Wilson's Best Picks 

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Leslie Owen Wilson 1997, 2005, restrictions on usage

Welcome to Leslie Owen Wilson's Best Picks List

This is a great time to find new materials that relate to education -- especially ones that explain reformed educational ideas and practices. There are tremendous arrays of materials readily available as Internet resources. Additionally, new technological advances in science have helped give a clearer picture of just how the human brain learns and retains information. Through these information sources, and related educational research,  the possibilities for reforming and revising educational practices so that they are truly effective are genuinely amazing.

What's here? There are a number of bibliographies linked below that lead to lists of great books representative of varied strands within this site. These lists contain book recommendations in areas of creativity, on maintaining ones' creative spirit, on curricular issues and instructional design, and on recent trends in education. However, the books, resources, and clips listed on this page are ones that are highly recommended because they are different, are revolutionary, are by folks whose work can really  make differences in the lives of children, or because they help teachers and parents understand something at much deeper levels. Also, in this section are listed books that are meant to inspire teachers -- books that have been chosen because they can help renew the spirit of teaching and teachers.

If you have one or two books or videos you'd like me to consider posting, please send me the titles and a brief note as to why the book or video is important to education reform, or to lives of children.  Thanks!  

e-mail Leslie

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     Resources that can make a difference in:

Teaching, living, learning, and understanding others 


Abigail James has written a book on the male brain. The title is deceptive as the book is chocked full of information on the importance of experiential learning not only to males but to those females who respond better to hands on learning. This is a must have book for today's teachers.

  • Teaching the male brain  - from Corwin Press

Eric Jensen's work on brain-based education is extremely readable, interesting, and applicable for use in any educational setting. Here are some of his best books some of which are available through ASCD ( www.ascd.org )  

  • Different brains, different learners: How to reach the hard to reach
  • Arts with the brain in mind (ASCD)
  • Teaching with the brain in mind

David A. Sousa is another author who writes about brain-based learning. His work is also very readable and he offers lots of information and numerous helpful hints about brain compatible learning and  illustrations on brain functions. (All those listed are from Corwin Press)

  • How the brain learns (3nd edition) 
  • How the special needs brain learns  
  • How the Gifted Brain Learns. 
  • The Leadership Brain.   

Dr. Mel Levine - He is a pediatrician who is very concerned about the labels we place on children with different learning needs. His work with children, his books and presentations are making parents and teachers think about learning differences in new ways. 

  • A mind at a time
  • All kinds of minds

Gordon MacKenzie offers priceless tips on how to maintain creativity within the overwhelming rules and regulations of governmental and corporate structures. Personally, this is one of my favorites and I use it in my graduate creativity class. My students love it -- it helps them think outside the box and offers insights into the real world or work. 
  • Orbiting the giant hairball

Mel Silberman's book has written a book on teaching strategies that should be on every teacher's shelf.  Published by Allyn  & Bacon.

  • Active learning: 101 strategies to teach any subject

Donna Walker Tileston has written a short, but very effective, book for Corwin Press highlighting the best teaching practices in light of recent educational trends and brain research.

  • 10 BEST teaching practices: How brain research, learning styles, and standards define teaching competencies 

Videos, Clips and Websites

All about understanding the human mind 

Recently PBS (Public Broadcast Television) has produced several videos that are extraordinary!  These are available through the PBS Store and are very reasonable.  These should be viewed by both parents and teachers.  

  • Misunderstood minds - An in depth look at how children with learning problems are in danger of failing not only school but life. 
  • The secret life of the brain - A five part series on the evolution and developmental life of the human brain.

TED - Technology, Entertainment, Design - Started out as a conference in 1984 and brings together a phenomenal group of thinkers from all over the world to share new ideas, concerns, as well as innovations. Site includes many wonderful speeches by attendees and invited speakers. Listen to TEDTalks.  Here are a few of my favorite clips:

    Great link and site

    PBS for Kids - Series of links for kids, teachers and parents. Wonderful array of shows with guides, challenges, and activities  -- so great it makes one want to be a kid again! Check out Fetch! with Ruff Ruffman

A Dynamite Resources Online

How people learn: Brain, mind, experience, and school - A really nice resource for finding about the brain and learning

 Teaching Tolerance Sponsored by the Southern Poverty Law Center , this site is dedicated to helping teachers, children and parents eradicate hate and bigotry. Excellent resources many of which are free to teachers.  

Edutopia -  The George Lucas Educational Foundation (GLEF) sponsors a great website and educational publication called Edutopia. The site includes the e-version of the magazine, and also many interesting features like an extensive video library with short, downloadable clips on hot topics in education. It is one of my favorite sites and publication.

The Whole Child Network - New from ASCD

Books for sustaining and nurturing the spirits of teachers 

Teacher burnout is a very real condition in today's times. This is an important book that is not just for principals but one that every teacher needs to read. It has lots of good ideas for helping to renew and refresh the spirit of teaching.  

  • Barbara L. Brock and Marilyn L. Grady. Rekindling the Flame: Principals combating teacher burnout. Corwin Press, Inc
  • Greta K. Nagel. The Tao Of Teaching. Plume.
  • Lynell Burmark. Enlighten Up! An Educator's Guide to Stress-Free Living. (ASCD) Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development. 

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 copyright Leslie Owen Wilson, 1997, 2001, '03, '05. '07