By Julie Stern
Last week, the June issue of National Geographic arrived in my mailbox. Although the cover stories are always attention-catching, this one jarred me more than others. The headline reads:
Planet or Plastic?
Pitting these two words in a diametrical choice—coupled with the image of a plastic bag floating in the ocean—stirred something inside me. It’s been less than a week, but I’m more conscious of every choice I have to either recycle or avoid using single-use plastic. I repeat my simple mantra throughout the day: Do not throw plastic in the garbage can. It’s difficult but not impossible, and National Geographic offers us several solutions. I love when books or articles both stir us to action and offer us concrete solutions.
Commitment to social and environmental justice is hard, often exhausting work. And as the school year comes to a close, most educators finally get a few moments to breathe, reflect and plan for the next academic year.
The team here at AFT’s Share My Lesson put together the following list of recommended reads for educators. As we scour news, reports and trends, Summer ’18 seems to point to three critical areas for teachers and school staff to consider:
- Learning Transfer
If you are committed to social justice and ensuring all students receive a high-quality education, you may be interested in these books.
Unlocking English Learners’ Potential: Strategies for Making Content Accessible, by Diane Staehr Fenner and Sydney Snyder
Three can’t-miss books for teaching African-American students:
For White Folks Who Teach in the Hood …and the Rest of Y’All Too, by Christopher Edmin
Pushout: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools, by Monique Morris
The Dream-Keepers: Successful Teachers of African American Children, by Gloria Ladson-Billings
Choosing Charters: Better Schools or More Segregation?, by Iris C. Rotberg and Joshua L. Glazer
A Quick and Easy Guide to They/Them Pronouns, by Archie Bongiovanni and Tristan Jimerson
Although feelings of being overwhelmed and other effects of stress are slamming America’s schools, mindfulness and well-being are creeping in to try and ebb the toll on teachers and students alike. Part of well-being involves mental health as well as having agency over our lives. So, we’ve included several books to help teachers have voice to push for dignity and respect in the workplace.
Fostering Resilient Learners: Strategies for Creating a Trauma-Sensitive Classroom, by Kristin Souers with Pete Hall
The First Year Teacher’s Survival Guide–Fourth Edition, by Julia Thompson. To hear more, register for free for Julia Thompson's webinar, How to Survive and Thrive as a New Teacher.
Three great books for increasing teacher voice in schools:
We Must Take Charge: Our Schools and Our Future by Chester E. Finn, Jr.
No Shortcuts: Organizing for Power by Jane F. McAlevey
Transfer of Learning
Due to increasing complexity and environmental destruction, it is no longer sufficient to teach students to know and do what we already know and are able to do. We have to help them use their learning to solve complicated challenges. Here are a few new books to help us to do that and foster a lifelong love of learning:
What School Could Be: Insights and Inspiration from Teachers Across America by Ted Dintersmith
Tools for Teaching Conceptual Understanding, Elementary: Harnessing Natural Curiosity for Learning That Transfers and Tools for Teaching Conceptual Understanding, Secondary: Designing Lessons and Assessments for Deep Learning by Julie Stern, Krista Ferraro, Nathalie Lauriault and Juliet Mohnkern
If you want to learn more from Julie Stern, register for her free profesional development webinar on Mentoring New Teachers in the Innovation Age.
Readicide: How Schools are Killing Reading and What You Can Do About It by Kelly Gallagher
Rigor is Not a Four Letter Word, by Barbara R. Blackburn. If you want to learn more about this book from Barbara Blackburn, register for her free professional development webinar.