Best Professional Books of 2011

WHAT SCHOOL LEADERS NEED TO KNOW ABOUT DIGITAL TECHNOLOGIES AND SOCIAL MEDIA

by Scott McLeod and Chris Lehman

(Jossey-Bass, 2011, 224 P., $27, ISBN: 9781118022245)
The fear factor out there about the dangers of technology and why students should not have access is dispelled in this collection of ideas directed at school administrators. Full of practical ideas not only for the administrator in the school, but for everyone who cares about harnessing the power of Web 2.0 and social media to boost teaching and learning. DL

STEM STUDENT RESEARCH HANDBOOK

by Darci J. Harland

(NSTA, 2011, 218 p., $23.95, ISBN: 9781936137244)
Intertwining the scientific method and 21st Century Skills gives teacher librarians and science teachers the opportunity to build great science, technology, engineering, and mathematics projects using the “notebook” concept in this excellent manual. DL

I SEE WHAT YOU MEAN : VISUAL LITERACY K-8 2ND ED.,

by Steve Moline

(Stenhouse, 2011, 265 p., $25, ISBN: 9781571108401)
We all grew up in an era where it was said that a picture is worth a thousand words. Now, more than ever, in an era of data and more data, visualization of data and information become one of the few ways kids and adults can get their minds around major concepts. Moline takes us through the process of reading, writing and then thinking visually. Teacher librarians are already familiar with mind mapping and program such as Inspiration and Inspire Data so we are beginning to appreciate the use of visualization. Moline pushes us even further, demonstrating how visualization can help all along the path of understanding and presentation of ideas in visual form. It is an essential skill. DL

THE ATLAS OF NEW LIBRARIANSHIP

by R. David Lankes

(MIT Press, 2011, 408 p., $55, ISBN: 9780262015097) Web version at: http://www.newlibrarianship.org/wordpress/ Start with the Web version of this book to reconceptualize the role of all librarians from storage and retrieval roles to knowledge creation. It is a powerful transformation that fits into the central idea of a Learning Commons and will challenge everything you have ever been taught about our field. DL

INSTRUCTIONAL TECHNOLOGY : PAST, PRESENT, AND FUTURE, 3RD ED.

edited by Gary J. Anglin
(Libraries Unlimited, 2011, 354 p., $55, ISBN: 9781563088063)
In order to grasp the essentials of instructional design and technology, teacher librrians need to reach out to a sister field to build the background knowledge to be able to operate in a Learning commons where information and technology merge to boost and become an essential element in school improvement. This is a challenging read but a dendrite expander that is top notch. DL

PERSONAL LEARNING NETWORKS : USING THE POWER OF CONNECTIONS TO TRANSFORM education

by Will Richardson

(Solution Tree Press, 2011, 150 p., $44.95, ISBN: 9781935543275)
A personal learning network is a method of linking kids and adults to major sources of information on the Internet. It is like choosing your closest friends that you want to listen to because they keep you up to day, you trust what they have to say, and it is your method of keeping current on what is going on. Richardson has created a very very important book here that every teacher librarian should read and implement both in their own lives and in the lives of their students. DL

FREE VOLUNTARY READING

by Stephen Krashen

(Libraries Unlimited, 2011, 91 p., $25, ISBN: 9781598848441)
In this must-read book, Krashen has assembled a collection of his recent journal articles about FVR from a variety of journals teacher librarians would not normally see crossing their desks. It’s purpose is to supplement and extend the second edition of The Power of Reading published few years ago. He covers myths, FVR for English learners or foreign language learners, and more. The tradition of teacher librarians to promote the love of reading in every format, genre, fiction, and even more nonfiction is still alive and well. DL

WHERE GOOD IDEAS COME FROM

by Steven Johnson

(Riverhead, 2011, 21 p., $26.95, ISBN: 978-1594485381)
A fascinating book about creativity and innovation. If you like Sir Ken Robinson on creativity, you will enjoy Johnson’s approach. through many stories tracing good ideas in history, you will build an unforgettible repertoire of ideas that encourage you to stimulate creative thought in the students you encounter. DL

UNDERSTANDING BY DESIGN GUIDE TO CREATING HIGH-QUALITY UNITS

by Grant P. Wiggins

(ASCD, 2011, ASCD, , 221 p., $26.95, ISBN: 978-1416611493)
The ideas of backward design created by Wiggins and McTighe are well known across education. In this book, they expand their ideas on lesson design as they cover each step in the creation of a learning experience. This is useful in professional development sessions where clarity and deep understanding of instructional design is needed beyond the basics. If teacher librarians add to these ideas the necessity of collaborative co-teching and adding a Big Think metacognitive reflection at the end of the learning experience, this book will fill in lots of gaps and questions that arise when pushing leanring experiences up the Bloom’s taxonomy. DL

