I had good intentions to blog this summer, but rest and family time ended up taking priority. It’s October already!?! So I am trying (again) to be committed to this blogging thing.
One thing I did manage to do this summer was some reading. Professional reading is a bit of a wormhole. One book leads to the next, which leads to the next and I always seem to have about 5 waiting for me to get to them. This is what I managed to read this summer:
Essentialism: the Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown
This is the best productivity book I have ever encountered. It is minimalism, but for your time instead of for your stuff. I loved everything about this book, but a few things really resonated with me.
- It is impossible to do it all, so set some selective criteria that help to outline what you really want to accomplish and then STICK TO IT!
- Create a buffer by adding 50% to your estimate of how long it will take to accomplish things. I am a chronic under-estimator of how much time things will take and often have to pull things together at the last minute. I’m sure I would experience more EASE in my life if I consciously added in a buffer.
- Set aside professional time to think and read – this is really hard to do as a teacher – there are so many demands on our time. But some of the most creative insights and solutions to problems come when I give my mind time and space to think. I want to be intentional about adding this kind of time to my workweek this year.
The Innovator’s Mindset by George Couros
This book is related so closely to the shift our province is currently making in our curriculum – it is so much more important to teach our students HOW to think and learn rather than worrying about WHAT they are learning. There is currently a MOOC going on as a book study with this book that I was trying to keep up with, but… I am about 2 weeks behind (see the comment about the buffer above). Luckily, the Live chats are being archived, so I can follow at my own pace. (#IMMOOC if you are interested).
What’s Math Got to Do With It by Jo Boaler
I applied to read this book and write a review for the BC Association of Math Teachers book club series. Jo Boaler’s books are so inspiring and her YouCubed website is full of great resources. You can read my full review of the book here when it gets posted.
Classroom Chef by John Stevens and Matt Vaudry
I enjoyed the creativity of the lesson ideas and tips around crafting lessons. I think many teachers feel anxious about straying too far from “predictable” in Math class and this book reminds us that there are rewards for doing so. I actually (for the first time ever) thought it might be fun to teach a Grade 8 or 9 class. Luckily, that feeling has passed quickly 🙂
Teach Like a Pirate by Dave Burgess
I am a couple of years behind the bandwagon on this one, but I have had it signed out of the district library a few times and have never made time to get through it. I am glad I finally read it – there are so many great ideas for making lessons interesting and motivating for students. This book was a good reminder of why I became a teacher in the first place. A very motivating read!
And… that brings me to the present…
Recently, I have been very intrigued by the idea of thinking routines and instructional routines that support deep thinking. Making Thinking Visible caught my eye on Amazon and after ordering it, I am seeing references to it everywhere – a good sign.
I started Mathematical Mindsets in the spring and got about halfway through it – I really wanted to read it slowly and carefully because there is so much to think about. I am looking forward to digging back in this fall. This is the book I am considering for my next teacher book club – depending on how successful our Number Talks book club is this fall (more on this next week!).
So, that’s my professional reading life over the last while… does anyone have any good suggestions for what to read next?