Great Books

Teaching should be about exploration, implementation and reflection. It is when these aspects blend together that the teacher has the opportunity to experience real progression. Let us not forget why we, the educators, are here and what the purpose of teaching actually is: to train a new generation of children and young adults to become mature, level-headed individuals, professionals who will eventually lead our companies, run our country and most crucially teach our children and take care of us when we grow older. Let us ensure that we provide a challenging and enriching experience for our learners so that they can look back and say their education was the cornerstone of who they have become as individuals.

We have compiled a list of books we found invaluable in our own practice as teachers, authors and when we run workshops and INSET with colleagues. Some of these books are great in terms of teaching, learning to use ICT and some are simply inspirational.

If you have read a book that has helped you become a more effective classroom practitioner, made students more engaged in their learning or made you view pedagogy in a more holistic way then do drop us a line using the form here

We hope you find them useful!

Johannes Ahrenfelt & Neal Watkin

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Alan November

Fourteen year old: "I'm working on a history paper about how the Holocaust never happened."
Long pause. "Zack, where did you hear that the Holocaust didn't happen?"
"The Internet. It's on a Web page at Northwestern University." November Learning

How often do you hear students, and teachers, mutter something like 'find it on the net' or 'just do a google search'? We all face the same dilemma of how to use the World Wide Web effectively and wisely. There are good websites out there which can enrich learning, excite students and challenge them to think. What websites do teachers use that do all of this? Alan November raises many important questions about how children, and adults alike, use the internet to access information. One of the most interesting articles, Teaching Zack to Think, on the topic is still hosted on his site and available to download. Well worth a read as well. Web Literacy for Educators provides concrete examples of how to use the internet effectively, from dealing with plagiarism to searching safely. This is one of those books you need to have.

active learning, formative assessment, assessment for learning, AFLShirley Clark

Active Learning through Formative Assessment is the latest book by Shirley Clarke where she dicusses and provides concrete examples of how to intergrate Assessment for Learning in a natural way where students become part of the whole learning proccess from planning to delivery. Active Learning through Formative Assessment follows her previous book Formative Assessment in Action, and shows us how we can take a more active and practical approach to assessment with for example effective dialogues with students, how to use questioning effectively and ways in which we can encourage students to communicate more openly - a problem for many older students!

This book has been written using primary school examples but we found it just as rewarding to use with our Secondary as well as Sixth Form students. If you want to get involved in a more engaging approach to what can be regarded as a rather dry subject matter, then this book will hopefully give you some ideas. Also look at Staffroomproject.com for a discussion about making assessment useful and engaging.

powerpoint, present well, get the message acrossGarr Reynolds

Reynolds book is, to put it simply, outstanding. There are several books that discuss the issues of presenting information in various ways, some of which do an excellent job for example Cliff Atkinson's Beyond Bullet Points, but Presentation Zen takes the reader to another level when it comes to understanding the nature of presenting one's message.

Reynolds summarises current literature on the topic and gets you thinking about why your key point(s) matter and how we can go about ensuring that the audience, in this case our students, are engaged, want to continue to listen or discuss and that they remember what your message is all about. Presenation Zen encourages the reader to become more creative and, something which we feel is essential, shows us as professionals how we can teach our students to become inspirational and thoughtful communicators.

When we deliver INSET or workshops we always use Garr Reynold's ideas and his theory behind a successful presentation.

classroom managment, managing behaviour, terry haydn, pgce, teacher trainingTerry Haydn

Managing Pupil Behaviour is the most recent book by Terry Haydn and it stands apart from practical guides and 'handy tips' approaches to the topic of classroom management. Based on tried-and-tested strategies and set in contexts that provide routes through to the concerns of practising and aspiring teachers, it will equip them with new skills for classroom practice.

Managing Pupil Behaviour deals with a range of issues ranging from the impact of classroom atmosphere on learning, the importance of strong subject knowledge and the link between good planning and pupils' behaviour. The are many powerful, interesting and thought-provoking issues raised in the book but one feature we feel is particulalry interesting are the 'talking heads' that are used to support examples and ideas thoughout the book e.g. Head Teacher's views on teacher planning, teaching assistants discussing how successful classroom managers talk to their pupils, to NQTs talking about their attitudes to sending pupils out of the classroom.

Thinking Skills, creative thinking, teaching toolsIan Harris, Oliver Caviglioli, and Carol Thompson

Thinking Skills and Eye Q: Visual Tools for Raising Intelligence is perhaps one of the best books available on mind-mapping and Thinking Skills diagrams. Many of the ideas you'll come across on this website has been inspired from Thinking Skills and Eye-Q.

We have used this book during INSET with our departments as it works through strategies to encourage and develop a range of skills particularly for thinking, writing, but also discusses methods to use for Gifted and Talented students, and to make speaking, listening, questioning and responding an intergral part of lessons.

If you have a chance to attend one of their workshops you will not regret it as they are outstanding!

create your own Flash games, educational gamesGary Rosenzweig

If you have basic knowledge of Adobe Flash but do not have time to master the more complex elements of the software and still want to learn how to create great games then this book really does the job well. Gary Rosenzweig's book is straight forward and explains everything clearly and in an interesting way. The book is very pedagogical and goes through the essentials step-by-step and covers a range of different games and activities that can be mdofied and used in the classroom for example:

  • Jigsaws
  • Paddle and Racing games
  • Memory activities
  • Platform games
  • Drag & Drop
  • and many many other

Gary Rosenzweig has recently come out with a new book ActionScript 3.0 Game Programming University which is a superb addition to the keen Flash enthusiast. His website is also a brilliant resource to take your Flash skills further.

There are other great books on creating Flash Games which are equally useful. Some of these are more complex for the beginner but they do provide the reader with outstanding files which easily can be tweaked to suit your own classes. For example:

Macromedia Flash Professional 8 Game Development with CD-ROM by Glen Rhodes : although you would benefit from reading Rosenzweig's book before tackling this one, G. Rhodes' book on developing games in Flash does go through the basics of ActionScripting and the files you get are excellent!

Nintendo Wii Flash Game Creator's Guide: Design, Develop, and Share Your Games Online : this is a cheap, fun book which shows you how to create games which you can play on the Nintendo Wii - excellent idea!

There are so many books on flash gaming out there but these really move you in the right direction if you wish to develop games for your own students.

brilliant teaching, books, educational books, inspiring teaching ideas

 

 

 

Latest News!

StaffroomProject.com: contribute and you might get published!

learn flash, learn movie maker, powerpoint tutorials, ICT for teachers, adobe, Blogging, Wiki, mind-map, interactive diagrams, diagrams, students, thinking skillsWe have recently launched a new website named Staffroomproject.com. The intention is to create an environment where we, the teachers, have the opportunity to gain recognition for our work.

There are too many clichés and misunderstandings surrounding the teaching of exam groups and if education is to be improved then we need to tackle these head on. We are currently writing a book where we explore how we, as a teaching community, can improve the teaching and learning of exam classes. The site has been divided into chapter sections to help clarify and navigate the space - this is our first attempt so if you have any suggestions about alternative chapter titles then let us know. 

Our key philosophy behind our book is that exam preparation should not destroy good learning and teaching. The aim is to provide practical examples as well as a rationale for wider use. Therefore, we will post our ideas on this site and you are welcome to download and use them with your exam groups. All we ask is that you add your own comments and ideas so that we can learn from each other and build up models of best practice. Those examples that are added to the final draft will be acknowledged clearly in the book.

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