Saturday, September 9, 2017


The days are still warm, but they are getting markedly shorter, a sure sign that school has just begun.  As we head into the new year, we reflect on those newly published PD books we read across our lazy summer days which capture the core of the idea of helping students shine.

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In her new book, Teaching Talk, Kara Pranikoff masterfully guides us through the process of helping students create and lead conversations about books.  At the core of her book is the belief that students are capable and will not fail us; it is us, the teachers, who need to strategically step aside and let the students lead. Pranikoff is the book whisperer in our ear that helps us let go and let the students lead.


Hot off the press, Passionate Readers by prolific literacy writer, Pernille Ripp, gives us the tools to help ignite students’ passion for reading.  While the concept isn’t new, Ripp leads us through concrete strategies to help our readers shine.  One of her first recommendations is for us, as teachers, to make sure we have a robust reading life that we share with our students.  We also need to share what is not going well in our reading life. “We must showcase our own imperfections so that students can feel comfortable sharing their own.” Here's to being vulnerable!


Renew! drew us in from the very beginning. The salient concept of renewing our literacy practice to match the students who sit in front of us each year resonates deeply with us.  It is, in fact,  a deep understanding of students that should steer our practice, not the word for word dialogue in the actual teaching guide.  Coppola says, " is crucial to routinely examine our practices in light of the children we have in front of us and adjust them as needed" (2017, p. 4). She will guide us in our own revision of teaching practices this year.


With information literally at the tip of students’ fingers, now more than ever, we must equip our students with a capacity to decipher between what is real or not. In their latest book, Disrupting Thinking: Why How We Read Matters the dynamic duo of Kylene Beers and Bob Probst provide an accessible  framework that helps students build meaning by thinking about what is in the book, their head and their heart. We are looking forward to trying this out in our own reading!  

If you haven't been following Rich Czyz and Trevor Bryan, the duo behind the Four O'Clock Faculty blog, we will give you a few minutes to do so and come back…  In his maiden voyage, The Four O’Clock Faculty - A Rogue Guide to Revolutionizing Professional Development, Rich Czyz explains the difficulty of the traditional PD paradigm meeting the needs of educators. From here, he charts the many pathways for those same educators to go “rogue” and empower themselves in their own professional learning. And in the end, when educators can access the best PD, both teachers and students benefit.

We hope you will dive into these amazing new professional texts to help inspire you this year.  Know any other books that we should add to our bookshelf!  Please comment below!!

So many of you inspire us every day in our teaching lives.   We firmly believe that in order to continue to be current, present and effective teachers for the students in front of us, we must continue to cultivate a strong and wise PLN (Professional Learning Network). Thank you for being part of ours.  See you on Twitter!

Susie and Justin


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