Book Review – Results Now by Mike Schmoker

Author Mike Schmoker followed up his two other “Results” books with the best and most motivating yet.

This book pleads with educators and administrators to assist in the immediate transformation of American schools. He describes in detail the “buffers” that American schools have created which have led to the illusion that a high percentage of American schools are actually effective (which he points out in detail, actually are not). This “buffer” that Schmoker describes has led to teacher isolation, lack of quality instruction, and to the reality that administrators are virtually devoid of influence when trying to effect the quality of instruction. This is a sample of some of the startling statistics Schmoker presents, (page 18):

o “Classrooms in which there was evidence of a clear learning objective: 4 percent”

o “Classrooms in which there was evidence of higher-order thinking: 3 percent”

o “Classrooms in which non-instructional activities were occurring” 35 percent”

(Note: to get specifics on this research-based study, visit his book)

One of the most motivating features of this book is that the author reminds educators of how much they already know about effective teaching practices, especially as a collaborative group. Often educators are fixated on new programs, more materials, more workshops and the need for more money. This quote is an example of this idea, “We have relied far too much, with miserable results, on a failed model for improving instructional practice: training, in the form of workshops or staff development.”

Chapter 8 of this book entitled, “Professional Learning Communities” is a pro-active approach to reforming schools and demonstrates Schmoker’s true value of educators.

As for administrators, don’t feel left out because Schmoker is fully aware of your limitations, boundaries and lack of support. Again keeping pro-activity in mind, Schmoker suggests several solutions which will change educational leadership and its effect on instructional quality.

This is one of the very few books that doesn’t try to state the issues with a politically correct point of view. His writing style is blunt yet lacks negativity. In fact, this book has the effect of challenging educators to make some simple and high effective changes TOMORROW, that can produce immediate results.

This ending quote from Results Now demonstrates why I give this book 5 stars (on a 5 point scale) for educators and educational leaders and as guessed, is suggested as a MUST READ.

(From Page163’s CONCLUSION, “WHY NOT US WHY NOT NOW”): “With so much at stake, is there any decent reason to postpone what could be education’s greatest moment?”

Note from me : This book is startling when you first read it mainly because of the statistics he shares and what was found inside our American classrooms, but these startling revelations are what truly should provoke all educators, leaders, and parents too, to make serious changes in the American school system.

Textbook Book Review – An Introduction to Business

Are you considering a career in business? Perhaps now is the time to get yourself ready, as the economy starts to recover and jobs start to come back to America. Are you considering getting an MBA, or a degree in business? Do you see yourself in the future as being a business manager of a business unit, or retail store? If so, perhaps you should learn more about how businesses operate, make their money, and manage their employees.

Of course it’s not all that simple, s there is a lot more to it than that. Nevertheless, it makes sense to get an early start, and perhaps consider some business courses as well. If you don’t have time to go to school right now there’s a very good book that I would like to recommend to you. It is a textbook, and it is available online. It is a book that I do own in my personal library for reference, even though I am a retired franchisor, and perhaps I could’ve written the book myself.

The reason I keep this book is because I believe it’s interesting to get the academic perspective on the topic, and to learn what our business schools, and community colleges are teaching future students who will attain business degrees, and then move into the workforce. The name of the book is;

“Intro to Business” Fourth Edition) by Steven A. Eggland, Les R. Dlabay, James L. Burrow, Robert A. Ristau, South Western Educational Textbook Publishers, Cincinnati, OH, (2000), 677 pages, ISBN: 0538-69146-8.

This book is broken into chapters or sections, which are referred to as units. Each unit and subsequent chapters goes into a different aspect of business, things that you need to know. For instance unit one talks about the economic environment, which is extremely important right now, as we exit the downturn in the business cycle to an inflationary period. Learn about business cycles, creating statistical modeling, and making proper economic decisions. Then there is a section or unit on business operations, and one on business and government regulations.

There are also units on international business, as well as small business management. Also you can learn about business credit and financing, as well as strategic investment strategies and risk management and return on investment. This is a very well-rounded book, easy-to-read, nicely formatted, and pre-highlighted to make your learning much easier. If you are looking for a starter book on the introduction to business – this is definitely a book that I would like to recommend to you, and like I said you can find it online.

ESL Book Review- Zero Prep- Ready-to-Go Activities for the Language Classroom

Okay, it’s a cliché to say a book changed your life, but this book changed mine. It cut my prep time down to minutes. Using the activities in this book, I learned how to teach for two hours using only half a page of notes.

The authors don’t tell language teachers not to plan. They tell them not to over-prepare: making up dictations and comprehension questions, previewing vocabulary in readings. Over-preparation can make teachers too controlling, too busy, and just too tired to function well in class.

Read this book and you won’t fall into that trap again. Instead, learn to turn your announcements into a listening activity. Get a class of reluctant beginners talking with Tell It Like It Isn’t. Use any set of directions to create an Acting-Out Dictacomp — an activity that combines TPR with writing and also promotes cooperation. Do the unimaginable and make sentence structure a source of entertainment with Sentence Contraction and Expansion. I’ve done all this, and so can you.

The book is divided into chapters on icebreakers, listening, speaking, reading, writing, vocabulary, and structure (grammar). Each chapter gives directions for six to 22 low-prep activities. Indexes group the activities by routines (brainstorm, chain, cloze, etc.) and uses (class cohesion, preview, review, settling down). Although most activities are for intermediate to advanced students, there are about 30 suitable for beginners, and many others can be adapted for them. (The authors have also published a book for beginning classes.)

So quit staying up late the night before class to make up worksheets and circle vocabulary words. As the back cover copy says, “When teachers teach less, students learn more!”

Zero Prep: Ready-to-Go Activities for the Language Classroom, by Laurel Pollard and Natalie Hess, Alta Book Center Publishers, 1997. ISBN: 1-882483-64-2