BOOKS: Hott off the Press
1. LeapFrog SchoolHouse
www.leapfrogschoolhouse.com, Single unit $59, 6-platform set $330
This school-version of the Quantum Pad learning system is designed for students in grades 3 and up. The system is an interactive, multi-sensory learning tool that assists students in continuing reading, language arts and math. The Quantum Pad platform supports the library of interactive books offered by LeapFrog SchoolHouse for upper elementary students. This version is shipped with headphones so students can work independently, as well as one set of batteries and an AC adapter.
Active Learning Associates
2002 COMPLETE SOURCEBOOK ON CHILDREN’S INTERACTIVE MEDIA
Featuring educational software, smart toys, Web sites and videogames, the latest addition of this annual guide has more comprehensive reviews and an expanded analysis of the market.
Included are listings of the best teacher-rated products for each subject, grade level and computer platform. In addition, the book contains a directory of nearly 900 children’s software publishers and more than 48 print and online stores.
IN SCHOOLS WE TRUST: CREATING COMMUNITIES OF LEARNING IN AN ERA OF TESTING AND STANDARDIZATION
Veteran public education teacher, writer and advocate Deborah Meier uses her latest book to argue that schools need to be reinvented.
She says schools must establish trust between students and teachers and work harder to include more contact from adults outside the school system. Meier traces how relationships between teachers, administrators and parents can affect the learning culture at a school. She argues against standards and highstakes testing, instead offering a blueprint for creating schools where students embrace academic learning while absorbing lessons of good citizenship from the adults around them.
NOT WITH OUR KIDS YOU DON’T! TEN STRATEGIES TO SAVE OUR SCHOOLS
A refreshing book written from a parent’s point of view, author Juanita Doyon takes readers through her real-life attempts as a would-be activist. As a parent fighting the pressures that come with standards and accountability, she explains how she fought to change schools, and sometimes succeeded. Called the "roving room mother of the resistance" by Susan Ohanian, Doyon’s book explains how to work with the press, education officials and how to use home-baked cookies to your advantage. Recipes included.
READING THE NAKED TRUTH: LITERACY, LEGISLATION, AND LIES
For anybody who’s paused as they read the phrase scientifically based research, this book is for you. Author Gerald Coles dives behind the numbers to show what research there really is about various reading programs, and how this research is flawed, with a specific slam on the National Reading Panel’s widely quoted study.
STUFF THAT WORKS!
www.heinemann.com, $17 per volume
Stuff That Works! A Technology Curriculum for the Elementary Grades is a five-volume series. Each volume helps teachers plan and implement classroom activities and units organized around how and why a basic technology works. Included are classroom stories, standards connections and suggestions for teachers new to the subject.
The guides integrate science, math, social studies, language arts and everyday technology. Available titles are: Mechanisms & Other Systems; Packaging & Other Structures; Signs, Symbols and Codes; Designed Environments, and Mapping.
TESTING AND STANDARDS: A BRIEF ENCYCLOPEDIA
At 110 pages and 7”x5”, this book is literally small enough to fit in a pocket. It aims to demystify standards lingo while covering the ethics and issues of testing and standards. Author Sandra Wilde provides administrators with facts to challenge policies relating to testing and standards that aren’t benefiting students.
In a series of mini-essays, she helps readers: determine if a state’s standards and tests have been well developed; learn how passing scores for state tests are set; and learn how to check whether local newspapers describe test results accurately.
101 GREAT EDUCATIONAL USES FOR YOUR HANDHELD COMPUTER
With handhelds finding a home in school districts across the country, this 370-page book should be required reading for administrators. This book covers everything from how to pick the right handheld for your district to explanations of hundreds of Palm OS and Pocket PC applications. The best part lies in the education uses explained, from classroom management ideas to cross-curricular integration strategies to detailed lesson plans.
2. Alfred A. Knopf
THE LANGUAGE POLICE: HOW PRESSURE GROUPS RESTRICT WHAT STUDENTS LEARN
Diane Ravitch’s book shines a light on the fairly clandestine textbook adoption procedures, but also lists how various groups from the right and left have stripped books of any thoughts that could be deemed controversial. Women can’t be shown cooking dinner, blacks can’t be depicted as living in urban areas and older people cannot be portrayed as feeble or dependent because these examples might smack of stereotypes. Ravitch, an education historian and a research professor of education at NYU, shows how this country’s students are compelled to read insipid texts that have been censored and bowdlerized, issued by publishers who willingly cut controversial material from their books.
DIGITAL CAMERAS IN THE CLASSROOM
In this book, step-by-step guidelines show how digital images can be an active, experimental part of standards-based instruction. The authors wanted to write about digital photography while researching ideas on increasing classroom productivity via technology.
The book gives comprehensive information on selecting and using various cameras as well as downloading, storing and editing pictures. It also includes tips to engage students and lesson plan samples to show how students can solve problems and collaborate.
