What's a teacher to do on summer vacation? READ of course! My summer reading list is below:
- Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter
- I had a 4.5 hour train ride to Berlin and couldn't stand the thought of making the trip without a good book. I went to The American Book Store in Warsaw and was
surprisedshocked to find The Financial Lives of Poets written by Jess Walter, the author of Beautiful Ruins. I read through the book in just a few short hours!
- Once a Runner by John Parker Jr.
- How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity and the Hidden Power of Character by Paul Tough. The short synopsis on the back of the book reads, "Why do some children succeed while others fail? The story we usually tell about childhood and success is the one about intelligence: success comes to those who score highest on tests, from preschool admissions to SATs. But in How Children Succeed, Paul Tough argues that the qualities that matter more have to do with character: skills like perseverance, curiosity, optimism, and self-control." It's reminding me a lot about The Global Achievement Gap by Tony Wagner. (Hey you teachers - how's that for a text-to-text connection?!) Because of the focus on standardized testing in today's society, students in too many classrooms are not being equipped with the skills that are necessary to succeed in the 21st century. One of my favorite passages (I've **starred** and underlined it!) is as follows, "This push on tests," he told me when I visited his office one fall day, "is missing out on some serious parts of what it means to be a successful human." YES! YES! YES! Can we shout this from the mountain tops? I'm blessed to teach at a school where testing is not our priority, but rather educating the whole child - socially, emotionally and academically. And you know what? My students do
just fineoutstanding on our ONE standardized test in the spring. I know many teachers are faced with standardized testing and practice tests all year long. How are students ever supposed to develop a love for learning when (nearly every week) they are forced to answer multiple choice questions on a test that is culturally and socio-econocially biased? These tests are not fair assessments of the progress a child has made over the course of an academic year. What we as educators need to focus on is "grit, curiosity and the hidden power of character" as we step foot in our classrooms every day.
Have you read How Children Succeed? Maybe all I need is another day of sunshine, blue skies, Peet's coffee and a bench by the San Francisco Bay to finish the book. I'm not quite half way through and I'm loving it!
What was on your summer reading list? I'm always looking for great educational research books. Tell me your favorites!