Annotated Bibliography

Coelho, E. (?). Adding EnglishToronto: ??.
The textbook for my AQ in English as a Second Language. Covers more than just language acquisition – also immigration issues and cultural adjustment.

Weber, K & Bennett, S. (2004). Special Education in Ontario Schools. Toronto: Highland Press.
The textbook for my AQ in Special Education. An excellent overview of two aspects of special education; the main classifications of exceptionalities, and how the system in Ontario runs. Good solid information for any Ontario educator.

Shapiro, S., & Skinulus, K. (2000). Classrooms that Work: A Teacher’s Guide to Discipline without Stress. Toronto: Practical Parenting Inc.
A friend loaned me a box of teaching-related books. This slim volume impressed me immediately. It confirms that a lot of things I thought I had to do as a teacher, that didn’t sit right with me, are not correct – for example, for upper-level students, that external rewards like stickers can actually decrease their motivation. Similarly they discourage the use of punishments, stressing natural consequences wherever possible.

One very useful chapter for me was “Understanding Misbehavior”, where they discuss the four unstated (and often unrecognized) goals that students have that cause them to misbehave. Undue attention seeking, power, revenge, and assumed inadequacy were striking in how easy it was to recognize those students in the classes I observed last year. The second most useful chapter was the one on Sociometry, a concept that’s new to me, that tracks the social structure of the class and how students relate to each other. The most practical aspect of it was a quiz that can be given to the students, then used to organize seating groups to maximize the work that gets accomplished.

The concept of the classroom meeting is one I doubt I’ll be confident enough to implement right away, but it’s an intriguing idea, to actually let the classroom run as a modified democracy where problems are discussed and solutions proposed by the students. This takes place within a minimal structure of rules set down by the teacher, so that everything is not up for discussion – the curriculum or class hours, of course, can’t be changed by the students.

Kelly, M. (2004). The Everything New Teacher Book: Increase Your Confidence, Connect with Your Students, and Deal with the Unexpected (Everything Series). Adams Media Corporation.
A quick and easy read, not too in-depth yet not as trivial as some of the books I’ve read. It’s certainly not a complete picture of everything you need to do, but it had some good tips and hints. Some areas were disappointingly lacking in content.

Wright, R. (2004). A Short History of Progress. Toronto: House of Anansi Press.
A very worthwhile read. It’s quick – I read it in a day of subway riding. It’s a sobering look at the state of civilization and trying to extrapolate where our world is going based on older civilizations that have fallen or not.

Mackenzie, R. (2003) Setting Limits in the Classroom: how to move beyond the dance of discipline in today’s classrooms. Roseville, Calif.: Prima Publishing.
This book, although it has some good ideas, reads far too much like a self-help book. I gather it’s his second “setting limits” book, and the first one was about parenting. There were some good ideas and some good information and suggestions, but not a whole book’s worth. Although it’s supposedly for all levels, I found a lot of the suggestions were more suitable for elementary than secondary. There is reference to a proper research study, but only one, and that was done in the 70’s! Definitely worth getting out of the library and re-reading after a while, but not useful enough to buy a copy for myself.

Levitt, S. & Dubner, S. (2006) Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything. New York: William Morrow.
As a math teacher, I’m fascinated by the approach to data, and as a critical thinker, by the approach to using it. Neat chapter on detecting cheating on standardized tests, and also on how children’s success is based on what their parents are, not what they do. Good to have on my classroom shelf for students to read.

Danforth, S. & Smith, T.J. (2004). Engaging Troubling Students: A Constructivist Approach. Sage Publications.
I borrowed this from the school site library. I’ve been bothered by the books I’ve been reading on classroom management, since they mostly seem to take a behaviourist approach (external rewards and punishments to coerce students into the ‘correct’ behaviour). This book takes a constructivist approach, as the title says, and concentrates on understanding the societal pressures that lead troubling students to act the way they do. Short on practical suggestions but lots of interesting stuff to think about.



  1. Angelica said,

    March 24, 2011 at 1:56 am

    Hi there! I hope you are well. I just had a read of the annotated bibliographies on education books and found it very useful. I was wondering do you have an annotated bibliography for education articles focussing on Classroom Management? Any help would be greatly appreciated! Have a great day!


    • March 24, 2011 at 2:14 pm

      Hi Angelica;

      I don’t have a list of articles, but for books I would definitely recommend the Shapiro/Skinulus “Classrooms that Work”, as well as Carol Cummings’ “Managing to Teach” and Lee and Marlene Canter’s “Assertive Discipline”. I’ve read all three of these in 2011 and have used various technique from each.

      Good luck!


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