Faculty Book Recommendations
Faculty Recommended Reads
Looking for something educational and inspirational to read? Check out what CIS faculty are reading about teaching and parenting.
March 2016 - Mrs. Hemme, Kindergarten
Life in the Blender
by Sandi Patty
When divorce and remarriage blend two families together, children are looking for what they are used to and can be slow to accept the change. “When you combine a family,” says kindergarten teacher Cindy Hemme, “it’s not how you think it’s going to be.” Hemme’s mother-in-law gave her this book when she first remarried, and she found the author’s experience of “failing forward” insightful and encouraging. The author’s practical advice for navigating thorny issues proved invaluable. As a stepparent in a blended family of five kids in first through twelfth grades, Hemme learned to love her children where they were at and to “give them the space to accept this reality.”
February 2016 - Mr. O’Toole, MS/US Science
Practicing the Art of Leadership
by Reginald Leon Green
“The book stresses that leadership is all about relationships and understanding the dynamics of those relationships,” says Middle and Upper School science teacher Mr. O’Toole. The book offers many illustrations and theories of how relationships work with respect to leadership. In the Situational Leadership Model, for instance, the way one leads depends on the motivation and ability of one’s followers. The leader may choose to support, coach, delegate, or direct. Mr. O’Toole read the book as part of his graduate studies and said what he learned applies both to leading a class as a teacher and various leadership roles within a school.
January 2016 - Mrs. Hancock, Junior Kindergarten
Teaching with Love and Logic
by Jim Fay and David Funk
“I’ve been a supporter of this approach for many, many years,” says junior kindergarten teacher Mrs. Hancock. “It’s been around a while but is still very effective.” The Love and Logic disciplinary method involves positive techniques to increase the level of students’ responsibility and ability to think for themselves. Mrs. Hancock received training from the author himself when she was a Head Start coordinator, and she says Jim Fay is fun to read because he was an educator and principal for more than 31 years. The strategies are easy to modify for a wide span of ages and work well for students with ADHD and behavior problems. The Love and Logic Institute offers a wide variety of resources for parents as well.
December 2015 - Mrs. Cooper, MS/US Latin
Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting
by Pamela Druckerman
When an American journalist found herself raising her baby in Paris, she observed that French children were noticeably well-behaved. They slept through the night at 2-3 months old and always ate their vegetables. After reading this book, Mrs. Cooper attests that French parenting techniques have also worked with her daughter. “It’s about developing a routine for baby that also works for your life,” Mrs. Cooper says. Parents are not to feel guilty for what they cannot do and are to encourage their children to develop patience. “It’s important to research your options. You don’t have to agree with all of them,” Mrs. Cooper says.
November 2015 - Mr. Terwelp, MS/US Latin
What book is Mr. Terwelp reading?
He isn’t just reading books. He’s making them!
Resident Latin scholar and jack-of-all-trades, Mr. Terwelp taught himself how to make books out of regular sheets of paper cut in half. Pictured here with a guest book he made for the Gala, Terwelp sewed the binding with synthetic sinew and covered it with dark leather. Each book takes several days to construct, and he simply enjoys the process itself. Thus far he has handmade about seven books of various sizes. “I just keep making them,” Mr. Terwelp says, “because it is hands-on creativity.”
Here are our archived recommendations!
Fall 2014 - Mrs. Bryan, Fifth Grade
Real Talk for Real Teachers
by Rafe Esquith
“This book is so realistic about what it is like to be a teacher, and that’s encouraging,” says Mrs. Bryan. “But he also talks about how to be a good, dedicated teacher. He works his tail off and his kids do, too, but they have fun in his classroom.” Mrs. Bryan notes that Esquith’s depiction of fifth grade is both “hilarious and accurate,” and she has adapted his classroom rules for her own class. Rafe Esquith has won numerous teaching awards and has taught for more than twenty-five years at an inner-city school in Los Angeles.
Fall 2014 - Mr. Stuhlman, MS/US English and Performing Arts
Team Challenges: 170+ Group Activities to Build Cooperation, Communication, and Creativity
by Kris Bordessa
“This book is good for a lot of ages and any size group,” says Mr. Stuhlman. “I like that all the games are accessible, tested, and flexible.” Mr. Stuhlman has used ideas from the book in CIS activities including the first day of school and Read-A-Thon. The activities encompass both academic subjects and team building, and Mr. Stuhlman notes that they would work well for clubs and parties. He recommends the book to parents interested in practical, educational exercises for their kids.
