I just finished reading the book "Focus" by Mike Schmoker. It it a great book for any curriculum, not just math.
The first part of the book explores general teaching strategies and the importance of keeping things simple, providing clarity and prioritizing the curriculum.
The second half of the book explores different curriculum areas: English, Social Studies, Science and Math. Obviously, I concentrated on the math section of the second part. The book really helped me to reevaluate my teaching and how to best reach students. The book explains that students need "more opportunities to apply fairly basic math to complex situations." It really made me think of what type of problems to bring to my classroom. Since the real world requires "sophisticated thinking with elementary skills," I really need to help students develop a strong understanding of the basics of mathematics and how to apply simple concepts to real world situations. Further, the book looks at textbooks and the importance of writing in mathematics.
It is a great book and I highly recommend it. Perhaps we could start a book review section of the Algebra for All site. If you have read a good book lately, please reply to this post and let us all know!