With only a few weeks left until we dive in to the new school year officially, I am beginning to hear and see a bunch of “where did the summer go?” comments and posts. It is definitely true that each summer seems to be a bit shorter than the previous. It is also possible that each May summer looks like an endless precession of lazy days by the pool, and each August summer looks like a nap in which you closed your eyes for 5 minutes and woke up with a shopping list of uniforms, book bags, and belts.
This summer has been delightedly learning-full. I was fortunate to attend #iste17 and be inspired by the passion of fabulous educators as well as network and connect with my Twitter PLN. These 5 days of intense learning left me filled with exciting new ideas and activities to explore in the coming year with my team.
The primary occupation of my summer learning has been a deep dove in to reading the books that have been on my to-do and/or recommended list. Below are links to 4 of my favorite books from the summer. They are a diverse group but I would highly recommend all of them.
The Space: A Guide For Educators written by Bob Dillon (@ideaguy42) and Rebecca Hare (@RLH_DesignED)
This is fantastic book that looks at how we maximize learning by being intentional with our space choices. The book look at space from the prospective of fostering thinking, creativity, and community building with the class not for the class. This is not a book that requires or professes a large financial commitment to achieve the aims of maximized learning, rather it describes some simple hacks and mindfulness strategies that can be done in any classroom or learning environment.
Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind written by Yuval Noah Harari (@harari_yuval)
This book is the definition of thought provocation. Each chapter left me with new insights and new questions based on the historical and cultural evolutions Harari detailed. The book challenges you to examine beliefs and assumptions that you have without even knowing the genesis of these beliefs and assumptions. I would highly recommend this for anyone interested in the evolution of humans and humanity.
Yes, And: How Improvisation Reverses “No, But” Thinking and Improves Creativity and Collaboration–Lessons from The Second City written by Kelly Leonard (@KLsecondcity) and Tom Yorton (@TomYorton)
I loved this book. Each chapters offers a bit of history about some of the amazing comedians who have worked with (not at) the Second City Ensemble and amazing insights on how to embrace the Yes, And philosophy to foster creativity, innovation and maximizing your own ensembles. The book is fun to read and leaves you with a bunch of amazing activities, one liners, stories, an insight about environments in which creativity thrive.
The Innovator’s Mindset: Empower Learning, Unleash Talent, and Lead a Culture of Creativity written by George Couros (@gcouros)
This book spoke to who I am as a student, educator and leader. I love the focus on relationship that is specific to one chapter but permeates the whole book. I love the thought provocation about how we embrace inevitable changes as opportunities for growth. Lastly, I love the focus on culture and educator learning which are my own passions.
All in all it has been a fabulous learning-full summer, and I am excited for the final few weeks (a final few books) and the start of a great 17-18. As always, I would love book recommendations from my peers. If you have a fantastic read, please let me know.