Fall 2014 - Sra. Davis, MS Spanish
How to Hug a Porcupine: Negotiating the Prickly Points of the Tween Years
by Julie A. Ross, M.A.
“This book helped me understand from a parent’s point of view what it’s like to be a middle school student,” says Senora Davis. “And it gave good, practical tips for parenting a middle school student with a focus on maintaining a relationship.” Sra. Davis agrees with the author that middle schoolers have more social pressure due to social media and more distractions than their parents did. She recommends this as one of the better books on the subject of “how to love your child through the years of great change and metamorphosis.”
Fall 2014 - Mrs. Anderson, MS/US English, History, Global Perspectives
A World Lit Only by Fire
by William Manchester
“This has been one of my go-to books for learning more about Europe during the Middle Ages and Renaissance,” writes Mrs. Anderson. “It is fascinating, readable, and easy to ‘dip’ in and out of. I enjoy Manchester’s anecdotes (his description of medieval table manners deserves reading out loud in class) and the way he explores the lives of both famous historical figures and common people. It was in Manchester’s book that I learned that the best roads in 15th century Europe were those that the Romans had built over 1,000 years before, and that Johannes Gutenberg’s real name was Johannes Gutenberg Gensfleisch (he dropped his father’s surname — Gensfleisch — because it meant ‘gooseflesh’ in German). I recommend this book to older high school students or any adult interested in reading more about this time in history.”
Winter 2015 - Ms. Cella, US Science
Science Matters: Achieving Scientific Literacy
by Robert M. Hazen and James Trefil
“I like this book,” says Ms. Cella, “because it covered every discipline of science and told what the experts felt we should be familiar with.” Surveying everything from particle physics to biotechnology, the book outlines important concepts without scientific jargon or complicated mathematics. Ms. Cella said she used the text to confirm that she teaches the same concepts in her own classes. She notes that many people graduate from college without being required to take more than one science course and believes that everyone can benefit from gaining a broader understanding of scientific principles.
Winter 2015 - Mr. Hager, LS/MS Science
High Rise Stories: Voices from Chicago Public Housing
by Audrey Petty
“I found it compelling,” says Mr. Hager, “because it was the nature of what went on in urban America for several decades – stark, bleak conditions… gangs, drugs, pestilence, school dropouts, corrupt police.” The book contains firsthand accounts of Chicago residents who lived in the high rises and their mixed feelings when the buildings were demolished. According to Mr. Hager, whose friend edited the book, the “gone-ness” of the structures is symbolic of the tragedy of both their memories and their inability to revisit them. “As horrible as they were, people still considered the place home.”
Spring 2015 - Mrs. Montgomery, MS English
Have a New Teenager by Friday
by Dr. Kevin Leman
I really like and enjoy my teenager and do not have the desire to “change” him. The title of this book, therefore, initially repelled me. What I discovered after reading the book, however, was that the title is not an accurate reflection of its contents. Dr. Leman actually promotes a change within parents, and that change has rippling effects that transform life with a teenager.
First, as parents, we must be clear in our expectations. Make requests once and once only. If our child does not comply, the key is to practice self-control. It is tempting to overreact, lecture, criticize, condemn, or threaten, but the very first goal, Leman claims, is to strive to understand our children. We need to hit the pause button on our reactivity and respond first by asking loving questions that seek to understand our child’s point of view. When the dust has settled a little, days or even weeks later, that is when we then implement a consequence, if there needs to be a lesson learned to protect our child from repeating the misbehavior. The consequence will come as a surprise and is delivered with calm, loving firmness. “No, you may not borrow the car tonight. Remember that time, about a week ago, when you refused to take out the trash?” Be unyielding with the consequence. Since we have built a bond of empathetic understanding, we will then make clear that we mean what we say, and our child will begin to take the rules more seriously.
Spring 2015 - Coach K, LS PE
Mindset: The New Psychology of Success
by Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D.
Basing her premise on decades of research, Dweck asserts that people’s attitude and effort determine their level of achievement rather than mere raw talent. People with a growth mindset believe that their ability can be improved with effort, a belief supported by neuroscience research on the plasticity of the brain. Coach K. has used what she learned from the book to encourage her students that they “can get a little bit better at anything they want to get better at.” Having read the book twice now, Coach K. said she appreciates it applications to both parenting and teaching. Instead of praising a child with “good job!” for being smart or fast, for example, it is more beneficial to affirm his or her work, practice, and perseverance.