Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Summer Reading

This summer I made it one of my goals to read all the PD books that I've been wanting to read but just haven't had the time during the school year.  I had heard a lot of good things about these books, and they have not disappointed!  Here's a brief summary of each one that I read this summer:

The Classroom Chef  by John Stevens and Matt Vaudrey

In my opinion, this was the best PD book I've read in a long time!  It was full of inspiring ideas that I can't wait to put into action.  While it's geared towards math classes, I think anyone could apply this to their content area as well.  John and Matt use the cooking analogy to help teachers spice up their lessons.  They give tons of great ideas from "Preparing the Kitchen" and "Setting the Table", to "Appetizers", "Entrees", "Side Dishes", "Desserts", and even "The Bill", "Reviews" and "Take-Home Containers".
How many lessons do we all have that are just plain boring and unmotivating?  Pick one, and make it more exciting for your students with these recipes for success!

Total Participation Techniques  by Persida Himmele and William Himmele

This book is loaded with ideas to get each and every one of your students involved.  No longer will they sit there like bumps on a log waiting for someone else to answer your question!  The shy kids as well as the "answer hogs" (you know, the kids who wants to shout out the answer to every question you ask) will have their own say in the conversations with these TPTs.  What I'm planning on doing is putting a little technology spin on these great ideas since my students have 1:1 Chromebooks.  I've set up a "Template" class in Google Classroom where I can "reuse" my different question types easily.  I have the standard multiple choice, true/false, short answer, and likert scale questions ready to go whenever I need them.

Mathematical Mindsets  by Jo Boaler

I got to hear Jo Boaler speak at NTCM 2015 and was hooked on the idea of helping my students develop a growth mindset instead of a fixed mindset.  Her latest book is filled with ideas on how to do just that.  While I love hearing the science behind what happens in your brain when you make a mistake, having the classroom vignettes was invaluable to help me figure out how to help my student (and collegues!) develop a growth mindset.  I want my students to change the way they look at math - start to enjoy it and have confidence in themselves.

Making Thinking Visible  by Ron Ritchhart, Mark Church, and Karin Morrison

Metacognition has been a big buzz word for quite a while.  But besides students 'thinking about their thinking', teachers need to know what they're thinking too!  This book was filled with strategies (they call them routines) to help make students' thinking visible.  There are thinking routines, routines for introducing and exploring ideas, routines for synthesizing and organizing ideas, and routines for digging deeper into ideas. This is so important in order to know where your students are at and whether you can move on or have to reteach.  The authors talk a lot about 'understanding' and that we need to make sure our students are not just memorizing information for a test only to be forgotten a week or so later.  They need to deeply understand concepts so they can apply what they'e learned to other situations.

Teaching Student-Centered Mathematics  by John A. Van de Walle, Jennifer M. Bay-Williams, Lou Ann H. Lovin, and Karen S. Karp

[I just started this one - I'll update this post when I'm done to let you know how it was.  I've had a lot of people recommend this one to me.  I wanted to get the rest of the reviews out to everyone while there's still a few weeks left of summer break.]

I highly recommend all of these great books!  Try to squeeze in a little time each day to get in some PD in what's left of the summer!