An efficient guide to teaching teamwork skills to pupils.



A debut book offers activities that promote student collaboration.

Group work can be a way to get students to take a more active role in their own educations, but how do you teach them to successfully act as a team? With this book, Palmer aims to provide strategies that foster cooperation among students: “It is designed for teachers in any subject area who want to use group projects in their classroom and want to prepare their students to work effectively in teams.” Palmer recommends educators try one or all of these 13 activities before assigning pupils a group project. The exercises cover fundamentals like how students can get to know one another, assign roles, resolve conflicts, and build consensus. They also involve less obvious tactics, like journal writing as a means of evaluating the group’s progress and “tower building” to encourage pupils to rely on one another. Each activity is formatted like a recipe, listing the time it will take, the materials involved, and the team-building skill it will attempt to teach. For example, the skill for the activity “Word Lists” is “plan, design, or carry out a project or task from start to finish.” In “Word Lists,” each student is asked to memorize as many words on a list as possible, repeating those that they can remember. Then the students are put into teams to complete the same task, with planning time beforehand to strategize how best to memorize the words as a group. Ideally, the teams of students should be able to collectively memorize a greater number of the words than they could as individuals. Each activity concludes with useful “Debriefing Questions” that ask the pupils to think back on the exercise and share their opinions of it: “What were the advantages and disadvantages of working on your own and as part of a team?” Palmer’s background is in teaching ESL/EFL and TESL, and she bases these activities on teamwork skills identified by the Conference Board of Canada. She writes in a simple, directional prose that keeps her instructions concise and unadorned. Each step of the way, she explains the reasoning behind the activity and how it relates to the process of team-building. She generally offers examples or templates for all of her recommendations, from journal-writing prompts to self-evaluation sheets. The book itself is slim—more manual than pedagogical treatise—fitting all 13 of the exercises into 62 pages. If it feels like a crash course, that’s by design: these team skills are meant to be taught as a precursor to group work, so it makes sense to try to get them out of the way within a day or two. The guide makes it simple to read, prepare for, and enact such exercises quickly and easily. Palmer recommends a regimen of all 13—each is designed around a separate skill, after all—but walking through even one of them with students will surely create a more fertile environment for subsequent group work.

An efficient guide to teaching teamwork skills to pupils.

Pub Date: July 15, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-9977628-4-6

Page Count: 62

Publisher: Alphabet Publishing

Review Posted Online: Oct. 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2017

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Carefully researched and chilling, if somewhat overwritten.


Comprehensive, myth-busting examination of the Colorado high-school massacre.

“We remember Columbine as a pair of outcast Goths from the Trench Coat Mafia snapping and tearing through their high school hunting down jocks to settle a long-running feud. Almost none of that happened,” writes Cullen, a Denver-based journalist who has spent the past ten years investigating the 1999 attack. In fact, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold conceived of their act not as a targeted school shooting but as an elaborate three-part act of terrorism. First, propane bombs planted in the cafeteria would erupt during lunchtime, indiscriminately slaughtering hundreds of students. The killers, positioned outside the school’s main entrance, would then mow down fleeing survivors. Finally, after the media and rescue workers had arrived, timed bombs in the killers’ cars would explode, wiping out hundreds more. It was only when the bombs in the cafeteria failed to detonate that the killers entered the high school with sawed-off shotguns blazing. Drawing on a wealth of journals, videotapes, police reports and personal interviews, Cullen sketches multifaceted portraits of the killers and the surviving community. He portrays Harris as a calculating, egocentric psychopath, someone who labeled his journal “The Book of God” and harbored fantasies of exterminating the entire human race. In contrast, Klebold was a suicidal depressive, prone to fits of rage and extreme self-loathing. Together they forged a combustible and unequal alliance, with Harris channeling Klebold’s frustration and anger into his sadistic plans. The unnerving narrative is too often undermined by the author’s distracting tendency to weave the killers’ expressions into his sentences—for example, “The boys were shooting off their pipe bombs by then, and, man, were those things badass.” Cullen is better at depicting the attack’s aftermath. Poignant sections devoted to the survivors probe the myriad ways that individuals cope with grief and struggle to interpret and make sense of tragedy.

Carefully researched and chilling, if somewhat overwritten.

Pub Date: April 6, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-446-54693-5

Page Count: 406

Publisher: Twelve

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2009

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The sub-title of this book is "Reflections on Education with Special Reference to the Teaching of English in the Upper Forms of Schools." But one finds in it little about education, and less about the teaching of English. Nor is this volume a defense of the Christian faith similar to other books from the pen of C. S. Lewis. The three lectures comprising the book are rather rambling talks about life and literature and philosophy. Those who have come to expect from Lewis penetrating satire and a subtle sense of humor, used to buttress a real Christian faith, will be disappointed.

Pub Date: April 8, 1947

ISBN: 1609421477

Page Count: -

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 17, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1947

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