Signs of May: My 11th graders' AP test is done, my 10th graders are preparing presentations on A Midsummer Night's Dream, and I'm getting my summer professional reading list together! This blog actually started as a result of some summer professional reading--6 years ago. The book was Adolescents and Digital Literacies, and I was just going to capture and process my learning in my journal, when my husband challenged me to post it online--since that would be practicing digital literacy while thinking about it. (You can read that first post here.)
So I've spent the last week thinking about my list for this summer, and here's what I've come up with:
Writing Tools: 50 Essential Strategies for Every Writer by Roy Peter Clark (Little, Brown). This is one of those classics in the field of teaching writing which I’ve seen referred to every so often in other writing teachers’ books and blogs. I’ve had this one on my shelf for several years: definitely going to get to it this summer.
In the Best Interest of Students: Staying True to What Works in the ELA Classroom by Kelly Gallagher (Stenhouse). This author is one of my reading/writing classroom gurus—along with Penny Kittle, Jeff Anderson, and Cris Tovani. Gallagher AND Kittle co-authored a book this year, but I have to read this one first.
Seeing the Standard for Project Based Learning by John Larmer, John Mergendoller, and Suzie Boss (ASCD). This was recommended by a colleague two summers when I asked about the best book to catch me up on the subject. A number of teachers at our school (where I’m curriculum coordinator as well as a 10th/11th grade English teacher) have expressed an interest in learning more about project based learning, so I definitely need to get to this one this year. I’m thinking of having a faculty book discussion on it sometime next year for anyone who is interested.
Fair Isn’t Always Equal: Assessment and Grading in the Differentiated Classroom by Rick Wormeli (Stenhouse). This one’s new to my list this year: I was talking with the elementary principal about teachers’ expressed interest in learning about assessment (variety, validity, effectiveness) and she suggested this one. So we’re both going to read it this summer.
Bold Moves for Schools: How We Create Remarkable Learning Environments, by Heibi Hayes Jacobs and Marie Hubley Alcock (ASCD). This was recommended last summer by a friend who is a school head at another school, but I was already committed to Creating Cultures of Thinking: The 8 Forces We Must Master to Truly Transform our Schools, which was on a similar topic (and I highly recommend it!). I’m looking forward to reading Bold Moves this summer and talking with my friend about it.
Coaching Classroom Instruction by Robert Marzano and Julia Sims, (Marzano Research Laboratory). This one I just decided on this week as the title to fulfill my goal of learning about instructional coaching—something I think I should probably know more about in my role as curriculum coordinator.
Creativity--teaching and assessing it--was one more topic I had on my list to explore this summer. Our school’s 5 expected student outcomes (what students will learn in every class at every level) are the ability to understand, think, communicate, collaborate, and create. I realized when I was at the EARCOS Leadership Conference this past October, that for those first 4, I can talk about research, recommend several books, and give examples of ways I teach and assess it, but for create, I mostly just know the buzzwords about 21st century learners and maker spaces, along with my conviction that humans made in the image of a creative God must be creative. So I scribbled down a list of 6 books that one of the presenters gave, and my husband helped me narrow it down to 3:
- Cultivating Curiosity in K-12 Classrooms: How to Promote and Sustain Deep Learning by Wendy Ostroff (ASCD).
- Sparking Student Creativity: Practical Ways to Promote Innovative Thinking and Problem Solving by Patti Drapeau (ASCD).
- Creating Innovators: The Making of Young People Who Will Change the World by Tony Wagner (Scribner).
Then my husband suggested I get all 3. Well, I was hoping to clear out my backlog of professional reading this summer, but who am I to say no to buying books? So, time to order my last 4 professional books! Then to start working on my other summer reading list...
What do you want to learn about this summer? What can you read to find out about it?