Monday, July 25, 2011

Three Books You Might Like To Read Before September

Summer is almost over, I know because I have received three e-mails and one letter outlining the itinerary for my first "official" week back to school.  I must say, now that my paycheck has been digitized, I do not enjoy receiving snail mail with district letter head in the top left corner of the envelope.

So, with the once long summer days dragging themselves towards August, it is time to reflect on all the lofty goals you made in June.  Those plans of reading and planning and refining your craft might be slipping through your fingers, rinsed frivolously away watching Gene Simmons Family Jewels and reruns of the E! True Hollywood Story.

Is your pile of articles and professional books still stacked in the corner of your den or bedroom or worse...the backseat of your car?

Not to worry, I have three books that you can read between now and the beginning of the year and still feel like you have improved your craft as a teacher.

I rank-ordered them on readability, content and applicability.  All three books are excellent reads, but if you  only have time to read one book this summer, I have gone to the trouble of helping you make the best decision for your needs.

Readability:    7/10
Content:         9/10
Applicability:  9/10

This is a must read for teachers working with middle school students identified as gifted and talented.  Dr. Judy A. Willis combines her degree in neurology with her experience as a classroom teacher to help parents and teachers understand what is going on inside the "black hole" of the middle school brain.

You will increase your knowledge of the working brain, find useful classroom recommendations for increasing attentiveness in your students and guidelines for designing brain friendly lessons.  Overall an excellent read and one you can finish between now and the beginning of the school year.
 Readability:   8/10
Content:         8/10
Applicability:  7/10

This is a quick book in that there are no wasted words or sections.  Topics range from creativity development to perfectionism to individuality in students identified as gifted and talented.

The book does not have to be read in sequence as each chapter is self-contained and stands on its own merit.  I found the chapter on creativity to be the most helpful and it launched me into further study of the science of creativity.  A very helpful book that you will make use of if you have students receiving GT services.

Click here to order this book from the publisher.

Readability:    6/10
Content:         8/10
Applicability:  6/10

This book has been a great read and I see the science of creativity in a different light now.  It is a more difficult book to get through because it is written in more scholarly language and the sections tend to be longer.

The other two books have direct connections to your classroom that you can apply your first day back to school.  This book will make you think and ponder about how you teach and how you should teach in the future.  With that in mind, it is the one book that made me want to talk to other people about the ideas Csikszentmihalyi presents and the application of those ideas to my own creative life.  A heavy book but well worth the effort.

Click here to order the book from

Good luck finishing your summer reading.  No fair if you assigned your students reading and you did not finish your own.  If you have read something already that you think would help other teachers please let us know so that we can those titles to the our list of professional development "must reads."

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