Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Recommended Books

2007 Summer Institute
Book Recs

Writing Reminders by Jim Burke (Amanda & April) 2003
• What Teachers Must Do “reminders”
• What Students Must Do
• Offers suggestions for prompts, adaptations, forms, examples
• Could work for any content teacher

Rural Voices by Ed. R. Brooke (Lainey) 2003
• “place conscious education”
• Making reading/writing applicable to students’ world / universal experience
• Book born out of experiment from grant to improve education in rural schools
• Intradependence addressed
• Some published student work

Writing About Your Life by William Zinsser (Tilda)
• Anecdotes about memoir writing
• Tips/instructions on how to add – place, character….
• Effective ways to approach this genre writing
• Simplistic / realistic
• Includes Books of the Month

Creative Writing MFA (Lillian) 2006
• Compiled by graduate professors
• A “walk through” of their curriculum for a Master of Fine Arts
• Weekly activities for both reading and writing
• Rec. readings
• Applicable

Mini Lessons for Lit Circles by H. Daniels & N. Steineke (Debbie) 2004
• Lessons geared to reinforcing pieces of lit circle work
• Hands on activities with time indicators
• Projects that Rock!
• Includes discussion skills and assessment
• Helps create effective lit circles
• “what can go wrong” “what next”

Visual Literacy by Lynell Burmerk (Chad)
• Using art/visuals to teach reading & writing
• Helps ask questions = being an engaged reader
• Practical examples / activities
• Can foster point of view with students
• Color as emotion examples
• Learning visually – across content and grade level

Voices on Voice by K. Yancy (Ben) 1994
• Collection of articles by teachers produced by NCTE
• How you define/teach/assess voice?
• Subjective, gray area
• Authentic vs. artificial voice
• Is voice based on genre?
• Theoretical & engaged debate format

Reading with Meaning by D. Miller (Tara)
• Strategies for teaching reading comprehension
• Start by using “real language” = common comprehension language
• How to’s on reading workshop, making connections to text and truly responding to text

Craft Lessons by R. Fletcher (Tara)
• K-8 specifically
• Offers mini lessons and other writing direction

If You’re Trying to Teach Kids How to Write – You Gotta Have this Book by M. Frank (Susan)
• Hodgepodge of ideas for writing inspiration
• Evaluation of writing can be throughout
• Teacher is “catalyst and helper” for writing students
• Applicable to all levels

Writing Across the Curriculum by M. Cumin (Amy)
• Using book as springboard for policy making in school
• Speaks to each discipline and genre
• Theoretical argument for why writing should happen across curriculum
• Must take in to account that all students will eventually need skills to write for a larger audience, no matter the job….

Rituals of Failure by S. Contenta (Christy)
• Educational policy examination
• How do schools “we” fail our students?
• School = Factory, not individualized enough
• Reflective based – how can our practices be more conducive to facilitate an enjoyable school environment or individualization
• Offering ideas to instill some type of change

Salt by Kolansky (Lisa)
• Historically based novel
• Story of World History told through the origins and movement of salt
• Proves nonfiction writing can be exciting and connected
• Proves “research” can /should be used in writing
• Could be a book study / case for writing across curriculum

Inventing the Truth by ed. W. Zinsser (Tracey) 1995
• Compiled chapters from famous memoirists recounting struggles and triumphs of writing their works
• Idea that “truth” can be different for writer, reader……if it feels true, it’s true to you
• Concept to base early writing ideas / genre for student writers – write what you know
• Differentiates from autobiography – not whole life, not necessarily linear….
• Authors also list their favorite memoirs

Coming to Terms by P. Lynne (Tom)
• Explores theories about writing assessment
• Idea that teaching and evaluating function under different sets of rules
• Uses literary jargon, terminology
• Complex reading but helpful and exciting

I've posted a few other books that helped me decide to become a teacher, and then helped me stay one. You can click on the "comments" button below to post some of your own choices.

The Water is Wide by Pat Conroy

I read this book back when I first started teaching as a MA student. I imagined myself, as I trudged, terrified, to teach my first English 101 class, as also crossing a body of water, one that flowed between me as a student and me as a teacher. Since I was a child, I played teacher with my younger siblings, and I remember as early as 6th grade critiquing the style of my teachers. "I'll make sure I do that when I am a teacher" or "I'll never do that when I am a teacher." But until I crossed that water into the world of being a teacher, it was all fantasy. Now, I was facing the real thing, and Pat Conroy helped.

I Answer with My Life: Life Histories of Women Teachers Working for Social Change by Kathleen Casey

I read this book the year I finished my Ph. D., and I was wondering if it had been all worth it. I had summited -- I had reached the educational goal that had consumed me for years, for which I had sacrificed so much. And as I began to climb back down from that peak, the flat lands below looked blank, and, well, boring. I felt directionless without the compass that the degree had become. This book helped me find my way again. The teachers it depicts "answer with their lives" -- meaning, they act rather than simply talk, and their lives reflect their philosophies. I had been taught in my program to be a thinker more than a doer, and something didn't feel right about that. So, this book offered me a different perspective, and reinforced what I felt deep inside. I decided to work to become more like the teachers in the book. I've kept that book on my shelf since then, and when some student asks me, "What do you think, what is your philosophy?" (which often happens to a southern liberal feminist who once taught at UC-Berkeley), I hand them the book: "I hope you can look at my life and see what I believe." That is, I now think, the highest goal.

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