Book Review: Engaging Students with Poverty in Mind

10:00 AM

One of the ways I like to rejuvenate in the summer is by reading a professional book.  I always take some time off right after school is out but by mid-summer, I am ready to begin to thinking about returning to school in August.  Reading a professional book helps me to get excited about the coming year because I start to plan how to implement the new strategies that I have learned.

Eric Jensen's book Engaging Students with Poverty in Mind is a great book to glean new ideas for any grade level.  I am not sure that I have ever read a book that was packed with so many practical strategies for the classroom.  I was reading it as part of a book study this fall, and every week I got excited as I read the assigned chapter or chapters.  Jensen's book is not just about what we need to do to engage students in the classroom, it more importantly first tells you why each strategy is important.

The first two chapters lay the background for the book.  The first chapter discusses seven engagement factors that hinder the health, learning and well being of those children who live in poverty.  The second chapter is called The Rules for Engagement.  These are five "rules" need to be in place for teachers to succeed with the strategies that come in the following chapters.

My favorite chapters in the book were the next five chapters.  Each one discusses a different area of engagement: positive climate, cognitive capacity, motivation and effort, deep understanding, and energy and focus.  He goes in great detail as to what brain research says about the area and then gives a plethora of examples that you can try in your classroom to increase engagement.

The book was exciting to me personally because there were MANY ideas that I had not ever read or thought about in my teaching.  I plan to reread the book this summer again because it was so helpful to me last fall when I read it the first time.  I hope you put this book on your list of professional books you would like to read.

If Engaging Students with Poverty in Mind does not sound like a good fit for you, I hope you find a book this summer that excites you for the next school year.  Please share in the comments any professional books you recommend for other educators to read this summer.

Thank you and enjoy your summer vacation!

by A Spot of Curriculum

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