Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Our Recommended Reading List

What books, articles, journals, blogs, websites etc. would you recommend? Why?


  1. I'm so excited to be starting Nicholas Carr's The Shallows: What the Internet is doing to our brains. Because of the glorious plasticity of our brains, he argues,our ways of thinking and processing - due to intense lives on web 2.0 - are changing. For some early insight into his thinking there are reviews all over, but he also wrote a piece in The Atlantic titled "Is Google Making US Stupid?" (July/Aug 2008) available online.
    N.B. I've just demonstrated his point: referred you to quick'n'EZ summaries and briefs of his ideas, no muss, no fuss, no need to read his book...

    It's actually nicely crafted, a woven essay of personal narrative and expository cultural and technology history. Also presents some paths through the Black and White Thinking of 2.0 v. Luddite (false) dichotomies.

  2. I hope that you all enjoyed the demo on using loupes to zoom in on writing. As a side note, that lesson is a wonderful introduction to a unit study on zooming in on writing for longer pieces. After students understand the concept of zooming in with analogies, they can then begin to refine their writing with detail for character development, setting etc.

    Here is the website about loupes:

    You can join them on facebook:

    Here are more links to online examples:

    Here is a list of books that focus on zooming in:
    Zoom by Banyai
    Owl Moon by Jane Yolen
    A Chair for my Mother by Vera Williams

  3. Here is the website for the book of photography, "Powers of 10", that Kendra mentioned in reference to Miriam's demo:


  4. Thanks, Callie! That's the one! Christine mentioned this book in her demo and I concur that it is huge in shaping your reading and writing instruction in the classroom:
    Jeff Zwiers, "Building Academic Language"

  5. The Art of Loving by Erich Fromm

  6. I know that Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell is not new for many of you, but if you have not read it, I strongly encourage you to. It may not be "scientific" but it includes many interesting bits of information to get you thinking about how education is organized and why some students are more successful than others.


  7. For those interested in learning more about Somali refugees, here are two books I recommend:
    Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali
    Nomad Diaries by Yasmeen Maxamuud

    From my demo, I also recommend:
    Writing in Math Class: A Resource for Grades K-8 by Marilyn Burns

    From my position paper:
    Understanding By Design by Wiggins and McTighe

    Personally, if you enjoy fiction, I recommend the Dexter Series:
    Darkly Dreaming Dexter
    Dearly Devoted Dexter
    Dexter in the Dark
    Dexter by Design


  8. Allan Johnson's book Privilege, Power, and Difference is written from a deeply held belief that privilege and oppression are not inevitable features of human life and that the choices each of us make matter more than we can ever know.
    This book has the Wheel of Difference and the "Privilege in Everyday life" statements that I used in my demo.

    Other books I use to teach the concept of privilege:

    The Good Bones by Margaret Atwood: In particular I use the commentary on Fairy Tales "There Was Once" linked here: http://www.mississippireview.com/1995/07atwood.html

    Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim by David Sedaris. In the essay titled "Possession".

    Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., A Man Without A Country

  9. The book I mentioned as part of my demo today is titled Not for Profit: Why Democracy Needs Humanities by Martha T. Nussbaum. I'm still reading it, but I've really enjoyed considering her perspective. The snippet from her summary is as follows:

    "In response to this dire situation, Nussbaum argues that we must resist efforts to reduce education to a tool of the gross national product. Rather, we must work to reconnect education to the humanities in order to give students the capacity to be true demographic citizens of their countries and the world."

    I also read Daniel Pink's A Whole New Mind and while it isn't specifically for educators, it was still enlightening and applicable to my teaching. Here is a snippet from his website, danpink.com

    "Lawyers. Accountants. Computer programmers. That’s what our parents encouraged us to become when we grew up. But Mom and Dad were wrong. The future belongs to a very different kind of person with a very different kind of mind. The era of “left brain” dominance, and the Information Age that it engendered, are giving way to a new world in which “right brain” qualities-inventiveness, empathy, meaning-predominate. That’s the argument at the center of this provocative and original book, which uses the two sides of our brains as a metaphor for understanding the contours of our times.

