Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Square Peg by L. Todd Rose

Square Peg.  My Story and What It Means for Raising Innovators, Visionaries & Out of the Box Thinkers by L. Todd Rose with Katherine Ellison

Square Peg is, in part, a memoir about L. Todd Rose's experience growing up a misunderstood, wild and out of control kid with ADHD.  He is every teachers nightmare, throwing stink bombs in school.  He ends up making a lot of mistakes including, failing high school and is three steps short of being a juvenile delinquent.  He had a couple of things going for him though, a mother who loved and accepted him and the will to succeed.  He uses this will to succeed to reinvent himself.  Square Peg is the story of how he went from being a failure at the very bottom of the educational system to a Harvard graduate student.

Square Peg is also a book for parents and educators who are looking for answers for helping kids survive and thrive in a failing education system.  If you have a child with dyslexia or ADD or Asperger's you probably already know that your child doesn't do well in the current educational system.  Rose provides specific techniques and ideas on how to be a better parent and how to be a more effective teacher when working with kids that are active learners.

Both of my kids have ADHD and Dyslexia.  School has been a major challenge for both of them.  I am  a high school teacher who wants my students and my own children to succeed and yet I know that what L. Todd Rose states in his book his true, School is failing to educate some kids.  We must find a way to teach school so that every learner can succeed.  Right now dropout rates for high school students are staggering and many of these students are "intellectually gifted".

One of the ways to reach struggling students is to use digital technology in the classroom.  Currently I am teaching with digital media (Ipads in the classroom) and am rethinking and relearning a new way to teach my curriculum.  I am trying to create a paperless classroom (the wave of the future) as well as being creative with lessons on the Ipads.   I love it and I believe my students do too.  I plan to teach the staff in my building some of the techniques I am trying digitally in my classroom.  I love to be an innovator!  Did I mention I have ADD?

Square Peg arrived on my doorstep at the right time.  My son is struggling in school and one of the reasons why is because he is bored with worksheets.  Rose's book has given me a new outlook and strategies to help him and encourage his teachers to think "out of the box" when they teach him.

I LOVE the way the book is set up.  Each chapter begins with a relevant quote and the chapters are easy to read, entertaining, informative and positive.  At the end of every chapter are listed the Big Ideas as well as Action Items.

Square Peg is a informative book for parents and educators alike.  I think it might be my new teaching mantra as I have recommended it to several of my colleagues already.  I'm going to end with one of my favorite quotes included in the book.

"If we teach today as we taught yesterday, we rob our children of tomorrow."
John Dewey