Review: Less Is More and Schoolyard-Enhanced Learning

July 24th, 2008

Members of the Teacher Leaders Network, a project of the Center for Teaching Quality, have posted two new reviews praising Stenhouse books about using short texts in the classroom and the craft of editing. Cindi Rigsbee, a middle school reading specialist in North Carolina, calls Less Is More a “smorgasboard of ideas” and “a practical guide to teaching literature with short texts.” Reviewing Everyday Editing, Mary Tedrow, a high school teacher and co-director of the Northern Virginia Writing Project, writes that Jeff Anderson “seems to be just the person to impart pleasure to a task most often seen as drudgery.”

Describing Kimberly Hill Cambell’s book as a “tremendous resource,” Rigsbee comments: “Less Is More offers an innovative change for those teachers who still vehemently believe that real literature can only be taught through the study of novels. After two introductory chapters on the art of teaching with short texts, Campbell divides the remaining chapters by literary genre — short stories, essays, memoir, poetry, children’s literature and picture books, and graphic novels — and offers varied instructional strategies that correlate with each genre.”

Read the full review on the Teacher Leaders Network website

Tedrow praises the way Anderson integrates grammar instruction with mentor text: “The genius of Anderson’s book is in demonstrating how to restructure lessons into student-centered inquiries. Anderson weds William Purkey and Paula Stanley’s invitational teaching concepts to strong writing models and adds many opportunities for experimentation. In every lesson Anderson begins with mentor models of sentence structures taken from books the students are reading and invites his students to tell each other what they notice. Through discussion and repeated modeling, the students identify the sentence patterns that exemplify the grammar lesson being taught. These patterns become opportunities for students to adapt what they observe, using their own words and ideas.”

Read the full review on the Teacher Leaders Network website

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