As I did last summer, I'll be doing some summer reading and blogging about three professional development books. This year, if you care to read along, I'll be posting a reading schedule here in one week's time, and tweeting reading responses as bleckley on Twitter with the tag #PIPreading - I'll probably be more reliable with 140 characters than with a full post per chapter.
Consider this your notice to track down the titles - links go to librarything.com, where you'll find a number of sources for finding these titles on the upper right side of the screen including Amazon, Abe's, and WorldCat.
Marzano, R. J. 2006. Classroom assessment and grading that work. Alexandra, VA: ASCD.
Another meta-analysis of best practice for the classroom. Marzano compiles hundreds of studies on assessment and calculates the effect size of various strategies, helping readers determine what will best help their students grow. I got a chance to peruse the first chapter this spring and have a great post scheduled to publish this coming Monday. This is the science of teaching at its best.
Narrative counseling in schools (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.
A suggestion from my partner Jennie from the place where social work and education meet. Narrative counseling is talk therapy that places problems outside the individual - rather than the student has behavior problems, behavior problems affect the student. "If we are located in a school story line as dumb, mischievous, or a bad egg, there is a tendency to live our lives according to the contours of the problem story laid out before us by such a description" (p. 3). The objective of narrative therapy is to help the student rewrite that story line. I would argue that teachers are the ones most responsible for writing the original story line to begin with, so who better to help the students rewrite it (besides Jill Griffin or other incredibly amazing school counselors)?
Winslade and Monk describe how to do a narrative therapy step-by-step, and how to apply it to different situations. They also discuss bringing narrative therapy into schools and the resistance one might face.
I'm pretty gung-ho about this one, so if you find yourself skeptical, I'd appreciate having you read along and help keep me reading critically.
Comprehensive classroom management: Creating communities of support and solving problems (9th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson/Merrill Publishers.
This is the book on classroom management I should have read in college. In January 2010, I read Marzano's Classroom Managment that Works, and while it gave me some quick, go-to strategies, it barely brushed the surface. Comprehensive Classroom Management is certainly comprehensive. It tackles the issue from a solutions-based, prevention viewpoint. I only got a chance to read one chapter this year, but that alone made a huge difference in the tone of my classroom.
This one is $90 new and the cheapest I found used was $50, so you may want to do an inter library loan on this one. I'll be reading it last, as I'll be waiting for a copy to come in from some distant college library as well.
The art and science of teaching. Alexandra, VA: ASCD.
This is a bonus book if there's time before school starts back up. More Marzano for the coffers. Quite a title for such a thin book . . . we'll see if it lives up to it.