The Ten-Minute Inservice

Written by Donna Boucher

Donna has been a teacher, math instructional coach, interventionist, and curriculum coordinator. A frequent speaker at state and national conferences, she shares her love for math with a worldwide audience through her website, Math Coach’s Corner. Donna is also the co-author of Guided Math Workshop.

Last summer at CAMT (Conference for the Advancement of Mathematics Teachers), I had the pleasure of hearing Todd Whitaker speak.  Life changing.  I blogged about his book, What Great Teachers Do Differently, and that post has been pinned over 10,000 times!  It continues to be one of my most viewed posts, and I think the reason is clear–we all want to be better at what we do. Who doesn’t want to be a highly effective teacher?

Here’s another fact that will get most teachers’ heads nodding–it’s easier to do than to teach.  I remember the first time I was faced with teaching long division.  I quickly realized that while I knew how to divide, teaching it to a student was something totally different.  The same is true of being a highly effective teacher.  While we can walk into a classroom and immediately know that we are in the room of a highly effective teacher, it’s difficult to pass on that knowledge to others.  Until now.  Todd Whitaker’s new book, The Ten-Minute Inservice contains 40 training sessions that each can be delivered in 10 minutes.  This book takes the guess work out of increasing teacher effectiveness.  While the sessions are designed to be used in a staff meeting setting, this book will be an invaluable resource to me, as an instructional coach, as I work with teachers in my building.  It is literally a blueprint for raising the instructional bar.  Here’s another tip.  Are you a teacher looking to improve your teaching practices?  Buy the book!  Your “ten-minute inservice” can be reading a chapter and trying a new technique in your classroom!

Each of the chapters has the same organization: purpose, inservice, implementation.  For example, the first chapter is about the importance of having a procedure for securing students’ attention.  The chapter includes the purpose of having an attention signal (“You cannot teach any of the content effectively until you can manage the students.”), the inservice portion which includes an example of an attention signal, and the implementation, or the follow-through.

Whitaker points out that these training sessions are not just for ineffective teachers.  The point is to move ALL teachers along the continuum toward being more effective.

Interested in hearing more?  Here’s a video clip featuring the authors:


  1. Tammy

    I always enjoy your book recommendations. I’ll add this one to my list!
    ❀ Tammy
    Forever in First

    • Donna Boucher

      The possibilities for improving teacher effectiveness with this book are exciting, Tammy!

  2. TheElementary MathManiac

    Thanks for the recommendation. As I move toward working with even more teachers next year, this will be a must have!

    The Math Maniac

    • Donna Boucher

      I agree it’s going to be very helpful, Tara!

  3. Katie Orr

    I found your blog on TPT…I am so excited to read more posts! I am reading interventionist at an intermediate school…and am really hoping to work with tier 3 math students next year! 🙂 Your site is going to come in handy!!

    Mind Sparks

    • Donna Boucher

      Welcome, Katie!

  4. Kim

    I have just bought these two books on kindle and they are a great resource for me teaching more effectively! Thanks for recommending them!!! Kim

    • Donna Boucher

      My pleasure, Kim! I’ve got another one of his on my Kindle, but I haven’t gotten to it yet. So inspiring!

  5. Keeper of the Dumplings

    I saw Annette Breau many years ago and I still use so many things I learned that day. She is a dynamic speaker


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