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Posts tagged ‘books’

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

Books that shaped America. Mmm . . .

As part of the celebration of their 100th birthday, the US Department of Labor recently put together a list titled “Books That Shaped Work in America.” It’s an interesting list. And I will be the first to admit that more than several of the books are unfamiliar to me and that more than several of the books are . . . mmm . . . interesting selections.

I mean, I get why The Jungle made the list. Why Liar’s Poker made the list. Even Busy Busy Town (a personal favorite). But still scratching my head a bit on I’m a Frog and Madam Secretary. That’s the cool thing about lists – everyone has a different opinion. I also like the idea that the Department of Labor asked current and former employees to create the list.

But it got me thinking. Read more

100 books to read before you die (and a few more)

Amazon phrased it a bit differently when advertising their most recent list:

100 Books to Read in a Lifetime.

But I think my title puts a bit more urgency into the process. As in . . . get on it. You don’t have a lot of time left. Start reading cause you could get hit by a bus tomorrow.

However you want to view it, it’s a fun list. And for someone like me, a person who loves books and lists, this is perfect. Of course, the GoodReads people saw the need to edit the list using suggestions from their readers. Get that list here.

Jonesing for more? Try the Huffington Post’s 30 Books to Read Before You’re 30 and the New York Times 100 Greatest Books of All Time.

All of this book goodness got me started thinking about books I’ve read over the last few months and which ones have the potential to make some list somewhere. But I quickly figured out that what I’ve been reading lately probably won’t ever crack the Greatest Books of All Time list.

So I’m making my own list. Read more

Classroom Clues: K-6 Lit to teach economics

What I know about economics and personal finance? Think of the smallest possible measuring container and what I know about economics and personal finance would probably come close to filling that container.

Think of that Sam Cooke song – “Don’t Know Much About History.” Replace history with economics. That’s me.

I never had an official econ course in my life. Yeah. I know. If it makes you feel better, I have had some economics workshops and I know a lot of very smart economics people. (Looking at you Brian Richter.)

So this morning was a huge learning opportunity for me. Angela Howdeshell from the Kansas Council for Economics Education spent two hours with our social studies PLC group.

Awesome stuff.

Angela shared all sorts of great ideas and free goodies with teachers. She highlighted  some of the handy stuff on both the KCEE site as well as the national economics site.

And she shared a site I hadn’t seen before. Read more

Teaching What Really Happened and 3 other interesting books you should be reading

Like many families, mine spends part of every evening re-hashing the day – sharing experiences, discussing current events, solving the world’s problems, and arguing whether the X-Men are actual super heroes.

Earlier this week, during a discussion about school, my daughter blurted out:

I really don’t do anything at school. I’m asked to learn stuff that doesn’t mean anything to me in ways that are incredibly boring.

She and I have had this discussion before. She plays the game very well – straight A’s, great test scores. She knows the rules. And the traditional view of school would suggest that because she has a nice GPA she actually knows something. But every time I hear about worksheets, answering questions at the end of the chapter, or high school students reading out loud from the textbook to one another, I’m not convinced. Research is telling all of us that these sorts of instructional strategies don’t impact long-term learning.

Read more

Tip of the Week: Ten Best Social Studies Stuffs of 2012

Yeah. I know. Stuffs. Probably not an actual word. But I use the word stuff a lot and it seemed to fit. I started thinking that I would write about my 10 favorite books of 2012. But wait. What about the great movies? And apps? And websites?

So . . . Stuffs. Plural of Stuff. Because 10 Best Stuff of 2012 didn’t sound right.

Call them whatever you want, here are the top ten things that I found useful, interesting, or just fun this past year. In no particular order.

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