Category Archives: Recommended Reading

The Teacher’s Daybook

While perusing the most recent issue of English Journal, I saw an ad for The Teacher’s Daybook (purchase from Amazon). I went to the publisher’s website only to discover that it was not for sale. As soon as it became available, I ordered it. The year has not yet started, so I’ll have to update my relative happiness with it periodically on this blog; however, so far, I am extremely happy with it.One of its strongest features is its insistence, if used as the author intended, to make the user more reflective about his/her teaching. I am fairly reflective already, but I realized this will really make me think about my lessons and my efficacy as a teacher. Another strong feature is it aids the user in maintaining balance between all the roles in his/her life.

Nice bonuses include reproducible handouts, which are also available on the website that accompanies the daybook. It is also spiral bound, so it lies flat, and it has three holes punched in it so that it may be kept in a notebook. There is much more space for weekly plans than in any school or district-purchased planning books I have owned. It is simply packed with tips for organization.

Perhaps the strongest recommendation I can give it is that the daybook’s author, Jim Burke, uses it himself. He has a great website with lots of handouts; his collection of handouts on note-taking techniques is especially valuable.

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Teaching Grammar in Context

I have recently finished Constance Weaver’s 1996 book Teaching Grammar in Context (purchase from Amazon). While I agree a great deal with Weaver’s arguments and hope to implement many of her ideas in my own classroom, I would like to see more studies on the efficacy of her methods. In many schools, the curriculum dictates teaching grammar in isolation, at least part of the time, and my experience at a private school, has been that many of my students had a good grasp of concepts taught in isolation. They did not, however, consisently implement the things they learned or that we reviewed in their writing.

I found the section on the history of the teaching of grammar very interesting, and I might share that with students. All in all, I highly recommend this book to English language arts teachers at all levels.

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