We at Edmentum always like to tool around the bookshelves at the beginning of the summer and winter breaks to unearth the new gems that teachers might want to check out during these uninterrupted pleasure reading times. As always, beach reads are also allowed.
Did you hear that? It’s every new teacher’s mentor squealing because Harry and Rosemary Wong released another edition to their foundational book. The First Days of School is considered the premier book for teachers just starting out, but it also has some value for teachers already serving. Sometimes, we forget best practices. Sometimes, we get away from the fundamentals. And sometimes, we just want to feel like a new teacher again.
Don’t worry. This isn’t a curriculum about searching for treasure or swabbing the deck. PIRATE is an acronym that author Paul Solarz uses for Peer Collaboration, Improvement, Responsibility, Active Learning, Twenty-First Century Skills, and Empowerment. It’s basically using student-led learning experiences to hit a lot of the skills called for by the next-generation standards. A freer classroom is a more engaging classroom.
Kristina Diviny-MacBury uses self-analysis of case studies from her own time as an administrator in an urban district to provide the reader with actionable steps that can improve any administrator’s work. The case-study approach means that the book doesn’t get bogged down in theory. It reads more like two colleagues talking. This could be particularly valuable for new administrators who might be wondering what the job is really like.
This book isn’t as political as it sounds. Well, it may be, but CNN personality and writer Fareed Zakaria is critical of both sides of the aisle and their abandonment of the liberal arts in education. Let’s just say that he isn’t a big fan of STEM. Unlike other political books, Zakaria is simply arguing in an even-handed way for something that should be common sense: you need more than math and science to succeed in the world.
For years, ELL education has been offered to and focused on teachers who are most likely to encounter ELLs. In the next decade, that will be most of us. It’s estimated that one quarter of the nation’s students will be considered ELLs in some form. Nan Li’s book is the first one I’ve seen that speaks to the common classroom teacher about what to expect from ELLs and how best to ensure their success.
If none of these books piqued your interest, we also produced a similar list for last summer break on the Edmentum Blog. Check it out here.