Ahhhhhhhhh! Summer time is almost here. The time when teachers rest and reboot for the next year. It’s the time when we get the house back in order and spend time with the family. It’s the time when we reflect on the past year and prepare for the new one. Summer is also a great time to catch up on a little reading. Here are 10 of the BEST Summer Reads for Teachers to get you started. (This post includes affiliate links, which help support my blog. Thank you!)
The Best Summer Reads for Teachers – Professional Development
1. Teaching Students to Become Self-Determined Learners
You may remember hearing about a school “experiment” that happened in 2010 where 8 high school students were given one semester to design their own school. They did everything including choosing what to study and how. What came out of that was a project that is now being emulated by others seeking to engage their students in taking ownership of their learning. In this new book, Teaching Students to Become Self-Determined Learners, authors Michael Wehmeyer and Yong Zhao dive into the concept of self-determined learners. This book goes into what self-determined learning is, what we can do to create an environment to promote it and teaching strategies for student ownership of the learning process and self-directed learning.
If you love thinking outside the box, challenging your students with new ideas and facilitating learning more than leading learning this book is for you! You can get a sneak peek at Chapter 1 here!
2. Hacking Classroom Management
One thing that many teachers reflect on during the summer is classroom management. What has worked in the past? What hasn’t? This super easy read, Hacking Classroom Management:10 Ideas To Help You Become the Type of Teacher They Make Movies About, has some great ideas about connecting with students and managing a classroom. Mike Roberts does a great job of sharing practical and effective classroom management ideas that you can easily put into practice in your classroom. This fast read is perfect for a lazy day at the beach, pool or dare I say a pajama day.
If you like quick reads that are helpful and practical check out some of the other books in the Hacking Learning Series. There are 23 books as of right now!
3. Ignite Student Learning
Learning is the ultimate goal – but the learning process is not an easy one. There are so many neurological processes that happen in the learning process that scientists have spent years studying it. Thank goodness for people like Judy Willis and Malana Willis who have taken this scientific information and broken it down into easy to understand bite size pieces for us lay people. This book, Research-Based Strategies to Ignite Student Learning: Insights from Neuroscience and the Classroom, does a great job of braking down brain science and the learning process. It also has an entire chapter on how stress and emotions affect learning. Given the current coronavirus pandemic, this one chapter is worth its weight in gold.
If you are looking for ways to structure your classroom and lessons in a way to enhances learning then this is a great read. Start by reading Chapter 1 to see what it’s all about. There’s some great, practical suggestions right there in the first chapter! Gotta love books that provide practical take-aways right from the beginning!
4. Designing Authentic Performance Tasks and Projects
You know I am a huge fan of project-based learning. I love how students use skills and concepts from across the curriculum and connect them to real world life skills. This book, Designing Authentic Performance Tasks and Projects: Tools for Meaningful Learning and Assessment, does a great job of explaining the ins and outs of project based learning. In this book you will get a great overview of project based learning and how to implement it in your classroom, guidance on creating a project based curriculum and many, many ideas. The appendices are filled with practical, ready to use projects, grading rubrics and more!
If you love the engaged learning that happens with project based learning, or if you are new to project based learning and want to learn more – then this is the book for you!
5. The Secret Sauce
This is a super book! The Secret Sauce: Essential Ingredients for Exceptional Teaching is a book every teacher should read. It’s perfect for the new teacher, the seasoned teacher and the tired teacher. It is jam packed with ideas, suggestions and practical tips. It reminds you why you started teaching and gets you back to the root of that passion. This book makes you think about students, the classroom and learning in a new way. And – did I mention it is super practical!
Rich Czyz, is a great writer and easy to read. He brings teaching to life and reminds me why teaching is so great! Here’s just a few of the topics Rick covers in this book: setting and modeling classroom expectations, creating the right classroom culture, creating authentic learning opportunities and much, much more. This easy read should be on your summer reading list!
The Best Summer Reads for Teachers – Fun Reading
6. Anything your students are reading!
Want to know a little secret – I LOVE picture books and teen fiction. Yep – my little secret is out and it all started when I wanted to stay connected with my students. I’d hear my students talking excitedly about a new book that everyone seemed to be reading. So, I read it! Not only was it good – but it gave me common ground that I could use to connect with my students at a different level.
Through the years, I’ve read a lot of books because my students were reading them. I read Hunger Games years before it was scheduled to become a movie. I found the humor in Diary of a Wimpy Kid because I worked with these kids every.single.day. And . . . I even fell in love with a little blue cat named Pete because our buddy class loved him.
Not only does reading books that your students are reading help you connect with your students, but it also gives you new book choices for class read alouds, book studies and assignments.
So how do you know what your students are reading? Just ask! If you can’t ask your students ask your school or local librarian. They will know what is popular amongst all the different age groups! This brand-spankin’-new Hunger Games novel, is sure to be on many students reading list for this summer. Be one of the first to read it!
7. Anything you enjoy!
Reading is a great way to relax and escape the “normal” day to day. Especially in this time when travel is happening less and social distancing is the norm, a good book can help you take that summer vacation you’ve been dreaming about. Whether you want to travel back in time or to a far off country you can find a book to take you there.
Pull out that dusty “Books I Want to Read This Year” list that you made back in January and choose one or more. No list, no problem. Ask your friends and family for recommendations. I have people on my social media always asking for recommendations for books (and Netflix series) and there is never a lack of responses.
Don’t find reading enjoyable? How about an Audio book! Audio books are a great way to listen to a book while doing something else like exercising, working in the yard or driving. They are great for road trips too! There’s lots of great places to grab audio books like audible.com and audiobooks.com.
8. Read a Classic
For some reason, people tend to lump the classics into high school and college English lit classes. But these books are classics for a reason. They are not only great stories, but great examples of the craft of writing. Pick up a classic or two and while you are enjoying the story hunt for a couple of writing ideas you can share with your students. Here’s some great classics to grab if you haven’t read them yet:
- Pride and Prejudice
- Little Women
- The Book Thief
- Great Expectations
- To Kill a Mockingbird
- Farenheit 451
- The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
- A Tale of Two Cities
- Anything Shakespeare
The Best Summer Reads for Teachers – Learn Something New
9. Digital Teaching
If the last few months have taught us anything it is this – prepare for the unexpected. The COVID pandemic has turned a world of classroom teachers into a world of online teachers and facilitators. We don’t know what the future holds, but I am confident that we have not see the end of digital learning. Whether this is at home or in the classroom, digital learning is here to stay. So why not sharpen up your skills and be ready to take your digital learning to new heights!
- Google Classroom: A Simple Guide for Taking Your Courses Digital. Learn Everything You Need to Know About the Google Classroom App, Improve Your Activity Management and Amplify Student Voice
- The Google Apps Guidebook: Lesson, Activities and Projects Created by Students for Teachers
- Google Apps for Littles: Believe They Can
- The Interactive Class: Using Technology to Make Learning More Relevant and Engaging in the Elementary Classroom
- Teaching Math With Google Apps
10. A New Hobby
Although reading is a great way to relax over the summer, so is participating in a hobby! So why not read and learn a new hobby and then give it a try! There are so many great activities out there. Some are obvious and traditional but others are not. Here’s some great hobbies you might want to learn more about!
- Bird Watching
- AND – just because anything is possible – Mushroom Hunting!
I hope all of these ideas not only help you plan some summer time, but also give you a well rounded reading list. A little professional reading and a little personal reading. I’d love to know what you think of any of these books that you read. Happy reading!
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