Ready to sharpen your skills?

Up your educator game with 5 things to read, watch and listen to this summer

We know professional development is on your to-do lists this summer. Aside from school-ordered PD programs, there are a lot of ways to grow your brain and accomplish your professional learning goals. To help you sift through the boring and not-so-helpful stuff, we’ve curated an exceptional list of books, podcasts and videos that will sharpen the skills you need to succeed—from understanding poverty in the classroom, to nurturing your creativity, to leveraging your brain’s science. Enjoy! And remember to #shareyoursmarts with us on Twitter or Facebook to keep us in the loop of what you’re learning.

To Read

1. Steal Like an Artist, Show Your Work! and Keep Going by Austin Kleon

Austin Kleon is the New York Times bestselling author of a trilogy of illustrated books about creativity in the digital age: Steal Like An Artist, Show Your Work!, and Keep Going. These books are a manifesto for finding, sharing and growing your creativity, no matter how creative you think (or don’t think) you  are.

Austin Kleon Books

2. Power Up Blended Learning: A Professional Learning Infrastructure to Support Sustainable Change by Catlin R. Tucker

This book provides an actionable framework for leaders looking to implement a long-term professional learning plan that extends professional development beyond a handful of days each year to create a “coaching culture” that supports teachers as they move toward blended learning. [Book description borrowed from Amazon listing]

3. Creatively Productive: Essential Skills for Tackling Time Wasters, Clearing the Clutter, and Succeeding in School—and Life! by Lisa Johnson

Technology gives us the freedom and ability to create and consume more today than ever. That means that, as teachers, administrators, students—heck, as humans—we stay busy. Keeping track of time, data and ideas, not to mention assignments, can sometimes seem impossible. This book can help you get organized and maximize productivity without sacrificing creativity. [Book description borrowed from Amazon listing]

Creatively Productive

4. Brain Rules by Dr. John Medina

In Brain Rules, molecular biologist Dr. John Medina shares his lifelong interest in how the brain sciences might influence the way we teach our children and the way we work. In each chapter, he describes a brain rule–what scientists know for sure about how our brains work–and then offers transformative ideas for our daily lives. [Book description borrowed from Amazon listing]

5. Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

Kahneman, psychologist and winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics, takes us on a groundbreaking tour of the mind and the two systems that drive the way we think: the first being fast, intuitive, and emotional; the second being slower, more deliberative and logical. Learn how to make better judgments and decisions by leveraging the strengths of each.

To Watch

1. Every Kid Needs a Champion by Rita Pierson

Rita Pierson, a teacher for 40 years, gives a rousing call to educators to believe in their students and actually connect with them on a real, human, personal level.

2. Teach Teachers How to Create Magic by Christopher Emdin

What do rap shows, barbershop banter and Sunday services have in common? As Christopher Emdin says, they all hold the secret magic to enthrall and teach at the same time. In this talk, Emdin offers a vision to make the classroom come alive.

3. Let’s Teach For Mastery, Not Test Scores by Sal Khan

Why do we rush students through education before they’ve grasped the basics? Educator Sal Khan of Khan Academy shares his plan to turn struggling students into scholars by helping them master concepts at their own pace.

4. How Great Leaders Inspire Action by Simon Sinek

Simon Sinek presents a simple but powerful model for how leaders inspire action, starting with a golden circle and the question “Why?”

5. Most Likely To Succeed

Most Likely to Succeed examines the growing shortcomings of conventional education methods in today’s innovative world and explores compelling new approaches aimed at inspiring communities to reimagine what students and teachers are capable of doing.

To Listen To

1. What’s Not On The Test: The Overlooked Factors That Determine Success by Hidden Brain

Heckman, an economics professor at the University of Chicago and a Nobel laureate, questions the merit of just a test score. He started asking questions like: Are GED grads holding on to jobs? Thriving in long-term relationships? Staying out of trouble? The short answer was, no.

2. Harper High School Parts 1 and 2 by This American Life

Incredible and surprising stories from Harper High School in Chicago, where educators have to navigate troubled home lives, gang activity and daunting dropout rates. This show is a two-parter.

3. On Being with Krista Tippett: Seth Godin on Life, The Internet, And Everything

Seth Godin, best-selling author and entrepreneur, coaches us on staying human in the digital age. “We are flying too low. We built this universe, this technology, these connections, this society, and all we can do with it is make junk? All we can do with it is put on stupid entertainments? I’m not buying it.”

4. Eanes-Westlake Speaker Series

Eanes ISD in Austin, TX produced this speaker series on topics like helping students overcome performance anxiety, parenting a perfectionist child, suicide and self-harm awareness and how teaching self-compassion vs. self-esteem could increase your students’ abilities to perform at their best.

5. Failure is An Option by TED Radio Hour

In this TED Radio Hour, Tim Harford, English economist and journalist, explores some of the world’s most complex systems (including education) and the surprising process propelling the most successful of them all: failure.

If you’re spending a lot of time sharpening your skills as an educator this summer, make sure you document your growth and learning on bulb Digital Portfolios. You can use this Professional Development guide to help you capture your summer growth.


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22 May 2019