EC Team Book Studies

March/April 2016

What to post?

  • Book cover photo
  • Title, Author, Copyright, ISBN
  • Brief description of book
  • 3 takeaways from the book
  • 2 questions the book made you think of

Example below

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I read the Read-Aloud Handbook (7th edition) by Jim Trelease.

ISBN: 9781101613863


Recommended by "Dear Abby" upon its first publication in 1982, millions of parents and educators have turned to Jim Trelease’s beloved classic for more than three decades to help countless children become avid readers through awakening their imaginations and improving their language skills. It has also been a staple in schools of education for new teachers. This updated edition of The Read-Aloud Handbook discusses the benefits, the rewards, and the importance of reading aloud to children of a new generation. Supported by delightful anecdotes as well as the latest research (including the good and bad news on digital learning), The Read-Aloud Handbook offers proven techniques and strategies for helping children discover the pleasures of reading and setting them on the road to becoming lifelong readers.

3 takeaways: READ, READ, READ

  • 1- Children should be read aloud to even at older ages.
  • 2- Conversation vs. Reading: Basic vocabulary/ rare words. Adults use 9 rare words per thousand when talking to a 3 year old, there are 3 times as many in a children's book.
  • 3- Reading must be enjoyable to the reader and the person reading aloud must make it enjoyable. (Don't read a book aloud that you do not like yourself.) (Beginning reader/beginning listener- Dr. Seuss books- I can Read It All by Myself)

2 questions the book made me think of:

  • 1 Jim Trelease mentions chapter books being read to preschoolers...just wondering if we know any teachers who do this in pk/k? Is this something we should be recommending?
  • 2- How do we support teachers in making read alouds engaging and not just "another story I have to read because it's in the curriculum"?
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I read a child's work the importance of Fantasy Play

ISBN: 100226644898


The buzz word in education today is accountability. But the federal mandate of "no child left behind" has come to mean curricului driven by preparation for standardized tests and quantifiable learning results. Even for very young children, unstructured creative time in the classroom is waning as teachers and administrators are under growing pressures to measure school readiness through rote learning and increased homework. In her new book, Vivian Gussin Paley decries this rapid disappearance of creative time and makes the case for the critical role of fantasy play in the psychological, intellectual, and social development of young children.

A Child's Work goes inside classrooms around the globe to explore the stunningly original language of children in their role-playing and storytelling. Drawing from their own words, Paley examines how this natural mode of learning allows children to construct meaning in their worlds, meaning that carries through into their adult lives. Proof that play is the work of children, this compelling and enchanting book will inspire and instruct teachers and parents as well as point to a fundamental misdirection in today's educational programs and strategies.

3 takeaways:

  • 1.The mind that has been allowed to freely associate is more primed for new learning.
  • 2. The introduction of long play periods have lead to better SEL skills.
  • 3 in play a child stands taller than himself, above his age and ordinary behavior. It's as if he's climbing up a ladder and looking around at a larger area.

2 questions the book made me think of:

  • 1. Since the earlier we begin academics, the more problems are revealed, were the problems there waiting to be discovered or does the premature introduction of lessons cause problems?
  • How do we talk to teachers, parents and others about the importance of play?
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I read "Coaching with Powerful Interactions, A Guide for Partnering with Early Childhood Teachers" by Judy Jablon, Amy Laura Dombro, and Shaun Johnsen.

ISBN: 978-1-938113-19-2


"This is the essential guide for all coaches and professionals who support the work of teachers. It includes access to videos that describe how coaches have used the three steps of a Powerful Interaction to be more effective. Filled with information, guidance, reflections, and insight about coaching." NAEYC Publications

3 takeaways:

  • 1 - It's all about relationships! A coach must spend time getting the know the teacher so the coach can understand why decisions are being made in the classroom. A coach should spend time talking, listening to, and trying to learn from the teacher with whom she is working. This is the first step in being able to support that teacher.
  • 2 - Look for and build on strengths! Finding a teacher's strengths validates the teacher, builds trust, and strengthens the teacher/coach relationship. Once the teacher understands what she is doing effectively, she can do it over and over in other areas of teaching.
  • 3 - How the coach acts with the teacher will shape how the teacher acts with the children. This is called the parallel process. The coach is always modeling for the teacher and this modeling influences outcomes in the classroom.

2 questions the book made me think of:

  • 1 - How do you build a relationship with a teacher that may not want support or coaching?
  • 2 - Since every teacher has different needs and are at different stages in their teaching, how does the coach plan pacing and maintain documentation?
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I read play How It Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul by Stuart Brown, M.D.

ISBN: 9781583333785


"We see the joy of play in children's faces as they swing in a school park. But in our own lives, we tend to think of play as only a guilty pleasure, a distraction from "real" work and responsibilities." Stuart Brown, M.D.

3 takeaways:

  • 1 - Lack of experience with rough and tumble play hampers the normal give and take necessary for social mastery, and has been linked to poor control of violent impulses in later life.
  • 2 - Trying to suppress free play or rigidly control kids' activities poses a far greater risk to their future health, success and happiness.
  • 3 - Most people go through a six step process as they play and not necessarily in any particular order.

