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TEACHING IN THE MIDDLE SCHOOL. M. L. Manning & K. T. Bucher. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill/Prentice-Hall, 2001. 339 pp. $41.00. An advertising slogan from a popular cookie maker is "The Best Stuff Is in the Middle." That same sentiment could be applied to middle school. Middle school students can be absolutely wonderful to work with. At the same time, they can be infinitely challenging.

As a first-year middle school teacher, I eagerly accepted the challenge to review this book with an eye to new suggestions. Manning and Bucher's book is targeted to any middle school teacher, and reflects several subjects. The authors begin with a discussion of issues and concerns that middle school staff and students face every day. The next few chapters abound with charts, tables, and case studies to help explain different components of curriculum. The authors specifically advocate an integrated curriculum and give examples of how it can work.

Some of the next few chapters focus on strategies and techniques in learning, and others deal with classroom assessments and materials. All are well written and include guidelines and objectives. The last chapter focuses on relationships between teachers and counselors, and between teachers and parents.

I highly recommend this book. Each chapter contains an overview; specific objectives, tables, and charts to illustrate points; at least one or two case studies that complement the content; and a list of Web sites (including, for example, those from Seven school districts that are relevant for middle school curricula). This book is not just targeted toward the core subjects, but also can be used for specialty areas, as well as an informational tool for parents.

I only wish that the authors had written a little more about classroom management. Middle school students are totally unpredictable; some days they do their best, other days they give about 10 percent. Classroom management is key for keeping students on task and self-motivated. Overall, however, I recommend this book for undergraduate students, new teachers, and anyone teaching in the middle school. Teaching in the Middle School is a great asset. Reviewed by Scott Snyder, 6th-Grade Teacher, Gettysburg Area School District, Gettysburg, PA
COPYRIGHT 2001 Association for Childhood Education International
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Copyright 2001, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:Review
Author:Synder, Scott
Publication:Childhood Education
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Jun 22, 2001
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