1. November 2018: “Meeting Wise: Making the Most of Collaborative Time for Educators”

    Photo of the book Meeting Wise: Making the Most of Collaborative Time for Educators by Kathryn Parker Boudett and Elizabeth A. City with a quote from the book.

    This book attempts to bring about a fundamental shift in how educators think about the meetings they attend. Meetings are one of the most important venues for adult and organizational learning in schools, and making more effective use of this time is the key to increasing student achievement.

    In Meeting Wise, the authors show why meeting planning is a high-leverage strategy for changing how people work together to advance school improvement efforts. The book includes a meeting-planning “checklist” to develop a common language for discussing and improving the quality of meetings. There are also guidelines on “wise facilitating” and “wise participating,” and “top tips” and common dilemmas.

    Meeting Wise is designed to be read and applied at every level: principals’ meetings with teachers, school board meetings, professional development sessions, teacher-team meetings, and even teachers’ meetings with parents and students.

    Check it out!

    Meeting Wise: Making the Most of Collaborative Time for Educators, Kathryn Parker Boudett and Elizabeth A City; Harvard Education Press, Cambridge, MA. 2016.

  2. May 2018 Book Review: “Deeper Reading”

    Photo of the book Deeper Reading by Kelly Gallagher with a quote from the book.

    Deeper Reading explores the difference between “assigning” reading and “teaching” reading. Gallagher believes that teachers are the critical factor in helping students to become better readers. The strategies presented assist teachers in crafting lessons that help students achieve deeper meaning when reading complex text.

    Based upon research and classroom-tested experiences, Deeper Reading outlines:

    • A Model for Teaching Challenging Text. The model moves the student from a surface level understanding to a deeper level of understanding. In essence, the model provides techniques on how to frame the text, strategies to engage the reader, and the significance of collaboration, metaphors, and reflection.
    • How first- and second-draft reading strategies focus the reader and support student comprehension. The strategies presented can be adapted to any type of text (e.g., novels, textbooks, primary sources, etc.).
    • The importance of designing activities that foster student collaboration. When working in groups, students’ increase skills in critical thinking, communication, reading and writing.
    • The value of reflection as students learn to connect the text to themselves and the world.

    Across the country, teachers encounter students who ask the question, “Why do we have to read this?” Gallagher’s model supports educators in not only addressing this question, but also provides guidance on effective lesson planning that delivers engaging reading instruction. The strategies shared in this resource empower students to think critically, think metaphorically, and to reflect–all which will lead to deeper comprehension.

    Book Study Questions for Deeper Reading

    1. According to the author, the adolescent reader needs support and scaffolding prior to a reading assignment. What ways do you provide support/scaffolding for your students?
    2. Describe the dangers of not spending time “focusing” the reader.
    3. Throughout the text, the author describes the importance of a second reading. Discuss your position on second readings.
    4. Consider how you have grouped students in the past for collaboration on an assignment. Based on your reading, summarize how you will modify your grouping techniques.
    5. In Chapter 7, the author addresses the visual side of metaphor creation, providing several examples. Describe why the use of metaphor is such a powerful strategy.
    6. “Why do we have to read this?” is an all too common question voiced by adolescents. Using the suggestions in the text, describe how you will respond the next time students ask this question.


    Deeper Reading, Kelly Gallagher; Stenhouse Publishers, Portland, ME. 2004.

  3. November 2017 Book Review: “Change Your Questions Change Your Life”

    Ask yourself, “Am I a Learner or a Judger?”

    Marilee Adams in her book, Change Your Questions, Change Your Life, poses two life-defining questions, followed by some sample questions to assist in a self-reflective examination to help frame thinking, listening, speaking and relating.

    Do you conscientiously take a learner approach?  Or are you inclined to have a judger mindset?

    How can I prove I’m right?What can I learn?
    Haven’t we been there/done that?What are the best steps forward?
    Whose fault is it?Am I being responsible?

    Adams shows how the kinds of questions we ask shape our thinking and can be the root cause of many personal and organizational problems. The book uses a highly instructive and entertaining story to show how to quickly recognize any undermining judger questions that pop into your mind – or out of your mouth – and reframe them to learner questions to achieve amazingly positive and practical results.

    Change Your Questions, Change Your Life is a personal growth fable that tells how a seasoned executive, Ben Knight, uses Question Thinking to move into a higher leadership role and how the same methods of change help him and his wife, Grace, enrich their marriage.

    “We all began asking more questions – Learner questions. These days I smile as I observe people deep in thought studying their Choice Maps as they work through problems or prepare for meetings. . . I have learned to listen in new ways . . . and to stay on point even when conflicts threaten, which happens less and less frequently.” – Ben

    ‘That’s what I realized after studying the Choice Map . . . You know what became clear – we’ve both been going down the Judger path. I know I’ve been judging myself and you, and I see you being in Judger too.’ – Grace

    This book is a helpful resource for individuals and teams – school leaders, board members, teachers, and support staff – looking to improve communication and make positive change. The twelve tools included show how Question Thinking can dramatically improve coaching and leadership.

    Check it out!

    • 12 Powerful Tools for Leadership, Coaching, and Life (included in the book)
    • Choice MapTM (Included in the book with printable copies at

    Change You Questions Change Your Life – 12 Powerful Tools for Leadership, Coaching, and Life, Marilee Adams, Ph.D.; Berrett-Koehler Publishers, San Francisco, CA. 2016, 3rd edition.