A Call for Must Reads

October Think-About:

If you compiled a list of  “must reads” for educators –  books, articles, blog posts, etc. – what would you include?

Sometimes, I think to myself, “If only they could read [ insert title here ], maybe that would help them wrap their minds around these challenging ideas/philosophies.”

Think of the conversations we could have if we were all speaking with some common background information.

As I struggle to be patient and help others see that we have to change the way we “do school,”  I think about some of what I’ve read recently, and I want to share. A great example:

Jeff Utecht mentioned in a recent post:

“I have come to hate the phrase ’21st Century’ whatever: Learner, Thinking, Teacher, Skills… We’re 9 years (depending on how you count) into the 21st Century and we’re still calling for 21st Century things. I’m sorry, we’re in it [my emphasis]! These are just skills! They are just what we should be doing…”

After I read Jeff’s post, I said aloud, “EXACTLY!”  We keep talking about 21st Century as if it’s some far-off, future place and time. But it isn’t. It’s NOW.

I quoted Jeff today, and some of my colleagues laughed at themselves, because they also were thinking of the future. I pointed them to Jeff’s blog and told them it was something they needed to read.

So what about you?

  • What are the enlightening “reads” for you?
  • How did reading that book/article/blog change your thinking? your teaching? your direction?
  • How have you shared that information with your learning community?

Share with me your “must reads” in comments (I’ll add mine there, too!), and then I’ll compile a list for my next post.

10 thoughts on “A Call for Must Reads

  1. Any chance I get, I ask people if they have read the following books:

    Here Comes Everybody, Clay Shirky
    A Whole New Mind, Daniel Pink
    The Wisdom of Crowds, James Surowiecki
    How to Grade for Learning, Ken O’Connor

    I also post great online articles and blog posts to my del.icio.us bookmarks. (michellek107)

    What about you?

  2. One book you may consider for the list is “Teaching with Your Strengths.” It’s a good book that reassures us unconventional teachers that our strengths are what’s important – they are what students gravitate towards and are inspired by. Authors are Rosanne Liesveld and Jo Ann Miller.

    Look forward to hearing more. Great site!

  3. My educator Must Reads are
    Educating Esme : Diary of a Teacher’s First Year by Esme Raji Codell — I give this to all of my student teachers,

    and a fun read is
    32 Third Graders and One Class Bunny : Life Lessons from Teaching by Phillip Done —
    great insights and classroom stories.

    Teaching with Love and Logic : Taking Control of the Classroom by Jim Fay, David Funk, Jim Fay

    The Essential 55 : An Award-winning Educator’s Rules for Discovering the Successful Student in Every Child, Vol. 55 by Ron Clark

    The Read-Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease

    The First Days of School by Harry Wong

    Chicken Soup for the Teacher’s Soul

    Now these are not tech related, and they may be dated as I have been teaching for over 20 years, but these are some of the standouts in my collection. I am interested to see what will be included in your list and look forward to discovering new must reads.

  4. Michelle-what a great post! This is a hard one-there are so many must reads for me-I will try to be brief:

    Teachers can gain great perspective by “stepping outside of the field” sometimes-I love reading marketing and business books. My favorites now:
    Seth Godin-Tribes
    Innovate Like Edison-Gelb
    Good to Great-Collins
    Made to Stick-Chip and Dan Heath
    Here Comes Everybody-Clay Shirkey

    Education Must Reads-
    Debbie Miller-Teaching with Intention
    Debbie Diller-Spaces and Places
    To Understand-Ellin Keene
    Choice Words- Peter Johnson

    Lots of Favorites already Mentioned

  5. I’m not sure that I have any single books that are *must read*, because I tend to make connections between disparate items instead of pulling things out of any single source.

    That said, I second the recommendation of “The First Days of School” if for nothing else than it helped form my ideas about classroom structures and procedures.

    For new media, I recommend Dan Meyers blog, dy/dan at http://blog.mrmeyer.com/ because he talks a lot about authentically including new technologies in courses.

  6. Thanks for all your great responses! Hoping to get a few more before compiling!

  7. Books I recommend are Wikinomonics and “The World is Flat”.

    Trouble I find is while I know that I should read many of the other books suggested I spend so much time reading information on the Internet when I have relaxation time I just want to have some down time. Watch a movie or read a good book that don’t make me think too much.

  8. I have to also recommend Harry Wong’s “First Days of School.” If you do not have time to read the book there is a great video that is available as well.

    I would like to add two books that were not mentioned yet. “A Framework Understanding Poverty” by Ruby Payne and “The Language Police” by Diane Ratvitch.

    Here is more information on these three books from bn.com:

    “First Days of School: How to be a More Effective Teacher”
    Over 3 million copies have been sold of the preeminent book on classroom management and teaching for lesson achievement. The book walks a teacher, either novice or veteran, through the most effective ways to begin a school year and continue to become an effective teacher. This is the most basic book on how to teach. Every teacher and administrator needs to have a copy.

    “Language Police”
    In this text for educators and concerned citizens, educational historian Ravitch reveals how interest groups on the left and right of the political spectrum have pressured publishers to self-censor texts for use in the classroom. She contends that the removal of potentially controversial words and passages compromises the educational value of these texts. As an alternative, she suggests explaining to students that sometimes history hasn’t been very nice while still allowing historical actors to speak for themselves. Annotation ©2003 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR

    “Framework for Understanding Poverty”
    Customer Review
    Ever wonder why people who win the lottery often end up in worse shape after they win than before? It’s often because our lives are governed by the way we perceive the world and think. Our social networks, entertainment, perception of resources, and so on shape our interactions with others and with the world. There is literally a different culture in generational poverty than in the ‘middle class’ or among the wealthy. And moving across cultural strata is not so simple as just having or not having money. I’ve often wondered why ‘in my experience’ it can be so hard to help those in need – specifically, those who seem to be living in generational poverty. Sure, I can give a few dollars to help with an urgent situation such as getting the electricity turned back on but I have often felt powerless to help bring real, lasting change to people in need. Ruby Payne addresses these issues in a powerful way. Her research and understanding make hear a well- qualified leader and her suggestions have helped shape my ability to be more effective.

    Like so many others I get my information from subscribing to blogs written by my colleagues and leaders in the field of education. Here is a list of my favorites.

    Educational Leaders:

    Wes Fryer’s “Speed of Creativity”

    Darren Draper’s’ Drape’s Takes”

    Will Richardsons “Weblogg-ed”

    I also enjoy reading the blogs of my colleagues who are well on their way to being internationally known (or at least regionally known) educational bloggers.

    Cory Plough’s “The Nex Step” thenextstep.edublogs.org/

    Josh Allen’s “Tech Fridge”

    and of course………..
    Michelle Baldwin’s “Avenue of Learning”

  9. I agree with the Daniel Pink book “A Whole New Mind.” Great book for many people. I would also add the Randy Pausch’s Last Lecture book and video. That is really a life changer.

  10. The Catcher in the Rye — J.D. Salinger — To remind us that our students are more than 40 mins a day.

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