Ask the Author: Mike Anderson

This interview appeared on the Responsive Classroom blog in September, 2010.
Questions for Mike Anderson, author of three books in the What Every Teacher Needs to Know series, including What Every 4th Grade Teacher Needs to Know About Setting Up and Running A Classroom:

Which advice were you happiest to have included in the book?

I think I was most pleased with Chapter 4, “Classroom Games, Special Projects, and Field Trips.” Teachers today can be so overwhelmed with preparing kids for tests and delivering scripted curricular programs that it’s possible to forget the importance of things that make school enjoyable. I feel like that whole chapter helps remind teachers about how important it is for students to play and become deeply engaged in their work.

Which chapter do you think teachers will find most useful right away?

My guess is that will depend on the reader. If someone picks up this book in mid-year, they may jump right to the part about organizing field trips. A teacher who gets the book just before the school year starts might begin with the first chapter, which deals with setting up a classroom. My hope is that teachers will use the book to meet their most immediate and pressing needs and as a guide in general for teaching fourth grade.

Which chapter was most fun to write?

I was surprised. I expected the chapter about games, field trips, and special activities to be the most fun, and that was enjoyable to write. But I found the chapter about building schedules and routines actually flowed the most easily. Schedules and routines are really the heart of the teaching day. It’s actually one of the things I most miss about being a classroom teacher. Writing that chapter reminded me of so many wonderful small daily moments of teaching!

What did you notice and how did you feel when you first held the finished book in your hands?

The first thing I noticed was the visual layout of this book. The book has such an inviting and approachable appearance that I think new teachers will find it easy to use and enjoyable to read. On a personal note, it’s also really fun to see my good friend, Tim Caster, featured in so many pictures. I first met him when he interned in my classroom over ten years ago, and it’s exciting to see him throughout the book!

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  • Mike Anderson
    Mike Anderson is an education consultant, award-winning teacher, and author of many books including What We Say and How We Say It MatterThe Well-Balanced Teacher, The First Six Weeks of School, The Research-Ready Classroom, and Learning to Choose, Choosing to Learn. Learn more about Mike and his work or invite him to work with your school or district through his website: Connect with Mike on Twitter: @balancedteacher.

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    Mike Anderson
    Leading Great Learning
    Durham, NH
    Phone: +1 413.658.7907

    Leading Great Learning

    Mike Anderson is an energetic, experienced, and highly sought-after educational consultant who helps facilitate great learning in schools all over the United States and beyond. He has over twenty years of experience as a teacher, consultant, presenter, and developer and has authored many books and articles about great teaching and learning.