With the political tweets and the public rants, I've moved away from Twitter as a primary source of professional development. In the past, it was a place to share an idea and receive feedback, improvements, or host a discussion. Nowadays, the majority of things I seem to see involve the slinging of mud and that's not what I'm here for.
Instead, I've reached for the stack of books on my nightstand. I control what I see, who is sharing it, and there is a flowing narrative, not a discombobulated buckshot of ideas.
To answer your question, Karl, I'm pulling ideas from educators, business people, professional writers, mathematicians, and others to continue growing, even if it's just a temporary sabbatical from the online world. I'll learn plenty from CUE, ISTE, edcamps, EdTechTeam events, as well as others, but a good book just resonates like nothing else.
I don't buy books based on the cover, which made the selection of my book, The Classroom Chef, such a daunting task. Instead, I go off of recommendations (most of which are from you, Karl).
The more you learn about Tracy's story (defeating cancer, rocking the universe), the more it becomes obvious that she is a person you want to be surrounded by. Tracy exudes positivity, incites reflection, and really really thinks about what she is putting forth for the world to see. I am only one chapter into this one, but I have a feeling that it will be in new teacher programs, math department book stacks, and used as a reference for years to come.
Colors of Goodbye, by September Vaudrey
I know Matt Vaudrey personally and professionally, so reading the story of his sister's sudden death and how his mother (and family) dealt with it has not been easy. I've told Matt twice now that I don't think I can get through the entire book, but something about the story makes it hard to leave alone. Matt, I'll finish it, even if it takes a couple years. The way that September has brought the reader into the story is amazing, along with Katie's paintings being embedded in each chapter.
How Not to Be Wrong, by Jordan Ellensburg
It's been a little while since I picked this one up, and I'm almost done with it; there are some interesting ideas and thoughts that Jordan has that directly relate to what we do in education. Although he references teaching directly, the entire book applies in many ways.
I know, I know, I'm sorry. While many revere this as "the book that every math teacher must read," I haven't had the initiative to do so. A friend of mine recently bought me a copy, letting me clear the first hurdle. I'm not a big fan of heavy reads with a lot of cited research (again, I know, I know) so that's the bigger hurdle to clear. Plus, I get the majority of her stuff from youcubed.org and some of the presentations she has given. I'll read it, though.
Why Johnny Can't Read, by Rudolf Flesch
In one of my rants about kindergarten, a good friend of mine chimed in with a "must read" to help my boys; this one. It's not that I don't want to learn why my kids can't read; in fact, I'm very interested. I guess my lack of motivation on this book is that I'm trying my best to lay the trust of my son's growth into the hands of the professionals who have been doing it at that level for so long (this year, his teacher has been in education for over 20 years). Still, I need--and want--to find out why Johnny can't read and what I can do about it.
Explore Like a Pirate, Michael Matera
In 2014, I sat around a table with like-minded educators and rambled on about how I disliked gamification. To my surprise, Michael Matera was someone who loves the model and had been building the workings of a system that can be replicated by anyone who is ready to make the leap. It's a bonus that we share the same publisher, so getting a copy of his book was pretty easy. My hesitation on diving into this one is that I don't have a class, but I need to get over that and read the book. My guess is that his ideas will apply as an instructional coach as well.
All Done... for now:
I love reading books about business and finding ways to apply them to education. In Trade-Off, Maney talks about the idea of fidelity vs. convenience and it's something I refer to quite frequently in the work that I do. What happened with the Motorolla Razr? How can I avoid the "Fidelity Belly" in my own work? While it isn't wildly popular, I love the ideas that are shared and ways that they can be tied to educators.
Switch, by Dan and Chip Heath
The subtitle of the book, "how to change things when change is hard" sums up where I think we are at in education. There are a lot of things that we need to do--and should be doing--but require a much different approach than what we are currently trying. Each of their ideas come with examples and stories that make you feel like you too could change the way in which things are done. In fact, I really believe it.
Which One Doesn't Belong, by Christopher Danielson
The book itself isn't very long, and doesn't seem all that spectacular (given that wodb.ca has a ton of free ones) to the mathematician's eye, but my kids absolutely love it. More than that, I LOVE watching them. Yes, we read the Berenstein Bears, plenty of Dr. Seuss, and even Too Pickly; this one is still my favorite. My boys look at the images, have a discussion, and feel proud. There is an accompanying book for teachers that goes into the detail and meta-analysis of students' selections, so I highly recommend it to parents with younger kids and teachers of K-3.
Where I go from here...
I was tweeting too much. I was on my phone too much. I was worrying about what everyone else's reactions to public events were rather than forming my own opinion. It wasn't good, so I logged off. Since logging back on, I'm seeing value in moderation.
Now I need to go buy a bigger bookshelf.
What are some books that you recommend I look into? It doesn't have to be edu-related, but I'm not reading a novel... not sorry.
Happy "Good Book" Fishing