Well, summer is here! Time for family, relaxing, travelling, holidaying, sorting cupboards, cleaning garages, and best of all – TIME TO READ!!! And while the school doors might be closed, I find summer a perfect time to catch up on my professional reading! From Inquiry-Based learning, Growth Mindset and Maker Spaces to reading, writing, and thinking strategies – there are some GREAT new resources to help motivate, inspire, and refine our practice, including some resources to support the new BC Curriculum. (Please note that I have not read all of these books, but I am including them because I have heard good things about them and/or they have caught my eye and look very inspiring!)
Here are my top 10 recommended professional books for summer reading….
Kylene Beers and Robert E. Probst
Three years ago, I presented a workshop at a Reading Conference in Moosejaw, Saskatchewan. The conference was held in a hockey rink – in my memory, the zamboni came to clean the ice between each speaker (actually that didn’t happen – but it felt like it could have!). Presenting at the same conference on their then new book Notice and Note were Kylene Beers and Bob Probst. I attended one of their sessions, and they mine. We drove back to the airport and the hotel together. I was star struck, if I’m being honest, and although I tried very hard to be “cool” in the car ride across the flat prairies, it was difficult for me not to start patting their arms or squeezing their legs. I’m THRILLED to have their new book on the top of my summer TBR pile!
2. The Writing Strategies Book: Your Everything Guide to Developing Skilled Writers – Jennifer Serravello
I LOVED Jennifer Serravello’s first book The Reading Strategies Book, so am very excited to read her new book on writing. Her books are VERY practical and have lessons you can use right away. I can’t wait to read this one!
3. Joy Write: Cultivating High-Impact, Low Stakes Writing – Ralph Fletcher
I am a huge fan of Ralph Fletcher and have many of his previous books on teaching writing. As a writing teacher, it is hard to find the balance between teaching structure and giving kids a chance to “just write”. In this book, Ralph Fletcher proposes a new concept: greenbelt writing. Writing that is “raw, unmanicured, uncurated…I am talking about informal writing…I am talking about low-stakes writing, the kind of comfortable composing kids do when they know there’s no one looking over their shoulders.” I am very excited to read this and learn some new strategies for less structure and more “joyful, whimsical, playful” writing time.
Kath Murdoch, from Australia, is the “guru” of inquiry based learning and I am a new fan girl of hers. I have heard nothing but rave reviews about her and this book so am eager to dive in. Here is a quick preview of her talking about this book.
5. The Nerdy Teacher Presents: Your Starter Guide to Maker Space – Nicholas Provenzano
I have to admit the concept of “Maker Spaces” is a new one for me… and with so many ideas floating around, I was on the lookout for a simple guide with practical suggestions and real-classroom ideas to help a newbie like me get started. I believe this might be just the book I am looking for!
6. SPACE: A Guide for Educators – Rebecca Louise Hare
“It is not about decorating learning spaces. It is about designing them to amplify learning.” Okay – I did judge this book by its cover – and the simplicity of the cover with the sophistication of this quote captured my attention. LOVE the phrase “amplify learning“. I also liked this description: “In addition to nudging thinking forward, SPACE provides practical design tips and uses images and testimonials for hacking learning spaces on a realistic budget. This book is designed to motivate, grow capacity, and energize educators to begin shifting their learning spaces to support modern learning for all students.”
I often refer to a “shift in thinking” in my workshops – small movements of thought that give you a new perspective. This book caught my eye simply because it had the word “shift” in the title, but after glancing through the contents and a quick “flip read”- I already have some take-aways: having a sign out sheet by the door for the students to be in charge of their own bathroom breaks; changing “homework” to “independent practice”. A perfect summer Pro. D. read!
8. The Growth Mindset Coach: A Teacher’s Month-by-Month Handbook for Empowering Students to Achieve – Annie Brock and Heather Hundley
Yes, I am a teacher of routine and planning and I also love practical. So I am ALL OVER a book for teachers written by teachers that has well-laid out lessons broken down into a month-to-month plan! YES! Practical and applicable and includes:
– A Month-by-Month Program
– Research-Based Activities
– Hands-On Lesson Plans
– Real-Life Educator Stories
– Constructive Feedback
– Sample Parent Letters
Major pre-read book love!
9. ThinQ Kindergarten: Inquiry-Based Learning in the Kindergarten Classroom – Joan Reimer, Deb Watters, Jill Colyer, and Jennifer Watt
Kindergarten Teachers! I haven’t forgotten about you!!! Here is a book focusing on inquiry-based learning especially for the kindergarten classroom. Easy to follow with lots of helpful tips. A version of this book for middle grades is also available: ThinQ 4-6: Inquiry-based learning in the junior classroom.
Through all the changes and challenges we face each day as teachers, we sometimes forget to have fun! In this quick read, I was reminded how much we have to be joyful about in education. A great reminder to find and embrace that joy because our students deserve it. Full of practical ideas to bring joy back into your classroom – this is a great summer read!
What professional book will you be reading this summer? Thanks for stopping by!