Let’s Keep Learning

I’ve never been (and I hope never to be) one of those countdown teachers. You know the type. They came back from Christmas and started the countdown: 98 Days to Summer. However, as the calendar rolls over to April, I’m more aware every day that I only have a few short weeks left to invest in the 6th graders who will soon end their time on my campus and move to the nearby middle school.

The last few weeks of the semester can often feel like a sprint to the finish, but I think it’s important for us to remember that if we expect our students to continue their learning, it only makes sense that we should lead in that way as well.

That’s easier said than done (for both students and for educators), but it’s a worthwhile goal nonetheless.

I’m inspired by a group of teachers on my campus who have started a book study on Dave Burgess’ Teach Like a PIRATE last week. Hearing their passion for engaging students and the excitement around pushing themselves to grow through these last two months of school is nothing short of inspiring.

It’s the opposite of what I’m used to hearing as we move into April. When that last marking period rolls around, most people aren’t thinking, How can I stretch myself? How can I grow? How can I get better?

But the reality is that if we are asking students to push through to the end of the year (through state testing no less), we need to be pushing ourselves to learn and grow through this time as well.

Goals like this don’t just happen, though. If we want to look back on the next two months and be able to say we thrived during this time rather than that we simply survived the time between our breaks, we need a plan.

Reading is something that has really helped me slow down when the pace of life feels too fast (I’m not the only one who feels like that during the end of the school year, right?). Finding that time away, that white space or margin in life, is the difference in taking on this time of the year intentionally or letting it be something that happens to us.

We’ll let busy schedules push to the margins until we forget we ever thought it. Below is a list of eight titles that might help you find that book that will push you to continue your learning between now and the end of the school year.


The Hyperdoc Handbook by Lisa Highfill, Kelly Hilton, and Sarah Landis is a great resources for educators who are looking to do something new and different. For those looking to use technology in the classroom in authentic, innovative ways, this book is for you. It’s filled with practical ways to push your class further into the blended learning environment that you may have waded into already. Hyperdocs increase collaboration between educators on your campus and in their interactions with those at home.

Kids Deserve It is the single book you need to read to motivate you to make the most of every moment you have with your students the rest of the year. Authors Todd Nesloney and Adam Welcome share stories of taking on worthwhile challenges to do right by the kids they serve. You cannot read this book and fail to be motivated to meet the needs of the students on your campus. Read this book when you’re struggling for motivation, read this book when you’re already firing on all cylinders. Whatever you do, read this book.

Design Your Day is the book I wish I had found a few years ago. Claire Dias-Ortiz offers so much insight into the simple ways we can actively structure our time to actually meet goals we care deeply about. In this slim volume, she wastes no words delivering her simple, impactful message. If you every feel cluttered, unfocused, unproductive, or uninspired (or even if you just want to improve in these areas), check out Design Your Day.

The Growth Mindset Coach by Annie Brock and Heather Hundley takes all the conversation that’s out there happening on the subject and puts it into manageable, regimented questions, topics, and conversations that will help you bring the growth mindset message into your school or classroom in greater depth. It’s structured in a way that promotes great conversation. Time invested into exploring how to create a growth mindset in our students and in educators is always well spent. This book is a great resource for those who are familiar with the subject and those who are just beginning their exploration of growth mindset alike.

Renegade Leadership by Brad Gustafson is a must read for school leaders (titled and otherwise). Gustafson does a great job challenging leaders to push innovation in both technology and pedagogy. Beyond what the book has to offer, the Renegade Leadership website is packed with valuable resources that are sure to keep you challenged and supported. Every school leader knows the value of these conversations. Don’t miss the opportunity to engage with Renegade Leadership.

Together is Better is the book for the reader who doesn’t have a lot of time to carve out. Simon Sinek’s latest book is a quick read that left a lasting impact on me. I love the title’s message, the artwork, and even the scent that’s unique to the book. If you’re familiar with Sinek’s other books or his TED talk, you’ll see some familiar ideas here, but the reminders are worth hearing again.

