Over Thanksgiving break, I read Carol Richtsmeier (she of My Bellringers fame) 's new book -- How to Lose Your Self of Steam (& other teaching lessons I never learned from professional development).
This book was great, and you should definitely go straight to Amazon and order yourself a copy right now! Richie has put her sense of humor right out on display, and her stories about her Journalism students are fun, funny, and memorable.
First a word about the look of the book. My first thought was that it looked like a yearbook -- fitting, since Richie's class is in charge of putting the yearbook together each year. My fiance thought it looked like a composition notebook -- still fitting, as I'm sure the kids have gone through a ton of those writing assignments and reports. Either way, the look of the book is unique and really stands out on a shelf.
Something else that I really enjoyed was the little "inserts" on several pages, especially the "Chapter Terms." These small colored bubbles defined words and phrases used within the text -- including a dictionary-worthy definition and a tongue-in-cheek meaning. One of my favorites -- "In-service -- 1) another name for a professional development day. 2) another name for wasting a teacher's time."
These inserts made me think of another of my favorite books, America, by John Stewart and the Daily Show.
The vignettes, everything from a young talented artist who didn't want to give up his black fingernail polish, to the kids who caught the porn JUST before it made it into the yearbook, are touching, and show how much Richie cares about the kids who have been in her classes over the year.
Check out How to Lose Your Self of Steam, and see what all the fuss is regarding Big Fat Stupid Heads, heads in freezers, and rubber chickens.