical literacy from instructional
practices seems a weakness of the book as a whole, and is reminiscent
of the original concerns that caused movement away from the framework.
We believe that while the overlap between the two may be great in some
areas of reading instruction (such as choice in what to read or write
about) they may be quite independent in others. Here, we believe, the
authors err in a similar way as their critics. Teaching code based
strategies for reading does not need to take the form of behaviorist
tightly controlled instruction. The failure to recognize that the
political stance does not necessarily lead to one way of literacy
acquisition is a poignant reminder of the Whole Language movement's
largest failures: the inability to reconcile empirical evidence with an
ideological position, and the failure in creating a body of research
that would help teachers and administrators at all levels make better
decisions about early literacy instruction.
Whole Language continues to provide valuable strategies for helping
students interact with texts, and helping teachers apply what they
observe to instructional design. Its emphasis on collaboration
establishes a framework that could now be applied to professional
learning communities in schools. The Goodmans and their colleagues
helped us turn a corner in reading instruction. This has informed and
influenced many successful practices in classrooms. And yet, there are
some children for whom the message doesn't click through repeated Whole
Language experiences, and many children who benefit from explicit
instruction in code strategies, especially when paired with miscue
analysis, comprehension strategies, and thoughtful guided instruction
from an observant teacher. It is possible for teachers to balance
instruction in this way, and still take the roles of expert, advocate,
and guide while incorporating specific code based instruction. The
future of reading instruction would benefit from approaching code based
strategies from a Whole Language framework: defining and mastering the
code, then using it to explore, comprehend, argue, defend, and embrace:
all essential elements of becoming literate in American society. This
book reminds us of these elements, and challenges us to incorporate
them into our reading classrooms.
Should you read this book? Absolutely, yes. As teachers and
researchers in literacy we must constantly be reminded of where we came
from, and of the questions that face us daily: What should we teach our
students and how should we teach them? Whether Whole Language was part
of the culture while you were teaching (such as us) or historical
reference (as it is to our pre service students) through reading this
monograph you will get a sense of the significance and promise held in
Whole Language practices.
Coles, G. (2000). Misreading Reading: The Bad Science That Hurts
Children. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann Press.
Delpit, L. (1995). Other People's Children: Cultural Conflict in the
Classroom. New York: The New Press.
Strauss, S.L. (2005). The Linguistics, Neurology, and Politics of
Phonics. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Reviewed by Emily Hayden and Guy Trainin.
Emily Hayden, is a doctoral student at the University of Nebraska-
Lincoln. She has taught in K-12 classrooms as a reading specialist,
resource teacher, and classroom teacher. Her research interests include
text analysis, vocabulary, and the progression from language
acquisition to early reading proficiency.
Guy Trainin, is an assistant professor of Literacy at the University of
Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL). He focuses his research in the areas of reading
and writing acquisition and field research methods. Both a general and
special education teacher for more than 10 years, Dr. Trainin teaches
pre-service teacher education courses as well as graduate courses in
literacy research. He is currently serving as an external evaluator to
the Nebraska Reading First grant and a large demonstration grant in
Literacy and Art. He is co-founder and co-director of The Great Plains
Institute for Reading and Writing at UNL.
Thompson, Frances McBroom (2006).
Math Essentials, Elementary School Level: Lessons and Activities for
Test Preparation, Grades 3-5.
San Francisco, CA: Jossey-
This book certainly lives up to its title to provide lessons and
activities for test preparation. As part of a series on Math
Essentials, this is a teacher workbook with instructions for teachers
and blackline masters as handouts for students in each lesson or
objective. The lessons are arranged as objectives in 5 sections and
there is a multiple choice practice test at the end of each section.
The lessons are presented in an orderly fashion and progress through
the major standards of the National Council Teachers of Mathematics
(NCTM). As a teacher, I really appreciated the three-part
developmental approach to the lesson presentations. The first activity
for each objective is presented at the manipulative stage. This means
that the activities are very hands-on and use concrete materials.
These materials are not complicated and you can substitute for more
easily obtained objects for the manufactured materials. For example,
in the fraction lessons, when tiles were called for, I used post-it
notes. The second activity of each objective is presented in the
pictorial stage. This is a pencil and paper activity where students
draw pictures to solve and explain the math work. The third stage is
independent practice. This is work done with symbols. That is, the
students solve and write the problem with "regular numbers."