Lead Like a PIRATE will challenge you to be the leader who inspires others to create the schools that students are beating down the doors to get into. Shelley Burgess and Beth Houf share stories that will push your thinking and build your confidence as a leader in any role on your campus. Full of practical ideas that actually help create change, Lead Like a PIRATE is for every school leader who wants to get excited about making school amazing for students and teachers.

41 Books Worth Reading

41 Books Worth Reading

The end of the year always makes me a little nostalgic. I miss my classroom and the conversations that came up at the end of the year. By that point, we had talked through so many books and so many of the big life issues that came up in that process that we knew each other well.

I really enjoyed the challenge of the “I don’t like to read” student. Even with the juniors in my English III classes, we used the reader’s workshop model, so students were given a choice (often with some guidance with regard to genre or subject–but not always) about their reading selections.

I loved it!

The “I don’t like to read” student is really the one who hasn’t found the text that is just right for him. Just the right subject. Just the right cover to pique his interest. Just the right length. Just the right reading level.

In general, I always like a puzzle, and I really like one that could end in seeing a student learn that he, too, can be a reader.

In my current role as an assistant principal, I still share books with students. But what I’ve come to enjoy in this role is the conversations I have with teachers about their own professional development and what I might have on my shelves that could help push their thinking further.

I often run across people on social media who are looking for that next title to push their thinking, and I thought I would take the opportunity to share some of the books on the shelves in my office (and a few that I’m looking forward to reading). I went back and forth about how to organize them, but I’m leaving them as just one big list. Browse through them. Search out reviews for one or two before you make the jump. Download a sample to your e-reader to see if it fits your tastes. But, more than anything, take time to get yourself heading in the right direction as we approach the biggest break and change of pace that educators get all year.

I’m always happy to talk about books, so reach out to me on Twitter (@aaron_hogan) or Voxer (@aaron_hogan) if you have any questions. Finally, I’m always looking to add to my shelves (even though I’m on a shelf “cap” at home–no more room along the walls). What should I add to the list and why?

Without further ado, welcome to my bookshelves.


innovators mindsetThe Innovator’s Mindset by George Couros asks educators to consider what it will take to help all educators, teachers and administrators alike, to grow into forward-thinking, innovative leaders. Couros is widely respected throughout education (if you’re not following him on Twitter, click HERE and enjoy), and his text does not disappoint. Don’t figure out if you’re going to read this; figure out when.

 

wceddIn What Connected Leaders Do Differently, Todd Whitaker, Jeff Zoul, and Jimmy Casas collaborate to create a thorough yet streamlined text that explores the role of connected educators in today’s educational environment. Whether you are looking to get connected or are already swimming in the deep end, this book will challenge you to engage in new ways. This is a book to read and reread. When you do, you’ll be encouraged by your growth and challenged by the number of simple reminders to push you forward.

sheningerUncommon Learning by Eric Sheninger explores a number of aspects of education that educators need to be aware of (if not implementing ourselves) right now. From makerspaces and digital learning to BYOD and digital badging, Sheninger has both the educational experience and the expertise as a writer to communicate clearly on each of these important topics. Rooted in his practice during his time as principal at New Milford High School, this text will push you to explore new ideas in new ways.

41ifeR5HSHL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Adam Saenz’ The Power of a Teacher should be required reading for educators. As a clinical psychologist, Saenz brings a wealth of experience to educators as he dives into educator wellness. The Power of a Teacher explores physical, emotional, spiritual, financial, and occupational well being for educators. Saenz’ stories are poignant and heartfelt, and they serve as a reminder of why we all got into this profession to being with. It has my highest recommendation!

519lHx-UOzL._SX377_BO1,204,203,200_Donalyn Miller’s The Book Whisperer is a game changer of a book. As a former English teacher, Miller’s take on literacy and reading in the classroom is an easy sell. But The Book Whisperer is a book for everyone. It will stretch you, and parts of that will be uncomfortable. But in the end, you will be better for it, and so will your students. Developing students as readers is vital to their success across all disciplines. If you’re excited by this, read it. If it freaks you out to think about being a reading leader, read it. Just read it.

