The Busy Educator

Little Ned Stories- Book One.

Any teacher, librarian or parent looking for a first chapter book for their children, should take a look at Edward Faine's Little Ned Stories- Book One. Richly illustrated with 45 black and white illustrations and three separate stories, this book will appeal to any child between the ages of 4-8.

My six year old son sat down with me and enthusiastically read and laughed and studied each illustration as he turned each page of the three stories: "No Soap"; "The Boy Who Hated Halloween"; and "The Ocean Vacation." The stories are very easy to read, have universal appeal and would make a great addition to any young child's library.

Little Ned Stories- Book One.

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Smart From The Start Make the most of your child's learning
by Janet Millar Grant, Vicky Hopton

How can parents teach their children to learn? What are some activities that parents can do to support the school learning at home? "Smart From The Start" is a book written by four educators designed to help parents answer these questions and help their children learn. The authors make learning the key theme in their well written book. In 200 pages, six chapters, appendices and illustrations, the four authors present very practical ideas for parents to make the most of their child's learning. These practical, simple ideas are presented as learning labs.

These learning labs do not involve a lot of expense but instead include a number of family activities such as cooking, planning a trip, shopping, dealing with everyday technology, art, collecting, playing games and media. The authors explain in detail the educational and learning value of these activities. Once this base of learning is set up at home, the book's next chapters show parents how to maintain learning links between home and school.

An excellent job is done describing the similarities and differences between learning at home and at school. As I read this book, I kept asking, what our classes and schools would be like if all our students were smart from the start!

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Amelia Earhart: Young Air Pioneer (Young Patriots Series) (Young Patriots series) (Hardcover)
Jane Moore Howe, Cathy Morrison (Illustrator)

Originally published in 1950, Amelia Earhart Young Pioneer is a redesigned second edition with a new cover, format, illustrations and some editiorial revisions. The book focuses on the early years of the famed air pioneer.

Already as a seven year old, Earhart demonstrates a pioneering attitude that sets her apart from the prevailing stereotypes of the day. The book takes the pre-adolescent reader through her many adventures while growing up with her younger sister Muriel at her grandparents in Atchison Kansas USA, to her initial excitement seeing her first airplane athe the state fair in Des Moines Iowa at the age of ten.

The story ends with her first flyiing lessons and solo in her early twenties. A short page at the end of the book describes the mystery of Amelia Earhart.

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Our Classroom: We Can Learn Together (Hardcover)
by Chick Moorman, Dee Dishon

"Our Classroom : We Can Learn Together " is packed with tips, strategies and practical ideas that will appeal both to the novice teacher just starting in the teaching profession and searching for ideas and the experienced teacher looking for new ideas to fine tune their classrooms.

Although geared to the K-6 teacher even middle school teachers will find ideas to benefit their students. Written in a clear, sincere and inviting style, "Our Classroom : We Can Learn Together " will make a great addition to any teacher's library and to any teacher who has asked the following questions:

"I just want to teach. Why do I have to spend so much time disciplining?";

"How can I do any teaching if kids can do whatever they want to?";

"My students expect to be given responsibility, yet they don't act like it";

"I've tried groups and they don't work. Children don't get along with each other. Some never get involved. I give up!"

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Secrets of Discipline: 12 Keys for Raising Responsible Children (Paperback)
by Ronald G. Morrish

Ron Morrish, author of"Secrets of Discipline 12 Keys for raising responsible children" has been an educator and behaviour specialist since 1972.

His workshops and presentations have helped countless parents and teachers improve their skills for raising responsible children. Ron starts out with a very simple question: What has happened to discipline? Could television and the movies have such a negative impact on our children?

Many people think so. Others believe that social issues are to blame, including poverty, abuse and the breakdown of the family unit. Research says that every one of these concerns plays a significant role. That's not a surprise. The only real surprise, according to Morrish, is that no one is investigating the most obvious source of problems.

Many of the problems with discipline lie within discipline itself. Many of the strategies that we presently use to raise our children will not give us the kind of children we want. I visited with Ron in his home for over 3 hours. While there, his 6 year old daughter kept peeking through the doorway to see who her dad was talking to.

Ron invited her into the room and introduced us. She then sat on his lap, and listened attentively as we both continued our conversation.

There firsthand, I saw that Ron's approach to discipline really works. He is one speaker and author who "walks his talk".

