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(Tune Up Your Teaching & Turn On Student Learning)


What I'm impressed with is that this book has a lot to think about, but it’s a light read. So many books get mired down in the technical language that the message gets lost, or they're so boring no one finishes reading them—not this book!

Dr. Marilyn Marquand – Retired Teacher, Site Administrator, and Science Specialist for the San Diego County Office of Education.


When I first started teaching Earth Science, I was told, “Students are ‘consumers.’ They don’t think and don’t want to think. Give them a worksheet, and they will be compliant and get their work done.” Drs. Jurchan and Downing have reawakened my passion to bring out the best mysteries of the earth sciences and help students wonder and experience the awe in this field—to expand the galaxy of their life-long learning as they engage the majesty of how the Earth works, came to be, and fits into the universe.

David Youngblood - Professional Science Educator,

Liberty Charter High School


Wow! A job well done—engaging the reader in what is generally described as theoretical jargon—a difficult task. I respect the authors’ expertise as they take you on an extraordinary journey to transform teaching. The artful, informal style creates a thought-provoking environment for reflection on teaching practice. You will take away many ideas, strategies and activities to foster learners who love learning.

Linda Morris - Elementary Science Coordinator,

 Denver Public Schools


I really like the ideas in the book. I think it would be great for professional development and in-service sessions! I love the specific examples and ideas!

Anne Marie Boyer – English Teacher,

 Fort Wayne City Schools


The analogy in this book, the archipelago of knowledge where the Monarch’s goal is to get the subjects to want to explore and have their own experiences vs. have a set of pat answers regarding content seems contradictory to the current test culture in education. There seems to be a disconnect between learning and assessment. Your analogy illustrates the value of teaching inquisitiveness and enabling students to access resources, both books and peers, for their own "adventure in learning." I'm glad you’re doing this work!

Traci Bianchi – Coach and Parent


Most teachers spoon feed their students answers to the questions they ask them. This, in turn, never allows the students to learn and discover the answers for themselves. Dr. Downing, on the other hand, used the methods described in this book, in his classes. I apply those methods to classes I take. Those methods have become the way I will learn for the rest of my life. For that, I am very grateful. Everyone who reads this book will discover how they can help students truly learn.

Bailey Benson –  High School Senior


I’m reminded of two boys who came in to complain and wiggle a way out of your class. In fact, I believe one parent came in and spoke with the Principal several times. By mid-semester, both students couldn't thank me enough as the counselor for "forcing" them to stay in the class. They believe they have been placed in a better position educationally by being exposed to your teaching styles and methods, which are brought to life in this book. Just thought I would share.

Dawn Roppe –  High School Counselor


All my teachers have always told me the answer when I had a question. You didn't. You made me figure it out for myself, among other things. And for that I want to thank you. You have given me a glimpse of what the real world is going to be like. Because of you and your class I am more confident in myself. I feel more independent. You prepared me well for my high school years, and many years in the future. This book, filled with strategies and rationale for what you do as a teacher, is sure to help other teachers be more effective as they help their students become better learners.

Rachel Seymour –Freshman, California Poly,

 San Luis Obispo


This book reminds me that, although it may be frustrating at times to not have the answer always in front of you, it is definitely more rewarding when you've struggled with a difficult problem by yourself or with a group of peers and finally reach that “Aha!” moment. Not only do you remember what you learned much better, but you also learn how to think critically for yourself, which is ultimately one of the best things you can hope to achieve from school.

Hannah Youngwirth –Senior, University of California,

 San Diego


When you read this book, you might find yourself constantly nodding in agreement or laughing in enjoyment!  Dr. Jurchan and Dr. Downing truly understand what it means to be a professional, reflective educator, and they effectively share what they have learned in over seventy years (combined) in education. I hope that this book truly is, as they write, a catalyst for some trail blazing in education.

Sara Chai – Science Educator, Montgomery Middle School,

Sweetwater Union High School District