Ready-to-Use Strategies Make Text Valuable for Teaching Teams

Article excerpt

READY-TO-USE STRATEGIES MAKE TEXT VALUABLE FOR TEACHING TEAMS Teacher Teams That Get Results By Gayle H. Gregory and Lin Kuzmich 2007, Corwin Press Paperback, 262 pages, $39.95

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Reviewer's rating: 3 out of 4

Review by Susan Keiffer-Barone

I read any text on teaching teams with nostalgia. I began my career in 1984 on a strong 7th-grade team in Irvington-on-Hudson (N. Y.). We met every Monday morning to coordinate our plans for the week and discuss how to help students learn. As a beginning teacher, I found the support and wisdom of my colleagues invaluable. My belief in teaming grew in Cincinnati in the '90s. We met daily to discuss strategies and design curricula that pulled our subject areas together into meaningful thematic units. One of my fondest memories of teaching was watching 100 9th-grade students in our cafeteria working on science fair projects with their English, science, social studies, and math teachers.

We certainly could have used Teacher Teams That Get Results to enhance our work. Gayle Gregory and Lin Kuzmich provide clear guidance to help teachers create and enhance professional learning communities. And when teachers learn and work together, student collaboration and inquiry improve. I especially like how each of the author's 61 strategies includes purpose, process, examples, and a reproducible chart to use with colleagues. Gregory and Kuzmich know teachers and teaching. They have produced a ready-to-use text that all educators can use at their next team meeting.

The text begins with a brief review of what we know about adult learning and group development. Then the authors launch into strategies to create successful teams. The strategies fall into four key areas:

* Creating a growth-oriented climate;

* Sharing knowledge and skills;

* Building resilience and creating solutions; and

* Determining priorities and creating excellence.

The book suggests creating a positive climate by developing a sense of team and celebrating successes. In the knowledge section, the authors present methods to expand the teaching tool kit. While seasoned staff developers will be familiar with many of these strategies, it is worth the price of the book to have ready-made handouts for techniques such as Four Corners, Jigsaw, KWL, and Pluses & Wishes. …