Sunday, May 25, 2014

Summer Reading...And My Return to Blogging!

It has been way too long since I have been able to sit and blog away on my little keyboard.  I've been wanting to come back for awhile now, but time was most definitely against me.  Around the time I disappeared from the blog world, our district was hunkering down for state testing (AIMS here in Arizona) and then the due date for my National Boards retake was approaching very very quickly.  Then, when I thought I'd have a chance to sit down and put a post together...the end of the school year sprang up. So, everything just drained me in general.  Have you ever had one of those school years, weeks, or even days when you just need to come home and do mindless things to keep from collapsing from exhaustion (mental, emotional, and physical)?  Me too!!!

So, I've been simmering over several blog posts I wanted to put together to jump feet first back in to blogging.  Then, this linky party popped up over on Hands-On Teacher in First (Marie's blog) and it is just perfect!  Now that I have some time on my hands I have a growing summer reading list with both personal and professional books I've been hankering over.  Please join up with us and share what you plan or hope to read!

Professional Reads

Normally, I try to only pick one professional read...or I end up overwhelmed and try too many things at the beginning of the year.  But I ended up discovering a new book by Michael Linsin who wrote Dream Class, which I read last year and just loved.  So, the list became 2 deep.  Then, came an invite from The Brownbag Teacher to join in for a book talk for The Book Whisperer's Reading in the Wild...which I also didn't get to read this past summer. 

Teach like a Pirate by Dave Burgess | This particular text has been on my to-read list since last summer.  But I had to worry more about the two books I had set aside to help me prepare and study for my Assessment Center exercises.  I have only heard wonderful and fantastic things about this book and can't wait to dive into it!  It is most likely the best book to read to make a comeback from such a rough year like mine.  In case you haven't heard of this one, here is a peek into some of the topics:  Part I - Passion, Immersion, Rapport, Transformation, & Enthusiasm; Part II - "I Like to Move It, Move It," Long Live the Arts, Stand and Deliver, etc.; Part III - called Building a Better Pirate.  Sounds intriguing no?  In case that didn't convince you, here is the synopsis from Goodreads:  "Based on Dave Burgess's popular "Outrageous Teaching" and "Teach Like a PIRATE" seminars, this book offers inspiration, practical techniques, and innovative ideas that will help you to increase student engagement, boost your creativity, and transform your life as an educator. You'll learn how to: Tap into and dramatically increase your passion as a teacher Develop outrageously engaging lessons that draw students in like a magnet Establish rapport and a sense of camaraderie in your classroom Transform your class into a life-changing experience for your students This groundbreaking inspirational manifesto contains over 30 hooks specially designed to captivate your class and 170 brainstorming questions that will skyrocket your creativity. Once you learn the Teach Like a PIRATE system, you'll never look at your role as an educator the same again."

The Classroom Management Secret by Michael Linsin | I didn't plan on reading this one, but I get Linsin's monthly newsletter emails and one of them caught my eye.  It closely related to the issues I was going through with my students this year, so I actually took the time to read it closely.  Come to find out...he had also released this new book.  I enjoyed his personable and user-friendly process to create a Dream Class (which I wasn't fully able to do because of how thrown off I was by my group this past year).  I decided, despite management being my strongest ability as a teacher, I needed to rethink my system and make improvements.  This way, no matter what kind of group I get next year, I will be ready!  Before I bought it for my Kindle, I checked the Table of Contents and was immediately intrigued by the first several chapter titles:  Why You Should Smile on the First Day of School, 7 Keys to the First Day of School, The Biggest First Day of School Mistake You Can Make, Why Coming on Too Strong Will Force a Mutiny in Your Classroom, and more.  Here is the description from Goodreads:  "In The Classroom Management Secret, you will learn how pursuing just two simple principles will allow you to grab ahold of the rewarding and meaningful teaching career you've always dreamed of. Based on the popular blog, Smart Classroom Management, the book progresses step-by-step through 46 keys, showing you how to manage your classroom in a way that inspires your students to want to behave. By the end, you will have the knowledge to take over any K-8 classroom and create the kind of peaceful buy joyous learning experience your students will always remember."

Reading in the Wild by Donalyn Miller | I was, and still am, a HUGE fan of The Book Whisperer.  It changed how I saw and taught students how to love reading.  It also changed the reading lives of so many of my students.  They still thank me to this day for how I helped them become a self-selected reader who enjoys reading for what it should be.  So, when I found out Donalyn was releasing a 2nd book long before it came out...I added it to my wish and to-read list.  Sadly, I wasn't able to get to this one last summer either.  But I just found out The Brownbag Teacher is having a book talk on it and had to join in.  So...bring it on!  Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:  Teaching students to become lifelong readers A companion to the bestselling The Book WhispererReading in the Wild explores whether or not we are truly instilling lifelong reading habits in our students and provides practical strategies for teaching "wild" reading. Based on survey responses from over 900 adult readers and classroom feedback, Reading in the Wild offers solid advice and strategies on how to develop, encourage and assess key lifelong reading habits, including dedicating time for reading, planning for future reading, and defining oneself as a reader.Includes advice for supporting the love of reading by explicitly teaching lifelong reading habits. Contains accessible strategies, ideas, tips, lesson plans and management tools along with lists of recommended books co-published with Editorial Projects in Education, publisher of "Education Week" and "Teacher Magazine"
Packed with ideas for helping students choose their own reading material, respond to text, and build capacity for lifelong reading."

For Fun Reads

I usually have a HUGE list planned a couple weeks before my summer starts, so I can get to the library and start grabbing up books.  But, alas, that just didn't happen this time around.  However, I did come home this past Friday (our last day of school) ready to find a juicy and fun chic lit read from my long to-read list on Goodreads.  My book club of lady friends is reading The Monuments Men this month as these two are givens.  As for the rest of what I'm going to be reading this summer?  Perhaps I should read the 3rd book in V.C. Andrew's Dollanganger series.  I'm hoping I get off the wait list for Emily Giffin's new book soon, since I've been on it for the last month already.  I also have some Jodi Piccoult books I've been hoarding.  So many choices and so little time!!!



How about you?  What is on your summer to-read list?  I hope you take the time for yourself to relax and enjoy some good reads...whether they are for work or play!  


  1. Thank you so much for linking up! Fun to have a fellow AZ teacher link up. I love your list and have read Teach Like A Pirate before. was AMAZING!

    1. Glad to link up! I seriously always have the longest summer reading list of personal reads...but I didn't have a chance to put an official one together yet. So, it was nice being able to put it in a more official spot like my blog!

  2. The One and Only is on my list, too!!

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