Now that I have been teaching for many years, I realize the
importance of helping children to develop their math skills as ideas
first, both conceptually and concretely. Students need to understand
the process before they try to write and solve problems with numerals,
characters and symbols. Therefore, I especially like how this author
promotes the three part lesson to guide the students. For example, in
the fractions section, students first model 3-fourths of a hamburger
with small objects. For my lesson, I again used post-it notes. The
author also encourages the use of word names to describe the fraction
parts, as in "3-fourths of the whole." In the second activity, students
draw ten squares to represent ten miles Then they mark 4 squares with
an “x” to show 4/10 of a 10-mile trip. In Activity Three, when symbols
are use, the author expects a complete sentence for the answer, such as
“4/6 of the whole bar is shaded.”
I also appreciated that the author emphasizes finding patterns and
generalizations throughout the book. In Section One on Numbers,
students will generalize a pattern in a sequence of whole numbers and
in Section Four on Geometry, students make generalizations from
geometric sets of examples and non-examples. This is building young
students' algebraic sense as a foundation of mathematics.
I recommend this book to teachers, not only in grades 3 -5 as it is
designed, for but for all teachers whose students may need to review
these basic skills and concepts.
Reviewed by Cathleen M. Alexander, Ph.D. student in Mathematics
Education at the University of California, Davis.
Thompson, Gail L. (2007).
Up Where We Belong: Helping African American and Latino Students
Rise in School and in Life.
San Francisco, CA: Jossey-
In Up Where We Belong, Gail L. Thompson examines perceptions
about disparities in achievement among diverse public school student
populations, with particular emphasis on African American and Latino
students. This book builds on Thompson's earlier works such as
Through Ebony Eyes: What Teachers Need to Know but are Afraid to Ask
about African American Children (2004), and African-American
Teens Discuss their Schooling Experiences (2002).
Thompson points to characteristics common among low-performing
schools: they tend to be located in poor, crime ridden, densely
populated urban areas, and they have a high percentage of minority,
low-income students, to whom Thompson refers as "America's
stepchildren," who are marginalized in schools and society. The basis
of this book derives from what began as a study focusing on under-
achieving African American students at a low-performing California high
school and became a more comprehensive mixed-method study of high
school students of different racial and ethnic backgrounds.
Each chapter illustrates the conflicting views of teachers and
students on such topics as standardized tests, discipline practices,
teacher qualifications, culturally relevant curricula, school safety,
and school environment, parent involvement, tracking, and school reform
Throughout the text, Thompson highlights the role of race, culture
and gender in relation to school personnel expectations, practices, and
policies, underscoring how inequality in schools is perpetuated.
Thompson also draws on anecdotal experiences as an African American
student, public school teacher, parent, and teacher educator, as well
as media sources that shed light on problematic structures and
processes within U.S. schools. Perhaps most compelling in this work,
however, is Thompson's use of students' own words to highlight causes
of underachievement, as well as longer-lasting consequences of school
disparity, such as low self-esteem and apathy in students, school
violence, and economic stagnancy.
This highly readable and relevant text underscores the need to
improve conditions in schools and achievement in students, while also
pointing to flaws in current reforms that offer superficial,
potentially harmful quick fixes to these problems. Chapter summaries
and recommendations make this a useful read for practicing teachers and
administrators as well as students in teacher and administrator
preparation courses, parents, and others interested in how to overcome
disparities in schools and in society.
Thompson, Gail L. (2002). African-American Teens Discuss their
Schooling Experiences. Westport, CT: Bergin & Garvey.
Thompson, Gail L. (2004). Through Ebony Eyes: What Teachers Need to
Know but are Afraid to Ask about African American Children. San
Reviewed by Liv Thorstensson Dávila, Ph.D. student of Education at
the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
Tunks, Karyn Wellhousen & Giles, Rebecca McMahon (2007).
Write Now: Publishing with Young Authors.
Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
Write Now, an in-service text for language arts teachers, is
a light-hearted and potentially powerful little book. Powerful because
the central point of the text is philosophical praise of publishing
student writing. Publishing is poised as a pedagogical technique known
to successfully convey appreciation of student writing leading to
increased performance. The authors note in their introduction
publishing "gives children real reasons for making the effort to write"
(p. xiii). One such reason might be the genuine appreciation for the
student's voice that such a gesture surely makes clear. Mother Teresa
once spoke about a greater hunger for appreciation in this world than
bread. Her notion is made clear in contemporary education where student
work often merely ends up in the recycle bin in June and where we see
an ever-increasing number of students longing to simply be noticed.
