Every year, the Golden Lamp Awards from AAP name the best of the best in PreK-12 learning resources. Over the next week, leading up to the 2017 AAP Celebrates ceremony where we will announce the Golden Lamp winners, we’ll be looking at the finalists for each category. Our next category: Professional Resources.
Fostering Resilient Learners: Strategies for Creating a Trauma-Sensitive Classroom from ASCD
Category: School Climate
About: Research indicates that there are now more children affected by trauma than ever before. Because adverse childhood experiences hinder the learning, motivation, and success of all students in the classroom, it's up to teachers to create a safe space for learning. This galvanizing book by licensed mental health counselor Kristin Souers and former principal Pete Hall provides practical strategies for creating a trauma-sensitive learning environment where every student can flourish and learn at high levels.
What the judges said: This book is hopeful and effective. Some of the key concepts are that relationships can repair the brain and that risk is not destiny. The ASCD "whole child" approach is evident throughout. The content was described in easy to comprehend analogies. Some judges especially liked the biology of the "upstairs vs. downstairs" brain.
Inspiring Early Childhood Leadership: Eight Strategies to Ignite Passion and Transform Program Quality from Gryphon House, Inc.
About: A positive, strengths-based leadership system is the key to transforming the quality of early childhood programs. "Inspiring Early Childhood Leadership" lays out strategies designed to support program leaders in finding new ways to reduce the levels of stress on themselves and their staff, and move into a unified, engaging system for leading with passion, intention, and purpose.
What the judges said: This relatively low key and straightforward guide for early childhood leaders is so practical and usable that it merits special attention. In clear prose it leads an administrator or program developer to very usable techniques for focusing and energizing a staff. Even during the first cursory reading, judges found themselves wanting to "dog ear" pages and use some of the techniques.
Nutrition from the National Science Teachers Association
About: Maintaining a healthy lifestyle requires making informed decisions about personal nutrition using information backed by scientific research. Nutrition, a highly interactive, self-directed professional learning experience, provides an overview of how food, nutrients, and energy are used by the body and how other factors contribute to making healthful choices. Rich with dynamic multimedia, interactive enhancements, and pedagogy; this e-book immerses educators in learning about nutrition. It also gives educators engaging resources to use in their classrooms.
What the judges said: The breadth of content in each ebook and the depth within those pages very impressive. The product showed strong craftsmanship, and the interactivity provided a strong opportunity to engage learners in what once was a very rote manner of reading a textbook. The interactivity allowed for students to think beyond the content and put together other information they might have learned elsewhere.
Science Learning in the Early Years: Activities for PreK-2 from the National Science Teachers Association
Category: Special Learning Populations
About: Engaging children in science activities in the early years capitalizes on their inquisitiveness while introducing them to key skills they’ll use through a lifetime of learning & investigation. This book provides more than 40 activities, all clearly presented and developmentally appropriate for young scientists PreK to 2. Throughout, the author’s focus is on play-based delightful experiences for early childhood learners that enhance & maintain children’s natural curiosity & abilities.
What the judges said: Addressing both the theories/concepts in science education in early chapters (chapters 3-12) and practical applications in later chapters, this book is good at jump starting your own ideas for science inquiry in a k-2 classroom. The reader knows the suggestions are grounded in best practices, but also walks away with ready-to-implement ideas for his/her classroom.
Number Talks: Fractions, Decimals, and Percentages from Math Solutions
Category: Subject Areas
About: Number Talks \ˈnəm-bər\ \ˈtōks\ 1. A five- to fifteen-minute classroom conversation around purposefully crafted problems that are solved mentally. 2. The best part of a teacher’s day. This dynamic multimedia resource was created in response to the requests of teachers—those who want to implement number talks but are unsure of how to begin and those with experience who want more guidance in crafting purposeful problems. It supports teachers in understanding: what a classroom number talk
What the judges said: This resource a a terrific combination of print and video -- the print laying out clear principles, activities, and anecdotes, and the video showing what those principles and activities look like when put into action in an elementary classroom. Many teachers will find it useful to see how others explain, elicit comments, address misconceptions and clarify wrong answers.
Analyzing and Writing with Primary Sources from Shell Education
Category: Instruction and Classroom Practice
About: Analyzing and Writing with Primary Sources provides students with authentic opportunities to develop their close reading and writing skills through engaging primary sources. It includes easy-to-use lessons designed to help students critically read, analyze, collaborate around, and respond to both written and visual text. Each chapter provides exemplar lessons designed for each grade range, K–2, 3–5, 6–8, and 9–12, and includes the primary sources in both print and digital format.
What the judges said: The structure of this resource makes it very teacher-friendly,. There are a variety of activities to choose from, the explanations are clear, and the exemplar lessons provide models which the teacher can then use to create lessons unique to his/her class. The digital resource provides color versions of the images, when available. The pictures used for visual analysis are thought-provoking.