Tag Archives: Books! Books!

Saturday’s Book: ” The Accidental” by Ali Smith

I can’t make up my mind whether I like this book or not.

While I was reading it I alternated between wondering why I’m still reading and it and going ” oh! wow! intriguing!”

I guess what counts that, as a person who will stop reading a book I don’t like, is that I COULD NOT stop reading and had to see how it ended.

The book made me think of a modern, unorthodox Mary Poppins story, without any of the British “proper” behavior of Mary Poppins!

Saturday’s Book – “Freakonomics” by Levitt and Dubner

I had heard that this book was engaging , thought provoking and even amusing.

Therefore I delayed reading it till the trip to Alaksa.

Four people (two young adults /teenagers ) on the road together for three weeks – nothing like adding some unusual topics to discuss along the way! The chapter “Do parents really matter?” really caught everyone’s attention (it includes the question “Does it matter if parents read aloud to their kids or not!!!! Boy, have I read aloud!!!) . The chapter about the reduction of violence in the USA during the 1990’s was also fascinating!

Even if you aren’t going on the road for three weeks – it IS an engaging, thought provoking and amusing book! Glad I read it!

Saturday’s Book – “Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe” by Fannie Flag

I haven’t updated this category since we left for Alaska but I have been reading!

This was the first book that I read on the trip. I had seen the movie years ago and didn’t remember too much about it except that I really enjoyed it.

Perfect choice for many hours of traveling – light, engaging, interesting and amusing.


Saturday’s Book: “Visual Impact, Visual Teaching” by Timothy Gangwer

Not long ago I asked for recommendations for a useful book that my aunt in the U.S could send me for my birthday. By the way, the recommendations are here if you want to see them or add one of your own!

I’m glad I chose this book! I got a warm recommendation for this book. Although I duly noted that info I’m embarrassed to say that I did not note who recommended it – so if you are reading this post this THANK YOU is for you!

What I will do with ideas from the book in class is not a topic for a Saturday’s posting, but the book isn’t just for teachers. It is a book that enriches your knowledge of  visual information. There are some photography tips too, we’ll see if I remember them when taking pictures in Alaska!

I can’t resist sharing with you a lovely idea in the book. I was just flipping through the book and it was the first thing I read:

Page 184, activity 363 Gift Catalogue:

Have students make a list of things that can be enjoyed for free. Photograph those things and place them in a “priceless” catalogue.

Saturday’s Book – LISTENING to “Roughing It” by Mark Twain

Besides all the various material I’m reading, you can now find me “armed” with  an MP3 player (never had one before), moving around the house and listening to Mark Twain!

Did you know it can be legally downloaded for free from Libravox?

Although I was more interested in Mark Twan’s book “The Innocents Abroad” as it was about Europe and the Middle East, his delightful language and descriptions are such a pleasure to listen to that even silver mines become interesting!

Now I can get more reading done this summer, by reading and listening!

Saturday’s Book: We Need to Talk about Kevin – Part Two

I’m very conflicted about this book.

Lionel Shriver’s writing is brilliant. She (Yes, Lionel is a woman’s name! I was surprised!) draws the reader in and captivates with truly impressive prose.

Obviously she’s trying to shock and provoke the reader. Somewhat like a well written version of a Michael Moore film. There are certainly points to think about regarding society, media, parenting and more.

On the other hand, I felt that the author undermines her own message by depicting SUCH a dysfunctional family. It’s hard to buy the message that it isn’t just the parent’s fault with these parents, particulary the father and the relationship between the parents. I kept screaming at them ( in my head) throughout the whole book, from the beginning almost: “why aren’t you all in therapy?!!

Also, the ending -sigh. I watch a lot of foreign films (foreign, as in not Hollywood) and well, without spoiling it for anybody, that was an American ending. A movie which I actually hated (gave me nightmares!), but deals with comparable topics and has an ending which is more believable is Funny Games by Michael Haneke (the original version, don’t know anything about the American Remake).  Though I’m not actually recommending you watch the movie… there are others that are more palatable. Just here the topic is similar.