download140 Twitter Tips for Educators is quite simply the best primer on Twitter use for educators that I have ever come across. It’s not surprising that a project developed by #SatChat creators Brad Currie, Billy Krakower, and Scott Rocco would be excellent, but even with the highest of expectations, their text did not disappoint! I feel quite comfortable personalizing my learning on Twitter, but there was a ton I learned from their book. This is a book every educator needs to own. Either it’s time to learn or it’s time to get this and share it with a friend!

personalized pdPersonalized PD brings together a host of connected educators who have flipped much of their own professional development. It’s great as a primer or as a challenge for educators who are comfortable with their level of connection currently. The personal vignettes set this text apart from others on the topic. The front cover lists Jason Bretzmann, Kenny Bosch, Dr. Brad Gustafson, Brad Currie, Kristin Daniles, Laura Conley, and Ben Wikoff as authors with 14 more contributing vignettes.

amplifyEven though I’m at a high school, I’m really enjoyed Amplify by Katie Mutharis and Kristin Ziemke. Their slim volume is a great overview of not only how technology can touch so many aspects of our schools, but also when and why it should integrate with sound pedagogical practice. The authors are risk takers, and we have a great deal to learn from their experiences. I love the “Three Things to Try Tomorrow” sections that end many chapters. EdTech isn’t a new idea, but their reflections on the topic are well worth your time.

hackHacking Education by Mark Barnes and Jennifer Gonzalez is best described by it’s subtitle: 10 quick fixes for every school. What I love about the Hack Learning Series is that more than most of what I read, the authors are willing to take on the tough questions that come along with their proposed changes. This text pushed my thinking, and I’m sure it will do the same for you.

Hacking-Assessment-eBook-coverI’m thoroughly intrigued by the no grades movement. Starr Sackstein’s Hacking Assessment is a great primer on why to consider no grades and how to take the first steps. Her book includes several helpful tips for common push back that accompanies this conversation. If I were in the classroom, I would be using her advice to find my way through this conversation. Instead, I’m working on ways to challenge interested teachers to consider what she has to offer (and the huge upside for students to be able to continue their learning past each test).

sacksteinTeaching Students to Self Assess is Starr Sackstein’s 55 page exploration of the question: “How do I help students reflect and grow as learners?” Sackstein has assembled an accessible introduction that is great for any who are considering helping students learn to self-assess. While it absolutely applies to the classroom as you would expect, administrators and leaders can apply the same logic to their work with educators.

gritIn Fostering Grit, Thomas Hoerr looks at how we are working to make sure our students are prepared to take on the world outside our schools. I love his driving question, “How do I prepare my students for the real world?” Hoerr’s 52 page volume is a great primer for those wanting to enter into this conversation. I’m thankful his primer is out there.

millerFreedom to Fail asks the question, “How do I foster risk-taking and innovation in my classroom?” Andrew Miller’s book offers essential reminders for educators who seek to do just what the title says, regardless of their experience with the idea. Even at just 48 pages, there’s still plenty here to push your thinking.

 

steinbergDr. Laurence Steinberg, a developmental psychologist, shares his expertise on adolescence and how we can best take advantage of this seminal time in our students’ lives. His perspective is so refreshingly different than most of the literature that hopes to equip teachers and parents to survive this time. Steinberg’s expertise and optimism are a powerful combination, and though this might not be on the radar for many educators, Age of Opportunity is absolutely beneficial for our work.

school-culture-rewiredSchool Culture Rewired by Steve Gruenert and Todd Whitaker is required reading for anyone looking to make significant change in the prevailing attitudes on a school campus. This text will help you walk through the steps required to initiate an influential change on campus without bogging down into the minuscule details and minutiae that can seem to slow the pace of other texts. School Culture Rewired comes in at 170 pages.

power of brandingTelling your school’s story can’t be undervalued, and Tony Sinanis and Joe Sanfelippo are two of the best at crafting a meaningful, authentic campus story. The Power of Brandingis part of the Corwin Connected Educators Series (which I can’t recommend highly enough), and at just 72 pages, you’re not going to get bogged down in fluff. You will have to deal with this though: Each page has something meaningful for you to consider, so don’t plan on blowing through this just because it’s a slim volume.

learning by choiceA.J. Juliani’s Learning by Choice is required reading for anyone looking to include more student choice in the classroom. (And, let’s be honest, who couldn’t benefit from hearing more about choice in the classroom, right?) This has heavily influenced my beliefs about choice in professional development as well. I wish I had read it while in the classroom.

