Friday, July 3, 2015

Summer reading for inspiration!

Wait! Summer is already half over! I can't believe I haven't already shared some books I'm really diggin' these days. If you're looking for some inspiration to motivate you and prompt you try some new strategies in your schools/classrooms, then give one or all of these a shot!

My most favorite read of the Spring (probably of the past few years) was #EdJourney by Grant Lichtman. (I need help enunciating his last name as I was corrected by a friend of his at ISTE, but anyone who knows me knows it was unintentional.) I'm REALLY into his work and so inspired by the book!

Grant drove across/around the country visiting schools and interviewed more than 600 teachers, admins, students and parents asking them questions like:

  • What does innovation mean to you?
  • How has your school changed to meet the challenges of a rapidly changing world?
  • What do we really need to teach and learn in schools, and how are you doing that?
He unfolds their responses and his learnings into three parts: Roadblocks, Blazing the Trail and the Road Ahead. Each chapter begins with a journal entry, his ponderings and experiences on the road which were fun to read. I thought here, wow, he is a great storyteller. I really enjoyed his voice.

The story of our challenges (and I say "our" because even though he didn't visit SBISD, we are along on the same journey) provide you a lens into how others are making paths around and through challenges. For me, Grant's stories confirmed the importance of being a community of learners and the key role of leadership (at the campus level), You'll read about many different approaches schools are taking which might give you some jumping off points to get started.

In the last few chapters, Grant challenges us to think differently through a variety of models and strategies for the future of learning and how we need to think forward (probably not actually grasping everything through those words).

When I started thinking about the "What ifs" in my world, what if we approached technology at the district level in a way that provides a level of resources yet allows for each school to create their own plan (for learning). Still trying to figure out how we can support innovative practices in meaningful ways.

This is definitely a book that I will reread and return to often over the coming year. It challenges my thinking!

The book I'm currently reading (about halfway through my first read) is Creating cultures of thinking: The 8 Forces We Must Master to Truly Transform Our Schools by Ron Ritchhart.

To me, this book will give you the tools to effectively innovate and create a community of learners! We're actually blogging about the book here.

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