Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Summer Reads

Inspired by Sarah (@mathequalslove), I decided to start a Pinterest board to record my summer reads this year.  I've been out of school a month now and to be honest, I thought I had read more than this, but I'll blame part of it on the 1.5 weeks I was gone for the AP reading :)

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Unshakable was my first book of the summer.  This was a gift from the amazing Meg (@mathymeg07) and it was exactly the book I needed for the beginning of summer.  Please don't get me wrong - I had a wonderful school year and had fabulous kids, but *I* wasn't fully there for whatever reason.  Unshakable really helped me see the importance of mindset and had a very positive and uplifting message.  I plan to re-read this one in July as part of the author's summer book study on Facebook.  As a result of reading this book, I've also started listening to the author's podcast, Truth for Teachers, which is full of positive and uplifting messages and a delightful addition to my daily walk.

Learning to Choose, Choosing to Learn was my next read.  This is one of my free member books from ASCD and it was all about the power of choice as a motivator in student learning.  This was a quick and easy read and one of its main points was about the Zone of Proximal Development.  In this Zone, learning is appropriately challenging and according to the author, "joyful challenge leads to high engagement".  I know I've experienced this over the past few days as I have been working through the Exeter Math 3 problems.  I have been highly engaged with the problems because I am having to use problem solving skills that I haven't used in years.  :)  This book also had several tables throughout each chapter with "Instead of... Try this.." suggestions for shifting voice and mindset of both teachers and students.

Creating Cultures of Thinking came toward the end of Learning to Choose.  LtoC really emphasized the student engagement and ownership elements and during a twitter chat with @pamjwilson, she mentioned that she had recently purchased CCoT.  I already had Making Thinking Visible on my summer bookshelf, so I purchased CCoT in order to chat with Pam about it.  It's a bit meatier of a book that has taken a bit of work to get in to, but overall, I'm even more convinced that I need to make my classroom more "thinking centered".  I still have a few chapters to go in this one, but again, this book really has pushed my thinking on word choice and mindset.  One of the first chapters talks about "work" vs "learning" - a subtle distinction, but one that can have profound implications in the overall classroom environment.  I want my classroom to be one that values learning over work, understanding over knowledge, thinking over memorization.  I am eager to finish this one and read Making Thinking Visible!

Classroom Instruction from A to Z was one of my Half Price Book finds this past weekend.  On Friday night, my hubby drove up to KC, where I had just spent 10 days at the AP Reading and after celebrating with several friends from the #MTBoS for a job well done, hubby and I proceeded to bum around KC before driving home on Saturday.  In our travels, we made it to Ikea and several HPB stores.  I walked away with even more books to add to my ever-growing pile, but this one is a short and sheet best practices book.  One of the topics from this book will be the topic of another blog post over exit tickets.  It's not the best book I've ever read, but it did give me quite a few ideas to pursue and research, especially in things like questioning strategies and writing to learn.

Still on the Bookshelf to be read:
- Mathematical Mindsets by Jo Boaler
- Mindset by Carol Dweck
- Making Thinking Visible by Ritchhart
- Making Number Talks Matter
- Total Participation Techniques
- Instruction for All Students by Paula Rutherford
- Forensic Science Teacher Magazine

What's on your summer reading list?

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