Dr. Johanna LaFiandra’s book, “The Desk in the Sky” is available as an e-book from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iBooks and other e-book suppliers for $2.99. After selling the printed version for $19.95, Dr. LaFiandra has reduced the price to make it widely available to the general public. The book can be read with the Kindle, Nook, smart phones, tablets and computers. The book was recently reviewed by Ms. Rosie Malezer for The Readers’ Favorite Book Contest. She wrote:
“The Desk in the Sky is a book of anecdotes written by Johanna LaFiandra, Ed.D. Making learning fun for her students had always been one of Dr. LaFiandra’s chief priorities, as a child that enjoys being at school and enjoys learning is one who retains what they have been taught. Recalling her own very first two days as a kindergarten student, young Johanna had been forced to stand in the corner for the first two days because she had not raised her hand before asking a question. This left a lasting impression and, in becoming an educator herself, Dr. LaFiandra knew that making the student feel cared for and included was an integral part of the learning process. For over fifty years, Dr. LaFiandra looked outside the box and found ways to make her students enjoy what they were learning, even if that meant taking the lesson outside of the classroom, thus producing high grades and happy, well-educated adults with the ability to think for themselves.
I cannot applaud Dr. LaFiandra enough for such passing down the secret to successful educating. Whether you are a parent or teacher, rewarding your child/student for doing well goes a lot further than simply punishing them for not succeeding or not putting your hand up before asking a question. I agree that children will learn more when they feel cared for, loved, important, and included in what is happening around them. Trust is also essential in being a positive educational influence, and ‘The Desk in the Sky’ was cleverly written in such a way that I felt like I was in the classroom, right alongside her students. Dr. LaFiandra’s ideas on letting the class come up with their own ideas of fundraising for their field trips, and booking the transport and accommodation, were ingenious in also showing each student how to survive in the outside world before they had even graduated from school. I look back on my own childhood years and wish I could re-write them, with Dr. LaFiandra being the teacher in every single one of them. I enjoyed ‘The Desk in the Sky’ and feel it should ideally be read not only by parents and educators, but also by those in occupations which deal with children of all ages, including doctors and law enforcement.”
The title comically refers to where the school bureaucracy placed her desk during renovations because they didn’t consider her special educator responsibilities important enough to warrant a classroom. It is composed of 34 short chapters which detail her classroom life. Among the high lights of the book is the chapter entitled, “The Declaration of Independence” where you see how one student gave Dr. LaFiandra an understanding of what she needed to do to transform bored junior high students into the curious learners they had once been. Another chapter, “The Work is in the Toilet” comically shows how students learn from one another.
The printed version of the book is also available at Everyday Elegance in Purcellville, the Loudoun County Library System or at DeskInTheSky@gmail.com.