Sunday, August 1, 2010

Books I Read in July

Integrating Technology and Digital Media in the Classroom (Shelly Cashman Series) - Integrating Technology and Digital Media in the Classroom is a huge book that contains an abundance of information. I did not read every word, but I did skim over every page in this 578 pager. Much of the information is very easy to understand so that is why I glanced over portions of the book. A lot of people who are scared of technology will not be scared of the information found in this sixth edition. There are a ton of colorful pictures and helpful lists found throughout the book.

There are only eight chapters in this volume, and each chapter ends with a list of key terms and a checkpoint. The key terms are in alphabetical order with each term having the page number where it is found next to it. This is extremely helpful when looking up the definitions of the words. The checkpoints have exercises to check your knowledge level of the chapter. The checkpoints are very simple and comprise of three sections. The first section is labeling, the second section is matching and the third section is short answer. There are also special features at the end of each chapter. Some of the topics in the special features include learning theories and educational research, the changing face of education and a buyer's guide to purchasing computers and mobile devices.

Furthermore, the book contains three appendices - A guide to professional educational organizations, a guide to state and federal government educational websites and references. This is not exciting reading, but it is a reference that is quite extensive. If you are interested in educational technology, I recommend this book.

Guiding Faculty to Excellence: Instructional Supervision in the Christian School by Gordon Brown - Last month I took a supervision course taught by Dr. Brown at Columbia International University. His excellent book, Guiding Faculty to Excellence, is 215 pages and is organized into three sections. The first section provides a framework for supervision. The second section focuses on supervision for teacher growth, and the last section covers supervision techniques. The third and final section covers half of the book. Each of the 18 chapters begin with a Bible verse and end with a prayer. Verses are scattered throughout the book. 16 classroom observation forms in PDF format are provided on a CD-ROM that will allow you differentiate your supervision. Most of these forms I have never seen before, and they are great tools to collect data to improve instruction and enhance student learning. I will be entering my first year as a principal, and I am so thankful that I read this book prior to the school year. Dr. Brown and his book have provided me a foundation to build from and an easy-to-understand approach to instructional supervision that I hope will help the teachers and students at the school I work at. 

Instructional Supervision: Applying Tools and Concepts by Sally J. Zepeda - I also read this book for the supervision class I took at CIU. This 366 page book is divided into 15 chapters covering formal and informal instructional supervision, motivation, peer coaching, mentoring, professional development and more. I found the early chapters instrumental in helping me understand how the clinical supervision cycle works. One of the last chapters is focused on confronting marginal teaching, and this is a topic I needed to read about for there is a great chance I will be applying the information at a school one day. Several of my classmates have been principals for a few years, and they too learned a great deal from the book. My only knock against the book is the motivation theories were clearly unbiblical, and there was a crummy reflective tool called Zen that was introduced.