In the opening chapter authors Tunks and Giles convey, with
authority and eloquence, a well-defined philosophical foundation for
publishing the writing of children "early and often" (p. 7).
Essentially, their claim is that "publishing" student writing (defined,
in essence, by the authors as writing prepared for display or "sharing"
with others) is confirming to the idea that children are filled with
worthwhile stories, experiences and even knowledge. This sits
comfortably with constructivist approaches to learning which are
prominent in many current pedagogical frameworks. Fundamentally, the
concept gives rise to meaning in student learning situations. Too often
we are criticized in education for teaching which is not adequately
linked to "the outside" so as to establish meaningful connections in
the lives of students. Publishing is a notion for the English language
classroom which confronts, and addresses, such a critique head on.
Beyond the explication of this philosophy of publishing I am ambivalent
about the book's value as a definitive text in elementary language
Tunks and Giles take their readers on a tour through basic elements
of elementary school reading and writing development with a constant
relation back to their stated philosophy of publishing. Beyond the
opening chapter we move into discussion about learning language, which
although well connected to the idea of publishing, is somewhat aside
from the perceived thrust of the books central theme. Additionally,
much of the discussion is of basal and familiar content for elementary
school teachers. Chapters three and four touch upon topics such as: a)
English language learners; b) special needs children; and c) developing
fine motor skills. Again, this information seems to loom as background
information of general interest, although in fairness to the authors,
not entirely unrelated to the concept of publishing. The fundamental
problem is that one reads chapters two through four and feels as though
she is taking a basic English comprehension course while waiting to
crack a volume of Milton or Shakespeare. There is a persistent want to
turn the pages and arrive at the nuts and bolts of the opening
philosophy - publishing. This want is eventually satisfied but much too
late in the text.
With the arrival of chapters six and seven, the final two, we see
more of the promised "ideas and examples" (p. xvi) for actual writing
and publishing with young authors as promised in the introduction.
Tunks and Giles make a crucial point in relation to writing in chapter
six; the idea that being an author is often cooperative and need not be
an isolated activity. This chapter elucidates a number of cooperative
writing activities such as: a) narratives based on shared experience;
b) interactive writing (children actually sharing the pen) and c)
revising and editing. This is of great importance in the early stages
of supporting authorship as too often children learn that writing is
something we do "alone" and ultimately must be "confessional" or overly
"self-expressionist." This chapter, and to a limited extent the book as
a whole, works well to dismantle this pervasive view of the writer's
vocation. This is especially nice to see in a book aimed at early
I was again disappointed, unfortunately, by the end of chapter six
reading the all too brief passage on poetry. Poetry is such a powerful
form of written expression that I cannot excuse the authors for their
passing glimpse into this literary genre. My opinion, however,
contrasts vividly with that of Tunks and Giles who write "they
[children] begin to play with words by making up silly songs and
nonsense words or by using sound effects to emphasize a point. Their
interest in poetry grows as they sing familiar tunes, repeat nursery
rhymes, attempt tongue twisters…" (p. 77). Although one might
suggest that more serious approaches to poetry are inappropriate or
premature for young children, this may also be said of publishing. The
authors were able to illustrate that it is never too early to publish
and I would say it is never too early to introduce children to the
power of poetry as not merely "silly songs and nonsense words" but as a
powerful written form for imagining into the feelings of others. Poetry
is a way to embody feelings, not merely our own, but those of others
perhaps unlike ourselves; a central benefit of creative writing
pedagogies for democratic societies.
Write Now contains a comprehensive table of contents, an
extensive reference list (although short on recent scholarship) as well
as three appendices. Appendices A, B, and C consist of two charts (a
record of center use and a sample writing log) and a sample letter to
parents. These resources are simple and overly-contextualized
considering the structure of the publishing ideas outlined in the book.
There is also a list of magazines provided which publish children's
work. Although all links are active, there appears to be no discussion
justifying this particularly brief selection of sites. Finally, there
are a number of illustrations and photographs throughout the book
consuming a large portion of the page count. Many of the child
illustrations are insightful and well connected to the text whereas the
photographs appear dated and are of a generic relation to the book's
Write Now is a book with great potential. I could not agree
more that children need to be encouraged to write and publish at a
young age. After all, if we do not publish (share) the writings of our
students why are we having them write? Authors Tunks and Giles are
making a most worthwhile point in this text; publish early and often.
