What I’ve Been Reading

Ah, winter break. What used to seem like pie-in-the-sky is now here, and now that I’ve eaten all the pie, I’m a bit stir-crazy. While I’d like to spend my time reading crappy fiction, for some reason I just can’t. The opportunity to read and learn new things is too great. 

So far, I’ve read: 

1. Lean in: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead, by Sharyl Sandberg. Feminists unite! This is a good one if you’re considering having kids (or have them) or considering having a husband or already have one. Which, I assume, most women think about at some point in their lives. The advice in the book is helpful and helps you put having kids and having a fulfilling professional life into perspective. Good stuff. 

2. “Can Teachers be Evaluated by Their Students’ Test Scores? Should they Be? The Use of Value-Added Measures of Teacher Effectiveness in Policy and Practice” a research publication by the Annenburg Institute for School Reform at Brown University. I think this is a good pub. to read if you are confused as to how value-added works or should work or want to see how it’s used in academia. It’s not too long, at about 35 pages. 

3. Teach Like a Champion: 49 Techniques That Put Students on the Path to College, by Doug Lemov is one that I just started today. From what I can tell, it’s got a lot of good, practical strategies to try in the classroom. It’s one of those books that makes so much sense that you think “Duh. Why haven’t I been doing it that way?” My favorite strategy so far is “No Opt Out,” which is where you do not let students say “I don’t know” to a question you ask them, but instead ask another student to help out, having the original student repeat the answer so he/she still has to put forth the effort (the book does a way better way of explaining it). I have let my kids say “I don’t know” because I’m not really sure how to handle that situation (especially in a group of five students that honestly don’t know the answer). But putting the responsibility on them to come to an answer eventually (the process of learning) is what we should be teaching them. I think most teachers, even veterans, could get something out of this book. If you’re new, I suggest you pick it up and take a look. 

 

That’s all for now. Enjoy the rest of your break, teachers, and Happy New Year! 

-S

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