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Tips and Tools for Getting Thru to Kids (Paperback)
by Phillip Mountrose

Mountrose communicates his TIPS AND TOOLS FOR GETTING THRU TO KIDS effectively by categorizingall of them into 25 tools. In his toolkit are such tools as tool

#8 Diffusing Anger; tool
# 12 Phrases and Tips to Avoid Lecturing; tool
# 17 Catch Children Being Honest and much much more.

He presents his tools in a loving and caring manner. Are the tools effective? Yes! Anecdotes drawn from Mountrose's years of teaching experience add to the credibility of his tools, especially dealing with such topics as Setting Good Boundaries and How To Avoid Lecturing.

I started to use his tool #22 Asked and Answered to prevent children from "harassing you." It really works. The teaching component is very important to Mountrose.

His tool #13 Learning From Your Mistakes is a process where mistakes are used as learning experiences.

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Being the Parent YOU Want to Be: 12 Communication Skills for Effective Parenting (Paperback)
by Gary Screaton Page

Here's a parenting book with a difference. Right from the beginning, Page outlines three parenting styles as "My Way", "Your Way", and "Our Way" parents and their pros and cons. Through examples and exercises, the reader soon learns not only what their parenting style is perceived to be, but what it actually is.

What is unique about this book over many other parenting guides on the market today, is that Page doesn't make a judgement about a person's parenting style. Instead, the book is geared to all three parenting styles.

Page presents his 12 communication skills in very clear language, and well organized in the following 3 categories: Skills for discovering what's on your child's mind; skills for overcoming your child's objections and skills for solving and making decisions with your child. Through exercises, and a special section on role playing, Page reinforces his 12 communication skills for effective parenting.

If you follow each of his communication skills and work through the examples and exercises, you will communicate more effectively with your children and be the parent (and teacher) you want to be.

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Red Riding Hood Races The Big Bad Wolf (Hardcover)
by Richard Paul, Eugene Clark (Illustrator)

A new twist on an old classic, finds Little Red Riding Hood in a wheelchair, off to Grandma's house to deliver an apple pie. Although confined to a wheelchair, the reader quickly finds out the talents that Little Red Riding Hood has when she shows her rabbit friend Jack just how fast she can go.

Her speed is then tested by the Big Bad Wolf who challenges her to a race for the apple pie.

This motivational, colourfully illustrated book (31 full page colour illustrations) delivers a wonderful positive message to young readers 4 to 8 years of age and to older people too!

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Big Bucks: A Creative Discipline System (Paperback)
by Joanna Hazelwood, Carolyn Pruitt

I was politely surprised reading this book, authored by two teachers team teaching in an inclusive classroom at Reidsville School in Reidsville, North Carolina USA.

I say politely surprised because of my pre-conceived notion of using money as part of a teacher's discipline system. Teachers Carolyn Thompson Pruitt and Joanna Lebo Hazelwood outline in this 51 page book a discipline system that worked for them without paperwork! It's a system that they carefully explain in their book.

They stress that it is a system that must be sold to students, and they show you how to do the selling. If you have ever had one of those classes where nothing seemed to work, you may want to give Big Buck$ a try.

You don't have a lot of big bucks to lose!

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How to Behave So Your Children Will Too! (Hardcover)
by Sal Severe Ph.D., Tim McCormick

Here's an easy to read book, free of jargon, filled with a multitude of examples described in simple language to show effective discipline techniques.

The techniques are nothing new to experienced teachers i.e. the use of modelling, redirecting misbehaviour, use of encouragement, incentives, contracts, consequences, how to be proactive and use of timeouts. Experienced teachers would be well advised to recommend this book to parents and new teachers looking for some "tricks of the trade." Two chapters well worth reading for all teachers and parents are Divorce and Behaviour and Peer Pressure.

Dr. Severe debunks the belief that children are naturally flexible and resilient when it comes to their parents' divorce. Any educator will verify his thoughts and conclusions with their own stories of students in the classroom being devasted by divorce. Dr. Sever also gives useful tips to parents and teachers on how to lessen these effects.

What I found dissapointing with How To Behave So Your Children Will, Too! is the fact that although Dr. Severe has spent over 25 years working with behaviour disordered children, he very rarely talks about the adolescent and teenage child whose misbehaviour has been ingrained over the years.

I was hoping as I read the book that his background in treating adolescents with emotional and behavioural problems, that there would be examples and techniques on how to deal with severly disturbed children.

Alas, it was not so. Perhaps a topic for his next book.

