new and noteworthy books

Untangling the WebWith the astounding array of educational programs and apps on the market, it can be super intimidating to pick which ones you’ll try out in the classroom. Most teachers don’t need another list of 50 great tools: they need a few detailed recommendations from a trusted expert (i.e. someone with classroom experience) on tools that are open-ended and flexible enough to use in many different ways, and specific, practical ideas for how to use those tools again and again with students.

Steve Dembo and Adam Bellow are two of the most qualified people I can think of to write a book with those kind of recommendations. They’re both experienced educators who are extremely knowledgable about not only the latest tools, but which ones are most valuable from a pedagogical perspective. I know from their work I’ve seen online as well as their conference session last year at ISTE that the tools they recommend promote higher-level thinking, creativity, and collaboration.

In Untangling the Web, Steve and Adam have focused on 20 free or freemium tools (meaning free with optional upgrades) which can be used by almost any teacher at any grade level. The resources are organized by type: Curation Tools (like Symbaloo and eduClipper), Artistic Tools (like iPiccy and Sumo Paint), Presentation Tools (Prezi and Poll Everywhere), Social Networking Tools (TodaysMeet and Kidblog), and a few others that don’t fit neatly into any category (like Capzles and Delivr.)

Although the book explains the basics of each tool and even includes labeled screenshots so you can see each one in action, the real value of Untangling the Web is in the specific examples of how each tool has been successfully used in real classrooms. Some are ideas that Steve and Adam have personally used, and others are submitted by fellow educators on Twitter. The suggestions from other teachers are a fantastic addition to the book, because you get a true feel for how many different ways a tool can be used. A kindergarten teacher might share how he uses a tool for math instruction, and a high school teacher might explain how she uses the same tool for social studies instruction. Each submitter’s Twitter handle is included so you can follow him or her online and learn more, if you’re interested.

Another aspect of this book that really sets it apart is the appeal to teachers with a wide spectrum of tech proficiency. If you’re overwhelmed by the idea of incorporating more tech and just want to find one simple tool to try out with your students this quarter, you’ll find that the explanations in Untangling the Web are plenty to help you get started. And if you consider yourself proficient with tech, I guarantee you’ll find not only new tools (about 30% of the ones featured were new to me) but innovative ideas for using the stuff you’re already familiar with.

There’s even an online Untangling the Web Community where you can exchange ideas with other teachers. Parts of the site appears to be under construction at the moment, but there are some active forums and it looks like there will be video tutorials in the future.

Corwin Press has graciously offered to give away an eBook or paperback copy of Untangling the Web to one reader of The Cornerstone. Use the Rafflecopter entry form below to take part in the contest, which will end next Thursday, February 13th, at midnight EST. Good luck!

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The House of Comprehension: book review and giveaway

new and noteworthy books

After many reader requests, I am happy to share that this month’s book giveaway is especially for middle school teachers! It’s called The House of Comprehension: Teaching Students the Elements of Literature, and is designed for use with 6th-9th grade students. The book’s author is Constance D. Casserly, a veteran teacher with over 30 years of experience as […]

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Bad Teacher: How Blaming Teachers Distorts the Bigger Picture (book review)

new and noteworthy books

I had the pleasure of hearing Kevin K. Kumsahiro speak at the ASCD conference last March, and knew immediately that I’d want to read his book, Bad Teacher: How Blaming Teachers Distorts the Bigger Picture. This is such an important topic, and teachers desperately need someone to speak up on their behalf. The scapegoating of […]

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Teach Like a Pirate (Book Review)

new and noteworthy books

I realized from the second I met author and high school teacher Dave Burgess at the ISTE conference that he is one of those people that just exudes energy and enthusiasm. He is the teacher we all wish we could be: passionate, fearless, motivated, and purpose-driven. He’s the type of teacher you might look at […]

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The 10 best summer reads for teachers

new and noteworthy books

If you’re an avid reader, I’m sure you’re looking forward to summer and having more free time to relax with some good books…preferably by a pool or on a beach or in a hammock. You’ve probably got some good easy, fun reads you’ve been meaning to get to for awhile. And maybe you’re also looking […]

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The Behavior Code

new and noteworthy books

When Harvard Education Press sent me a review copy of The Behavior Code: A Practical Guide to Understanding and Teaching the Most Challenging Students, I was intrigued by the title and concept but procrastinated reading it because of the formal tone. I’ve grown accustomed to reading educational resources that are written in the first person […]

