Saturday, November 18, 2017

#SundayFunday Favorite Education Books

This is a very late (6ish weeks overdue) #Sunday Funday Post.  I love to read education books and I always learn something new to use in my classroom.  It's hard for me to pick just a few books, so I'll share some of the most recent ones that I've read.

First up: Seven Strategies of Assessment for Learning by Jan Chappuis.



This was required reading for a grad class, but it was one of the best books that I've read on formative assessment.  I know that feedback is so important for student learning but often wondered about what it would look like in practice.  This book offers tons of concrete examples.


I made it one of my professional goals for the year to give more formative feedback and fewer grades.  These pointers have helped so far.


One of my biggest take-aways was that the teacher is not the only one that can provide meaningful feedback.  Peer and self feedback can be just as powerful.



 I've also rethought my stance on stance on multiple choice assessments.  I think that most of my experience with multiple choice tests has been negative, but I've learned that if the choices are chosen with care, these items can provide great feedback to the teacher.




Additionally, this book encouraged me to reflect more on the strategies that I use for student practice.



Second: Mathematical Mindsets: Unleashing Students' Potential through Creative Math, Inspiring Messages and Innovative Teaching by Jo Boaler.



My big takeaway from this book was that I can change the mindset of my students by creating the right classroom environment.


One challenge that I always face is that when I try to create productive struggle, students and parents push back.  They want everything to be easy because they equate ease with intelligence.  I'm so sorry to see that many of my students have never been given the chance to overcome a challenging math task.


I also found myself relating to many of the anecdotes in this book.  I've had many parents tell me that they hated math.  Then in the next breath, they tell me that I should be lecturing and giving worksheets every day.  They think that is the best way to learn math :(


One of the most concrete examples from this book are the homework questions.  I am not currently in a position where I can eliminate traditional homework, but I've been using these questions as part of exit tickets.  My students have been very reflective and giving me meaningful feedback about their learning.

Finally: The Classroom Chef: Sharpen Your Lessons, Season Your Classes, Make Math Meaningful by John Stevens and Matt Vaudrey




One of my takeaways from this book is that I need to do better with honoring student contributions to class discussion, even when that contribution seems very off base.


The book is also filled with several specific lessons as well as general practices that you can use in your classroom right away.  I've used this "around the world" activity several times already.  It's been a hit.


Lastly, this book has driven me to consider more alternative forms of assessment outside of a traditional test.




I hope you consider checking out one of these books :)  They all contributed to my classroom this year!