• Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in the Digital Age by Sherry Turkle

    Review: Booklist starred (September 1, 2015 (Vol. 112, No. 1))

    The modern world is one of paradox, writes MIT professor, clinical psychologist, and prominent writer Turkle (Alone Together, 2011). Technology has enabled humans to become the most resourceful, resilient, and rewarded beings in history, yet many of us appear to lack the social and linguistic abilities to successfully navigate even the most basic situations. What has been compromised in the digital age is the ability to relate. E-mails, texts, instant messages, and social media have afforded myriad methods by which to connect, but at the expense of the ability to converse. These are ways to share information but not ideals, means of reaching out to but not truly touching someone else. As a result, people are losing the ability to empathize, to talk beyond the most superficial level, to develop deeper understandings of ourselves and our place in the larger world, one that seems to have shrunk to the size of a phone or computer screen. From the kitchen table to the classroom and office, these electronic devices dictate how humans interact. Knowing how and when best to use them can make the difference between meaningful communication and meaningless encounters. There’s a wealth of relevant information and revealing insights on every page as Turkle provocatively takes us to the “use it or lose it” communications precipice. (source Follett)


    Driven by Data 2.0: A Practical Guide to Improve Instruction by Paul Bambrick-Santoyo

    Review: From the Publisher--The bestselling guide for school leaders--updated in a new edition

    Data-driven instruction is the philosophy that schools should focus on two simple questions: how do you know if students are learning? And when they are not, what do you do about it? Driven by Data 2.0 is a practical guide that answers these questions to empower schools to achieve significant gains in student achievement. Rooted in a proven framework that has been implemented in thousands of schools, the book presents what makes schools successful along with tools to put the framework into place to make data work for your schools:

    • Assess--set the roadmap for learning
    • Analyze--identify why students struggle
    • Act--teach more effectively what students need
    • Build the culture--train and develop your staff so that data-driven instruction can thrive (source Follett)


    Teaching in the Fast Lane by Suzzy Pepper Rollins

    Review: From the Publisher

    Teaching in the Fast Lane offers teachers a way to increase student engagement: an active classroom. The active classroom is about creating learning experiences differently, so that students engage in exploration of the content and take on a good share of the responsibility for their own learning. It's about students reaching explicit targets in different ways, which can result in increased student effort and a higher quality of work. Author Suzy Pepper Rollins details how to design, manage, and maintain an active classroom that balances autonomy and structure. She offers student-centered, practical strategies on sorting, station teaching, and cooperative learning that will help teachers build on students' intellectual curiosity, self-efficacy, and sense of purpose. Using the strategies in this book, teachers can strategically let go in ways that enable students to reach their learning targets, achieve more, be motivated to work, learn to collaborate, and experience a real sense of accomplishment. (source Follett)


    Who Moved My Cheese by John Spencer



    Review: From the Publisher

    Relates a highly meaningful parable intended to help one deal with change quickly and prevail, offering readers a simple way to progress in their work and lives. (source Follett)



    Whatever It Takes: How Professional Learning Communities Respond When Kids Don’t Learn by Richard DuFour, Rebecca DuFour, Robert Eaker, and Gayle Karhanek




    Review: From Follett

    Presents case studies of a high school, a middle school, and two elementary schools as examples of professional learning communities (PLCs), explaining how they came to be PLCs and showing how they systematically intervene to address problems in student learning. Includes bibliographical references (p. 255-263).


    A Framework for Understanding Poverty by Ruby K. Payne




    Review: From Word Press

    A Framework for Understanding Poverty does a good job at putting you in the shoes of someone in poverty. There are scenarios, stories, and quizzes, along the lines of “what would you do?” in this situation, etc. Payne walks a thin line on stereotyping the social classes and getting them right. There is—undeniably—a huge grey area of the social classes that is not addressed in this book. More than anything, this book reads like a way to understand another culture or another language. It is fascinating in how something that would seem so obvious is so foreign, but it is. A Framework for Understanding Poverty provides the necessary translations to bridge those barriers.


    Using Rigor, Relevance and Relationships to Improve Student Achievement: How Some Schools Do It by High Schools That Work, an SREB publication




    Review: From the preface of the text

    The examples in the publication are intended to motivate school, district, and state leaders to examine where they are and where they want to be in preparing high school students for education and future careers. The focus is on 26 schools and four major themes emerged:

    • All student must have access to a rigorous academic core
    • Learning must be relevant and meaningful to students
    • Students want their teachers to form positive relationships with them
    • Faculty and staff need support for continuous improvement