OSBORNE’S FLASH MX: VIRTUAL CLASSROOM—WE BRING THE CLASSROOM TO YOU
Using its CD-ROM as a big draw, this publication combines a clear, step-by-step approach with simple multimedia tutorials. Users can follow along with the CD-ROM as the author explains and demonstrates techniques written in the book. It allows users to work at their own pace and replay the tutorialsas often as needed. The author also “speaks” to the user in streaming audio, providing clear explanations of the Web page and graphics tools available.
MAC OS X: THE MISSING MANUAL, SECOND EDITION
Apple’s new Jaguar operating system contains 150 new features and is more customizable than its predecessor, Mac OS X. To help users master these changes, author David Pogue has re-written and expanded his earlier manual for Mac OS X. Besides new material on almost every page, there are now chapters on iChat instant messaging software, the Web search tool Sherlock 3 and the new Finder—all written in Pogue’s humorist style.
THE ROBIN WILLIAMS MAC OS X BOOK: JAGUAR EDITION
Readers will learn how and why to take advantage of Mac’s multiple-user features, how to use iChat to communicate with others around the world, where all of the popular old features have gone, how to customize the Mac with the System Preferences and more.
The author doesn’t neglect the basics either. Readers will find logical, easy-tofollow sections on how to complete a variety of everyday tasks: printing, sending email, exchanging files and surfing the Web.
3. Beacon Press
SCHOOLS THAT DO TOO MUCH: WASTING TIME AND MONEY IN SCHOOLS AND WHAT WE CAN ALL DO ABOUT IT
Three years after author Etta Kralovec argued for the end of homework, she’s back taking on an even bigger target, traditional school schedules and spending. Kralovec, a former teacher and professor of education, argues that budgets and schedules are the first two areas that should be reformed. Using stories from schools around the country, she shows examples where the community offers opportunities in sports, theater and community service, so school can concentrate on academic learning.
Teachers College Press
THE VIRTUAL HIGH SCHOOL, TEACHING GENERATION V
While the hype surrounding virtual high schools seems to have died down recently, this book is a primer for any officials thinking about incorporating virtual classes into their districts’ curriculum. This book is based on a five-year study conducted by SRI International. It examines the virtual schools that exist, how districts can adopt and create these classes, and the implications that online schooling has for the future of education.
Teachers College Press
EDUCATIONAL REFORM: A SELF-SCRUTINIZING MEMOIR
In this personally revealing book, author Seymour Sarason draws on his 50 years experience in education reform to discuss issues that affect every district today. Along the way, Sarason touches on charter schools, high stakes testing and the need for teachers to relate differently to each other and to parents.
4. Wolfram Media
A NEW KIND OF SCIENCE
www.wolframscience.com, $95, including book and CD-ROM
A major work from author Stephen Wolfram, this 1,197-page book basically overturns the way we think about the operation of our universe. Wolfram, the acclaimed scientist who left the field to start his own software company, also includes a CD-ROM that can replicate 450 of the very programs he describes in the book. Written with clarity and illustrated by nearly a thousand original pictures, this book "will merit discussion for years to come." says Gregg Sapp, a scientist from SUNY at Albany.
CONNECTED EDUCATOR READING
www.classroom.net, $299 per teacher/per course/per year
Connected Educator Reading is a reading professional development product for teachers in grades K-6. Connected Educator Reading supplies teachers with researchbased classroom activities.
Teachers using the program can cover five essential components of scientifically based reading instruction that lead to success: phonemic awareness; phonics fluency; vocabulary; and text comprehension. Every course uses self-assessment tools that ensure teachers are enhancing skills in areas where they need it most.
Meridian Creative Group
STAFF DEVELOPMENT WORKSHOPS
These day-long workshops are designed to improve confidence and classroom instruction for teachers of grades 5-8. “Empower Your Teaching with Data-Driven Instruction,” taught by Larson software co-author Robyn Silbey, provides simulations and activities that incorporate the use of student data to assess students’ knowledge and to plan effective lessons. Fifth-grade math teacher Chris Triola’s “Measure Mints and Geometreats—Math Standards Done with Eats” workshop demonstrates how snack food can be used to help students more quickly grasp and retain mathematical concepts.
EDUCATION EDITIONINTERNET SECURITY PRODUCTS
SonicWALL, which offers Internet security solutions, has an integrated line of Internet security products for K-12 schools.
Users can install SonicWALL’s education editions to protect students with automated content filtering and protect networks with integrated firewall and VPN appliances.
The product is easy to deploy and has a few platforms to choose from. They consist of ICSA-certified packet inspection firewalls and integrated content filtering. The SOHO3 and PRO 100 Education Editions work for smaller schools and libraries, while the PRO 300 Education Edition gives a complete high-performance security platform for larger schools.