TOO BIG TO KNOW: RETHINKING KNOWLEDGE NOW THAT THE FACTS AREN’T THE FACTS, EXPERTS ARE EVERYWHERE, AND THE SMARTEST PERSON IN THE ROOM IS THE ROOM

by David Weinberger

(Basic Books, 2011, 250 p.,$25.99, ISBN: 978-0465021420)
Thinking about the juggernaut of the Internet running over the top of all of us, Weinberger gives us a new perspective of what expertise looks like in a flat and networked world. His thinking helps us develop perspective in the Learning Commons and in the classroom where we expect each learner to develop and share their expertise as we adults guide, motivate and stimulate understanding, personal expertise and collaborative intelligence. It is not about the “expert’ standing at the head of the class; rather, it focuses on the power of the group of thinkers, builders, and collaborators. An essential read to understand the world in which we all live. DL

ABUNDANCE: THE FUTURE IS BETTER THAN YOU THINK

by Steven Kotler and Peter H. Diamandis

(Free Press, 2011, 400 p., $26.99, ISBN: 978-1451614213)
With billions of people coming on line, the authors pursue the positive idea that by networking, there is simply no problem that cannot be solved. Here is a refreshing positive look at the world of technology that connects almost everything and the potential for the power of collaborative problem solving. There are enough negatives floating around; try a positive view to argue for the collaborative use of technology in schools. DL

YOUNG ADULT LITERATURE: FROM ROMANCE TO REALISM

by Michael Cart

(ALA, 2010, 242 p., $58, ISBN: 0838910459)
This history and contemporary analysis of young adult literature is superb. Cart covers the early years in the first three chapters and then spends the rest of the book discussing the various genres of YA lit from the tame to the cutting edge. This is a book that teacher librarians who are working with YA Lit must read. No one can keep up totally with the outpouring of titles, but Cart does the best job we know about. An essential read. DL

MANGATOPIA: ESSAYS ON MANGA AND ANIME IN THE MODERN WORLD
By Timothy Perper & Martha Cornog, editors.
(Libraries Unlimited, 2011. 275p. $ 50.00, ISBN: 978-1-59158-098-2.)
This is a most interesting compilation of information about manga and anime – 2 very popular styles that are sweeping the country. Stating that this country is seeing an epic effect by these styles, the editors reinforce much of what they claim with interesting essays and statistics from a variety of well known experts in anime and manga. This is well indexed, well substantiated, and well approached. The various essays are thought provoking not only to professionals, but also to parents and students.Don’t miss this one! Highly recommended. BM

COPYRIGHT CATECHISM II: PRACTICAL ANSWERS TO EVERYDAY SCHOOL DILEMMAS.
by Carol Simpson
(Linworth, 2011. 162 p. $40.00. ISBN: 978-1-59884-848-9.)
Anything copyright by Carol Simpson deserves a good look and this publication is no exception. Having answered school library copyright questions for many years, She uses this publication to take the teacher librarian into 2011 legalities about copyright. Well indexed and with an effective table of contents, this publication is meant to augment her 5th edition of Copyright for Schools and covers much of what she said in her column from 2005 to 2011 about copyright questions. A ready reference full of great information. Highly recommended. B

THE NEW LEARNING COMMONS WHERE LEARNERS WIN! REINVENTING SCHOOL LIBRARIES AND COMPUTER LABS , 2ND EDITION
David V. Loertscher, Carol Koechlin and Sandi Zwaan
(Learning Commons Press, 2011. 248 p. $28.00. 978-1-933170-67-0.)
While the 2d edition contains much information from the first edition, it expanps upon it significantly, and it extends the concepts, particularly in the virtual area. While the teacher librarian in the initial comics can be seen as somewhat scary physically, the message certainly isn’t. Rather, it is as a helpful, collaborative plan that helps the teacher librarian facilitate the continuing journey of learning. The ideas in this book are important – they are visionary and go way beyond the idea of the classic school library program. Loertscher and company try to move the school library from being an isolated entity to a much more collaborative and exciting learning place. The book provides many helpful resources on the full range of pertinent topics, from concept and theory to concrete examples of how a learning commons begins to work. Ever the beta situation (and acknowledged as such), the learning commons approach is an excellent way to help teachers teach and t0 help learners learn. You cannot implement a full learning commons quickly or all at once but this book will get you started on the right path. Useful index and glossary. Not to be missed! Highly recommended. BM

THE BEST TEEN WRITING OF 2011

by the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers

(CreateSpace, 2011, 320 p., $12.55, ISBN: 1466209941)

Each year student writings are selected for publication in this work. In 2011 there were over 185,000 artworks and manuscripts submitted. Of those this book came to be. A well-juried series of writings, this book offers different categories that will encourage teens to consider certain types of writing. These are strong students dedicated to the craft of writing, and this type of publication speaks loudly for student work. Now if only it were on the web. Highly recommended. BM

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