Reviews of Recent Professional ReadingI have been doing a lot of Professional Reading this fall and winter. Especially over Christmas, when the cold weather was not motivating me to get outside and play! I've got a few here on pedagogy and leadership and then a section on Young Adult Fiction. Most of the fiction titles are contenders for the Global Read Along 2018 - a chance to see what books might be on the list this year. These are just my own opinions...check them out yourself and let me know what you think!
Shift This, by Joy Kirr
by Liz Kolb
Making your Teaching Something Special: 50 Ways to Become a Better Teacher, by Rushton Hurley
Code Breaker, by Brian Aspinall
Empower, by John Spencer and A.J. Juliani
Culturize: Every Student. Every Day. Whatever It Takes, by Jimmy Casas
While written more for an audience of school administrators, there are lots of lessons and insights in this book that can be applied to classroom teachers. He talks about being a champion for every student and creating a culture were all students can succeed. He included insights from other educators and administrators and give lots of ways you can improve the culture of your school through small changes, big changes, resources, etc. His chapter on expecting excellence really aligned with my own thinking. He states that you have to be open to taking some risks and learning from failures, which will not happen if you accept the status quo or reject change. One of the most powerful passages for me was: "No one person is responsible for determining your success or failure but you, and no one is responsible for your morale but you." I found this book to be energizing - and Jimmy is a great follow on Twitter as well!
Cultivating Readers, by Anne Elliott and Mary Lynch
Written by two TVDSB'ers, this book is not about improving reading skills
in your classroom, but if you use their ideas, that will likely be a secondary outcome for you! It's about how to get kids excited about reading and how to make your classroom an environment where kids will become avid readers. Not just the ones who are good readers already, but those who may not be reading at grade level or who read because they have to, or those who actively avoid reading as a chore. Anne and Mary share all kinds of activities, tips and advice on how to share and model a love of reading with every student in your room, all of them easy to implement and get started on right away. The style of writing is really engaging and they use lots of real life examples to bring home their beliefs. It does have a more Elementary School focus, but many of these ideas could be easily adapted in Secondary Schools. It got me fired up about my own reading too. This is a great book to add to your Professional Library!
The Four O'Clock Faculty: A Rogue Guide to Revolutionizing Professional Development,
by Rich Czyz
#4OCF or check out more at his website: https://fouroclockfaculty.com
The Wild Card: 7 Steps to an Educator's Creative Breakthrough, by Hope & Wade King
This book reminds me a lot of Dave Burgess' book: Teach Like a Pirate. Hope and Wade King teach at the Ron Clark Academy and share their creative ideas for making your classroom more engaging. While it is very Elementary and Middle School focused, the ideas in it could be adapted to Secondary Schools. They take a cross curricular approach in their pedagogy and regularly transform their classrooms into extraordinary learning environments to teach a variety of subjects with a thematic and inquiry based approach. The transformations are amazing enough and you really need to read the book and see the pictures to get the full scope of them like a beach classroom or School of Rock classroom, but the way they weave so many learning objectives into these environments without a great deal of cost (Dollar Store!) is pretty amazing. I loved the chapter where they encourage you not to listen to the Joker - that less than enthusiastic staff member who pooh pooh's change, or the voice in your own head that discourages change. The book is not just about room transformations either, there are plenty of great ways to use inquiry learning even without a lot of physical changes to the classroom. They are also active on Twitter and bloggers - so the learning doesn't stop with the book.
FICTION:(MIDDLE SCHOOL AND YOUNG ADULT)
Leave Us In Peace, by Marty Elkins
Paper Wishes, by Lois Sepahban
Written for a Young Adult/Middle School audience, this novel is the story of a young American girl of Japanese descent and her family from Washington State who were relocated to an Internment Camp during World War II.
It shows the racism, hardships and heartbreaks they experienced through her eyes as they try to find a way to survive their incarceration. It is a sad a beautiful story about a part of history (Canada had Japanese Internment Camps as well) that we are not proud of, but should never forget.
Global Read Aloud 2018 ContendersIn December 2017, the Contenders for the Global Read Aloud were posted on the GRA website - there is also the ability to nominate books you would like to have considered. I took a look at the list and picked a few books to try out.
ReStart, by Gordon Korman
Bronx Masquerade, by Nikki Grimes
Long Way Down, by Jason Reynolds
Orphan Island, by Laurel Snyder
The Red Bandanna, by Tom Rinaldi
That's it for this post. I've already started a few more great reads (Teaser: Pernille Ripp's two books and Katie Martin's newest book that will be featured in the latest George Curous #IMMOOC) that I will save for my next installment of Professional Reads. Until then...just keep learning and reading!