Sunday, July 12, 2015

Book Party on the Deck

What do teachers do in the summer? We gather to discuss books we've been reading. Last Thursday several gathered on my deck to eat a few apps, have a beverage, and discuss books we've been reading.  Many came with an armful of books to discuss and share with others. We talked about professional books such as What Connected Educators Do Differently by Todd Whitaker, Jeffrey Zoul, and Jimmy Casas. Several of us shared how connected educators give of themselves, pay it forward, have a drive to be better, and are at the forefront of change.  A few of us recently ordered Alice Keeler's book 50 Things You Can Do With Google Classroom. A great book that gives practical and relevant ideas for using Classroom in your room this Fall.   Of course my favorite book was talked about Teach Like a Pirate by Dave Burgess. We all need to have the attitude of a pirate...daring and adventurous in our classrooms.  We also talked about Penny Kittle's book Book Love and Donalyn Miller's Book Whisperer as great books to help teachers understand the importance of students having choice in the books they are reading in the classroom.  This helps to build reading capacity for our students. 
A fun conversation took place about books earmarked for The Global Read Aloud for this Fall. Everyone agreed that Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt will be an excellent read aloud book for students from grades 4th-8th grade.  Fish by L.S. Matthews is an older book that has a theme of survival.  We questioned why this book was picked but believed there was more to the story.  One HS teacher took the book home to read. Within a day she gave us her thoughts on the book. She said the book is an allegory. The journey of people through life's difficulties and how they rely of hope symbolized by the fish. This book could actually be used with juniors in HS as another resource for students understanding of an allegory.  Thanks to Eileen Zygarlicke for her thoughts on Fish. 
The important part of our job is to build relationships with our students.  My goal of having a book party was not only to discuss books but to build relationships amongst the many talented professional teachers we have in our district. 
I hope to have another book party on my deck this happy reading!

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