Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Learning in the Fast Lane by Suzy Pepper Rollins

As a former classroom teacher and school principal I was always looking for professional reading that provided me with tools that I could could use immediately in my classes or in my school. 

Unfortunately, too often the books and training that exist, especially on-line training, is focused on coining phrases and ensuring that the author's ideas are always going to be linked with their last name. As a result, the works are filled with edu-ese or edu-speak (phrases coined by someone I am sure) and the readers feel like they need an interpreter just to wade through the number of SAT words in the acknowledgement section let alone the rest of the book.

Well, Suzy Pepper Rollins has hit the jackpot with her book, Learning in the Fast Lane: 8 Ways to Put All Students on the Road to Academic Success. (ASCD, 2014) Her book is easy to read, research based and filled with tools that can be put to use in the classroom today! 

Check out my podcast interview with Suzy here Episode 43: Learning in the Fast Lane with Suzy Pepper Rollins.

In the introduction, Suzy comments, " reach their potential, struggling students need the most powerful, effective instructional practices that research and practice have to offer. Tragically, the opposite often happens: instruction that aims to catch up lagging students or fix all their past problems ends up providing classroom experiences that are not compelling, rigorous, or engaging." (p. 1)

Just take a look at the first section on Acceleration and you will get a feel for the whole book...

"The primary focus of remediation is mastering concepts of the past, Acceleration, on the other hand, strategically prepares students for success in the present-this week, on this content." (p. 6)

The book is divided into 9 Chapters:

1. Acceleration:Jump Starting Students Who Are Behind
2. Standards Walls: Transforming Standards into Clear Learning Goals
3. Success Starters: Sparking Student Success Right Away
4. Formative Assessment and Feedback: Checking Student Understanding Minute by Minute
5. Vocabulary Development: Implementing a Strategic Plan
6. Student Work Sessions: Giving Students Greater Responsibility with Valuable Work
7. Student Motivation: Creating Engaging Tasks and a Positive Learning Environment
8. Scaffolding: Providing What's Missing Just in Time
9. Why are Some Students Still Failing, and What Can We Do About It?

My favorites are Acceleration, Formative Assessment, Vocabulary Development, and Why are some Students Still Failing...

If you take time to read this book you will quickly find a resource that you will want all of your staff to share and use! It will be a tool that will help your staff address the needs of your kids and keep them with resources to try when they are stymied and ready to give up! Most of all it will help the teachers with the tools to help lead the kids to success!

Check out these other links for additional information...

Episode 2: Math in the Fast Lane

Chapter 1: Acceleration

Math in the Fast Lane

Don' forget to stop by the podcast interview...Episode 43: Learning in the Fast Lane

By the way, I received no compensation for these comments.