    In this insightful and entertaining book, which has been translated into 20 languages, Daniel H. Pink offers a fresh look at what it takes to excel. A Whole New Mind reveals the six essential aptitudes on which professional success and personal fulfillment now depend, and includes a series of hands-on exercises culled from experts around the world to help readers sharpen the necessary abilities. This book will change not only how we see the world but how we experience it as well."

    Enjoy! If you've read these, please let me know what you thought!

  10. For those of you interested in the work conducted by Zwiers and Crawford in helping students develop academic conversation skills and/or are simply interested in metadiscourse, a prominent feature of academic writing, I encourage you to read Gerald Graff and Kathy Birkenstein's They Say/I Say: The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing. Also, if cognitive and sub-cognitive processes are your thing, then please read Malcolm Gladwell's Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking.

  11. I keep hearing about Teaching for Joy and Justice. It must be good. I am getting it this weekend.

  12. The Passionate Teacher, by Robert L. Fried.
    A great book for new and experienced teachers!
    Here are just a few of the things discussed in this book: how to be a passionate teacher, how the author sees the game of school, how to create a sense of security in your classroom, how to design a lesson plan that is full of passion--and much more. A warm hug on every page!

  13. Yes. I agree Building Academic writing is great. I also like Content Area Writing. I'm not sure if that's the full title.

  14. Since my position paper discusses the need for literature in high school to include characters that happen to be LGBT, I wanted to provide titles of young adult and teen novels that are either about the LGBT teen experience of just happen to have characters who are gay (but this is not the basis of the plot):

    Personal recs. that I, and my students, enjoyed:

    What They Always Tell Us by Martin Wilson (my personal favorite)

    Sixteen-year-old Alex feels so disconnected from his friends that he starts his junior year at a Tuscaloosa, Alabama, high school by attempting suicide, but soon, a friend of his older brother draws him into cross-country running and a new understanding of himself.

    The Rainbow Boys series by Alex Sanchez
    A very contemporary with its references to GSAs, safe sex, and teen support groups. Dealing frankly with the sex lives (or lack thereof) of its characters, this book will appeal to kids who want an honest look at what it is to be a gay teen today.

    Hero, by Perry Moore
    A gay teen hero in a high-concept fantasy marks a significant expansion of GLBTQ literature into genres that reflect teens' diverse reading interests; given the mainstream popularity of comics-inspired tales, the average, ordinary, gay teen superhero who comes out and saves the world will raise cheers from within the GLBTQ community and beyond.

    My favorite lists:

    And.....if your students happen to like books with vampire characters (Go Team Edward), then suggest the the House of Night series by P.C. and Kristin Cast (a mother daughter duo) in which characters just happen to be gay but the books are not typically considered LGBT novels.

  15. I agree with Jason and Kim, both Outliers and Blink, both by Malcolm Gladwell are great reads!

  16. I highly recommend Boys Writing: Reclaiming Their Voices by Ralph Fletcher. I also really recommend Panel One, Comic Book Scripts by Top Writers, by Nat Gertler. It is a fascinating look at the actual scripts from Neil Gaiman, Jeff Smith (Bone series) and others. I was sorry I couldn't bring it in on my demo day.

    Finally, a sad but excellent read with a happy ending-- the graphic novel Stitches, by David Small. He is a children's picture book author, but this is for adults. It's about his experience with throat cancer at age 14 and his crazy family response.

  17. Just to name a few I have read recently that may be worth your time:

    The Essential 55: An Award-Winning Educator's Rules For Discovering the Successful Student in Every Child ...by Ron Clark

    Teach Like a Champion: 49 Techniques that Put Students on the Path to College...by Doug Lemov

    Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace . . . One School at a Time...by Greg Mortenson

    The Leader in Me: How Schools and Parents Around the World Are Inspiring Greatness, One Child at a Time...by Stephen R. Covey

    Positive Discipline...by Jane Nelson

  18. The 6 Word Memoir-great for students and their parents at Open House!!