I have a confession to make. I failed. And it’s not the first time. Though there is a silver lining – I didn’t fail as bad as I’ve failed in the past.
Back in May, I listed eight books that I planned to read over the summer. Five work related and three, you know . . . just for fun. And just like every summer I’ve created a reading list, I failed to finish the list. But I came close. I went seven for eight.
The secret? Go tech naked for five days and knock out four books one right after the other. In addition to the summer reading list, there was also a brief Civil War kick in early summer related to the 150th Gettysburg anniversary.
And of course, there’s always the annual Wiebe Labor Day bookapolloza.
This year’s take.
For the last six or seven years, over the Labor Day weekend, my family and I travel to some exotic city (like Kansas City or Wichita), eat the same sort of food all weekend, and visit as many bookstores as we can. And, of course, we always name the weekend. Among other things. we’ve had Burgers and Books, BBQ and Books, Bolognese and Books.
This year? We wanted to focus on Asian food but couldn’t come up with a “B” word that went with “Books.”
We ended up with Thai and Texts.
Yeah. Not near as catchy. But still a good weekend. Great food. Great conversation. And four bookstores.
Nice story, Glenn. Thanks for sharing. But what’s the point? Read more
Over the last few weeks, I’ve been working together with a variety of different teacher groups in a variety of different places. But all of the conversations have somehow shifted back to the same basic compelling question:
What does an effective teacher look like?
It’s a great question to ask. We’ve always paid lip service to professional development and learning but it seems as if only recently has the question been taken seriously. The Common Core literacy standards for history and the newly revised Kansas history/government standards are demanding more from our kids – and from us.
So I started thinking about things we can do to get better as social studies teachers. Not stuff organized by our administrators. Informal sorts of things that can make us more effective. I came up with ten. I’m sure there are more but ya gotta start somewhere.
What would you add? Subtract from the list?
So what does a liquid network look like?
- Start by having a conversation about the themes of A Clockwork Orange and A Brave New World with your college-age son home for the holiday break. Realize that the topic has morphed over into brain research. Reference Steven Johnson’s book titled Mind Wide Open. During Mind Wide Open conversation remember that Johnson’s latest book, Where Good Ideas Come From, also references brain research and collaboration.
- Continue the conversation later on historyfriend’s blog post about creating a community of scholars. Reference Johnson’s Good Ideas book. Do search for link to book. Instead, find a TED talk by Johnson about his book. Listen to the TED talk. Suggest video to historyfriend.
- Share discussion with face to face office colleagues and online network. Gather more ideas about how best to organize classrooms for collaborative learning. Realize that these ideas would be perfect for your upcoming cohort session of 40 middle school teachers.
- Walk away smarter because son, Johnson, historyfriend, Amazon, TED, office colleagues, and online friends all combined to help you develop a new idea for how to organize a Teaching American History meeting.