This book is an excellent resource for the classroom teacher. It gives practical topics for a teacher to use in the classroom with samples of student writing to share. It would be particularly useful for the older grades (Grade 6 to high school) but has applications to all grade levels. It is particularly helpful for igniting open dialogue in the classroom and to help students think about topics to explore in their own personal writing. It links to different genres of writing (poetry, prose, music, etc, touches upon different societal issues (gender inequality), and has fun with writing at the same time (shopping lists, game shows, humor etc).
I find the book very practical because each "lesson" is broken into 4 parts - first, it references a piece of writing to be shared with the group - that students will use to "spark" their own ideas. Then it has a "minds on" activity in order to evolve thinking prior to writing "before writing", a "during writing" piece and an "after writing" piece.
Each writing activity begins with an introduction which is often reference to a website, song, poem, or piece of writing. These pieces referenced could be shared in the classroom (such as a picture book) or further explored if the idea resonates with your particular group or even used for professional growth. After the introduction piece, there is a "Before Writing" activity that often includes a topic to introduce, key questions to begin discussions and ways to encourage students to draw upon their own personal experiences. Next is a "During Writing" piece that gives the teachers a few key points to give to students in order to drive the focus of the writing. Finally, there is a "after writing" segment that gives samples of student writing and ways for the educator to use the piece to share (whether in groups, sharing part of their work, partners etc).
I highly recommend this book because it is a practical, user friendly tool for those that need a starting point for their writing It could also be used as tool for those who are not educators, but just want to explore their own personal, creative writing as well. As the author states,