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The Ultimate Book of Kid Concoctions: More Than 65 Wacky, Wild & Crazy Concoctions (Ultimate Book of Kid Concoctions (Paperback)) (Paperback)
by John E. Thomas, Danita Pagel, Danita Thomas

This book became very popular around our house the moment it came in the mail. So popular that I almost didn't get a chance to review it! It kept disappearing.

First, my wife took it. She then wanted to lend it to her friend who is really into crafts. Then my 10 year old daughter took it. You could hear the "ooohs" and "aws" as she looked at each craft. When I finally got my hands on it, I quickly found out why.

This book is ideal for parents and teachers who work with crafts and more importantly for "craft challenged" parents and teachers like myself! The 65 crafts use household ingredients costing less than $1, are silly, fun and easy to make. I never thought crafts could be such fun.

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Double-Digit Growth: How Great Companies Achieve It--No Matter What (Hardcover)
by Michael Treacy

When the book Double-Digit Growth: How Great Companies Achieve It-No Matter What, a business book by Michael Treacy, a leading management thinker first came in my mailbag, I didn’t think it would have much relevance for teachers and administrators. The book after all, deals exclusively with the world of business and companies large and small.

However, I found many relevant questions, answers and lessons here for the education sector. Double-Digit Growth, analyzes how high growth firms approach the challenge of growth. Treacy identifies six key principles in their strategy: Spread the risk; Take small bites; Balance your strategies; Commit to superior value; Expand growth capabilities; Manage for growth. In very clear and lucid writing, Treacy is able to simplify complex business concepts with everyday examples. In reading his book as he analyzes high growth firms, I was continually amazed by the parallels in the education sector. On the subject of customers, Treacy notes: “Customers are loyal to only one thing - best value...If customers can find better value in another supplier, they will take their business there..Loyalty is ensured, not through formal contracts, but through service and value...Customers will endure inferior value only until they can find a better option.” In the education sector, customers are parents and students.

How do they perceive the value of your school and district? How are the teachers and other employees perceived?

How do the teachers and other employees themselves perceive the value of their own school and district?

Is it measured and evaluated?

Are students in your school because they have no options or is it because you offer something of value for them?

Is your school and district noted for something of value?

Does it have a distinctive “brand”?

According to Treacy, “A company’s brand is a shorthand statement of its value commitment to the customer...Powerful brands also declare their uniqueness in a sea of mediocrity.” When it comes to people, Treacy observed in one high growth company that “Developing talent in an organization is a line-management job; it is a core responsibility, not an extracurricular activity. In your school and district, does your leadership i.e., principal, interact with employees at all levels on a daily basis? Is the message, mission, vision from top administrators clear and discernible? Do your parents know?

Does anyone care? Employees are one of the most important resources in education. How does your school and district attract, develop and retain teachers, support staff, administrators? Is there an effective induction system in place for new teachers? For teachers switching roles? Are there opportunities to network inside the school and across the district?

In an era of declining school enrollments, increased competition from the private sector, homeschooling and new technological advances in on-line learning and learning software, school growth can no longer be taken for granted.

If you’re looking for examples that will help you and your school and district to grow, Treacy’s book Double-Digit Growth: How Great Companies Achieve It-No Matter What is a great start.

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Moonlight and Mill Whistles (Hardcover)
by Terry Ward Tucker

Terry Ward Tucker skillfully weaves a story of childhood innocence lost, then regained amid the adult world of a cotton mill at turn of the century South Carolina.

Thirteen year old Tommy and his seventeen year old sister Jewel personify the downward spiral of poverty in the company town of Lancaster. Their dad, having died from the toils of the cotton mill and their mother, bedridden from a work related illness, force the children to work in the mill since the age of eleven to support the family.

In the midst of the squalor, sickness and gloom, hope appears in the guise of a 13 year old gypsy princess Rhona, full of "moondust and mystery." Young adolescents ages 12-17 will enjoy the adventures, the unexpected plot twists and young love just beginning to bloom.

A fifty two page teachers guide is available to all interested teachers.

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The Legend of Mackinac Island (Hardcover)
by Kathy-jo Wargin

Long long ago when the earth was covered entirely with water, a wise, old and large painted turtle named Makinauk calmly floated in the water. One day, Makinauk called all the animals together to tell them that the Great Spirit of the sky has asked him to do something for him.

