________________ CM . . . . Volume IV Number 13 . . . . February 27, 1998

cover Smart Homes + Smart Schools = Smart Kids.

Denise Overall.
Richmond Hill, ON: Scholastic Canada, 1997.
156 pp., paper, $19.99.
ISBN 0-590-24772-7.

Subject Headings:
Critical thinking in children.
Creative thinking in children.

Parents & Teachers.
Review by Shannon Nesdoly.

** /4


Surveys indicate that 85% of parents want to take a more active role in their children's education but don't know how; I want to help those parents understand their role. I also want to reach out to those teachers who are trying to make their classroom a more engaging, dynamic place for their students; these "reflective practitioners" are combining the best theory and practice as they design innovative classroom instruction for their students.
In Smart Homes + Smart Schools = Smart Kids, Denise Overall looks at how parents and teachers can foster intelligence by teaching children how to think. Different forms of intelligence, learning styles, and methods to promote critical and creative thinking skills are examined. Recommendations are made for how the skills can be fostered both in the home and in the school.

      Overall introduces several interesting theories and techniques from other educators and professionals, including Edward de Bono's "six thinking hats," the True Colors approach to understanding personality, as well as mind-mapping techniques. It is a lot of ground to cover in 156 pages, and the book serves as an introduction rather than an authority. To apply many of the techniques in the classroom, further reading may be required. Fortunately, the bibliography is extensive and clearly denotes Overall's separate recommended reading lists for parents and teachers.

      The book is well laid out and includes several charts and a table of contents, but unfortunately there is no index. Summaries are included at the end of each chapter, but they may have served better as introductions. I found myself flipping to the end of each chapter to read the summary before I actually read the chapter.

      Overall, who is also a parent, boasts "25 years as a classroom teacher, librarian, curriculum co-ordinator and staff developer." She frequently relates experiences from both her professional and personal life. Although the anecdotes are both interesting and entertaining, they are often incomplete. For example, when one school had difficulties with pogs, they elected to have student representatives brainstorm the problem. Although the students apparently came up with several ideas, readers are never told the specific details.

      Smart Homes + Smart Schools = Smart Kids serves as a good introduction to a variety of ideas and techniques that warrant further attention.

Recommended with reservations.

Shannon Nesdoly is a Winnipeg parent and Education student.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright © 1998 the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.

Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364