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Teaching Outside the Box: How to Grab Your Students By Their Brains Paperback – Aug 15 2005

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Jossey-Bass; 1 edition (Aug. 15 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0787974714
  • ISBN-13: 978-0787974718
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 17.5 x 23.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 431 g
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #228,004 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Teacher Lady on July 31 2007
Format: Paperback
This book is amazing!
I have been teaching for 12 years and I wish I had seen this book sooner. It has many great ideas that I have started to use. I have also found myself feeding off of some of her ideas. This book covers a wide range of topics. Yes, some of it is "common sense" but it also introduces new ideas and ways of approaching teaching and student behaviour. Best of all, this is a practical book based on years of experience! It is not theoretical. You can use the ideas tomorrow in your class! I highly recommend it!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 37 reviews
144 of 147 people found the following review helpful
Excellent, pragmatic approaches for building a classroom Sept. 10 2005
By Teechah - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I've already used some of the methods I found in Ms. Johnson's book, and share much of her general philosophy of working with kids from difficult backgrounds. Even after 10 years of being fairly successful at teaching "at-risk" kids I found that seeing the logic and reasoning of her approach on the page clued me in to many of the principles behind a successful classroom which I've used but never saw fully articulated on the page. It sounds bizarre, but I now have a better understanding of the "hows and whys" of what I do from reading her work. These are the tips that you didn't get in college regarding working with challenging older kids; it's both an intellectual and visceral approach to teaching that will help you avoid many confrontations with kids before they ever happen, and give you the understanding of how to handle the battles you can't avoid. Holding kids to high standards of behavior sends the message to your students that you believe that they are capable great things, but it can take years to build the skills a teacher needs to get to that point. This book is the blueprint for building a successful classroom.

There is also a lot here about understanding kids that have to return everyday to very difficult lives at home. Many teachers of kids with tough home lives fail because they never really understood the lives of the young people they were dealing with. Understanding the reasoning and emotions behind unreasonable classroom behavior is the key to minimizing it and surviving as a teacher and this book reminds us that these behaviors have roots in what these kids have to go through everyday. There is much here to remind you of the positive and long-lasting effects a caring teacher can have, and that the balance of positive reinforcement with a tough determination for high standards is key to getting the best out of our kids.

I've always been struck by the fact that a greater community hasn't been built by the teachers that work with challenging students but maybe that comes from the fact that we're cut from a different cloth. The unfortunate aspect of this lack of community is that many of us build our approaches from scrap, taking the best of what we see in our coworkers and trying methods that we come up with on the fly. There's just so little accumulated knowledge on our curious line of work passed down from one generation of experienced teacher to the next.

Also, there are many aspects of working with tough kids that will never make it into the education school textbooks, a manifestation of the great and ridiculous divide between educational research and classroom practice (don't even let me get started on that topic). The validity of educational academia's fad-of-the-decade theories can be said to be directly correlated to the years they had spent teaching challenging students in difficult circumstances (typically near zero I would imagine). How is it that the people that become our vaunted leaders have barely any practical teaching experience, moving from undergrad to a leadership position in our field with barely any experience teaching in a real classroom? Imagine how well a country's military would function if it operated under the same philosophy ("What, you have no combat experience? Well, by all means, you're a general now and please, lead the army into battle sir!").

Ivory tower leaders of education may be able to quantify the number of kids that respond to a reading program that your district will never have the money to correctly implement but they will NEVER understand and share the necessity of learning to deliver a cutting remark or chillingly cold stare to an misbehaving student. This book delivers the goods to those that wish to help the kids that most people have given up on, who work for little more than the knowledge that they did something that needed and deserved to be done.
96 of 97 people found the following review helpful
A Godsend Not Just For Educators But Also For The General Public! April 6 2006
By Literature Fan - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I followed Ms. Johnson's story ever since the movie based on her books and experience, DANGEROUS MINDS came out in 1995. I have had different careers, including secondary teaching. I have taught students with the same characteristics that she describes in MY POSSE DON'T DO HOMEWORK, GIRLS AT THE BACK OF THE CLASS and TEACHING OUTSIDE THE BOX.

Out of all of the resources about methods of teaching, TEACHING OUTSIDE THE BOX tops my list of the greatest. 95 percent of the other resources like Harry Wong's THE FIRST DAYS OF SCHOOL always assume that every teacher has no more than 20 students in the class and that most students are highly motivated and respectful of all of their teachers. Ms. Johnson, on the other hand, addresses the "what if your methods do not work"? She describes endless specific examples of what exactly a teacher could do if a teacher has more than 40 students in a class and it seems like no one is listening or on task.

While Ms. Johnson offers some of her fabulous lesson plans like on ROMEO AND JULIET, she also explains psychological theories of possibilities why difficult kids and even difficult adults behave the way they do.

I also love how this terrific resource includes the letter that Ms. Johnson sends to all of her students. She further printed actual letters from kids and adults asking her for her advice, which I found both entertaining and tear jerking. The question that 10 year old "Big Momma" wrote and Ms. Johnson's reply was hilarious!

Even if you are not a teacher, counselor, or other educator, I highly recommend TEACHING OUTSIDE THE BOX. I wish that I would have had this book when I worked in business management because then I would understand more why some adults behave the way they do; Ms Johnson's theories have lots of implications for working with adults. The chapter on "Twenty Years From Now" will bring back memories of your life experiences for anyone, no matter how old you are!


Oh, and just yesterday, I contacted Ms Johnson via e-mail after discovering her website. I was not expecting her to respond because she must receive e-mails and letters from all over the world. Ms Johnson responded with just amazing advice! This shows her ongoing dedication!
45 of 46 people found the following review helpful
A gem for teachers old and new! Dec 12 2005
By Mark Phillips - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This book is a must for beginning teachers and for pros who need new ideas. It combines street smart practicality with the creative thinking we need to reach kids today. I plan to use it immediately in my university level teacher training courses and recommend it highly to the teachers I work with in the field. We do need to teach outside the box to make education meaningful for today's adolescents. LouAnne Johnson understands that and her book will make it possible for more teachers to get there.
41 of 46 people found the following review helpful
By ardnam - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I had high hopes when I purchased this book but was sadly disappointed. It really is a good book for either new teachers or those who work in urban settings. I am not new to teaching nor do I teach in an urban area so I was not able to put my reading to good use. I think there is an abundance of great advice for those new to profession so I would recommend this highly to them. If you have taught for several years you probably already implement the recommendations in the book. While some of the book could be applied to any grade level, most of it is geared toward middle or high school. This also was contrary to my personal needs but may be quite useful to others. So, new teachers, urban teachers, and teachers of grades 6-12 will probably find this book rather useful. Others might want to keep looking for something else that targets their needs more directly.
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
One of the BEST books about education July 11 2006
By Emily D. Doty - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
When I got this book, I couldn't put it down! I stayed up late to read the entire book. I cannot wait to put some of the ideas into practice in my own classroom this fall. There are a few ideas that I don't agree with (not having seating charts, etc), but there are parts of every book that someone will not agree with. Overall, I would say that 95% of this book was extremely helpful. This book was an easy read and I would highly recommend it for any teacher, old and new.

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