Ahh! The time is almost here. Whether your reading spot is a beach, a hammock, or a shady tree I bet you are getting ready for some summer reading. As educators we love learning and summer can be a great time to renew, reflect, and recharge our teacher batteries. Here are some of my top picks for great reads this summer:
Troublemakers by Shalaby
In her first book, Carla Shalaby, a former elementary teacher, introduces us to four “troublemakers”: Zora, Lucas, Sean and Marcus. Her book causes us to question how we identify and understand students who experience school differently. These memorable children allow readers to see school through the eyes of those who are sometimes considered 'problems'.
This book definitely caused me to think about our school structures and what we value in the world of education. Although the children in this book are elementary aged, there are many lessons to be learned within any level of K-12 education.
Blind Spot by Banaji and Greenwald
This book was recommended by Dr. Sharokky Hollie at our last professional development session. The authors of this book explore the hidden biases we carry from a lifetime of exposure to cultural attitudes on race, gender, class, religion, and sexuality. This book is for those of us who want to align our behavior with our intentions.
Full disclosure, I have not read it--yet--but it is on my short list and has been highly recommended by those who have read it already.
The Courage to Teach by Palmer
"This book is for teachers who have good days and bad — and whose bad days bring the suffering that comes only from something one loves. It is for teachers who refuse to harden their hearts, because they love learners, learning, and the teaching life." These words, taken from Parker Palmer’s introduction, speak to the message of this book. Palmer boils things down to this one sentence: good teaching cannot be reduced to a technique but is rooted in the identity and integrity of the teacher. He says good teaching takes many forms but it shares one thing: good teachers are authentically present in their classrooms and in community with their content and their learners.
Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World by Grant
JJ Abrams, the director of Star Wars: The Force Awakens and co-creator and producer of the tv show Lost, said in a review that, "This extraordinary, wildly entertaining book sheds new light on the Age of Disruption. What does it take to make a meaningful difference? How can you apply this insight to your own life? By debunking myths of success stories, challenging long-held beliefs of process, and find commonality among those who are agents of profound change, Adam Grant gives us a powerful new perspective on not just our place in the world, but our potential to shake it up entirely."
Lately, we have been working hard on social-emotional learning in the Rochester Public Schools and how we might best help every student succeed. Although this book is from outside of the education sector it has great ideas for how we can support every student, no matter their background, to be successful in college, career, and life.
Drive by Pink
I was introduced to this book through Mayo High School’s “ Best Bits of Books” Staff Development Series facilitated by Peter Dodds. The main premise of this book is that if we are engaged in creative tasks (like teaching) the elements that people need in order to feel job satisfaction are threefold: autonomy, purpose, and mastery. Pink gives readers examples of how organizations can cultivate these elements.
What’s on your summer reading list? If you are interested in discussing some of these great reads or others that you plan to delve into consider attending Pages on the Patio, which begins this June (sign up here).
We’d love to talk with you about your reading and thinking!
This post brought to you by Heather Willman, APOSA overseeing Secondary Curriculum and Instructional Coaching
It's mid-April, there is still snow on the ground and more predicted to fall later today, which makes us here at C&I think about the sunny and warm days of summer. Summer: the season of new growth and of rejuvenation--not just for our gardens and our lawns, but for our souls as educators, too.
As you begin to think about your summer plans and how you personally would like to grow in your instructional practices and rejuvenate your classroom approaches, consider enrolling in one or both of the following C&I summer professional development opportunities.
New this Summer...
If you have ever wished that X, Y, or Z were offered as RPS Professional Development sessions, disappointed occasionally that they are not, then this new opportunity might be for you.
Returning this Summer...
So, as you start to think beyond this snow and focus on the new growth of summer--don't forget about opportunities to grow yourself, too. Maybe we can even grow together.
This post brought to you by the Secondary C&I Team
This Thursday, our RPS teaching staff will again be getting to work with Dr. Sharroky Hollie as we continue to grow and learn in our own practices. As his visit approaches, I am reminded of some of the great resources many of our staff members are currently using district-wide as they cultivate their own understanding and application of culturally and linguistically responsive teaching and learning.
Code Switch: Race and Identity, Remixed
Seven National Public Radio (NPR) journalists share their insights on race, ethnicity, and culture. This bouquet of resources can be accessed in various ways: their stories are often aired on local NPR stations but can also be accessed via their blog, podcast, Tumblr, Twitter stream, and/or Facebook feed.
Some recent Code Switch stories that RPS staff have been discussing, and in some cases also using in their classrooms, are:
The site Responsive Reads, which links to a wide array of culturally authentic texts that are being used in classrooms across that nation, is a one-stop-shop for those wanting to expand their classroom libraries or make strong book recommendations for their students.
This resource makes suggestions for both nonfiction articles and fiction books; as a bonus, many come with some VABBing suggestions made by Hollie and his team!
This Sincerely, X Episode
Sincerely, X is a podcast version of TED Talks, except that each story is shared anonymously due to the sensitive nature of the content or how sharing such content could possibly be damaging to the speaker.
“Episode 10: Gifted Kid,” the episode I hear discussed most often around the district, explores what it’s like to be a gifted kid in a neighborhood so rough that students' gifts become difficult to see, explained by a teacher who is trying to fix that.
This book, Hillbilly Elegy: a Memoir of Family and Culture in Crisis by J.D. Vance, was studied last winter by a handful of RPS teachers in an online book study. In this text, Vance shares his firsthand perspective on what a “social, regional, and class decline feels like when...born with it hanging around [one’s] neck” (back cover of Hillbilly Elegy).
Those who worked through this book together found it shed light on cultural aspects that often go unnoticed because those experiencing them, at least in this context, are white.
Consider exploring this text further by reading "The Lives of Poor White People" by Joshua Rothman, a detailed New York Times review about Vance's memoir.
If you too would like to dig deeper into what Hollie has been sharing with us, and will continue to share with staff on Thursday, perhaps you might wish to begin with one of the above four resources.
As you explore further, please considering reaching out to your instructional coach or one of us from the C&I team: we would love to discuss any of these resources with you.
This post brought to you by Heather Lyke, Secondary Implementation Associate
Enjoy our Blog!
Members of the Secondary C&I team weekly post useful tools, tips, and tricks to help you help students.