    Anticipation, waiting with expectation, wondering what will happen, curiosity, a little anxiety, perhaps because there is a slight uncertainty or risk involved (can we hit the baseball and get safely on base?), although the risk cannot be so great that it overwhelms the fun. This leads to …

    Surprise, the unexpected, a discovery, a new sensation or idea, or shifting perspective. This produces…

    Pleasure, a good feeling, like the pleasure we feel at the unexpected twist in the punch line of a good joke. Next we have…

    Understanding, the acquisition of new knowledge, a synthesizing of distinct and separate concepts, an incorporation of ideas that were previously foreign, leading to..

    Strength, the mastery that comes from constructive experience and understanding, the empowerment of coming through a scary experience unscathed, of knowing more about how the world works. Ultimately, this results in…

    Poise, grace, contentment, composure, and a sense of balance in life.

2 questions the book made me think of:

  • 1 - In higher animals, play fosters empathy and makes possible complex social groups. For us, play lies at the core or creativity and innovation. How do we make this clear to people who take play out of the teaching day?

  • 2 - We strive to always be productive and if an activity doesn’t; teach us a skill, make us money, or get on the boss’s good side, and then we feel we should not be doing it. Are you taking at least two 15 minutes breaks to recharge yourself so you don't feel how it's stated above?
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I read Powerful Interactions

How To Connect with Children to Extend their Learning

ISBN: K000n9Hqy7

Description: It is important to connect with children in positive, powerful and effective ways to extend their learning. Each day we have dozens of interactions with children. Our interactions with children can have a positive impact on how children feel about themselves and about learning or they can undermine children's confidence and take away the joy of exploration and interfere with learning. Interactions should be intentional and individualized. These types of interactions will improve classroom climate as well as improve partnerships with families. In addition your teaching practice will grow richer and more enjoyable. Powerful interactions consist of 3 steps: Be present , connect and extend learning.

3 takeaways:

  • 1 Be present- for an interaction to be powerful you must be present. Pause for a moment so you can focus and decide how to respond with intention rather than simply react. Pausing puts you in a clear and open frame of mind.
  • 2 Connect -Connecting means observing what is interesting and meaningful about what the child is doing , saying and thinking. It is letting the child know that you see him and are interested in what he is doing and want to spend time with him. It is a reminder to the child of the relationship you share together. There are seven strategies for connecting ex. slow down stay in the moment, keep trust growing.....
  • 3 extend learning- when extending learning think about 1. what is the right content to teach in this moment 2. what's the next step in this child's learning 3. How do I make learning meaningful for this child. There are 10 major strategies for extending learning ex. respond to curiosity, inspire imaginative play......

2 questions the book made me think of:

  • 1. Some teachers may have problems with the connecting piece. How can we help teachers who are not great at "relationship building" be better able to connect with their students?
  • 2. We are seeing more and more students coming from trauma. What are the best connecting strategies to use with these students to get the best outcome?

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I read "Choice Words" by Peter H. Johnston.

ISBN: 1571103899

Description: In productive classrooms, teachers don't just teach children skills: they build emotionally and relationally healthy learning communities. Teachers create intellectual environments that produce not only technically competent students, but also caring, secure, actively literate human beings.

Choice Words shows how teachers accomplish this using their most powerful teaching tool: language. Throughout, Peter Johnston provides examples of apparently ordinary words, phrases, and uses of language that are pivotal in the orchestration of the classroom. Grounded in a study by accomplished literacy teachers, the book demonstrates how the things we say (and don't say) have surprising consequences for what children learn and for who they become as literate people. Through language, children learn how to become strategic thinkers, not merely learning the literacy strategies. In addition, Johnston examines the complex learning that teachers produce in classrooms that is hard to name and thus is not recognized by tests, by policy-makers, by the general public, and often by teachers themselves, yet is vitally important.

This book will be enlightening for any teacher who wishes to be more conscious of the many ways their language helps children acquire literacy skills and view the world, their peers, and themselves in new ways.

3 takeaways:

  • 1. Speaking is as much an action as hitting someone. "Language works to position people in relation to one another." Teachers position children as collaborators or competitors, and themselves as referees, resources, judges, e.t.c. A classic example is when a teachers asks a question, a child answers it, and the teacher announces whether the child is correct or not.
  • 2. Inviting children to attend to internal feelings of pride attaches an internal motivation to the activity. When we tell children "I am proud of you" we are turning the child's attention to pleasing the teacher and it positions the child in a subordinate position with respect to the teacher. This type of praise also removes some of the responsibility of the accomplishment from the child and gives it to the teacher. When we ask children "How does that make you feel?" we turn the attention to internal feelings and their relation to behavior and events.
  • 3. The statement "I wonder..." invites children to engage in exploratory talk. "Exploratory talk brings multiple minds together to work on the same problem in the most powerful ways."

2 questions the book made me think of:

  • 1. How do we get teachers who are set in their ways to be willing to change the way they talk to and with their students?
  • 2. I model statements such as "I wonder..." when I'm in classrooms to encourage children to problem solve with each other. Again, how do we go about getting teachers to understand the importance of such questions and to practice asking them?