download (6)Paul Solarz’ Learn Like A Pirate will push your thinking in a few different directions. Filled with challenges for teachers and ways they can support students in their learning, Learn Like a Pirate is a great resource for new and veteran teachers. It’s essential reading for educators today, and it’s well worth the time you’ll invest in reading

rising strongRising Strong is one of those books that reads really quickly but leaves you with so much to think about that you can’t digest it rapidly. Brené Brown’s latest book investigates what happens after we take the risks that are oh so popular for us to discuss. The reality is that we end up with what she describes as a moment where we are face down in the arena, and we have to be able to pick ourselves up and move forward, learning along the way. It’s an idea I think we all want to embrace, but the process of getting there (and I am by no means there) is less direct than we would like.

originalsOriginals is a book that challenged my thinking. Adam Grant explores a number of qualities we typically associate with being an original and does a little mythbusting along the way. Grant is a great storyteller, and he’s got a wealth of tales worth telling here. It’s worth noting that this is book is one that I listened to as an audiobook, and it presents well in that medium.

breaking nightI came across Breaking Night after hearing Liz Murray speak in my school district recently. To say the least, there’s a lot of story for her to tell; she manages the task brilliantly, and that makes her book both enjoyable and tough to take. Oversimplified, hers is the “Homeless to Harvard” story that’s the stuff of movies (literally–there’s a Lifetime movie that tells her story). But more than one of accomplishment, Murray’s is a story of the value of education and mentors and hope. Tough, but well worth the time it takes to invest.

sketchnoteThe Sketchnote Handbook is a great introduction to sketchnoting. Admittedly, I’m the guy who just needs to jump into something like sketchnoting; that being said, Mike Rohde’s book was just what I needed to develop a foundation of skills for myself. Can I sketchnote anything live? No. It looks like my 4 year old drew it. But given the time, I can put the ideas into practice and create something I’m proud of that I wouldn’t have dreamed of in the past. To me, that makes it worth it. Maybe you’ll think so, too.

passionateIf you’re not familiar with Pernille Ripp’s work, you’re missing out. Passionate Learners: How to Engage and Empower Your Students will undoubtedly challenge educators to engage students in innovative and creative ways. In concert with vignettes from her 7th grade students, Ripp challenges educators to develop our students into passionate learners. Don’t read this if you don’t want to be challenged. You’ve been warned.

relevantI’m a big fan of The Relevant Educator by Tom Whitby and Steven W. Anderson. Both authors are connected leaders, and their text is a fantastic primer for any educators looking to get connected. The slim volume (it comes in at 65 pages in length) covers how to guide your professional development, choose the best social media options for you, and transfer your new knowledge back to your campus. This highly recommended text you can read in a sitting is part of the Corwin Connected Educators Series.

content curationContent Curation by Steven W. Anderson provides a great deal of insight for educators who are looking to sift through the vast amount of resources that are out there for educators today. He offers tips on platforms to use, ways to schedule posts, what to schedule, and why to take content curation seriously. If you’re drowning in the great resources out there or feel like you can’t keep up with all the good material, this is for you. Since it’s part of the Corwin Connected Educators series, this, too, is a quick read full of valuable resources.

bloggingThis blog wound’t exist without this book from Starr Sackstein. I picked up the book with an interest in blogging but no confidence. By the time I was halfway through, I had the tools I needed to get a blog off the ground and share a few ideas with other educators online. It’s succinct, it’s informative, and it’s required reading for anyone looking to blog as an educator.

