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Fires in the Middle School Bathroom: Advice to Teachers from Middle Schoolers

by Kathleen Cushman and Laura Rodgers

Synposis:
From Publishers Weekly
Cushman, whose well-received
Fires in the Bathroom covered high school students, teamed up with psychologist and Tufts professor Rogers to explore how to teach middle school students more effectively. What's a teacher to do when she's trying to be so nice and they're setting fires in the bathroom, a high school student had asked in the first volume. Much of the material that Cushman gathered (from 40 students in five cities) is about basic classroom skills. Teachers should listen carefully to what's on their students' minds and put the currents in your classroom to good use, rather than work against them, the authors advise. Be strict and be nice, they say, which is hard, but walking that line is one way you show that you are on your students' side when it comes to helping them learn. Cushman and Rogers quote frequently from their student panel, helping readers grow accustomed to their ways of expressing themselves, and include several self-evaluation worksheets for teachers. While there's little new, for teachers fresh out of college and headed for inner-city classrooms, this book may be a useful resource. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


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Fires in the Bathroom: Advice for Teachers from High School Students

by Kathleen Cushman

Synopsis:
From Publishers Weekly:
Teenagers dictating to teachers sounds dubious, but educators will want to take note of the message from this volume: students do want to learn. Cushman, an education journalist working in conjunction with the nonprofit organization What Kids Can Do, extensively interviewed high school students in several urban areas about every aspect of school, producing this compendium of their advice here. At its best, it gives teachers solid insights from students like Vance, 18: "You really affect kids when you just do your job day in and day out, do it well." The book covers a range of subjects, including how to get to know students, how to earn their trust, how to judge their behavior and what to do when things go wrong. However, the students' demands can sometimes seem unrealistic, especially for teachers in overcrowded public schools-for extra tutoring sessions, for the use of primary source material instead of just textbooks-and the author does not aid her student co-authors by keeping their comments relatively short and by presenting them out of context. For struggling teachers, Cushman's self-questionnaires are the reason to buy. Although best for new teachers, this chance to hear the authentic voices of students should not be overlooked by anyone involved in teen education. B&w illus. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Orbiting the Giant Hairball: A Corporate Fool's Guide to Surviving with Grace

By Gordon MacKenzie
Synopsis:
From Booklist
There is no denying the creativity of someone who can persuade one of the 50 largest private companies in the U.S. to create a position for him called "creative paradox," or someone who can convince the accounting department of that same company to write off to the company art collection the purchase of more than a dozen roll-top desks to be used in his "creative lab," or someone who could come up with such a goofy title for a book. MacKenzie worked for the Hallmark greeting card company for 30 years, first as a sketch artist and eventually as an upper-level manager, until he escaped the "hairball" by creating his own niche. A corporate hairball is an entangled pattern of behavior or a mess of bureaucratic procedure that discourages originality and stifles imagination. A consultant for the last seven years, MacKenzie tells what he knows about creativity and what he learned about the creative process in a corporate setting. David Rouse

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A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future

By Daniel Pink
Synopsis:
From Publishers Weekly
Just as information workers surpassed physical laborers in economic importance, Pink claims, the workplace terrain is changing yet again, and power will inevitably shift to people who possess strong right brain qualities. His advocacy of "R-directed thinking" begins with a bit of neuroscience tourism to a brain lab that will be extremely familiar to those who read Steven Johnson's Mind Wide Open last year, but while Johnson was fascinated by the brain's internal processes, Pink is more concerned with how certain skill sets can be harnessed effectively in the dawning "Conceptual Age." The second half of the book details the six "senses" Pink identifies as crucial to success in the new economy-design, story, symphony, empathy, play and meaning-while "portfolio" sections offer practical (and sometimes whimsical) advice on how to cultivate these skills within oneself. Thought-provoking moments abound-from the results of an intensive drawing workshop to the claim that "bad design" created the chaos of the 2000 presidential election-but the basic premise may still strike some as unproven. Furthermore, the warning that people who don't nurture their right brains "may miss out, or worse, suffer" in the economy of tomorrow comes off as alarmist. But since Pink's last big idea (Free Agent Nation) has become a cornerstone of employee-management relations, expect just as much buzz around his latest theory.

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Stumbling on Happiness

By Daniel Gilbert
Synopsis:
Amazon.com Review
Do you know what makes you happy? Daniel Gilbert would bet that you
think you do, but you are most likely wrong. In his witty and engaging new book, Harvard professor Gilbert reveals his take on how our minds work, and how the limitations of our imaginations may be getting in the way of our ability to know what happiness is. Sound quirky and interesting? It is! But just to be sure, we asked bestselling author (and master of the quirky and interesting) Malcolm Gladwell to read Stumbling on Happiness, and give us his take. Check out his review below. --Daphne Durham

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The Right to Learn
By Linda Darling-Hammond
Synopsis:
Amazon.com Review
In recent years, education has become a battleground upon which different factions have spilled ideological blood over issues such as school vouchers, teacher certification, and standardized testing. In The Right to Learn, leading educational figure Linda Darling-Hammond weighs in with her own views on progressive education. Darling-Hammond is from the old school of liberal education theory--she emphasizes the process of learning rather than testing. She believes that what's wrong with public schools today can, in great measure, be attributed to excessive bureaucratization--administrative red tape--that leaves teachers with little time for teaching. American children do worse than students from other industrialized nations, Darling-Hammond suggests, because the American educational system is predicated on a "factory model" that processes students instead of teaching them.
To create what Darling-Hammond calls "schools that work," she believes teachers must be prepared to collaborate more often and spend more time "teaching for understanding." This means a less programmed curriculum than the one most American schools currently follow, with more time for in-depth interaction between teachers and students, and students and subject matter. Darling-Hammond believes that educational reform starts with allowing teachers to get back to what they do best: teaching. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.