This week I posted ten educational books that have helped me. That list could be pages long. But it made me think — while those books help with lesson structure or instructional strategies (recipes and formulas) they haven’t necessarily shaped who I am as an educator.
Here’s a short but impactful list of books that have shaped me, in chronological order:
What are your top ten teacher/education books? My purpose is to curate a list for my student teacher. I’ve given her my extra copy of Notice and Note, and have more that are my go-to’s. I am curious as to what are others–those tomes and scrolls that continue to serve and support.
The thing about education books is they’re a lot like baby/parenting books. You don’t know what you don’t know, yet they’re reassuring or anxiety creating, depending–when you read them before beginning a teaching career, they can help or hurt. The trick is to look at them again in times of need, reflection, and try not to panic.
Here are my current top-ten, not in any order:
What If? Randall/Munroe
Understanding By Design
The Book Whisperer
In the Best Interest of Students
The Writing Thief
Teaching Reading in the Middle
When Kids Can’t Read
Let me know what you think: what books can’t you live without?
And not only that: that blogroll. Talk about some link love! Check out the blogroll on that site–so many good resources.
I’m not accepting students not reading anymore. This is a ridiculous and terrible situation. After watching #13th, I’m more convinced than ever that access to knowledge, literacy, is the only thing that changes anything…along with the grand conversations, which is creating new knowledge.
*Postscript: I admit – it does make me question the practice of finding ‘books for boys’ or labeling books as girl books or chick-lit. Not sure what to do with that right now, so I’ll just leave it there for the time being.
Currently, is there any topic that more widely confusing and debated than learning targets/success criteria?
Right about now, I’d love to adopt John Spencer’s Design Thinking, use and implement what I know from Kelly Gallagher, Kylene Beers, Donnalyn Miller, Pernille Ripp, and the writers at Ethical ELA, Marzano, DuFour, Mattos. Richard DuFour and Mike Mattos both clearly said the learning targets and success criteria do not have to change each day: it depends on the instruction. The clarity and teaching points are the important factors. But now I’m doubting my own ears, sensing their sage advice was a phantom, a mist…an illusion with a puff of confirmation bias.
But this is the current obstacle: the staff and district are so singularly focused on narrow interpretations of learning targets and success criteria tunnel vision is a distinct outcome, and I have witnessed that my students this year are less engaged, grudgingly compliant, and lacking in curiosity more than I’ve ever seen before.
Things are too dry, laid bare, and not engaging or interesting at all–it’s become very teacher-focused and demanding, and not supportive or interesting.
Time to shake things up.
Yes – know where students are going. Be clear. But engagement and inquiry mean the timing and creation of goals needs, nay demands, to be more student driven.
Here is where I contend not just learning target but teaching points are more valuable for students, along with more discussion, teacher feedback, etc. Tracking and parroting learning targets are a waste of time. However, analysis and reflection are not, and incredibly important: there is a huge difference with digging deeper with a skill or strategy and its purpose, and moreover, transference.
Here is my takeaway from this: understanding what the ‘rules of the game are’ isn’t the same as not allowing students to craft and design. I sense many teachers/coaches are not understanding this nuance. Take his example of Australian football: if you told the students the rules of the game that doesn’t mean they’re going to be great football players– all that means is they are allowed to inquire and strategize of how to play the game well.
Do not confuse success criteria with strategies or mastery.
If our goal, our objective, as we’ve repeatedly stated is to have students drive their learning, the most effective measure by John Hattie, etc. then please consider who’s in control of their learning; the teacher or the student?