Thursday, June 12, 2014

Summer reading

Summer vacation just started and like most teachers, I'm already thinking about next year.  After 11 years of teaching fifth grade, I'm switching jobs. When I return in the fall, I'll be the Advanced Learning teacher at my school. I'll be teaching the high math and reading switch groups for third, fourth, and fifth grade. I'm looking forward to it, but it will be a big change. To prepare, I've made myself quite a list of summer reading. I'd love to share ideas from these books with anyone else who is reading them this summer and hear ideas from those of you who have made these books a part of your practice. So, in no particular order, here is my summer reading list:
Every year it seems like I have more and more reluctant readers - students who are capable, but just don't choose to read. The Idaho Core Standards definitely require more of our readers than our previous standards. With those changes and our school dropping Accelerated Reader next year, I hope this book will give me some new ideas for my reading switch groups.

Teach Like a Pirate by Dave Burgess

When I first joined Twitter, this was the book that kept popping up in my feed.  I downloaded it before my spring break vacation, but I haven't found the time to read it yet. At last week's #idedchat, the book came up and I hastily put together a book study group for the summer. I'll post details about the book club as we figure it out.

Understanding by Design by Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe

This is another book that the teachers I admire most on Twitter frequently reference. In my new position, I am switching from having a somewhat flexible schedule with my students to 50 minute blocks with a group.  I need a plan that will give me the most impact with my short time. I'm hoping to find some ideas here.

He's the Weird Teacher by Doug Robertson

I am always amazed by what a fun and friendly community of teachers I have found on Twitter. And one of my favorite Twitter events is Wednesday night's #WeirdEd chat. We've discussed how being weird in the classroom builds relationships, how education relates to Pixar movies, and had a very serious exploration of violence and safety in schools.  Doug Robertson is the ringleader of this wonderful chat, so I want to read his book. Plus, I've overheard students say the title of this book when talking about me. If my kids want me to read it, so be it!

Mindsets in the Classroom by Mary Cay Ricci

This was my principal's teacher appreciation gift to the staff. I've heard quite a bit about Carol Dweck's book, Mindset, and the power of moving from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset. I generally have a growth mindset, but I don't know how to impart that to my students. Maybe I'll find a plan here.

In addition to my professional reading, I hope to read some kid lit as well.  Now that I'll be working with younger students, I'm looking for suggestions of quality books that would be appropriate for good third grade readers.  Still, I have a few books in mind to read that should be of interest to my fourth and fifth grade students:
Now that my list is in writing, I need to follow through! Please let me know if you have any other kid lit suggestions or insights into the professional books I'm reading. I'm sure I'll post some reflections and ideas for how I'll apply these new ideas to the upcoming school year after reading. And I'll keep you updated as I continue to experiment and refine...

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  1. Looks like you'll be busy reading this summer! I read Teach Like A Pirate this spring and really loved its message. I have heard of the Book Whisperer but haven't read it yet.

  2. Thanks for sharing your list. Would you mind if I added the link in my latest blog post "What are you reading?"