Current Book Reviews for the Librarian + TL's Best Professional Books of 2009
Loertscher, David V., Teacher Librarian
Remember additional reviews can be found online at the following wiki: http://professionalreviews.pbwiki.com, offering you even greater access to the professional literature that can help you in your role. You can also add your comments to the wiki about professional titles that you have read, providing a different perspective from that of the reviewer about the various books that appear on the site.
PRIMARY SOURCE TEACHING THE WEB 2.0 WAY, K-12
Mary J. Johnson
The Library of Congress has a marvelous summer program for teachers and librarians, which covers the use of primary source materials in theirs and other collections. Like others, Johnson then has the obligation to use what is learned with students. She displays her considerable experience in this book with an added twist of using the resources in a Web 2.0 environment. Johnson covers a wide range of 2.0 tools and then explores the use of those tools with a wide variety of primary resources such as textual sources, newspapers, photographs and images, and other materials. She then turns to various tips and techniques for maximizing learning using the various technology tools discussed earlier. Together, this is an excellent introduction to a very exciting use of free materials. As a national treasure, the historic metatarsals in LC plus other depositories including the museums and art galleries of the world just cannot be ignored. (Linworth Books, 2009. 146 pp. $39.95. 978-1-58683-335-0.)
Bottom line: Whether we have fat, thin, or non-existent materials budgets, this is a boon to every teacher-librarian willing to reach out and grab it.
MAKING GREAT KIDS GREATER: EASING THE BURDEN OF BEING GIFTED
Dorothy A. Sisk
How long has it been since you read a few articles or a book about teaching the gifted? Teachers and teacher-librarians deal with these super minds on a regular basis but often are mystified about what to do with them. No Child Left Behind ignored them since they exceed the minimums in almost any area of testing imaginable. Do we assume they will succeed no matter what we do? Sisk opens our eyes to a number of difficulties faced by the gifted and provides sensible ways of working with them. She bursts myths such as "one size fits all" for these students, dealing with their desire for perfectionism, channeling their moral courage, individuality, sensitivity, reflective thinking, creativity, and other traits. Many of the activities she recommends start conversations between the gifted and their mentors. It is so easy to ignore the finest and brightest because of our assumptions about them or try to grapple with their strange behavior. Sisk is worth reading to remind us all that success for this group should not be taken for granted. And, it is not just giving them more work to do as a "solution." (Corwin Press, 2009. 165 pp. $28.95. 978-1-4129-5872-1.) Bottom line: A good read.
THE SCHOOL LEADER'S GUIDE TO LEARNER-CENTERED EDUCATION: FROM COMPLEXITY TO SIMPLICITY
Barbara L. McCombs and Lynda Hiller
For several years, this reviewer has been promoting the idea of transforming the school library into a learning commons. The emphasis has been on building a client-side organization where both teachers and learners are the center of attention and the organization is built around their needs and their participation and ownership. McCombs and Miller remind us that for client ownership to happen, the entire school culture needs to shift away from a top-down model with a heavy administrative hand. These two authors have done extensive training around the country and have a wide variety of tools for assessing attitudes, transforming the school, and monitoring progress. This is an important book for those considering a shift in direction--particularly where testing is the elephant in the room that has not made a significant difference on scores as the No Child Left Behind initiative was intended to produce. …