Saturday, June 12, 2010

"From Tutor Scripts to Talking Sticks" (review)

I have a problem with the subtitle of the latest book I received to review. The "100 Ways to Differentiate Instruction in K-12 Inclusive Classrooms" that follows the title, "From Tutor Scripts to Talking Sticks", is misleading. "From Tutor Scripts to Talking Sticks" ($34.95 list price; $23.07 at Amazon right now) is a book of 100 *FANTASTIC* ways to differentiate instruction for *ANY* student, and is not limited to "inclusive classrooms". Homeschoolers will find this book helpful. Staff members in school-building-schools who teach students in pull-out "specials" or contained special-ed classrooms will find this book helpful. If you are the parent and/or teacher to a child with unique learning needs in any educational setting, this is a *must have* book.

First of all, every idea in the book has been tested and has been proven to be successful. Each of the 100 ways to differentiate instruction is pictured and described. The reader doesn't have to guess what the finished product looks like. "How to" directions are provided in great detail. Kluth and Danaher provide examples, a "Keep in Mind" section to spotlight other uses or aspects of some of the ideas. Readers are given a References/Recommended Reading section with *each* idea (no need to flip to the back and try to sort through a long list of references because the related references are right on the page with the idea), with quite a few new-to-me references (and I've read a lot over the past 10 years). Many ideas are low-cost or are made with supplies you already have at home or school; Kluth calls 'em "dollar store differentiation" ideas. The authors provide a Vendor section with each idea so that users know where to purchase materials needed to complete each idea. And finally, Kluth and Danaher give the reader a list of related web sites at the end of each idea. Kluth and Danaher thought of everything and have organized it in a way that maximizes my time. I've not seen a book like it (and I've seen a lot of books about adapting material and differentiating instruction for students with unique learning needs).

The book is heavy and lies open, flat, without my having to weight it down. (I like that.) So many of the ideas have me thinking, "I should have thought of that." They're simple, when I think about them, and make sense. I need a pad of sticky notes to bookmark pages. I need a notebook or electronic notepad to keep a list of the ideas I want to try.

Most of the ideas are simple to implement, yet, I'm so glad I got this book now. NOW (June) is the time to BUY this book. As a homeschooler, I have a little bit of time before we gear up with school again at my house, time to gather materials, order a few items, so that I can implement some of the ideas in late summer or fall. For those of you starting school in August or September, summer is a great time for planning, and this is a wonderful resource to help parents/teachers be better facilitators of all things academic and some things social, including relationship w/ self and aspects of executive functioning.

I don't know anything about co-author Sheila Danahan beyond what is written in the "About the Authors" page. She's an administrator and educator in Chicago Public Schools.

I do know a lot about co-author Paula Kluth. (When my daughter was in public school, I purchased Kluth's books for my daughter's teachers.)

Paula Kluth is well-known among special ed parents and professionals in public schools. Kluth was a public school teacher who has a natural instinct, natural gift for grasping the importance of inclusion, particularly of children with autism, an the necessity to adapt materials and differentiate instruction so that all students learn. She writes and markets her wisdom to school-building schools with inclusion as a focus.

She's amazing. Her creativity never ends. If you have an opportunity to attend one of her presentations in person, GO.

She's an amazing speaker (I've seen her three times). She has me believing that I can do this stuff, too, for my daughter, and when my daughter was still in public school, had me believing that if only I could get my daughter's teachers there to hear her, Kluth's enthusiasm and creativity would rub off on them, too.

As I chat with parents from the homeschooling world, particularly those homeschooling children with unique learning needs, I tend to discover that homeschoolers don't know about the wisdom and creativity of Paula Kluth.

Paula Kluth's web site, which is a super resource, is HERE.

Paula Kluth's facebook page is HERE; the 1000th fan will get a copy of this book and two more (and so will the person who referred them, so if you're the 1000th fan, tell 'em I sent you, please).

There is a facebook page for the book HERE, where Kluth has been posting pages/ideas from the book.

From Tutor Scripts to Talking Sticks, 100 Ways to Differentiate Instruction in K-12 Inclusive Classrooms by Paula Kluth and Sheila Danaher
Paperback: 224 pages
Paul H Brookes Pub Co; 1 edition (March 30, 2010)
ISBN-13: 978-1598570809

Brookes Publishing sent me a review copy of From Tutor Scripts to Talking Sticks, 100 Ways to Differentiate Instruction in K-12 Inclusive Classrooms by Paula Kluth and Sheila Danaher. I am not financially compensated for reviews and am not obligated to provide a positive review.

1 comment:

Bekah and Corey said...

Thanks for the review, Penny. I just ordered the book from Amazon. Lately I've felt backed in a corner, not sure how to proceed in teaching my son according to his unique learning styles. This is an answer to prayer!

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