Archive for the ‘Book Summaries’ Category

Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work, Heath Bros.

Thursday, March 28th, 2013

Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work (©2013) by Chip & Dan Heath, Crown Business: New York, NY shares research and cool stories that show how our decisions are disrupted by an array of biases and irrationalities. They go on to introduce a four-step process designed to counteract these problems. Their fresh strategies and practical tools will enable you to make better choices at work and beyond. If you want to increase your chances of making the right decision at the right moment, this book is for you. Click the icon at the bottom of any page to buy this important book for yourself and your key colleagues.

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Denialism – Irrational Thinking is Common – Michael Specter

Monday, January 25th, 2010

Denialism: How Irrational Thinking Hinders Scientific Progress, Harms the Planet, and Threatens Our Lives by Michael Specter deals with how large sections of our society are in denial about things that science supports. Included are topics like child immunizations, genetic engineering of our food supply, alternative medicine, and race-based medication. The following quote should give you some idea of what to expect:
“Denialism is not green or religious or anti-intellectual, nor is it confined to utopian dreamers, agrarians, or hippies. It is not right- or left-wing; it is a fear expressed as frequently and with as much fervor by Oxford dons as by bus drivers.”
Although the book is science centered, you don’t have to be a scientist to follow it.

Click here to see the excerpted summary of this book.

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Digital Leadership: Changing Paradigms for Changing Times by Eric Sheninger

Saturday, March 15th, 2014

Digital Leadership: Changing Paradigms for Changing Times by Eric Sheninger with forward by Yong Zhao (© 2014, Corwin: Thousand Oaks, CA) explains how digital leadership is a strategic mindset and set of behaviors that leverages modern technology resources to improve a school’s culture. It will help educational leaders use social media and Web 2.0 tools to engage students, communicate with the community, and improve professional development at no marginal cost. Click at the bottom of any page to get a copy of this book for every leader you know.

Eric Sheninger

  • Eric is the principal of New Milford High School in Bergen County New Jersey. He has emerged as an innovative leader in the use of social media and Web 2.0 technology tools. He blogs for the Huffington Post, has coauthored two books, and presents and speaks nationally. I’ve seen him several times and find him intelligent and interesting. If you want to spice up a conference you are planning, give him a call. To learn more about Eric visit his blog and be sure to follow @NMHS_Principal on Twitter.
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Discipline Survival Guide – Get One For Your School

Thursday, August 25th, 2011

In the Discipline Survival Guide for the Secondary Teacher, 2nd Ed, (©2011, Jossey-Bass: San Francisco, CA) Julia Thompson takes on what may be the most unpleasant part of the profession and a top reason why teachers leave. She draws on up-to-date research and theory that can help students become more self-disciplined, goal-oriented, and successful learners as teachers enhance leadership skills. She focuses on student motivation, classroom management, relationships, instructional techniques, safety, and high expectations. This 350 page effort is easy to read and can be used as a desktop reference. My summary contains key ideas, but there is a lot more I left out. Every student teacher, beginning teacher, and veteran teacher with discipline problems should have this at their side. Lots of advice for parents too. As a former secondary teacher and elementary principal, I can assure you most of this applies to students of all ages.

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Do You Know Enough About Me to Teach Me? A Student’s Perspective by Stephen G. Peters

Friday, October 12th, 2012

Do You Know Enough About Me to Teach Me? A Student’s Perspective by Stephen G. Peters (©2006, The Peters Group Foundation: Orangeburg, SC.) provides insight from students he gathered during extensive interviews and uses this perspective to let teachers know what they may have missed in college. His goal is to help teachers learn how to care for all students by listening with all their hearts to the voices of students. Click the icon at the bottom of any page to purchase this fine book.

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Drive by Daniel Pink

Monday, June 27th, 2011

Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel Pink (Riverhead Books: New York, NY ©2009) is a must read for educators and parents alike. Dan summarizes current research and does a great job turning it into interesting and understandable prose. Every school should have this on the shelf.

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Failure of the Standards Movement – Research and Opinion by Larry Stedman

Tuesday, June 21st, 2011

The Standards Movement: Success or Failure? Two articles from Critical Education by Lawrence C. Stedman

  • How Well Does the Standards Movement Measure Up? An Analysis of Achievement Trends and Student Learning, Changes in Curriculum and School Culture, and the Impact of No Child Left Behind - V1 No.10 Dec. 20, 2010. http://bit.ly/muBrDO
  • Why the Standards Movement Failed: An Educational and Political Diagnosis of Its Failure and the Implications for School Reform – V2 No.1 Jan. 20, 2011 http://bit.ly/mN6vMe
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Feel-Bad Education – Alfie Kohn On What Schools Do Wrong

Wednesday, July 13th, 2011

Feel-Bad Education: And Other Contrarian Essays on Children and Schooling by Alfie Kohn (Beacon Press: Boston, MY ©2011) is his twelfth book where he argues that our schools are in the grip of a “cult of rigor” where harder is confused with better. Joy and meaningful learning are at risk. In nineteen recently published well researched essays, Kohn invites us to think beyond conventional wisdom. He questions much of what schools reflexively do and makes the reader understand why many current reform efforts are misguided. If you believe that NCLB and Race to the Top efforts make sense, you need to read this book. It will give parents and educators alike a fresh perspective they can use to shake the system for the better. Click the button below to purchase from Amazon.

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Finnish Lessons – What We Can Learn

Wednesday, December 28th, 2011

Finnish Lessons: What Can the World Learn from Educational Change in Finland by Pasi Sahlberg (© 2010, Teachers College Press: New York, NY) is the story of Finland’s extraordinary reforms and one that should inform policymakers and educators around the world, most of whom are on the wrong track. Sahlberg has lived and studied these reforms for decades and is a clever and engaging story teller. Click below to purchase this book today, and share with your colleagues.

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Freakonomics – Levitt & Dubner

Tuesday, November 17th, 2009

In their groundbreaking book, Freakonomics, Levitt and Dubner take an out-of-the-box look at data interpretation. In a time where educators look to data analysis to help improve instruction, this book and its sequel, SuperFreakonomics, give examples of how to take a unique look at available data. Here I have included an excerpt of a summary of their first book with a focus on how teachers can get caught cheating and the economics of crack dealing. I also include slides that show which characteristics correlate with success on tests and which do not. The big point for me is that blacks are not less intelligent than whites; they are just more likely to be poor. Watch this blog for insights from SuperFreakonomics.

Click here to see the excerpted summary of this book.

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