Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Give Yourself The Gift Of Learning

I am looking forward to having some days off over the winter break.  I have a stack of books that I can't wait to dive into that I have purchased while attending a number of conferences this fall. So often I am asked "What are you reading?" or "What do you think I should be reading?"   I am an eclectic reader.  I look for books that might deepen my own understanding of a group of students, or fill a gap in my content knowledge.  Sometimes I choose books because the author's point of view is far different from mine and I want to challenge my own thinking.  Occasionally I pick a book because the cover looks interesting!  Here are the books that are on my "time to read" list - and why I selected them.  Are any of them on your list? I would love to do mini book chats with those of you who are in my Professional Learning Network!

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson    Poetry is a way to precisely communicate ideas. I am interested in hearing the voice of the author sharing her experiences as an African American girl growing up in the 60s and 70s.

Tasting the Sky - A Palestinian Childhood  by Ibtisam Barakat.   She spoke at NCTE and I was moved by her insistence that we learn how to pronounce her name - because her entire culture is mispronounced.

Teaching Science To English Language Learners - an NSTA publication  edited by Ann Roseberry and Beth Warren.   With the inclusion of specific language around English Learners in ESSA, I am interested in pushing my own understanding of what strategies are effective for working with students who are at varying levels of English language learning.  I taught inclusion science classes and worked with immigrant students.  I saw their frustration in not being able to communicate about content that they had some level of mastery around in their native language.  I have also found that at risk readers often benefit from the same strategies as English Learners.

Learning By Doing - A Handbook of Professional Learning Communities At Work by Richard and Rebecca DuFour, Robert Eaker and Thomas Many.  I attended some of the first professional development workshops that the DuFours presented around the new concept of Professional Learning Communities.  This approach to peer collaboration has become one of the cornerstones of my own thinking about professional learning.  I am looking forward to reading the Second Edition of this book to refresh my own thinking about PLCs.

Make Just One Change: Teach Students to Ask Their Own Questions by Dan Rothstein and Luz Santana.  This book follows up my reading on A More Beautiful Question by Warren Berger.  As a science teacher, I thought a lot about how to get kids to ask researchable/actionable questions.  What I like about these two books is the emphasis on asking good questions as a component of close reading, mathematical thinking, and critical analysis.

The Edge of the World - A Cultural History of the North Sea and the Transformation of Europe by Michael Pye.  I live in a lakeside community on the south shore of Lake Erie.  I watch freighters moving along the horizon and understand that our lake is connected to a much larger watershed.  It is interesting to read about how essential waterways have been in the development of European culture - and to think about what role the oceans continue to play in our global culture.

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