‘Tis the season for getting into some good education books. I’m not in grad school yet so it’s good to get into some more academic reading.
1. Write Beside Them by Penny Kittle
I have had this one since college, and it is always so inspiring to go back and get tips and ideas. Something I have always been struggling with is implementing a Writer’s Notebook like Kittle does. This year one of my goals is to be more intentional with it.
2. Productive Group Work by Frey, Fisher, and Everlove
This was given to me *cough* last year *cough* to read by my new teacher induction coordinator and I still haven’t gotten around to cracking it open. Group work isn’t something that I would say I really focus on managing in my classroom, which probably means I don’t know what the heck I’m doing. It will be good to be more knowledgable about it.
3. Never Underestimate Your Teachers, by Robyn Jackson
This year I was accepted into a Leadership Alliance between my district and two other neighboring districts. The point of the alliance is to discuss and norm evaluative practices, eventually leading into shaping functional instructional rounds involving both districts. I attended our first session in June and it was exciting; meeting not just teachers but district level administrators and discussing the relevance of feedback to teachers was empowering. We will be conducting observations in PLCs this year between-districts. This is one of the books we will be using, and I have read excerpts. Robyn Jackson is very well-known, and is also the author of Never Work Harder Than Your Students (which I have not read in full but have read excerpts from as well).
4. Resource Guide For Deepening the Understanding of Teachers’ Professional Practices, by the Colorado Department of Education
I usually berate the state DOE, but this hefty guide is actually informative. It really gets into the nitty-gritty of our teacher evaluation system, and offers examples of what constitutes as “basic,” “proficient,” etc. ratings for all categories. Let me tell you, this rubric is extensive. The book goes into the explanation of what an evaluator is looking for using examples, and then has even more references and links within the document to provide support. So, it is actually a really good resource for teachers and evaluators. If I get rated “basic” in one area, I can look for help with the guide. If you’re in Colorado, check it out.