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Puzzling Moments, Teachable Moments

Practicing Teacher Research in Urban Classrooms

Cynthia Ballenger Susan L. Lytle Marilyn Cochran-Smith

160 pages
Teachers College Press
In her new book, bestselling author Cynthia Ballenger explores the intellectual strengths of students whom teachers find “puzzling”—poor, urban, immigrant, or bilingual children who do not traditionally excel in school. Ballenger challenges the assumption that these children—whose families in many cases have less formal education, read fewer storybooks, and talk less with their children about school-like topics—have fewer intellectual or academically relevant experiences. This practical book offers a detailed roadmap for traversing the daily work of teaching today’s diverse population, and helping educators refine their work as it unfolds in the classroom. Ballenger guides the reader as she analyzes what the children said, what this indicates about their thinking, and how her dialogues with them informed her teaching. Book Features: Detailed portraits of the daily routines of teaching and learning. Rich depictions of bilingual children doing serious work with science and literature. Directions for how to listen to children’s ideas and how to analyze classroom discussions. Guidance for following the practices of good teacher research.
Author Bio
Cynthia Ballenger is a reading specialist, science teacher, and one of the founding members of the Brookline Teacher Researcher Seminar. Her books include Teaching Other People's Children: Literacy and Learning in a Bilingual Classroom and the edited volume Regarding Children’s Words: Teacher Research on Language and Literacy.