Chalk Dust: A Teacher's Marks / Edition 1

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Cry repeatedly.
Laugh often.
Sigh with recognition.

That's what you'll do when you read Dave Ellison's Chalk Dust - a mini-masterpiece of the teaching life.

Sensitive, compassionate, deeply intelligent, Dave is the kind of person you hope will teach your own children. An award-winning teacher, vice-principal, and teacher educator, Dave has also been a columnist at The Argus, a San Francisco Bay Area newspaper. This collection of over 70 of Dave's best columns is at once touching, delightful, poignant, and unflinchingly honest.

In "A Box of Raisins," Dave recounts a distraught father finally embracing his estranged son; in "Sorry," the student who cunningly turned the tables; in "Rest Easy," the deception of high stakes testing; and in "Beardless," teenagers' playful antics. Chalk Dust delivers fresh, informed, and multifaceted views of education by a teacher/administrator who has worked in the trenches and loves what he does.

Lose yourself for a couple of hours in a transcendent book. Or dip into it for brief stories that will support or challenge you. Come away from your reading and know, if you are a teacher, that you have the best job in the world. Or remember those thoughtful teachers like Dave who made a difference in your own life.

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Editorial Reviews

Chalk Dust is a must-read for classroom teachers and school administrators; a collection of lucid, inspiring, often hilarious (sometimes heartrending) two-page articles about author David Ellison's experiences as a classroom teacher and assistant principal. Like the Jolly Ranchers Ellison keeps in his pocket as rewards, the anecdotes are small, varied treats; each brief enough to be sampled during a coffee break or while on hall duty. The topics and problems Ellison treats are wide-ranging (gum-chewing, practical jokes, fighting, insubordination, homelessness, student service learning, high-stakes testing, to name a few). Many of the articles (which first appeared as newspaper columns in the San Francisco Bay area where Ellison works) will strike a chord of recognition (especially for those who work with middle school and high school students, like Ellison), bring a smile, and even offer a new solution to an old problem. And these articles are definitely treats to share. Whether your colleagues are veteran teachers or venturing into their first year, they will probably come away from this book, as this reviewer did, with a renewed sense of hope and pride, reassured that they did, indeed, choose the right profession. KLIATT Codes: A; Recommended for advanced students and adults. 2003, Heinemann, 145p.,
— Gloria Levine Bryant
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780325005584
  • Publisher: Heinemann
  • Publication date: 2/14/2003
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 160
  • Product dimensions: 8.98 (w) x 5.92 (h) x 0.34 (d)

Meet the Author

David Ellison teaches seventh-grade English and history at Barnard-White Middle School in Union City, California, and co-teaches the Social Studies Methods Course for new teachers at California State University, Hayward. He served as the New Haven Unified and the American Council of School Administrators Region VI Teacher of the Year in 1996. When not teaching, correcting, or writing, Dave leads hikes into the hills surrounding San Francisco Bay.
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Table of Contents


Coup de Grace

A Smile

A Whimper

Miss Donelson

Bless Us Oh Lord...

High Standards

The Peter Principal

One Heck of a Romance

No Regrets


A Scarlet Letter

A Horrid Summer

Bitter Whispers



Joni's Tears

Moments of Truth

Be All That You Can Be


A Tale of Two Schools

Rest Easy

Noble Naove Ideals

One Size Doesn't Fit All

Momentous Moment

No Fear


The Karate Kid


Sad Burden

Red Ribbon Dialogues

Parents No Best

Saint Washington

All Equal?

Salutary Neglect

Proud, but Wary

Dirty Diapers

Mr. Murphy


All the Kids Are Fine

The Little Drummer Boy

God Bless Them, Every One

Fleeting Fleeting Time



Bringing Out Our Best

Last Hurrah

A Box of Raisins

A Damn Shame

Blah, Blah, Blah

Wrestling Stereotypes


Chewing Gum, Lipstick, and a B



Square Peg

I Hate Good-Byes

Get Some Sleep

Real Men Don't Fight

Sweet Kids

Lies, Lies, Lies

A Box of Oreos



Take a Big Breath

Glass Half Full

An Angel Named Ramu

Beardless, but Still Trying to Help

My Lesson

King of Children

An Answer, Finally

"Isn't That Right, Mr. Ellison?"

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 23, 2003

    A most delightful read

    It is a book about a teacher and his stories about teaching--but it is so much more. Even those who are not teachers but have children or who have been in school themselves will delight and revel in the this book.

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