Summer Learning

Happy summer! Learning is a passion and a purpose, right? What are you reading and learning about this summer?

As educators, we have a drive and passion for learning. That passion is crucial for our success as change makers! We all know that brain research on learning, our students, challenges, culture, and life are all constantly evolving. To keep up with those changes, we keep learning ourselves (practicing what we preach, right?). Schools should be a place of curiosity, where educators nurture that curiosity and encourage the hunger for learning. And that starts with us!

The more we learn about the world, the more we learn about ourselves.

For the summer, here are my learning goals:

  • READ! For fun and for learning! Last summer I read quite a bit of Neil Gaiman. This summer, I’m reading my way through some Neal Shusterman (Scythe series, Everlost series, and Challenger Deep) and some education books (Leading with Intention, Essential Questions, How Emotions are Made, and Why Learn History).
  • Attend some face-to face Professional Learning (some through my school district and then a trip to Orlando in July for the AP Annual Conference).
  • Use Twitter to broaden my social studies knowledge, dig in to some new teaching and learning ideas, and of course, pursue more learning in the world of instructional coaching.
  • Listen to some podcasts for Teaching and Learning: Revisionist History, Cult of Pedagogy, The Creative Classroom, ThroughLine and some podcasts for fun: Station to Station, Blackout, and Hidden Brain
  • Plan and revise my AP Human Virtual Course to match the new curriculum updates from College Board. <–Most of this will be completed with the help of Twitter and an incredible group of other AP Human Geo teachers on Facebook (how awesome is that!)

What are your summer learning goals?


The Land of the Book Study

In my previous district, we occasionally talked about what we were reading. I read a lot of fiction for fun, aligned my reading to a host of Young Adult books so I could share insights and hear insights from my students in my classes and in my homeroom class.  I had a group of  big readers in my homeroom and loved it!  But for professional learning books–we really didn’t do a lot.  I followed blogs, keeps up with an rss feed in google reader (before they discontinued it) and occasionally checked out a book about teaching social studies.  Fast forward a few years and move to a new city, new job, no students (but still in education)–now, in my job, EVERYBODY reads professional books.  Or at least pretends to read them, ha!

I started this job in August of 2015. It’s now January of 2017, so 17 months later and I’m looking at a stack of books that I’ve been given either as part of a book study or suggested reading, or I’ve pulled to read myself and the stack is tremendous!  I’ll post a picture next week when I can gather all the books from my home and work so you can see the size of it! I’ve enjoyed most of the readings and book studies, but definitely miss that stack of Young Adult fiction (like Legend, Cinder, Candor, Unwind, etc) and the students to chat with it about.

I’ve posted previously about meeting Eva Kor in October. Eva and her museum do a book study program where you can purchase 30 books for students and set up a Skype date with Eva.  Finally!! I can squeeze in some time with students to talk about reading and about history, my 2 favorite things!! I miss keeping up with Young Adult fiction, but I think Eva’s book is so powerful that it is easily filling that void of talking about books with students. We started our book study last week.  We’ll meet every week to discuss the chapters until the end of February when I will get to experience the students talking with Eva herself.  I’m feeling like the start of 2017 is going amazingly well!

What books are you reading?  For fun?  For work? Share your ideas so I’ll have new suggestions on what to read!

I’m reading:

  • Surviving the Angel of Death by Eva Kor
  • The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
  • A book by Mark Manson (The Subtle Art of…)
  • And I just finished Sycamore Row by John Grisham

A few of my favorites from last year include:

  • Black Box Thinking by Matthew Syed
  • The Innovator’s Mindset by George Couros
  • Ditch that Textbook by Matt Miller
  • Better Conversations by Jim Knight
  • Lemons to Lemonade by Zimmerman and Garmston