Summer reading for educators
By Maryann Ziemba, Millis High School
As students across the state gear up for summer reading programs, teachers are replacing their lesson plan books with their own reading preferences. Some of us have a stack of required reading for grad courses and others have books we’ve been waiting nine months to read. Still, it is always a good idea to add a few education titles to your list to help you reflect on the school year.
For those in their first year of teaching, it is vital to read Paula Rutherford’s Why Didn’t I Learn this in College? This resource guides teachers from the very first day of school through every possible encounter inside and outside the classroom. Topics such as collaborative learning, parent-teacher night, multiple intelligences, differentiated instruction, etc., are presented along with various tools. Even experienced teachers will find new strategies or products to apply in places where they struggle.
Looking for assistance with lesson planning and instructional support? The Understanding by Design Guide to Creating High-Quality Units by Grant P. Wiggins is used for professional development in a growing number of districts and is an effective and highly successful guide for helping students to reach learning objectives.
Wiggins’ book is just one worthwhile read on some of the hot topics in our field of education, such as brain-based learning, differentiated instruction and 21st Century skills. But before the summer ends, be sure to indulge in some “feel good” reading for your own rejuvenation.
Suggestions include the emotional, yet inspiring, final lecture by professor of computer science and design Randy Pausch. Pausch’s words were published into the book, The Last Lecture, in which he delivered stories of his childhood and described fundamental lessons he wants his young children to learn. Or pick up any of the This I Believe books. Based on the popular NPR radio show, these books contain dozens of essays written by both famous and unknown people who share the personal beliefs that guide them. Essays describing core values such as honesty, friendship and volunteerism are joined by remarkable life lessons such as death, pain, fear and hope.
After all, our profession is also filled with daily lessons and trials that would be much less manageable without inspiring books -- and time in the summer to read them.
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