Friday, April 29, 2016

Looking Forward...

The spring flowers and trees are in full bloom—Spring is here (unless you look at the temperature). I love this time of year when all things feel new and fresh again after the dullness of winter. It also makes me look forward—to summer. Summer is supposed to be relaxing, full of outside activities, family reunions…

For some of us educators it means a break from the routines of the classroom, but not a break from learning. I always have a list of books I intend to read over the summer. Some are “professional” and some are just for pure fun and enjoyment. I think we need both types—to help rejuvenate our spirit and find ways to rejuvenate our teaching practices.

Here are some ideas for books that you may have not read yet:

The Innovator’s Mindset: Empower Learning, Unleash Talent, and Lead a Culture of Creativity by George Couros ©2015

In this book teachers and administrators are encouraged to empower students “to wonder, to explore—and to become forward-thinking leaders.”

You can read more about this book (on Matt Miller’s Ditch That Textbook blog) here.

How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character, by Paul Tough ©2012.

This book challenges the ideas we may have about success—that it comes to those who score highest on tests. He “argues for a very different understanding of what makes a successful child. Drawing on groundbreaking research in neuroscience, economics, and psychology, Tough shows that the qualities that matter most have less to do with IQ and more to do with character: skills like grit, curiosity, conscientiousness, and optimism.”

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon, ©2003

“The plot, characters, themes and perspectives that are so beautifully and movingly articulated have powerful messages for all involved in education. Importantly, Haddon has said: ‘[It is] not a book about Asperger’s…if anything it’s a novel about difference, about being an outsider, about seeing the world in a surprising and revealing way.’ The novel should give all who read it important insights into their students’ perspectives on the world.”  Samanthan Twiselton, director of Sheffield Institute of Education.

The Art of Being a Brilliant Teenager by Andy Cope, ©2014

“Don't you want to achieve something? Get started now. The Art of Being A Brilliant Teenager helps you figure out where you want to go, and how to get there. So, whether you're an ambitious teenager, a parent or teacher desperate to turn a down-beat teenager into a ray of positivity and delight, How to Be a Brilliant Teenager is here to help.”

Why Do I Need a Teacher When I’ve Got Google? The essential guide to the big issues for every 21st century teacher by Ian Gilbert, © 2014

“As wide-ranging and exhaustively-researched as it is entertaining and accessible, this book is designed to challenge teachers and inform them as well as encourage them as they strive to design a twenty-first century learning experience that really does bring the best out of all young people. After all, the future of the world may just depend on it.”

That should get you started—let me know if you read any of the above books and lets get a discussion started. I will have more to add to this list in the next Friday Feature.

Peggy Steinbronn, Ed.D.

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