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A Non-Workbook, Non-Textbook Approach to Teaching Language Arts: Grades 4 Through 8 and Up Paperback – October 15, 2005

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 232 pages
  • Publisher: Fenestra Books (October 15, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1587365219
  • ISBN-13: 978-1587365218
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.9 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,091,130 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

James Charnock, M.ED, is a veteran of thirty years of teaching at the elementary and junior high levels. In addition to creating educationally oriented market products, for several years he was a feature writer/children’s book reviewer for a national reading journal (The Reading Teacher) and has served on the editorial board of a national English journal (Language Arts).

Former top students have honored him—not once or twice, but four times (less than two percent of teachers are so honored twice) by placing him in Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers—"The best teachers in America chosen by the best students." He was "the teacher who made a difference." He has also been listed in Who’s Who in the East.

Mr. Charnock has written one other book, Mt. Horeb: The Little White Schoolhouse on Little Deer Creek, about the history and memories of one of Maryland’s last one-room schoolhouses, where he started his education.

The author lives in a suburb of Philadelphia, where he continues as a freelance writer, often serving as a seminar speaker on the teaching of writing. He also volunteers his time to the local chapter of Habitat for Humanity and teaches an adult course in paper art.

More About the Author

Grew up on a farm, then got a couple college degrees and other accreditations.

Was a big-city middle/junior high teacher of several subjects, Habitat for Humanity (and more) volunteer, handyman/remodeler, hiker, trail biker, tennis player, author, speaker.

OLDER-ADULT LIFE (presently age 73):
Retired, author of two books (and other materials/games), involved in tennis, Habitat for Humanity and other volunteering (public school library and as a park docent), inadequate dancer, trail bikerider, use the gym several times weekly, seek intellectual and social pursuits. I'm hoping to have an elementary-middle school geography (states) game on the market by early 2014.

If you don't want to buy the whole of my latest book, THE CREATIVE TEACHER: ACTIVITIES FOR LANGUAGE ARTS (GRADES 4 THROUGH 8 AND UP), maybe you are interested in just a chapter. Go to TeachersPayTeacher.com and type "James Charnock" into the Search window. Several chapters will come up in article form with a nice cover and a free preview and description. To download you will be required to "login," but it's free--and it's not just for teachers. The price of articles range from $2.00 to $12.00, and a couple are free--just to get a taste of my writing. Some are on subjects not in my book. Enjoy.

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Margaret B. Fleming on April 18, 2006
Format: Paperback
"I wish I were still teaching, so I could try out some of these ideas."

That was my reaction when I first opened my copy of A Non-Workbook, Non-Textbook Approach to Teaching Language Arts. Reading through example after example of how learning can be fun, I could feel the energy of the author on every page. I envied his students who must have come to school every day wondering what the incredible Mr. Charnock had cooked up for them this time.

Although we've never met, my acquaintance with this incredible teacher and writer goes back a long time. When I was editor of the Arizona English Bulletin (1979-86), each of its three issues per year had a theme announced in advance, and rare was the occasion when I didn't receive a submission from James Charnock. I was impressed then, and am still impressed now, with his seemingly inexhaustible imagination. He could always come up with an exciting learning activity to fit the theme of the season. Some of them may have been ideas he'd already used; others perhaps were created for the occasion. In every case, though, his students benefited, along with the students of all the teachers who read the Bulletin and used the activities with their classes.

Why shouldn't students play a game like LINE UP to learn capitalization and punctuation instead of doing dreary workbook exercises? Why shouldn't they write letters based on bizarre fictional situations instead of a standard bread-and-butter letter? Why shouldn't they imagine that they are a character in a book and write to another character instead of copying their "book report" from the jacket blurb? Why shouldn't they write advertisements along with essays? Actually this type of writing may be of more use to them in later life than the 5-paragraph theme.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By K. L. Ariano on April 2, 2006
Format: Paperback
If you are like I am, always looking for new activities to 'beef up' my teaching, you need to take a look at Charnock's book. This book is a real plus for beginning teachers and a treat for those of us with experience. The exercises, meaningful and relying heavily on students' own experiences (always a plus), are designed to get kids interested and actively writing. Furthermore, all the ideas can be easily adapted whether used partially or totally.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By John P. Zappacosta on August 31, 2009
Format: Paperback
What's so impressive about the ideas James Charnock presents in this book is that they're creative, attention grabbing and based on his 30 years of teaching experience. Intelligently organized with each chapter focusing on a particular language arts skill, Charnock's book describes in clear, direct language stimulating games and approaches that students will enjoy doing. For example, he has great tips that teachers can use to help students get organized and started (always so daunting for kids) in their writing. Also, he has a variety of clever suggestions that students can follow to develop their content. He even has a fun way to teach punctuation. In fact, everything Charnock suggests is designed to be creative and effective: creative, because students will be learning in new and fun ways and effective because the suggestions are practical and focused on specific learning objectives. In short, this is an impressive work that can help all teachers, whatever their experience levels, meet the huge challenge of making students active--and willing--learners in the classroom.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By P. L. Finch on October 16, 2009
Format: Paperback
Would you like to know what should be causing a "brouhaha" in the world of language arts? It is James Charnock's book, A Non-Workbook, Non-Textbook Approach to Teaching Language Arts--a must-have for all 4th through 8th grade teachers of language arts.

Mr. Charnock's light-hearted, serious, and information packed, book begins with a wittily written table of contents that inspires the reader to start the liberating journey into the world of non-textbook teaching--no, you (usually) don't need that crutch of a textbook, especially in language arts.

At your fingertips you'll find a wealth of sample lessons giving you explicit ideas for the teaching of writing interviews, letters, narratives, book reports and several other mandatory writing styles, including how to research just like the professionals. Non-traditional assessment rubrics for both the teacher and student are included. As part of his innovative approach to teaching language arts, the author includes lessons on storytaking: An approach that couples upper and lower grade students for a mutually fulfilling writing experience. (Yes, you may have heard of this, but you have to read of his unique approach.)

For those middle school students still struggling with decoding skills, Charnock's fun and practical list of phonics rules will certainly be helpful. Beyond that, all students (and adults) who enjoy vocabulary building--even if they once thought they didn't enjoy it--will certainly be "flabbergasted" by his collection of interesting words to play with.

We know from research and our gut that learning is always more interesting when you're enjoying a game.
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