Teachers for Teachers | Slice of Life: Teachers – You Need This Book…Right Now! #SOL18
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Slice of Life: Teachers – You Need This Book…Right Now! #SOL18

She looks in my bag and sees the book.

Oh, great.  My copy hasn’t arrived yet.  Thanks for bringing it.

There are moments in life not to share.

There are moments in life when even twenty-four years of partnership doesn’t cut it.

Oh no.  You can’t have that book.

Are you kidding?

Never more serious. 

She looks at me in disbelief.

I try again.

Remember when Wayne told us that some things are just good for your soul – you know- professionally important AND good for your soul?  This book is just that.  It is smart. It is funny. It is practical. It is timely.  It is good for my soul.

So … I can’t have it?

The good news is Tammy’s copy came the next day.

Kids 1st From Day 1 by Christine Hertz and Kristine Mraz is the book.  If you don’t have it yet, stop reading now, go back to the beginning of this sentence, click on the title, and buy the book.

Glad you are back!  Here is what we love, and we know you will LOVE about this book:

  1. They describe teaching as our heart work. Teaching is our heart work and it NEEDS to be our heart work.  They share neurological research to support this thesis and show us how to become more growth-oriented and self-compassionate teachers.  Here are some ideas they share in the book:
    • Think about your schedule from a child’s-eye view – how responsive are we? (p 9).
    • Think about your play personality – do you honor all forms of play to engage your learners? (p 14).
    • Think more about your bias and how it impacts your classroom – have you examined and reflected upon your bias and how you can make steps toward a better world? (p 21).
  2. They remind us how important our classroom environment is for learning. Our students’ voices need to be in our classroom design and there is no better way to achieve this than letting them help us.  From arrangement to materials, to books, to the schedule – these authors will help us reflect on our classroom space and think about how to revise it to put kids first. We love the ideas they share for letting students set up the classroom during the first few days of school (p 45) and the ideas they share to get kids up, moving and learning!  The brain research on learning and movement is too compelling to ignore – once you read how they suggest making this happen, it will also be too easy to ignore.
  3. We cannot count the number of times teachers ask us for sample schedules. These authors make teachers’ dream come true!!  They not only share detailed schedules for various grade levels they share the why behind the design and how they have adjusted schedules to reflect the physical and emotional needs of their students.
  4. The last section is titled Curriculum – but really it is about formative assessment and responsive teaching at its best!! We all have standards and curriculum, but they are useless if we do not think about them in relation to the students sitting in front of us.  The authors provide a checklist (p 110) to help you reflect on why and how you are teaching something.  They also provide frameworks to help you observe students and collect the information you need to adjust instruction.  You will love the samples, unit suggestions, time-frame examples and practical tips they share about their process of developing curriculum.  This chapter is one you will reference again and again.


I will stop writing now so you can start reading!   Kids 1st From Day 1 by Christine Hertz and Kristine Mraz has everything you would expect from these authors – funny anecdotes; reflective stories; great charts; authentic examples, and practical information.  It truly is a hopeful book.   A book that melds your teaching heart and teaching mind.  A book that puts kids first and honors the role of the teacher.  A book you must have … now!

Thank you to StaceyBetsyBethKathleenDebMelanie, and Lanny for creating this community and providing this space for teachers and others to share their stories every day in March and on Tuesdays throughout the year.


  • Avatar
    Posted at 09:29h, 19 March Reply

    Just moved up in my TBR pile. There are wonderful companion resources on the Heinemann web page along with a great podcast to support your assertion. Along with Mindset for Learning, these two teacher-writers have oodless to add to our practice.

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    Erika Victor
    Posted at 09:33h, 19 March Reply

    I am getting this book by special delivery and after this review, I am even more excited about it. I feel like our team has really tried to put kids first this year, but I know that I can always improve, so I look forward to improving my practice on the shoulders of these two wise practitioners.

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    Amy Rudd
    Posted at 09:36h, 19 March Reply

    Thanks for sharing about this book Clare. It sounds like a book many teachers will dive into. Looking forward to reading it.

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    Molly Hogan
    Posted at 09:46h, 19 March Reply

    Wow! Now that’s a glowing review! I’ve added the book to my Amazon list and hope to order it soon. It sounds wonderful!

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    Cara Wegrzyn
    Posted at 09:47h, 19 March Reply

    The anticipation I felt while reading your Slice was so intense. What book is this that you two are about to fight over? I SO want to get this book. There was an amazing Twitter chat with the authors a couple of weeks ago. It sounds like a great book for all teachers!

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    Kevin Hodgson
    Posted at 09:51h, 19 March Reply

    Thanks for the heads up. Always looking for new resources and ways of looking at the classroom.

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    Michelle Haseltine
    Posted at 09:55h, 19 March Reply

    This book sounds amazing! Would it be worth it for a middle school teacher? Thank you for the recommendation!

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    Diane Dougherty
    Posted at 11:01h, 19 March Reply

    Your enthusiastic review is all I needed to click “buy.” We all need books that are good for our souls. Glad Tammy’s book came the next day!

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    Lynne Dorfman
    Posted at 12:02h, 19 March Reply

    A great review, Clare. I, too, have a copy of the book and am eager to read it. Right now, I am reading Practicing Presence by Lisa Lucas, a very good book by Stenhouse Publishers. After I finish it, with such a stellar review from you, I will move to the Kids 1st From Day 1. Thanks for highlighting your takeaways for us. Much love!

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    Elisabeth Ellington
    Posted at 13:23h, 19 March Reply

    This sounds excellent! Wasn’t entirely sure I’d read this one as I thought it might skew young for my interests and teaching responsibilities, but I can tell I would get a lot from it. I also love the way you structure the review as a list of things you’ll love–totally stealing that for the next professional development book review I write. Enjoyed the little dialogue slice at the beginning too.

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    Ashley Tice
    Posted at 21:42h, 19 March Reply

    Thank you for sharing!

    Just the title has my interest, as this is something that I find myself saying more and more as my teaching tenure continues.

    To me, it is very evident which teachers are present to collect paychecks and which are there to make a difference. The mindset of putting the students first is something that true educators have to have.

    I am looking forward to obtaining this resource; thanks again!

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    Amanda Potts
    Posted at 22:19h, 19 March Reply

    Added it to my list – this review definitely models how to build anticipation!

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    Melanie Meehan
    Posted at 00:34h, 20 March Reply

    I was hoping you’d stop writing as I have that book in my bag and now I’m even more curious to open it up and start reading. I love the interaction between you and Tammy. You’re too funny.

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    Karen Szymusiak
    Posted at 01:19h, 20 March Reply

    Thanks for sharing this book. I think I need to get a copy!

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    Kendra Limback
    Posted at 02:01h, 20 March Reply

    Oh! Before I came here, I was just writing about this book was ordered on my Amazon account last night because of a Yoda pint glass. I cannot wait to get it in my hands. And I’ll think twice about sharing.

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