Resource Reviews Asphalt to Ecosystems: Design Ideas
for Schoolyard Transformation, by Sharon Gamson Danks, is an outstanding resource that considers multiple views of outdoor school spaces: learning, safety, fun, habitat, and sustainability. The book shares examples from more than 150 schools in 11 countries. Each example showcases developing a greater sense of connection between the child, peers, the school and community, the natural world, and larger systems. Consider for instance playgrounds that include recycled materi- als that double as climbing structures and musical instruments. Or schools that keep gardens and chickens, where the children pluck the pests off the plants, feed them to chickens, and collect eggs from the chickens for lunch. A comprehensive set of guidelines for designing spaces launches the book, including working with community members. There is great advice here and lots of inspiration.
Asphalt to Ecosystems: Design Ideas for
Schoolyard Transformation. New Village Press, 2010. 288 pages. $39.95. 510-420-1361.
Beyond Pizzas and Pies: 10 Essential Strat-
egies for Supporting Fraction Sense, by Julie McNamara and Megha M. Shaughnessy, is a new title from Marilyn Burns’ Math Solutions. How can we teach in a way that helps students develop not just a knowledge of fractions, but a real “fraction sense”—like common sense, as it applies to fractions. This involves being able to relate to fractions differently than whole numbers. It means having a “deep and flexible understanding” of fractions, not just following rules blindly. Each chapter in the book addresses a common challenge in teaching fractions. It begins with a connection to the NCTM stan- dards, offers a classroom scenario, outlines the math concepts, provides research to back up the
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practice, and gives specific activity and lesson ideas. The ten essential strategies are outlined clearly and succinctly, and there is online support available for implementing them. This is another outstanding resource from this publisher. Beyond Pizzas and Pies: 10 Essential
Strategies for Supporting Fraction Sense. Math Solutions, 2010. 184 pages. $33.95. 800- 868-9092.
Growing Food, by Pamela A. Koch, Angela
Calabrese Barton, and Isobel R. Contento, is part of the LiFE (Linking Food and the Envi- ronment) curriculum series. It consists of five units, based on questions: What is a food sci- entist? If there were no plants, would humans have food? How do components in nature interact with each other? How do we interact with nature to meet our food needs, and lastly, how can we use the science we learned to make food and agriculture choices? Each section includes lesson plans, notes for teachers, student readings, experiment or activity sheets, sample conversations, and resources. There are good support materials and background informa- tion provided in this guide as well. Hands-on investigations such as those in photosynthesis and food webs will help students develop solid understanding of food growth as a system. Growing Food. Teachers College Columbia
University and the National Gardening Asso- ciation, 2007. 256 pages. $34.95.
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