Igniting Wonder, Reflection, and Change in Our Schools : An Educator’s Guide to Using Authentic Stories book cover
1st Edition

Igniting Wonder, Reflection, and Change in Our Schools
An Educator’s Guide to Using Authentic Stories

ISBN 9781138220607
Published March 21, 2017 by Routledge
124 Pages

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Book Description

Containing real stories from real school leaders, teachers, students, and parents in seven key areas, this book demonstrates how educators can use narrative to trigger wonder, reflection, and change in their classrooms and schools. By including examples of the narrative process in action, this book invites educators to think deeply about their daily practices, struggles, and victories in order to carry out immediate and incredible changes in their own schools. The authentic stories presented in this book offer ideas for fostering a positive learning environment and for finding solutions to the most challenging issues today in areas such as teacher‒student relationships, learning and instruction, assessment, motivation, educational policies and politics, and student engagement. By using the powerful self-reflective tool of narrative, this book will help educators to increase student achievement while constructing a positive school culture that is built on igniting authentic stories.

Table of Contents



Meet the Author

Chapter 1: When and How to Constructively Use Authentic Stories at Your School

Stories as Social Legacies

The Top Seven Areas of Powerful Storytelling

How to Use Stories

When to Use Stories

Chapter 2: Stories that Improve and IGNITE School, Community, and Interpersonal Relationships

Strengthening Teacher–Student Relationships

Strengthening Staff–Staff Relationships

Strengthening Educator–Parent and Community Relationships

Chapter 3: Stories that IGNITE Powerful Instruction with Reduced Variance


Digital Blindness

Teaching "Responsibility"

The Power of Feedback

The Redundant Curriculum

Fieldtrips and Recess

Chapter 4: Stories that IGNITE Advocacy for Thoughtful Assessment

Homework and Pop Quizzes, One Century Later

"Pop" Goes the Pop Quizzes

Popsicle Sticks

Writing Portfolios

Test Construction and Preparation

Chapter 5: Stories that Make Us Wonder about Our Own Policies

Policies that are Silly

Policies that are Missing

Policies that Leverage

Policies that are Abused or Taken for Granted

Policies that Protect

Chapter 6: Stories that Help Us to Work through Educational Politics

Common Core Politics

The Common Core State Standards and "New" Math

The Opt-Out Movement and High-Stakes Tests

Follow the Leader through the Chain of Command?

Questioning Decision Making

The Race for a School Board Seat

Chapter 7: Stories that IGNITE and Motivate Teachers and School Leaders

Stories of Victory

Stories of Defeat

Recognizing the Conditions for Celebrating Educators

Chapter 8: Stories Written By Students for Helping Other Students and Adults

Teaching Narrative Writing

Boys Will Be Boys?

Posting Student Work (a Story in Reverse)?

The Never-Ending Discipline Cycle?

What about My IEP? Creating Students with Voice

Master Schedules from a Student’s Perspective?

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Rick Jetter is an Educational Consultant for K‒12 schools across the nation and a speaker, trainer, and multi-genre author. He has worked in the field of education as a teacher, assistant principal, principal, assistant superintendent, and superintendent of schools.


"Stories are one of the most crucial, yet vastly under-utilized, aspects of leading education in the context of teaching and learning.  Igniting Wonder, Reflection, and Change in Our Schools does a great job not only in showing the reader how powerful stories are for moving education forward, but also in showing how the reader can share their story to create much better opportunities for our learning communities.  Stories are the fuel to innovation in education, and this book paints a beautiful reminder of this."
-George Couros, Innovative Teaching, Learning, and Leadership Consultant, author of "The Innovator's Mindset"

" ‘Change’ should be an ongoing process in education, and Dr. Jetter's book offers school leaders a fresh way to spark interest in renewal efforts. The book's theme—using narratives as a springboard for initiating change—will appeal to educators at all levels."
-Cathie E. West, Education Consultant and Author