I’m also somewhat concerned – many of the people who recommended this book to me aren’t parents yet. I do hope this book hasn’t scared them!

My next book will be something more cheerful!

Saturday’s Book: “We Need to Talk about Kevin” by Lionel Shriver

The recommendations to read this book were very strong and kind of “creepy”:

* A “must” read – it will rock your world.

* Steel yourself but hang in there until the powerful conclusion.

* Don’t plan to be doing much else while you read it as you won’t be able to stop

To top it off the librarian said (when I checked out the book)

“I couldn’t read anything else for a week after that,  I was so shaken”.

A bit scary!

I’ve just read chapter one so far and am hooked (though still not enough to have trouble stopping, yet). Will save commnets for next Saturday’s post – too early to talk about it!

Books Teachers Recommend to Other Teachers

*Photos by Gil Epshtein

My aunt in the U.S.A.  has said she wants to send me a book. I went looking for recommendations.

Since I couldn’t find such a list I’m starting one myself. I hope placing the recommendations in one place will be helpful to others and will allow me to have a list to look at next time someone wants to send me a book!

Please feel free to add a book recommendation!

slightly open doors

Here are four books I own and recommend:

1) The Courage to Teach by Parker J. Palmer

The Courage to Teach

This book deals with our feelings as a teacher. For example, Palmer writes about how we can get hurt by being vulnerable with our students yet how being vulnerable allows us to really connect : “ Unlike many professions, teaching is always done at the dangerous intersection of personal and public life”.

Not light reading but really relevant.

2) Never Work Harder Than Your Students by Robyn R. Jackson

Never Work Harder

The author writes as if you were hashing out the issues with her face to face. Lots of practical advice regarding structuring classroom practices so that the children benefit and the teacher doesn’t collapse from overwork! Very readable.

3) The Classroom of Choice: Giving Students what they need and getting what you want. By Jonathan C. Erwin

Classroom of Choice

The author focuses on the emotional side of the learner. As he points out – who doesn’t know students that could do well academically but don’t because of emotional issues?

Lots of practical things to try out no matter what subject you teach.

4) Teaching Unplugged: Dogme in English Language Teaching By Luke Meddings and Scott Thornbury


Just began reading this one. I’m very interested in the theory and am eager to learn more about it!

The following are recommendations by other teachers. I haven’t read any of them YET! Please add your own!

let there be light!

5) Images by Jamie Keddie


Recommended by @harrisonmike – “lots of practical stuff”!

6) We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver

Talk about Kevin

Recommended by @harrisonmike – “A MUST READ!

7) Five-Minute Activities: A Resource Book of Short Activities by Penny Ur and Andrew Wright

Five-Minute Activities: A Resource Book of Short Activities

Recommended by @CeciELT – An old favorite!

(note: I HAVE read this one though don’t own it! Great!)

8) Bluff your way in Education by Nick Yapp

Recommended by IateflPoland – “for the cynics among us, only 64 pages long, funny too”! “A very humorous, skeptical look at the profession by a teacher who became a Headmaster and went back to being a teacher again”.


9) Teaching and Learning in the Language Classroom by Tricia Hedge

Teaching and Learning

Recommended by @nutrich – {Have used } “during DELTA and my MA module on approaches and methods. It’s accessible, not too academic”.

10) Visual Impact Visual Teaching: Using Images to Strengthen Learning by Timothy Gangwer

Visual Impact

I remember getting a warm recommendation for this book and that it is full of practical ideas. Although I duly noted that info I’m embarrassed to say that I did not note who recommended it… Will be happy to add that information!

11) Lexicopoly 1: Reproducible Resources for Language Teachers by Helen O’Brien


Helen (@warnhopepark) was kind enough to send me activities in the style that appear in the book. An impressive array of varied activities designed around a theme.

“Lexicopoly is packed with ideas for integrating vocabulary, grammar and language functions through speech.”

The comment-space can be used to add suggestions of your own!