Whatever you do don't buy this book! At least, not if you want to be remotely productive, focussed or are required to feed a small child regularly. 365 Things entertains, inspires, frustrates, befuddles, baffles and amuses in equal measure and, although the concept is to use one 'Thing' per day, it is impossible to not read on, wrestle with a 'thing', read on, wrestle with another 'thing'...You know this book has you completely hooked when you can hear your own brain arguing with itself!
From the challenging, and in some points uncomfortable, introduction 365 Things sparks your thinking into life by making you reflect on the values and messages that you give learners. For example, how many times have we said (even though we hate the thought of it) "only 105 days until SATs"? Most of us have done it, not through some sadistic pleasure of piling stress onto young learners but as a reflection of the externally induced pressures we're put under. Maybe this book will go some way to alleviating this. By embedding the messages, values and prompts contained in 365 Things we'd get deeper thinking, self-valuing confident learners ready to take on the world, secure in the knowledge that they're all good at what really counts and see SATs (and other tests) as an opportunity to show those in power just how great they are.
The 365 Things themselves cover a wide range of topics and concepts and are in some ways similar to the 'Thunks' from Ian Gilbert but the Sparky Teaching flavour is unmistakable; lots of value based content, with practical tips and tricks to extend and augment the learning all done in a positive, light-hearted way. A particular strength of this book is how 'real life' has been used to develop some of the Things e.g. news stories, web content, increasing relevance for your learners and many Things are cleverly illustrated, with the presentation adding an extra 'must-read' dimension.
365 Things, despite seemingly limiting itself to only one year's use, will undoubtedly impact on you and your learners for years to come. Aside from the value instilling content, the 'Things' will stimulate enough additional questions and thinking that you could end up writing your own book! (This probably isn't the result the publishers wanted though, so don't tell them I told you!).
With this book in your collection you'll have a ready-made source of stimulating content that can be used from whole-school assemblies through to class debates and corridor displays. And if you do work out if street dancing is a sport, let me know!