Thursday, July 24, 2008
COMING SOON: A NEW BOOK FOR TEACHERS BY DEBBIE MILLER!
Well, I totally lucked out. I received an advanced copy of Debbie Miller’s upcoming professional book TEACHING WITH INTENTION: DEFINING BELIEFS, ALIGNING PRACTICE TAKING ACTION. (I know that you are all very jealous and I do feel a bit guilty that I have had a chance to read this book before it is released. So, I thought I’d at least share some highlights with you and let you know that this is another amazing read from Debbie Miller.)
You can also get a Sneak Peek at the book at the Stenhouse site. Looks like the sneak peek includes an excerpt as well as some of the gorgeous color insert.
Debbie Miler’s book READING WITH MEANING changed classrooms everywhere. Debbie invited us into her classroom to see her own work and her children’s thinking. In this new book, Debbie does the same. Since she retired as a classroom teacher five years ago, she has been working in classrooms across the country. In this new book, she again invites us to be part of her teaching—to see the thinking behind all that she does and to hear the brilliant thinking of the students she works with.
Debbie starts the book off, with a conversation about defining our beliefs as teachers. She says, “I’m convinced that success in the classroom depends less on which beliefs we hold and more on simply having a set of beliefs that guides us in our day to day work with children. Once we know who we are and what we’re about in the classroom, we become intentional in our teaching; we do what we do on purpose, with good reason.”
The book follows this line of thinking. Instead of believing in test scores to tell us all we know and following scripted lessons and pacing guides to meet the needs of our students, Debbie helps us thinking about think through the ways that our practices line up with the beliefs we hold about teaching and learning.
The first chapter in the book is called “Picture Perfect: How Does Your Ideal Classroom Look, Sound, and Feel”. In this chapter, she shares with us that by having a vision of what we want for our kids in March, April, and May, helps us set up a classroom that allows that to happen. She knows the right environment is critical to student learning.
Debbie continues on, sharing with readers her thinking on aligning practice, teaching for engagement, designing lessons based on your beliefs, assessment and the best use of time.
The honesty with which Debbie Miller writes and her willingness to share her own challenges in creating beliefs and aligning those to practice are helpful. She is honest about things she let go of in her teaching when she realized they didn’t match her beliefs. It is a glimpse into Debbie’s brilliant teaching and the steps she has taken to get there. She shares her own beliefs as well as honest reflections of her own growth as a teacher---times when her practice did not always align with her beliefs. She shares stories from her own teaching and stories from teachers she has worked with.
With all that she packs in, you would think that this would be a 500-page book. But the book is a short, thoughtful and reflective look at teaching and learning. This would be the PERFECT book for staff book talks, helping us as teams and schools define what it is we believe and beginning to align those beliefs to our practices.
This book is due out in late August. I would schedule time on your calendar now so that you have time to read it right away. It is thoughtful and very hopeful. It is an energizing read—reminding us why it is that we became teachers in the first place. As always, Debbie writes in a way that celebrates the joy of teaching. Just as she creates classrooms for children.
Debbie believes in classrooms in which a “can-do” spirit permeates the room. “Children seem to breathe in, ‘I/We can do this,’’ and breathe out, ‘Here’s how.’ These children sense that they have the capacity to roll up their sleeves, take action, and get things done.” In her newest book, Debbie Miller again does the same for teachers. She gives us the words we need to roll up our own sleeves with a can-do attitude.