What Are You Reading This Summer?
Ahhh, summer time! A chance to recharge, sleep in, and maybe even do a little camping.
And read. I love reading for work and pleasure. Here are a few of the books I am planning on devouring in July and August:
The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. I got interested in this book because I had read Why Kids Don’t Like School by Daniel Willingham. The key message I got from Willingham’s book was this: thinking is hard and people tend to avoid doing it. Instead, we rely on our memories of situations in the past when we have solved the same problem or a similar one. We then try to fit the old solution to the new problem. In Duhigg’s book, he explores how these remembered behaviors engrain themselves into our minds over time.
Speaking of Daniel Willingham, I am waiting for his new book, When Can You Trust the Experts? to come out in late July. After years in the education-reform world as a teacher, writer, and reformer, I’ve come to believe in the Law of PhD’s: In education reform, every PhD has an equal and opposite PhD. For every study showing the harm of high-stakes testing, I can find one lauding the practice. For every study trumpeting the power of project-based learning, I can find one recommending more lecture and direct instruction. Typically, I let my political views and emotions dictate which studies I choose to support and which to attack. I hope Willingham can help me temper my automatic reactions to educational studies with some sound science.
For some inspirational reading, I’ve got Taylor Mali’s What Teachers Make. If you love teachers and think the barrage of attacks directed at teachers this year has gone too far, you may want to check out Mr. Mali’s poetry here, here, and here.
Specifically for my classroom and to prepare for my new students, I’m reading Great Group Games and Inference. Next September, I want my students to start the school year having fun and getting to know one another. My hope is that taking the time to build strong relationships in the fall will pay off with better group discussions in the winter and spring. I’m also planning on preparing some projects for my students that will demand more imagination from them.
In addition, I am going to keeping up on my issues of Educational Leadership, Kappan, Teacher, NEA Today, Education Next, and the Harvard Educational Review. Sprinkle in some cheesy sci-fi and a couple of hard-boiled dective novels for fun, and I think I’ve got a full dance card for the coming months.
How about you? What are you reading this summer?