Skip to content

Posts tagged ‘books’

The best history books of 2016 and personal professional development

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

Take a nap. Catch your breath. Read a book.

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

Summer reading list? Epic fail. Fall learning? 3 ways it can still happen

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

Explore Like a Pirate: #gbl & game-based course design

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

Tip of the Week: What will you be reading?

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

Summer reading list 2015

It’s a Wiebe tradition.

The annual summer reading list.

For as long as I’ve been in education, I’ve had a summer reading list. Several of my early mentors suggested that the summer is a perfect time for personal professional learning. Develop a list of professional and fun books. Commit to reading them. Talk about the content with others. I eventually came around to the idea and learned to love it.

My wife, also an educator, started doing it. Later, we passed on the idea to our kids. The cool thing is that we’re all still committed to it. The best summer was the year my wife and I took a tech naked trip to the beach. Without the internet, there’s was nothing to do but sit in the sand and read. Awesome.

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. It’s easy to get sidetracked. Work. Travel. Family stuff. But the idea is still a good one. It makes us better educators. And isn’t that part of the job?

So even though I’m pretty sure I won’t finish it, I still make the list. Cause one of these years, it’s gonna happen. All the books, all the way through. Really. I’m serious. This year for sure.

The 2015 Summer Reading List

Read more