Marsha Ratzel teaches middle grades math and science — why should she be interested in a book about teaching with metaphors and analogies? For one thing, analogies can help students grasp difficult or unfamiliar concepts in her content areas. For another, once kids develop the skill of finding their own analogies, "they will start connecting the 'likeness' in unlike things between and within disciplines." Read Ratzel's review of the recent Rick Wormeli book Metaphors & Analogies: Power Tools for Teaching Any Subject and find out why she says it's "taught me more than any education book I've read in the last 10 years." (Also visit Ratzel's blog Reflections of a Techie.)
In this Edutopia video clip, teaching scholar Linda Darling Hammond sorts though all the international student assessment data and makes the case that education policymakers in the U.S. need to shift their focus to actions that support the teaching of higher order thinking and problem-solving, if we expect to compete in the global economy. In her new book The Flat World and Education, Darling Hammond describes a system of respectful teacher development and support that recognizes the central role of the highly trained teacher in success for all students. "This is very eye-opening," wrote one teacher commenter. "She is very clear and is not presenting some new trendy reform for improvement but excellent observations, relying on the foundation of data." (9 minutes)
Many of the book reviews in this Teacher Leaders Network collection were written by middle grades educators who enjoy steering fellow teachers to worthwhile professional books. In addition to reviews of The Book Whisperer, Making History Mine, Notebook Connections, Timesavers for Teachers, Successful Single-Sex Classrooms, Better Answers, and Never Work Harder Than Your Students — you'll also find interviews with middle school teacher-authors Donalyn Miller and Anne Jolly.
Members of the Teacher Leaders Network regularly review new books from education publishers. They bring the classroom perspective to their reading and help you decide whether a book is worth your investment of time.
Among some reviewed titles that may interest middle school educators: