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Posts from the ‘summer’ Category

2021 Summer Reading List: Books that’ll make me a better person

Maybe it’s the heat. Or maybe it’s too much AC.

Either way, it’s been hard to get started on the annual History Tech Summer Reading List. It’s been a tradition for as long as I’ve been in education. Back in the day, Mike Ortmann, a social studies rock star who taught down the hall from me in Derby Middle School, encouraged me to do something besides be a life guard during the summer.

“Read some books.” Mike said. “Talk to some people. Do some research. Get off your butt and become a better teacher,” he said.

So I did. And Mike was right. We need to keep learning, keep asking questions, keep moving forward. And what better time for that than between now and September? So every summer, I make a list of books I plan to read June, July, and August. Long time History Tech readers already know this.

They also know that not once, not ever, a couple of times I came close but never ever, have I actually finished the list.

I’m getting less and less optimistic that it will ever happen. It’s always something. I get distracted. This summer, we’ve got the Olympics and Euro 2020. And my wife and I are in the middle of a move. Don’t hold your breath.

But I am loving my 2021 list. So maybe, just maybe, this is the summer.

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7 great reads that are gonna make my brain bigger

Most of you already know about the History Tech summer reading program. If you just starting hanging around, a quick recap.

For years, I’ve been making a list of books that I plan to read between the end of school in May and back to school in August. Social studies superhero, teaching guru, and my unofficial mentor back in the day, Mike Ortmann, encouraged me to use June, July, and August as a time for personal professional growth. Don’t just waste it at the pool – use the summer to build up some new content knowledge and research a few teaching strategies with a little individual book study.

It was great advice then. And it still is. Getting better at what we do should always be a focus. My job has changed a bit since the Mike Ortmann days but I still love the idea of stacking up six or seven books and jumping in.

And what better time to do that than right now? You’ve got a little free time. I’m guessing there’s an easy chair by an AC vent or an Adirondack set up outside somewhere.

I’m still a fan of print but feel free to go the e-book or audio route. Heck . . . there are great podcasts out there as well. But Mike was right. Summer’s the perfect time for personal professional growth no matter what format you prefer.

So . . . here’s what I got going. Read more

Summer reading list 2018: Five books that will make me smarter

Long time History Tech readers already know this. Every summer, I make a list of books I plan to read between now and September. Long time History Tech readers also know this. Not once, not ever, a couple of times I came close but never ever, have I actually finished the list.

There’s always been something. I get distracted with a new book that comes out or some event happens that pulls me in a different direction. But some day . . . some day, it’s gonna happen. I’m trying to be realistic this year. Part of me says; yes, this summer it’s gonna happen – you’re going on a long anniversary trip to a tropical beach without the tech. Tons of time for book reading while sipping cool beverages under an umbrella.

The other part of me says; not a chance – as soon as you get home, the World Cup starts and the rest of June and part of July are shot to h, e, double hockey sticks. So we’ll see. (But it does help with the reading goal that the US team apparently forgot how to play the game and didn’t qualify, giving me less reason to watch. Go Iceland.)

The whole idea here got started moons ago when I first started teaching and some very smart people encouraged to not take the summers off. They’re the perfect time for learning, they said. Read a book, they said. Maybe two or more, they said.

So I did. And they were right. We need to keep learning, keep asking questions, keep moving forward. And what better time for that than between now and September? Some summers I start with a specific theme. This year? Not so much. Just a few books that look interesting or fun to read.

Here’s the 2018 list – fingers crossed: Read more

Tip of the Week: 7 Resources for the End of School

I know that many of you are just trying to survive the next few weeks so something short and sweet. Browse through this quick list of lessons and activities that might make your life a little easier:

Good luck and have fun!

 

Tip of the Week: Summer Reading List 2016

I’m not going to lie to you. It’s never easy but this year may be a bit rougher than normal.

Regular readers already know this – every summer since I finished my first year as a middle school US history teacher, I’ve had a summer reading list. A couple of very smart mentors suggested that I needed to take responsibility for my own professional growth and that reading for both work and pleasure during the slower summer months was a non-negotiable.

Best. Advice. Ever. And it’s was more than just a reading list – it’s more the idea that I needed to focus on continual improvement and the list was a practical way to make that happen. So . . . pick some books with content. Some with process. Some for fun. And start the fall semester smarter than when I left in the spring.

But this year could be tough. Both son and daughter are in the area and suggested that we do a summer family book group. Each of us pick a book, read it, discuss it, broaden the horizons. Great idea, right? Sure, who’s going to say no to that?

The problem is that I have never, not once, not ever, finished my own summer list. And the family book club idea just added four extra books that I can’t ignore to the list.

Sigh.

But I’m still creating the List. Cause . . . you know. It could happen. I could finish. I’m not kidding around this year.

The theme this summer? Politics and presidential elections.
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Tip of the Week: Summer Reading List

My wife is smirking at me. She’s feeling her oats. Yup. Yesterday was her last day of school. As a fourth grade teacher, the last week of school for her is usually pretty brutal and starting today she can relax a bit.

My summer? Pretty busy. Over the next eight weeks, I’ll have the chance to meet all sorts of people around the country. That’s a good thing, I suppose. I like busy.

But right now she’s rubbing it in just a bit.

Cause she knows. She knows I love to read and that summer has traditionally been the perfect time for me to race through my summer reading list. This year, it’s going to be tough.

For as long as I’ve been in education, I’ve had a summer reading list. One of my early mentors (Thanks Mr. Ortmann!) “forced” me to do it and I learned to love the idea. Develop a list of professional and fun books. Commit to reading them. Talk about the content with others.

Of course, in all of the years that I’ve been doing it, I’ve never actually finished the original list. Schedules change. Books aren’t as good as I had hoped. A couple of years ago, I went on a Civil War binge and got completely sidetracked.

But the idea is still a good one. It makes us better educators. And isn’t that part of the job?

So . . . the 2014 Summer Reading List: Read more