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Overview

How can teachers use the comprehension strategies put forward in books like Strategies That Work and Mosaic of Thought to help students become not just better readers and thinkers but also better test takers? The four authors of Put Thinking to the Test have spent years pursuing that question and have developed a groundbreaking approach, as their colleague Ellin Keene writes in the foreword to the book:

I knew that Lori, Patrick, Cheryl and Missy met frequently to discuss professional issues and that they were working on a book related to testing. I had no idea, however, that their proposal would be so fresh, so original and, simultaneously, so sensible and immediately useful.

Just as comprehension strategies have helped millions of students learn to read like proficient readers, they can also help students think like effective test-takers. The authors show how students can use background knowledge, mental images, synthesizing, monitoring, inferring, questioning, and determining of importance to understand the genre of tests and to think through the problems they are given. Instead of engaging in artificial and disconnected activities to cram for upcoming tests, students learn skills and strategies that will serve them throughout their school careers and beyond.

Presenting numerous classroom vignettes featuring students in grades 3–8, Put Thinking to the Test includes:examples of the direct application of thinking strategy instruction to test taking;actual work samples from lessons used with students;additional lesson ideas that go beyond the teaching described in the vignettes;detailed anchor charts;background on how the authors came to understand this work so that a staff, team, or individual teacher can apply these concepts in their own school setting.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781571107312
Publisher: Stenhouse Publishers
Publication date: 04/10/2008
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 184
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 1.25(h) x 9.00(d)
Age Range: 8 - 13 Years

About the Author

Lori has twenty four years of elementary classroom and staff development experience behind her. She is currently the senior director of professional development for the Public Education and Business Coalition in Denver.

She became a teacher "because being with kids seems like the best way to spend my time. They are brilliant and teach me things every day. The kids make all the work worthwhile."

Lori believes that professional development is "all about inquiry. When we ask big questions and are open to finding our own answers, the sky's the limit."

Writing the book Put Thinking to the Test was a true collaborative effort. "What is it that Officer Buckle says? Always go with a buddy. That's the way it's been with this book. The four of us are true friends and colleagues."

Lori is married and has two children, Nathanael and Emelia. She spends most of her time watching Nathanael throw a baseball or Emelia kick a soccer ball.

Missy Matthews received her bachelor's degree in education from the University of Utah and her master's degree in curriculum and instruction from the University of Colorado at Denver. She's been a multiage teacher, first-grade teacher, reading specialist, and kindergarten teacher, all at the Cherry Creek School District in Colorado. Currently she is  a staff developer at the Public Education and Business Coalition in Denver.

"I always knew I wanted to spend my career teaching and learning with children," she says.

Missy loves the "process of inquiry; learners asking personally meaningful questions, exploring different avenues to discover answers, and developing new understandings about the world."

She believes that Put Thinking to the Test is the product of the authors' inquiry, "our own quest for answers to a real quandary."

Missy enjoys the outdoors with her husband, Steve; their three children, Allison, Kyle, and Rachel; and their dog, Daisy. They love sports and spending time with their extended family.

Cheryl began her teaching career at the age of seven in the basement of her childhood home. "I did a fantastic job of educating the baby dolls seated quietly on the couch. I've always loved kids and that love of kids propelled me into a teaching career," she says.

A graduate of the University of Northern Colorado with a bachelor's degree in elementary education, Cheryl is currently a third-grade teacher at Heritage Elementary School and a PEBC lab classroom teacher.

Cheryl loves teaching because of the fresh perspective that children can bring. "I love the things kids say and the way kids think. I love the reminders about the simple things in life that can bring delight and happiness. I love those read-aloud moments when all eyes are wide open in awe of an author's words or an illustrator's art."

Cheryl's motto, "see it to believe it," reflects her approach to professional development. "I believe in inviting teachers into classrooms to see the good, the bad, and the ugly. I think all parties learn from such experiences. Some content loading is necessary, and reading professionally plays a role, but the nitty-gritty classroom work tends to stick."

Her advice to those writing a book: "Find the smartest people you know and collaborate. Work a little on your own and a lot with your friends. Read everything out loud. Take time to laugh along the way."

Cheryl lives in Colorado with her husband, Kevin, and their daughters, Sammie and Carly. She loves to attend her kids' extracurricular activities, browse bookstores, watch football, and dream up home decorating schemes. "Vacationing in a warm, tropical place is always a welcome treat."

Patrick is the youngest of ten children--five boys and five girls. "My parents were wonderful role models of literacy and learning, hard work, and humility," he says. His mother was a cook and owned a restaurant, and his father, a bricklayer by trade, helped run the restaurant and served as a "night cop" in their hometown.

"I became a teacher because I enjoy learning and spending time with kids. My parents were always learning and encouraged all of us to get our education. From the time I was a little boy, I wanted to teach."

Patrick received his bachelor's degree in communications disorders and his graduate certification in elementary education from the University of Northern Colorado. He received his master's degree in curriculum, instruction, and pedagogy with a mathematics and science emphasis from the University of Colorado at Denver.

He is currently a teacher at Frontier Valley Elementary School and a staff developer/lab classroom teacher at the Public Education and Business Coalition. He has over twenty years of teaching experience.

Patrick is intrigued by the process learners go through as they become thinkers. "I love helping children develop their passions. I am always trying to hone my craft and welcome the challenges that professional inquiry brings to my learning and the classroom."

He believes that for effective professional development, participants have to understand their own learning process and make professional growth as authentic as possible.

Patrick and his wife, Susan, love spending time with their four children: Graham, Anneke, Jens, and Lauryn. He says, "My busy family certainly puts parenting to the test, but it's the best test of all!"

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