“A great teacher is never forgotten.” So begins the challenge to each teacher in the profession. In Totally Positive Teaching: A Five-Stage Approach to Energizing Students and Teachers, Joseph Ciaccio has developed a list of five ways the great teacher lives a positive and effective life in the classroom. While there are places that are simply over the top in the notion of how positive you can be, you won’t be disappointed in the substance and strategies of this book. The five focuses are: Meeting mutual needs; Changing counterproductive feelings; Ending behavior problems; Helping underachievers, and Using active-learning strategies. Each focus is deceptively simple; some people would disbelieve the power of these strategies but each is based on emerging brain-based research. It addresses classroom management, lesson strategies, and emotional intelligences.
The real agenda of Ciacco’s book is to show the power we all have to deal with the discouragement of ineffective results, classroom meltdowns and student and teacher boredom. He illustrates how to think creatively and effectively to open different possibilities in tough situations. You will wonder, at first, if such methods are really as good as they sound, but with plentiful examples, solid research and a huge collaborative resource bank, the author may just help you shift from a former strategy in favor of a much more exciting, humane and dynamic one. Unlike most other methods-oriented books, this work puts a major emphasis on meeting both student and teacher needs simultaneously. It sometimes makes the assumption that we, as teachers, are experiencing problems due to our own negative perceptions, but very positive and creative teachers will find much validation and inspiration in this book.
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Classroom culture is a mysterious mix with no recipe and yet it is the special sauce for a happy curriculum and student learning. Refresh your teaching as you learn more about enhancing a culture of thinking in your pre-K-12 classroom. Review the 8 familiar forces which focus students on learning vs. work and build a supportive matrix with your colleagues while you do it. Text $16 at Amazon.