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Conversations with America's Best Teachers: Teacher of the Year Award Winners Give Practical Advice For the Classroom and Beyond [Paperback]

J. William Towne , Rita J. Prescott
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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Book Description

July 1, 2009 0982324405 978-0982324400 1st
The only book of its kind, providing in-depth interviews with 18 National Teacher of the Year Award winners and finalists, as they offer practical advice to all K-12 teachers on everything from classroom management to parental involvement. With a Foreword by Kathleen McCartney, dean of the Harvard Graduate School of Education, this book will make any teacher a better teacher, from first-year novice through seasoned veteran. You've read the theory-based books, now find out how great teachers actually implement it... right out of their own mouths.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

The experts agree:

"Every teacher should read this book!"
--Richard Riley, Former U.S. Secretary of Education

"Inspirational! A must read for every teacher and parent."
--Joe Aguerrebere, President, National Board of Professional Teaching Standards

"This is a book you need to read if you want to be- not just a better teacher- but one of the best teachers!"
--Harry Wong, Author, The First Days of School

"These pages will inspire awe, appreciation, and sometimes shock at what is required to excel in the world's most important profession. I hope that every teacher -- and every school administrator -- reads this book!"
--Eric Adler, President & Co-Founder, The SEED Foundation

"This book renews our faith in the world's most important profession."
--Dr. Spencer Kagan, Author, Kagan Cooperative Learning

"You can open Towne's book on any page and find wisdom."
--Jay Mathews, The Washington Post

"Right out of the mouths of a remarkable collection of teachers. A pleasure to read!"
--Deborah Meier, NYU Steinhardt School of Education

"Tremendously powerful."
--Virginia B. Edwards, Editor, Education Week

"Everyone with an interest in education- and that should include everyone- should read this book and will be glad they did."
--Milton Chen, Executive Director, George Lucas Educational Foundation

"These valuable insights of successful teachers will not only benefit other teachers, but anyone who wants to know the real joys and challenges of the most important work in this country."
--Michelle Rhee, Chancellor, D.C. Public Schools

"Towne has done a great public service to all those who care about educating our children."
--Randi Weingarten, President, American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO

"A must read for all teachers, new and experienced!"
--Patrick F. Bassett, President, National Association of Independent Schools

"I hope this book becomes a primer for teachers in training."
--Kathleen A. Carpenter, Editor, TeachersNet Gazette

"A much needed addition to the education reform literature."
--Robert Hughes, President, New Visions for Public Schools

"An invaluable contribution to the debate over how to provide a quality education to all students. It couldn't come at a more propitious time."
--Walt Gardner, Education Writer

"Worthwhile reading for educators, policymakers, and anyone interested in transforming today's public education system."
--Dennis Van Roekel, President, National Education Association

"Fun and interesting. You'll learn something from each of these teachers whether you're a peer or a wonk."
--Andrew J. Rotherham, Co-Founder & Publisher, Education Sector and Eduwonk

"This book will be of tremendous help to educators everywhere."
--Jonathan Kozol, Education Author

About the Author

J. William Towne grew up poor in Florida and ended up dropping out of high school by eleventh grade. After years of struggle he eventually graduated Magna cum Laude from the University of Southern California and was immediately accepted into the legendary training program at the William Morris Agency (WMA). While still a trainee, Towne founded his own publishing company, Inkster Publishing, and began publishing nonfiction books under the guidance of several mentors at WMA.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Inkster Publishing; 1st edition (July 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0982324405
  • ISBN-13: 978-0982324400
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 8.4 x 5.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,119,402 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must-read book for all teachers July 8, 2009
I am currently working on gaining a multiple-subject credential and I am planning on starting my second student-teaching assignment in September. My first assignment went well, but as a new teacher I obviously had moments when I struggled.

This is basically a how-to book that reads like fiction. The teachers interviewed are simply amazing! Every grade level was covered, nearly every subject, and even tough issues like dealing with English Language Learners and mainstreaming.

In one chapter, a teacher makes use of simulations that not only work to maintain proper differentiation in the classroom, but they also build self-confidence among the students and make the lessons fun. Another teacher has virtually eliminated all discipline problems by letting her students come up with the class rules and then continuously enforcing those rules themselves.

Amazingly, these teachers are able to do all of these wonderful things under the same NCLB restrictions and lack of adequate school funding, that I have to work under. I often wondered how I was supposed to make learning fun while still balancing the need to "teach the test." Well, this book showed me exactly how that can be done.

Another great thing is the book's free companion website where the teachers in the book will answer questions and give advice. I posted a question about a pesky problem I was having (tattle-tailing) and got wonderful suggestions from actual teachers in the book!

I cannot recommend this book enough. I believe it provides the wisdom to drastically improve a classroom no matter what group of children you are blessed to have. I can't wait to apply all of the things I've learned come September.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An invaluable teaching resource July 3, 2009
I've been teaching for many years now at a Title 1 school and it's still not easy. I've read a lot of books on teaching methods and classroom management and this is definitely one of the best.

I love the fact that this book interviews many of the country's best teachers, as opposed to reading a book from just one perspective. This allows me to pick and choose methods from each teacher and incorporate them into my own teaching style. I learned things from nearly every teacher in the book and I can't wait to start implementing some of them in my classroom. For instance there is a wonderful trick for the use of extra credit and several creative methods for increasing parental involvement-- something I often struggle with.

This book doesn't separate subject matter into chapters like many teaching books, but instead takes a unique interview-based approach. It works because it allows me to see how a specific teacher combines various methods into one highly successful system. The fact that each subject doesn't have its own chapter isn't that big of a deal considering there is an extensive index. I can easily find tactics and methods for classroom management, parental involvement, differentiation, or whatever, in a matter of seconds.

Overall, this as an invaluable tool that offers various methods of handling difficult situations. It's almost like having 18 master teacher mentors beside you all the time. I highly recommend that all teachers read it and steal a little bit from each chapter. It will be well worth the effort.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Like any profession, education has its share of shining stars and there are some educators who stand as great examples in their chosen career field. Conversations with America's Best Teachers offers the spotlight to eighteen of these exceptional individuals and let's them explain, in their own words, what drives them to excel and the often unconventional methods they employ to reach new educational heights. It could be placing a learning lesson to music, soliciting a class for input on classroom direction, showing up at class dressed the part of a character in a story, and more. These, and other methods like them, are often the key reason why some teachers excel while others fail.

Each of the eighteen educators in Conversations with America's Best Teachers is a Teacher of the Year Award winner and each has his/her own methodology for producing smarter, better educated students. While each teacher approaches the challenge of education in a unique way, there are certain themes that show up repeatedly from one teacher to the next. Some of these general trends include soliciting students for input into class structure and management; taking a hands- on, interactive approach to learning; incorporating technology to enhance the educational experience; etc. Among these common themes, the one that seems to occur with the greatest frequency is going against traditional norms. It is precisely these acts of innovation in education that make these educators stand out in the pack. Much like in business, an outstanding teacher knows that you have to break the rules from time to time, even if only a little bit, in order to implement a new approach toward education.

Conversations with America's Best Teachers is an interview- style book with author J.
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