Saturday, September 29, 2012

existing literature...

tops and sides for boxes
One of the things an author must do when proposing a book to a publisher is to research and discuss competing titles, and this kind of investigation has been made easier by Of course, no book would be exactly what mine or yours might be, but "competing titles" will give a publisher the sense that there is an interest in the subject area and that those books have done either poorly or well. A comparison of existing literature also helps a publisher to get a better sense of the proposed book, how it compares to other books in the nearby subject area.

Among the books we can look at in the area of hands-on learning are these:
Hands-On Learning!: More Than 1000 Activities for Young Children Using Everyday Objects by Gwendolyn S. Kaltman
Learning Resources Hands-On Standards Photo-Illustrated Lessons for Teaching with Math Manipulatives - Grades 3-4 by Learning Resources
Active Learning and Engagement Strategies (Teaching & Learning in the 21st Century) by Paula Rutherford
Making Thinking Visible: How to Promote Engagement, Understanding, and Independence for All Learners, by Ritchart, Church and Morrison
Learning by Doing: A Handbook for Professional Communities at Work Richard Dufour, Rebecca DuFour, Robert Eaker, Thomas Many
Learning by Doing: A Comprehensive Guide to Simulations, Computer Games, and Pedagogy in e-Learning and Other Educational Experiences by Clark Aldrich
Student Engagement Techniques: A Handbook for College Faculty by Elizabeth Barkley
Sensory Integration: A Guide for Preschool Teachers by Christy Isbell and Rebecca Isbell
Studio Thinking: The Real Benefits of Visual Arts Education by Lois Hetland, Ellen Winner, Shirley Veenema and Kimberly M. Sheridan
Engaging Learners Through Artmaking: Choice-Based Art Education in the Classroom by Katherine M. Douglas and Diane B. Jaquith

And the Classics: Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences by Howard Gardner
The Hand: How Its Use Shapes the Brain, Language, and Human Culture, by Frank R. Wilson

Many books dance around the matters discussed in this blog. But my point is to make things concise, meaningful and direct. We learn best, most easily, and to greatest lasting effect when we learn through the agency of our own hands and with the participation of our full range of senses.

Today in the wood shop I am mitering box sides for 300 small boxes. I have to keep the sides in order as they are cut so that they can be assembled with corners that match.

Make, fix and create...


  1. The one advantage your book would have over most of the ones you listed is that you would leave the students with both the skills they learned and the product they made.


    PS Quite the impressive pile of box parts!

  2. I have recently completed a five week woodwork project with a class of children aged 10-12. What I found most difficult was how to get 22 children started on toolwork without any infrastructure provided by the school - I had to prepare all sorts of jigs and bench-hooks which could be used in the existing classroom. So, I think it would be really useful if your book gave a practical guide on that. Anke