Shen_DigitalLeadershipEric Sheninger’s Digital Leadership explores why schools must change, how they can make meaningful change happen, and how educators can help make the desired change a reality. He touches on communication, public relations, branding, reimagining learning spaces on campus and many more aspects of digital leadership that educators today wrestle with. Highly recommended reading!

tlapTeach Like a Pirate by Dave Burgess is a great place to start for fresh ideas about classroom instruction. This slim volume is packed with great information for new and veteran teachers. In addition, a great community exists on Twitter around the #tlap (like Teach Like a Pirate) hashtag. If you read one book on instruction, read this book.

ditchIf you’re ready for a change in your classroom, Ditch That Textbook is for you. Matt Miller’s recently released text highlights ways that educators can make changes in their classrooms for the better. Interested in more than incremental change? This is for you. Miller explores new mindsets and methods for adopting those in your classroom. You won’t want to miss it.

how we learnBenedict Carey’s How We Learn takes an educational spin on much of the research that has happened recently on the brain and how we learn. Carey makes his way through a great deal of research to provide readers with applicable tips for how they can learn best (and how they can help others learn well, too). He takes multiple factors that impact learning into account without dwelling on research or skimming along the surface of this important conversation.

focus on learningJim Knight’s Focus on Teaching offers a wealth of strategies for using video in the classroom. If you’re creating video in the classroom, you should read this. If you’re flipping your class, you should read this. If you’re an administrator looking to use video for coaching, you should read this. His highly readable text will benefit you now and for years to come. Check it out.

burkeJim Burke’s What’s the Big Idea challenges educators to reframe units around questions. His big example is moving from a study of Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men to an investigation of this question: Am I my brother’s keeper? This text was transformational for me when teaching English, and I hope that it is beneficial for you as well!

art of coachingElena Aguilar’s The Art of Coaching is a great text for educators looking to change the way help is offered to teachers. A coaching model can be transformative for a campus, reshaping our mindsets about how we learn as educators and forcing us to realize the uncomfortable feelings many of our students associate with dealing with their imperfections. This isn’t the only coaching text, but it’s a great place to start your journey into this mode of thinking.

how google worksThis might seem like an odd choice, but How Google Works has had as much impact on me when considering school culture as anything I’ve ever read. As you might expect, you’re not going to find any information about programs, policies, or education lingo here, but the mindset that makes Google so impactful is evident on every page. Authors Eric Schmidt and Jonathan Rosenberg are experts in their field, and they are both wildly intelligent individuals. We would benefit greatly from listening carefully to their take on what makes Google work.

work rulesWork Rules gives more specifics to the overview provided in How Google Works. Laszlo Bock takes time to get into the nitty gritty of how to shape an organization. Again, you’re going to find a model here that can be transferred to your campus, but you’re not going to see a plan specific to schools. This one isn’t for everyone, but if you enjoyed How Google Works at all, I recommend you at least check this out to see if you’re interested.

inquiryA.J. Juliani’s Inquiry and Innovation in the Classroom is a great place to start the conversation about making changes for the better for students. If you’re looking for fresh ideas on 20% time, genius hour, and PBL, this is for you. It also serves as a great intro to each idea if you’re looking for a primer on any of the topics.

20timeIf you find that 20% time or genius hour is something you’d like to learn more about, Kevin Brookhouser’s The 20time Project is worth investigating. Brookhouser explores why (because “we need wicked problem-solvers”) in the first half of his book before concluding with how to pull that off both in the classroom and across a campus.

creative confidenceCreative Confidence by Tom and David Kelley challenges readers to reimagine their previous conception of creativity. If you think you might be a creative person, but you’re not creative in the conventional sense of the word, this book will help you see where you (and others) truly are creative. I really enjoyed the challenging ideas that the Kelley brothers share here!

creative schoolsKen Robinson’s recent book, Creative Schools, offers readers an overview of creativity in schools with Robinson’s trademark wisdom and wit. His text is both readable and challenging, encouraging and motivational. It’s an easy read with big ideas for the reader to consider. If your’e a person who likes inspirational education quotes, you can’t miss this!

51B3zEFka3L._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_Steal Like an Artist is a quick read that will leave you thinking for a long time. It has pushed me to think more creatively, share more openly, and believe that more is possible. For this guy who didn’t use to think creativity was in my wheelhouse, I’m quite thankful to have stumbled upon a text like Austin Kleon’s.

worldpeaceI can’t remember how I came across John Hunter’s World Peace and Other 4th Grade Achievements, but I’m glad I did. Hunter details how project based learning helped his 4th graders tackle some of life’s biggest problems, and he does so in a way that leaves you thinking that you can take on this kind of challenge, too. I enjoyed the text, and I think it would be a great place to start opening up other’s minds to the possibilities of PBL in the classroom.


