Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Book Review: Mind Joggers

Title: Mind Joggers
        
Author: Susan S. Petreshene
        
Date: 1985
        
Publisher: Center for Applied Research in Education
        
ISBN: 0-87628-583-3
        
Length: 208 pages of mind joggers, 14 pages of introduction
        
Quote: “For most teachers unplanned-for extra minutes occur from time to time...not enough for a formal lesson but...sufficient for a worthwhile activity...that requires no preparation.”
        
For most students, even in elementary school, these activities probably won’t make them “think.” “Think,” without emphasis, perhaps. Some cerebral activity is involved in making a list of things that are hot, explaining why “peach” is different from “carrot, potato, green bean,” or what category something fits into (“A bus is a type of transportation”)...but it’s not intense, or prolonged, or creative, or likely to be joyous thought.
        
Especially not if it’s supervised by a humor-challenged, imagination-deficient teacher: “A student once said that a broom could be used to break a window. This appeared to be nothing more than a silly response. However, when asked to explain, she said, ‘If there were a fire you could use a broom to break the window to get out.’” We all know the sequel, although Petreshene doesn’t type it out: “And then, because the other students were bored and confined, and because the teacher had called attention to Brooke’s response, they all started teasing Brooke about having given a goofy answer. And Brooke, who was mature and precocious enough to see that nobody actually wanted a good answer that was different from their own lame and stale answers, didn’t volunteer another answer in another class until her junior year at university.”
        
Anyway, this book can be used to fill in extra minutes at school, but it’s likely to get even more use if parents use it to start car games. Although these activities aren’t likely to be terribly new or stimulating for the six-to-twelve-year-old set, they probably will make four-year-olds “think,” and they will, in any case,give kids something to do besides bickering.

In the absence of conclusive evidence as to whether Petreshene is still alive, we can't offer Mind Joggers as a Fair Trade Book. However, if you send salolianigodagewi @ yahoo.com $5 for the book + $5 for shipping, and you also purchase a Fair Trade Book, you will pay only one shipping charge for as many books as fit into one package, and the living writer or his or her favorite charity will receive the full 10% of the full payment.