This year may be a little tough. My July is scheduled full of days that I get to spend with social studies teachers around the country. But my hopes are high.
Regular History Tech readers already know this – every summer since I finished my first year as a middle school US history teacher, I’ve put together a summer reading list. Several teachers down the hall had taken me into their inner circle and suggested, very strongly, that I needed to do more during the summer months than life guard and paint houses – that growing professionally over the summer was a non-negotiable. This professional growth might include some sort of face to face professional learning opportunity but it definitely included creating a personal reading list.
Best. Advice. Ever. It’s really more than just a reading list – it’s the idea that teachers need to continually work on honing their craft and a summer reading list is a practical way to make that happen. So . . . I picked some books with content. Some with process. Some for fun. And started the fall semester smarter than when I left in the spring. So have been doing it ever since.
The problem is that I have never, not once, not ever, finished my summer list. And July obligations and an extensive honey-do list makes it unlikely that 2017 is the year I actually cross the finish line.
But I’m still creating the list. Cause . . . you know. It could happen. I could finish. I’m not kidding around this year. Seriously.
There’s no real theme this summer. Just a few books that look interesting and that should make me better at what I do: Read more
During the glory days of the Teaching American History projects, we handed out books like candy. We’d read. Argue. Reflect. Move on to the next. And I’m sure there were some who didn’t enjoy that process as much as I did. I understand that we all learn in different ways but it’s just hard for me to imagine life without books to read and talk about.
Plain and simple truth? You can never have enough books.
Keith Houston in his recent book titled, wait for it . . . The Book: A Cover-to-Cover Exploration of the Most Powerful Object of Our Time, advises readers to Read more
Kori Green, newly installed president of the Kansas Council for the Social Studies, shared a great piece of advice yesterday morning. Over at the KCSS Doing Social Studies site, Kori suggested that perhaps the best thing you can be doing this holiday break is . . . nothing.
Well. Not nothing. She did say that it would be okay to “read a book, spend time with your family, take the dog for a walk . . . Take time for yourself and recharge.” I couldn’t agree more. Teaching has always been difficult and it’s not getting any easier. Some serious mental downtime right about now prepares you for a great second semester.
So if you are actually reading this – I’m guessing most of you have probably already left the building – here’s a bit of some similar advice.
I love the holidays. A Christmas Story, Elf, Home Alone. Chocolate covered coffee beans. Sugar cookies. Lots and lots of sugar cookies. Friends. Family. Christmas lights. Straight No Chaser. It’s all good.
But the best part of the holiday break, of course, is the actual break. So grab a book and make time to actually finish it. Much like my summer list, I try to always have a mini-holiday break reading list.
This year? Read more
It really is a noble goal.
I start each June with the idea of working my way through 4-6 books before September that can help me grow professionally and personally. It’s a habit that started way back during my middle school teaching days and it makes a lot of sense – focus intentionally on finding ways to improve my content knowledge and teaching chops.
Of course, it never really happens. I set aside a pile of books – both print and digital – with the best of intentions. But . . . something always sidetracks me from my original list. One year, I got sucked away into a Civil War blackhole. Some years, it’s just that I was too ambitious with my list. Other times, my list turned out to be less than interesting than I thought they would be and I moved onto other titles.
This year? Pretty much the same result – I went four for seven. The theme this summer, of course, was politics and presidential elections. I did actually get through: Read more
I’ve gotten to know Michael Matera over the last few years as we both went down the path of using games in the classroom. We read each other’s stuff and chatted once a while via social media. He’s connected with some of my good friends and colleagues like Kevin Honeycutt and Wes Fryer.
As a classroom teacher, Michael spent a ton of time perfecting the concept of game-based learning in the trenches with his middle school students. All while sharing his ideas and thoughts via mrmatera.com and @mrmatera.
And just so you know – if you haven’t seen his stuff – Michael’s got the juice. He’s a guy who believes in #gbl and is pulling it off with a ton of success with actual, real live kids.
So if he ever writes a book that describes how teachers can use game-based learning and gamification in the classroom, buy the book. Seriously. You’re gonna get smarter and your kids will learn more.
You already know where this is heading, don’t you? Yup. Read more
I seriously doubt that anyone will actually read this. It’s the final student contact day for many of you and am pretty sure the last thing you’re thinking about right now is my Tip of the Week.
But I’m going to push this out anyway cause . . . well, it’s my job.
I love the holidays. Turkey. Ham. Chocolate covered coffee beans. And Chex Mix. Lots and lots of Chex Mix. Friends. Family. Christmas lights. It’s all good.
But the best part of the holiday break, of course, is the actual break. The part where I save vacation days and spend the week between Christmas and New Year’s hanging out late and reading. It just seems as if other parts of the year get so busy that there is little time to sit and enjoy a book or two. So much like my summer reading list, I always have a Christmas reading list.
This year? Read more