Summer Reading List

2935271689_863cb75bd8_nSummer is a great time to catch up on all the books you may not have had time to read during the school year. This summer I am suggesting several quick, jam-packed-with- strategies, innovations, and inspirations- professional development books to add to the “beach” reads on your list. Taken from my own Amazon “books to read” list, here are some ideas:

Teach Like a Pirate by Dave Burgess. I have already read and tweeted about this fantastic book that integrates marketing techniques with a lot of creativity to help you make your lessons and content memorable. If you have not read this one yet, you should add this to your reading list).

Lead Like a Pirate by Shelley Burgess (yes, she is the wife of Dave) and Beth Houf. You can follow and join in on using this hashtag- #LeadLAP to see what others are highlighting and talking about from this book about leading in a way that brings out the best in your faculty.

Learn Like a Pirate by Paul Solarz and Dave Burgess. You can achieve a student-led classroom where students take charge of their learning and this book will explain how and give you the strategies to do so. Not only can you read this, but you can join in on a summer book study with fellow educators via Twitter.

Start. Right. Now. by Todd Whitaker, Jeff Zoul, and Jimmy Casas. Learn about the “four key behaviors of excellence”: Know the way, Show the way, Go the way, Grow each day.

Kids Deserve It: Pushing Boundaries and Challenging Conventional Thinking by Todd Nesloney and Adam Welcome. Take all the “What ifs” about your school and classroom and turn them into realities because #kidsdeserveit

DITCH That Textbook : Free Your Teaching and Revolutionize Your Classroom by Matt Miller.

Miller shows you how to choose and incorporate teaching practices that are:
  • Different from what students see daily.
  • Innovative, drawing on new ideas or modifying others’ ideas.
  • Tech-laden with the use of digital sites, tools and devices.
  • Creative, tapping into students’ original ideas as well as your own.
  • Hands-on, encouraging students to make and try things on their own.

Hacking Assessment: 10 Ways to Go Grades in a Traditional School by Starr Sackstein. Help your students make the shift from being focused on the value of the grade  to being focused on the value of learning.

You can also take a look at this list posted by Gary Stager which includes several other great titles.

Whatever books you choose to read this summer, I hope you enjoy your learning!

photo credit: dottorpeni fred vargas via photopin (license)

What I’m Learning Right Now

The new year has been a busy one of learning, growth, and reframing. It started with the Positive Education pilot retreat that I, along with 20 other colleagues, participated in over two days the 2nd week of January. It rekindled my interest in psychology, my first love, that I studied in college and for a time thought that would be my direction. Positive Education falls under the umbrella of Positive Psychology and is grounded in research and evidence on the effects and benefits of positive emotions on health, well-being, and relationships with others. In a nutshell, you can think of it as, “Others Matter”. Intrigued? You can see my notes from the retreat in this Storify.

When I like something, I usually dive in and learn as much about it as I can either through books, workshops, or coursework. Coincidentally, and perhaps a bit of the stars aligning, there was a course from from University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill in Positive Psychology that was beginning the following week on Coursera. I enrolled and am moving right through it. What I am learning is that we are hard-wired with a negativity bias which was helpful to our early ancestors who needed to be attuned to dangers. Negative emotions “scream” at us whereas positive emotions are more subtle “like a whisper”. The negativity bias makes it harder for us to recognize the positive experiences around us. “Positive experiences are actually more frequent than negative in people’s lives but we need to train ourselves to see them and let those positive events become positive emotions” (Fredrickson).

In addition to the Positive Psychology course I have been reading Dave Burgess’ Teach Like a PIRATE. What I love about this book is that he is blending his knowledge of marketing and his passion for magic and showmanship with his love of teaching. I recognize many of Burgess’ hooks and ideas from two previous courses I took from Wharton through Coursera. TLAP encourages and reminds us as educators that we need to make our content relevant to the students and we need to find ways to make our classes unforgettable so that students want to come to class to learn. It is not enough to just show up and deliver our lessons, we need to find ways to incorporate our passions and our students’ interests into each class so students are engaging with the content in meaningful, memorable ways.

You can read my current notes for both Positive Psychology and Teach Like a PIRATE here in this Storify.

Happy New Year of Learning!

75052863082016 came to a close with an inspiring list of educators brought together in what was called #DitchSummit by Matt Miller, author of Ditch That Textbook. As mentioned in my pre-break post, each day between December 18-24 a new video was released along with notes and relevant links.

Speakers I viewed included

  1. Mike Soskil who spoke of the importance of giving students opportunities to solve real problems and making global connections by Skyping or doing the 5-Clue Challenge;
  2. Alice Keeler who discussed homework and asked,”Does homework inspire kids to love learning?”;
  3. Kasey Bell who discussed the creative ways you and your students can be using the GSuite for Education tools (formerly known as Google Apps for Ed) and how GSuite makes it easy for parents to stay connected and informed;
  4. the HyperDocs Girls- Lisa Highfill, Sarah Landis, and Kelly Amick Hilton (while I did not watch this particular presentation, I did watch their recent presentation during Google Edu On Air and they are always worth mentioning);
  5. Paul Solarz who challenged teachers to give over some control to students for a student-led classroom, and allow our students the opportunity to learn from mistakes. Additionally, Solarz talked about beginning with the end in mind, part of The Leader in Me program.
  6. John Spencer who wrote the book, LAUNCH and discussed making and creativity using the LAUNCH cycle, a design-thinking process in your classroom; and
  7. Dave Burgess , the original Teaching-Pirate, who talked about teaching with passion, making our content sizzle, and creating a classroom our students want to enter each day.

Each speaker shared their passion for educating children and will motivate you to be the best you can be so that your students can be the best they can be.

These days I use Twitter for the dual purpose of taking notes and sharing information and then pull it all together using Storify. You can view my Storify here.

Happy New Year!