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Never work harder than your students

new and noteworthy books

I had the privilege of hearing Robyn Jackson speak at two different conferences and finally had a chance to sit down one-on-one with her over lunch at the ASCD conference in Chicago in March. Robyn is a former high school English teacher and middle school administrator who now shares her passion for supporting teachers through her […]

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Tips for teachers: how to save your voice

classroom management ideas

I can’t count the number of times I lost my voice as a classroom teacher. Sometimes it was due to viruses and colds (I got strep throat a million times during my first few years of teaching), but mostly, it was due to talking all. day. long. The only thing that helped was sipping constantly […]

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Advice on publishing a children’s book from a teacher who’s done it

new and noteworthy books

Have you always wanted to write a children’s book? I’ve talked to a number of teachers who have terrific ideas for kids’ books, but aren’t sure how to get started. Maybe you, too, are wondering how to write a book and how to get published. Anyone with an interest in children’s books is going to […]

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The Classroom Teacher’s Technology Survival Guide

new and noteworthy books

The idea of writing a book about classroom technology is a daunting one, given how quickly tech changes. So much information is readily available online, and it’s constantly  updated to include the latest tools, tips, and tricks. Why bother to put it in a printed book that starts becoming obsolete before it’s even available to […]

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Reading Amplified: Book review and giveaway

new and noteworthy books

This month’s book review and give-away is incredibly unique. It’s called Reading Amplified: Digital Tools That Engage Students in Words, Books, and Ideas by ninth grade teacher Lee Ann Spillane. The book is from Stenhouse’s new line of Read & Watch books which bring together text, video, and audio. What I love about this format is that you […]

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Book review and giveaway: Emotional Muscle

new and noteworthy books

When Kerry Kovick emailed me awhile back to ask if I’d be interested in reviewing a book she co-wrote with her husband called Emotional Muscle: Strong Parents, Strong Children, my first thought was that it wasn’t the right fit for my blog audience. A parenting book? But I read on as she explained why she had […]

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When Teaching Gets Tough

new and noteworthy books

You might call it the October teaching slump. The anticipation of August has long since worn off, and you’re starting to emerge from the survival mode of September…but now that classroom routines are in place, the bigger problems are coming more clearly into focus. From now through the winter holidays, many teachers experience a time […]

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The Well-Balanced Teacher

new and noteworthy books

How much do you love the title of the book featured in this month’s review/giveaway? It’s called The Well-Balanced Teacher: How to Work Smarter and Stay Sane Inside the Classroom and Out, and is a very practical book for this time of year when sanity seems to be in short supply. It’s written by Mike Anderson, whose […]

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Giveaway: 5 copies of The Cornerstone!

new and noteworthy books

I’ve got lots of amazing book give-aways scheduled for the coming months, but since everyone’s thinking about classroom management right now, I thought August’s feature should be The Cornerstone: Classroom Management That Makes Teaching More Effective, Efficient, and Enjoyable. And since it’s my own book, I can give away multiple copies! This book was born out […]

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My third book! (giveaway)

awakened

I’m very excited to announce that The Awakened Devotional Study Guide for Christian Educators is being released this week! This book has truly been a labor of love and I’m thrilled to share it with you all. Last summer, I published Awakened: Change Your Mindset to Transform Your Teaching to share the story of how I […]

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Helping kids see failure as part of the learning journey

hot topics

Teaching kids how to cope with mistakes and failure is one of the toughest (and most important) aspects of our jobs as educators. Most of our schools are set up in a way that values a limited number of intelligences, so students who aren’t naturally successful in the traditional areas and core academic subjects often […]

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Teaching Is… (giveaway)

new and noteworthy books

I recently got an email from Marjan Glavic of The Busy Educator. He and his wife were visiting NYC from Ontario and wanted to know if I’d like to get together. I always love chatting with other educators, and I’ve followed Marjan’s work for many years, so this was a real honor! We met for […]

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Total Participation Techniques (book review)

new and noteworthy books

At last month’s ASCD conference, I had the pleasure of speaking with William and Persida Himmele, the husband and wife team who wrote the wonderful new book Total Participation Techniques: Making Every Student an Active Learner. I can’t say enough good things about how useful and practical this book is, and I’m excited to share it with you. […]

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Parenting (and schooling) wisdom from the French

hot topics

This week, a friend loaned me her copy of Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting. And like her, I managed to devour the entire thing in two days. It’s one of those books you just can’t put down, and I couldn’t wait to write a review of it. Bringing Up […]

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