And so begins the story of The Legend of Mackinac Island based on the native legend of the creation of the island in Michigan state in the USA and the age old lesson that victory is not only for the fastest or strongest. This dazzling and richly illustrated children's picture book will appeal to young children, parents and their teachers.

Both the text and the illustrations uniquely combine to create a wonderful book.

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Raw Materials for the Mind: Teaching & Learning in Information & Technology Rich Schools (Mass Market Paperback)
by David Franklin Warlick

You are sending and receiving e-mail, and beginning to use web pages with yourstudents. Now you are asking, "How do I truly take advantage of this new technology? In the "Information Age," information will be the raw material that people work andbuild with, and the Internet will be the quarry from which we mine that nformation.

"RawMaterials for the Mind," by 18-year technology educator David Warlick, begins with a philosophical big picture but quickly focuses on practical ideas for harnessing the Internetfor teaching and learning.

Topics include conducting deep and revealing searches of theWorld Wide Web; evaluating information found on the Internet; importing Internet-basedinformation into word processors, spreadsheets, and graphics tools; ideas for taking advantage of the unique qualities of Internet-based information; and techniques forpublishing student work onto the Internet.

An additional chapter discusses the steps for planning and designing school and school district web sites and free services available on the Internet for creating interactive webenvironments -- web sites that "work for you." One reader reports, "I found the viewpoint so electrifying that I had to read parts to some of my teaching friends."

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The First Days of School: How to Be an Effective Teacher (Paperback)
by Harry K. Wong, Rosemary T. Wong

...You are going to have one of the greatest educational experiences of your life. We will not only study (subject), but I will also share with you some life-skill traits that will help you to be successful in tomorrow's world. I can assure you that if you should run into me at the shopping mall 25 years from now, you will say, "You were right, Mr. Wong.

That was the most memorable, exciting, and fascinating class I ever had." 25 years from now, if I have the good fortune of running into Harry Wong in a shopping mall, I will say "You were right, Mr. Wong. That was the most memorable, exciting and fascinating book on classroom management I ever read." And it is.

This is a well organized book with built in chapter reviews. The following five units are covered in the book: A) Basic Understandings - The Teacher. The successful teacher must know and practice the three characteristics of an effective teacher; B) First Characteristic - Positive Expectations. The effective teacher has positive expectations for student success. C) Second Characteristic - Classroom Management. The effective teacher is an extremely good classroom manager. D) Third Characteristic - Lesson Mastery.

The effective teacher knows how to design lessons to help students reach mastery. E) Future Understandings - The Professional. The teacher who constantly learns and grows becomes a professional educator. This book is for any teacher who wants to improve their teaching through better classroom management.

There are sections on how to use the book; how to get quickly to the meat of the book; why you need this book and what this book will teach you. Two words caught my eye: help and free. Wong describes help as: there is no one way to teach; there are no pat answers, quick fixes, or foolproof plans for teaching; what you need to do is continually try and learn. Wong explains free as: implementation of the techniques suggested costs no extra money; learning the techniques suggested requires no extra in-service training. You can do everything in you own time and at your own pace. Money and materials cannot buy an ideal learning environment.

Only YOU can provide that environment. Wong states taht by the next decade, there will have been an 80 percent turnover of teachers. for veteran teachers, this is a challenge, a charge, a mission to leave a legacy of positive expectations for new teachers; for new teachers, this is a challenge, a change, a mission to create a revolutionary change in the cultural attitude of teachers. Which teacher are you? For those helping teachers become effective teachers, an eight part video series The Effective Teacher is also available. The videos do a great job complementing units in the book.

The following is a Scope and Sequence of The Effective Teacher:

Part 1: The Effective Teacher - 32 minutes * How to use research-based practices to be a happy, effective teacher

Part 2: The First Days of School - 36 minutes * How to invite students to succeed

Part 3: Discipline and Procedures - 36 minutes * How to have a well-managed classroom

Part 4: Procedures and Routines - 55 minutes * How to have students follow classroom procedures

Part 5: Cooperative Learning and Culture - 47 minutes * How to prepare your students for tomorrow's world

Part 6: Lesson Mastery - 33 minutes * How to increase student learning and achievement

Part 7: The Professional Educator - 41 minutes * How to become a professional

Part 8: Positive Expectations - 20 minutes * How to increase positive student behavior

Although the tapes are expensive for the average teacher, it's an investment well worth the cost for your education board or district.

One of our superintendents at the Thames Valley District School Board (Gerry Treble) ordered them, and their popularity with teachers over the summer was incredible!

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