Book Review

How to Survive and Thrive in the First Three Weeks of School

by Elaine K. McEwan, Corwin Press, Thousand Oaks, Calif., 2006, 264 pp. with index, $35.95 softcover

In the introduction of her book, How to Survive and Thrive in the First Three Weeks of School, Elaine K. Mc-Ewan, an educational consultant and former teacher, shares the meaning of the “big” idea of the book: 3 + 3 = 33. She says the more students are taught the new three R’s — routines, rubrics and rules — during the first three weeks of a school year, the more productive the rest of the school year (33 weeks) will be.

The concept of 3 + 3 = 33 is supported, the author says, by summaries of research studies on effective classroom management and teaching and by research on effective teaching.

Throughout the seven chapters, key concepts and strategies are introduced and transferred to actual classroom use through comments made by 97 “With-It” Teachers, or WITs, from schools nationwide. The WITs, nominated by their principals, teach various subjects and grade levels.

The best ideas gleaned from the WITs, dealing with seating charts, lesson plans, checklists and PowerPoint programs, are incorporated. The suggestions can help new teachers with classroom management, time management and student engagement.

For the school administrator who is looking for a practical resource to include in a new teacher’s “welcome” packet, this book could help newcomers gain confidence and develop trusting relationships.

Reviewed by George E. Pawlas, professor of educational leadership, University of Central Florida, Orlando, Fla.