Books & Reviews

Not only did I enjoy reading the following books, I felt that they gave me some insight into some aspect of teaching and understanding my students.

NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity

This very recent release describes the history of autism and how its diagnosis and treatment has changed over time. Perhaps most surprisingly, the book will redefine the way we think of "high functioning" and "low functioning" designations, the Asperger's label, and the notions of neurotypical development. 

Journal of Best Practices, David Finch

This book was touching, but also laugh-out-loud funny at parts. Finch provides an intimate portrait not only of what it is like to have Asperger's syndrome, but also what kinds of methods allowed him to become more attentive to his wife and his family.

The Ball: Discovering the Object of the Game, John Fox

To anyone who knows me well, this may seem like a strange choice. From the first days of kindergarten, I developed an aversion to gym class and competitive play that has largely continued into adulthood. At the risk of angering my PE teacher friends, the way that my elementary teachers did "gym" was an incredible disservice to the less athletically inclined among us. 

John Fox's The Ball not only gives a narrative history of ball-based games that reads like a collection of vignettes, but he also describes some of the neuroscience, discussed in further detail in my previous post here, that supports active play for children and adults. But don't go signing up kids for every organized sport there is just yet, there is also compelling evidence that free play with independent rule-making and conflict resolution may be as good or better than organized teams. 

Intellectual Devotional of American History, David L. Kidder and Noah D. Oppenheim

As a content area teacher, you are supposed to know a lot about a few specific areas and topics. When you answer questions from inquisitive kids all day, however, it really helps to know a little about a lot of things. With the Intellectual Devotional series, each individual page has a brief summary of an important historical figure, event, or object and in this particular volume, all of the pages are related to American History. Certainly these books are not sufficient for really understanding a topic, but they are great as a quick read that can give you a quick awareness of a particular idea, or pique your interest in something new. I have read several of these, including the American History and Popular Culture editions, and you just never know when these topics will pop up and be helpful!


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