You've Got to Reach Them to Teach Them: Hard Facts About the Soft Skills of Student Engagement

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9781935542056: You've Got to Reach Them to Teach Them: Hard Facts About the Soft Skills of Student Engagement

Engagement is a hot topic these days among educators at all levels and in all disciplines. Standards, curricula, and assessment tools have been built and rebuilt to provide excellence and achievement, but now we re faced with the one variable that can turn all this effort into ash: the students. You ve Got to Reach Them to Teach Them shows the reader how to engage students and bring out their best, and how to create an environment in which students feel confident and safe enough to take risks, make mistakes, and immerse themselves in stimulating learning experiences. Above all, this book demands that an authentic joy for learning be returned to the classroom. You ve Got to Reach Them to Teach Them examines topics such as relationships, emotions, environment, and expectations, all of which have a major impact on student engagement. Each chapter is divided into three segments. Notes From the Field illustrates the chapter s topic in a real-life frame through mediums such as journal entries, vignettes, and student comments. The Discussion provides a closer look at the topic, including research and the topic s importance and relevance in the classroom. Steps Toward Solutions offers practical strategies for implementing the discussed ideas in the classroom. The author provides space for the reader to reflect on his or her thoughts at both the beginning and end of each chapter, and encourages the reader to set a goal of one new strategy as a result of the information given in the chapter.

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About the Author:

Mary Kim Schreck is a consultant, coach, and author. She serves as an education consultant for districts across America as well as for the National Writing Project and the National Education Association. Mary Kim also works as a cadre member for Dr. Bonnie Davis Educating for Change. She has published a professional development book, Transformers: Creative Teachers for the 21st Century (2009), and four books of poetry. She has served as editor of Missouri Teachers Write and written articles for national and state education journals. During her thirty-six years as a classroom teacher, Mary Kim taught in a variety of settings. She taught at an all-girls private academy, a small 270-student rural school that served grades 6 through 12, and a public school of over 4,000 students in three grades on a split-shift schedule. She also spent years tutoring for the St. Louis (Missouri) Special School District. She later taught classes at Brown s Business College and served as a literacy coach at Vashon High School, an inner-city school in St. Louis. Most of her teaching career was spent in the Francis Howell School District in St. Charles County, Missouri, a rural school district that was forced to transform into a suburban district within a few years. Mary Kim has taught hundreds of teachers through various workshops, presentations, and consulting opportunities. She has been an instructor for the Literacy Academies, a partnership program between the Missouri National Writing Project and the Missouri state department of education, and for the Beginning Teachers Assistance Program offered through the Missouri National Education Association. Mary Kim lives with her husband, Bernard, at the Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri.

Review:

As a teacher-coach and leader in some of our nation s most underserved schools, I ve found it increasingly challenging over the past few years for teachers to reconcile what we re rightly held accountable by student academic data and our own intuitive drive to make school engaging, relevant, and fun. Most teachers didn t get into the profession to be data managers they want to be catalysts for students to become life-long learners, civically engaged citizens, and productive human beings. You ve Got to Reach Them to Teach Them bridges this divide with practical strategies for connecting, motivating, and challenging students and teachers. Each chapter illuminates another layer of the alchemy going on in great classrooms, distills practical and easily implementable strategies, and provides the teacher with an arsenal of educational fireworks sure to increase engagement and make learning sticky. Our kids need to be prepared, and we need to measure it, but You ve Got to Reach Them to Teach Them pushes us to not lose the all-important human factor in our work. I ve already provided coaching to teachers with strategies from the book, and we ve seen a seismic tone shift in their classrooms. Teachers gush that they feel so happy and that their students are doing better on exit tickets than ever before. This excitement is contagious from student to student, teacher to teacher, and the feeling is palpable in our building. I can t wait to implement this book as a discussion group throughout our entire organization. --Ron Gubitz, Chief Academic Officer, ReNEW Schools, New Orleans, LA

Wow, what a toolbox for educators. I saw Mary Kim work with my staff and students in an urban high school setting. The strategies she modeled for teachers increased the engagement skills for students. Our building made AYP in Communication Arts the year she worked with us. Kudos to Mary Kim and this valuable work she is sharing with teachers and anyone involved with educating students. --Linda Collins, Principal, Central High School, Kansas City, MO

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