Saturday, January 10, 2004

Additions to My Classroom Library

Spent the afternoon at B&N, cheating on the South Beach Diet with a chai and looking for books for myself & my kids. Oh yeah, and grading papers.

I got myself The Elegant Universe, by Brian Greene, which is supposed to be an accessible, yet not watered-down explanation of superstring theory. I read the introduction, which is superbly written. Apparently the book was shortlisted for a Pulitzer Prize, never a bad thing. The funny thing is, as much as I complain that I don't really like physical science and thus have trouble teaching it, I DO like reading about physics... just not at the level that I can translate to great sixth and seventh grade lessons. When I read popular science books on Earth Science or Biology, I usually can find ways to tell the kids some of the more interesting bits or incorporate the newest stuff into the curriculum at least occasionally... but superstring theory, while fascinating, is so far beyond the parameters of middle school physical science, I can't imagine bringing it up. Hmmmm.

I also got a book called Down by the River, which is about a family caught up in the world of the narcotics trade, with terrible results and a cover-up by both the Mexican and US governments. Something about it just appealed to me. I'll keep you posted on whether or not this one was worth the money.

For the classroom, I got a copy of the MLA Handbook, more for my own reference when I plan citation/bibliography lessons than for direct use by the students. Also, a book of SAT vocabulary prep exercises, to use with my HS Prep afterschool class. Along the same lines, a slim volume called 100 Words Every High School Graduate Should Know. I figure I'll slip it into the library and some kid may pick it up and decide to get a head start acquiring these words. And, last but not least, The Encyclopedia of North American Birds, with full-color photographs, for about $8.

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