Once introduced to the idea of publishing in the elementary environment
and convinced of the potential benefits, teachers can be moved along to
more in-depth and concrete resources and materials.
Reviewed by Michael Ernest Sweet who lives, writes and teaches in
Montreal, Quebec. He has been admitted to degrees in humanities and
education and is currently a graduate student in the department of
education at Concordia University. He is the founder of LearningforaCause.or
g an organization which promotes imagination in education.
Wankel, Charles & DeFillippi, Robert (Eds.) (2006).
New Visions of Graduate Management Education.
Charlotte, North Carolina: Information Age
Price: $69.95(hardcover) $39.95(paperback)
ISBN: 978-1-59311-554-8(hardcover) 978-1-59311-553-1
Charles Wankel and Robert DeFillippi, editors of several volumes in
the Research in Management Education and Development series, here
present a series of articles addressing recent critiques of graduate
management education: among them that MBA programs focus on theory
rather than on practice; are constructed with a functional emphasis on
disconnected teaching and research "silos"; and discourage innovation
and integration. Wankel and DePhillippi note in their excellent
introduction that such criticisms centre on what they describe as a
"highly stylized version" of American MBA programs while overlooking a
great many innovations in MBA programming in the United States and
elsewhere. The purpose of this volume, as its title suggests, is to
offer new perspectives from American and international scholars on the
design and delivery of such programs.
The articles in this volume are grouped thematically, beginning with
research-based studies examining outcomes of management education
programs. This set of articles explores the extent to which management
education programs have an impact on graduates' salaries, career paths,
and competencies. The next section of the book presents reviews of MBA
program design, outlining curricula which have been developed
nationally and internationally in response to the criticisms of
management education listed by Wankel and DePhillippi in their
introduction to this volume. The editors' interest in highlighting best
practices in curriculum development and innovation is reflected in the
third section of the book: here, models of graduate management
education in Canada and Finland are presented with a view to describing
how MBA programs outside the USA have responded effectively to national
and local contexts. The theme of innovation also underpins the final
two sections of this volume, focusing on partnerships between faculties
of management education and non-profit organizations as well as
American Chambers of Commerce; and ending with a series of articles
describing examples of innovative approaches to the design and delivery
of MBA programs. This final group of articles encompasses topics as
varied as developing hybrid learning nets, teaching ethics, and
incorporating considerations of cultural diversity into graduate
This volume addresses criticisms of conventional MBA programs head-
on, and is to be praised for the international perspective it offers in
responding to these critiques. It makes evident the value of linking
general higher education research with the development or enhancement
of MBA programming. Moreover, Wankel and DePhillippi provide a balance
between general considerations relating to program planning on one hand
and specific applications from within the field of graduate management
education on the other. For example, articles identifying frameworks
for curriculum design are supplemented with contributions focusing
specifically on the role of self-reflection in MBA programs. Consistent
with the editors' emphasis on highlighting both research and innovation
relating to the design and delivery of programming, the contributors to
this volume include an international panel of distinguished researchers
and faculty in fields as diverse as education, curriculum planning,
strategy, information systems, business, and management.
New Visions of Graduate Management Education will be of
considerable interest to MBA faculty and curriculum designers as well
as to researchers in the field of higher education. Many issues faced
by MBA faculty echo those confronted by faculty who teach management
and leadership courses in other higher education disciplines. One such
issue is how to leverage students' prior work experience in the context
of theoretically-based university courses. The advantages and
limitations of case studies as a learning tool is another issue
examined in this volume that has an application to curriculum
development beyond the field of graduate management education itself.
Finally, articles outlining partnerships with organizations outside the
university will prompt reflection about possibilities for providing
learning environments which link theory and practice for students in a
number of disciplines. Thus, while the focus of this volume is clearly
on innovation in education for MBA students, its scope is such that it
will be relevant to researchers and curriculum designers in other
disciplines as well. Above all, Wankel and DeFillippi's book serves as
an eloquent call for closer links between designers of MBA programs and
researchers in the broader higher education context.
Reviewed by Terry Milnes, Ph.D. Candidate in Cultural and Policy
Studies at the Faculty of Education, Queen's University, Kingston,