Every once in a while, as I am enjoying my guilty pleasure of watching really bad or cheesy TV, I feel bad that I don’t read enough. Then I remember that I spend most of every day reading: emails, tweets, Facebook updates, Pinterest tags, Instagram descriptions, books for work, books for school, books for fun, magazines, the mail, street signs, advertisements, texts, etc.
Here are some of the more important books I have been reading and enjoying as a leader and a learner.
- The Principal by Michael Fullan- I’m loving everything about this, book, but this was especially relevant to me:
“Do you feel a terrible sense of urgency? Or is what you feel these days more like panic? John Kotter (2008), a long-standing change leader guru, has a great take on the concept of urgency. He says, true enough, that big changes can’t be initiated without some terrible sense of urgency, but once we leave the starting blocks, the need is to focus our efforts. Without focus, urgency makes things worse…” (Fullan, p. 21).
- The Multiplier Effect: Tapping into the Genius Inside Our Schools by Liz Wiseman, Lois Allen, and Elise Foster – We are reading this as part of a collective book study with all management leaders in our district. I love the message of being a multiplier instead of a diminisher for those with whom you work. As a leader I focus on the strengths of my colleagues and build up from there, so this aligns nicely with my own leadership philosophy. It has been interesting to hear our leaders reflect on times when they have felt multiplied and/or diminished by a “boss” and times when they feel they have multiplied and/or diminished their own staff. Here is one of my favorite quotes:
“Tyrants create a tense environment – one that is full of stress and anxiety. Liberators create an intense environment that requires concentration, diligence, and energy. It is an environment where people are encouraged to think for themselves but also where people experience a deep obligation to do their best work.” (Wiseman et al., p. 51)
- Visible Learning for Teachers: Maximizing Impact on Learning by John Hattie- Over the last year, I have heard Hattie’s research quoted in Twitter chats, in presentations at national and local workshops, in blogs, and just about everywhere else. I began to read this book when I realized I would have an opportunity to attend a Hattie workshop with a team from our district, to explore Visible Learning in more detail. On page one Hattie outlines the premise:
“A common theme throughout this book is the need to retain learning at the forefront and to consider teaching primarily in terms of its impact on student learning.”
What are you reading and learning from these days?
Previous What I’m Reading posts:
I’ve been reading three books – 2 professional and one for pleasure
The Literate Kindergarten Where Wonder and Discovery Thrive by Susan L. Kempton:
Recently I was questioned by some Kindergarten teachers about the appropriate time to teach and assess standard RL 3 – With prompting and support, identify characters, settings, and major events in a story. We had a conversation that we should be building listening comprehension stamina and that from day one we should be teaching this standard. How do we do this? Through talk. Ms. Kempton say, “Talk is the underlying thread of literacy. Talk enriches experience and expands language across the curriculum. Talk facilitates retention and enhances comprehension. Talk motivates and engages children in their learning. Talk develops oral language, creates new schema, and clarifies meaning. Talk strengthens community.”
We can’t hold our children back.
Rigorous Reading 5 Access Points for Comprehending Complex Texts by Nancy Frey and Douglass Fisher:
Recently I had the opportunity at a conference to listen to Doug Fisher. Again he talked about younger children need to build their stamina in listening comprehension. He calls this “Close Listening because so much of this is about listening comprehension.” He also mentions, “We are referring to interactive read-alouds that require students to actively participate in the co-construction of knowledge and understanding in ways that are similar to the close readings. Close listening (reading) lessons use an interactive think-aloud approach that draws from many of the same principles as those used for older students.” At the kindergarten meeting we discussed these two experts for a few minutes. We still had a few who were not convinced, but it is a work in progress.
Invisible by James Patterson
Yes, I have to take the time to read for pleasure even though it’s about a serial killer. I have been reading this book for the last tow months. Why has it taken me so long? I can only read it when I have down time, i.e. waiting for appointments. Hopefully I will finish soon, it is very suspenseful!
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