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Driver teacher’s first book published

Published 10:35pm Tuesday, February 12, 2013

A gifted resource teacher at Driver Elementary School has just had her first book published, on 90 teaching strategies and how they can be implemented.

Mary Rogers came up with the idea for “Differentiation Dictionary,” intending it to be a set of strategy cards rather than a book, after attending a state conference for gifted teachers in October 2011.

Driver Elementary gifted resources teacher Mary Rogers has had her first book for teachers published. She said that the 14-month process from inception to publication was more difficult than she thought it would be.

“Looking at vendors, the last thing I wanted as a teacher is another book sitting on the shelf,” she said, adding that teachers rarely have time to go through them.

She pitched her idea for strategy cards to a publisher well known in school districts: Pieces of Learning.

“My thinking was, that was pretty much the end,” she said. “(But) the response was, ‘Sounds great, now create it.’”

Rogers got to work creating what she thought would be cards, sending it to the publisher in November.

“They offered me a contract last December,” she said. “Obviously, I was ecstatic.”

Rogers and the publisher next engaged in a game of back-and-forth with updates and changes, she said, before the company in May requested a book rather than cards.

That pushed October as the originally intended date of publication back a few months as Rogers got to work adding more strategies — the book contains 90 — and devising examples for the classroom.

“It was about a 14-month process from the idea to actual publication,” Rogers said.

The differentiation strategies contained her book can be applied to any grade level in any classroom, she said.

“It’s meant to be a book of convenience,” she said, adding that time-poor teachers — which are most of them — will get a lot out of it.

“These are strategies that will help any classroom teacher meet the kids above-level, and the kids not quite working at that level, to challenge them at their level as well.”

Each strategy is defined and explained and with examples of how it can be used in the classroom.

“I didn’t create the strategies,” Rogers said, “but they are certainly ones I use on a regular basis.”

Producing the book, she said, was “way more daunting than I thought it would be, especially when the publishing company decided to change it from cards to a book.

“That opened up a whole new can of worms.”

But Rogers advised other teachers considering producing a learning aid to “go for it.”

“Differentiation Dictionary” can be ordered at piecesoflearning.com and costs $16.95.

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