These are the most recent educational books I have read and some insights from each:

The-Nerdy-Teacher-BookYour Starter Guide to Maker Spaces – May 2017

Schools around the country are designing maker spaces to spark creativity. Students learn best when they are able to create and tinker and make. But how do you even begin when there are so many terms floating around? This book provides a fun, practical, and approachable framework for any teacher curious about getting started with makerspaces.

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Free to MakeFree to Make – May 2017

Dale Dougherty, creator of MAKE: magazine and the Maker Faire, provides a guided tour of the international phenomenon known as the Maker Movement, a social revolution that is changing what gets made, how it’s made, where it’s made, and who makes it. As the internet thrives and world-changing technologies—like 3D printers and tiny microcontrollers—become increasingly affordable, people around the world are moving away from the passivity of one-size-fits-all consumption and command-and-control models of education and business. Free to Make explores how making revives abandoned and neglected urban areas, reinvigorates community spaces like libraries and museums, and even impacts our personal and social development—fostering a mindset that is engaged, playful, and resourceful. Free to Make asks us to imagine a world where making is an everyday occurrence in our schools, workplaces, and local communities, grounding us in the physical world and empowering us to solve the challenges we face.

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Hacking HomeworkHacking Homework – May 2017

As schools and educators continue to struggle with homework, renowned teachers and presenters Starr Sackstein and Connie Hamilton provide 10 practical solutions to common problems associated with learning outside the classroom, including:

  • Teaching students to be accountable for learning during the school day
  • Shaping homework policies with teachers and administrators
  • Building relationships with parents and empowering them to guide learning at home
  • Shaking up how learning happens at home
  • Connecting play with learning (It should be both meaningful and fun!)
  • Helping students self-assess and track learning at home

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Start. Right. Now. – April 2017

Are You Ready to Take the First Step Toward Excellence? What does it take to be the very best teacher—or the very best leader? What sets excellent educators apart from their peers? And how can you join their ranks? In their work leading up to Start. Right. Now. Todd Whitaker, Jeff Zoul, and Jimmy Casas studied educators from across the nation and discovered four key behaviors of excellence: Excellent Leaders and Teachers… Know the Way From their content to best practices, these educators know their stuff. Show the Way Casting a bright vision for the future, these educators see possibilities where others see problems. Go the Way Leading by example is a way of life for the very best. and Grow Each Day A focus on personal and professional development helps these educators succeed. Wherever you are on your journey as an educator, choose to become even greater still—our kids are worth it. Start. Right. Now.

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Uncommon Learning – April 2017Uncommon Learning.jpg

Schools have traditionally been designed to work well for adults, but the conventional school design hasn’t always served our learners. Students today need to be empowered to take ownership of their learning in relevant and meaningful ways to prepare them for a constantly evolving world. It is time to learn how to cultivate shared ownership, respect, and trust, creating a school learning culture that students value and to which they want to belong in the digital age.
UnCommon Learning techniques set the stage for mastery and true student engagement. Integrate digital media and new applications with purpose and build a culture of learning with pleasure! Let students use real-world tools to do real-world work and develop skills society demands. Be the leader who creates this environment. UnCommon Learning shows you how to transform a learning culture through sustainable and innovative initiatives. It moves straight to the heart of using innovations such as Makerspaces, Blended Learning and Microcredentials. Included in the book: Vignettes to illustrate key ideas Real life examples to show what works Graphs and data to prove initiatives’ impact.

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