So, this is a lot. But I hope that there’s something here that piques your interest. Over the summer, take time to look through a few of these–even if you just do so while visiting a local bookstore. Check out something that will help make you better when next school year starts up. Happy reading!

Let’s Keep Learning – Spring Break

Keep Learning (1)

Spring break is coming up for many educators, and although that can mean the end of the year is approaching, there is still a great deal of time for us to invest in our own professional learning. We expect our students to keep learning, so why not continue in that effort ourselves?

A good deal of my own professional learning comes through what I’m reading. During the year, a lot of that comes through blogs. The wealth of blogs out there combined with the difficulty finding consistent, predictable time to dedicate to reading mean I spend less time than I would like investing in longer works.

For me, spring break provides just the sort of change of pace to dig into something new!

Take time for yourself over the break, but if nothing else, take time to plan out how you can push yourself to continue to grow throughout the rest of the spring semester. It won’t happen by accident. Unless we put a plan in place, schedules get busy, the urgent infringes on the important, and our best intentions end up as the things that never happened.

So, here are eight titles that helped spark my thinking. Even if none of these sound interesting to you, take time to find something that will push you to continue your learning over the next few weeks.

6 Titles to Push Your Thinking

amplifyEven though I’m at a high school, I’m really enjoying Amplify by Katie Mutharis and Kristin Ziemke. Their slim volume is a great overview of not only how technology can touch so many aspects of our schools, but also when and why it should integrate with sound pedagogical practice. The authors are risk takers, and we have a great deal to learn from their experiences. I love the “Three Things to Try Tomorrow” sections that end many chapters. EdTech isn’t a new idea, but their reflections on the topic are well worth your time.

Hacking-Assessment-eBook-coverI’m thoroughly intrigued by the no grades movement. Starr Sackstein’s Hacking Assessment is a great primer on why to consider no grades and how to take the first steps. Her book includes several helpful tips for common push back that accompanies this conversation. If I were in the classroom, I would be using her advice to find my way through this conversation. Instead, I’m working on ways to challenge interested teachers to consider what she has to offer (and the huge upside for students to be able to continue their learning past each test).

rising strongRising Strong is one of those books that reads really quickly but leaves you with so much to think about that you can’t digest it rapidly. Brené Brown’s latest book investigates what happens after we take the risks that are oh so popular for us to discuss. The reality is that we end up with what she describes as a moment where we are face down in the arena, and we have to be able to pick ourselves up and move forward, learning along the way. It’s an idea I think we all want to embrace, but the process of getting there (and I am by no means there) is less direct than we would like.

originalsOriginals is a book that challenged my thinking. Adam Grant explores a number of qualities we typically associate with being an original and does a little mythbusting along the way. Grant is a great storyteller, and he’s got a wealth of tales worth telling here. It’s worth noting that this is book is one that I listened to as an audiobook, and it presents well in that medium.

 

breaking nightI came across Breaking Night after hearing Liz Murray speak in my school district earlier this semester. To say the least, there’s a lot of story for her to tell; she manages the task brilliantly, and that makes her book both enjoyable and tough to take. Oversimplified, hers is the “Homeless to Harvard” story that’s the stuff of movies (literally–there’s a Lifetime movie that tells her story). But more than one of accomplishment, Murray’s is a story of the value of education and mentors and hope. Tough, but well worth the time it takes to invest.

sketchnoteThe Sketchnote Handbook is a great introduction to sketchnoting. Admittedly, I’m the guy who just needs to jump into something like sketchnoting; that being said, Mike Rohde’s book was just what I needed to develop a foundation of skills for myself. Can I sketchnote anything live? No. It looks like my 4 year old drew it. But given the time, I can put the ideas into practice and create something I’m proud of that I wouldn’t have dreamed of in the past. To me, that makes it worth it. Maybe you’ll think so, too.

Interested in more books to push your learning? Check out the first “Let’s Keep Learning” post here.


So, no excuses. Let’s be learners alongside our students, even when it’s less convenient.

no excuses. Let's be learners alongside our students, even when it's less convenient.

Let’s Keep Learning (Even When It’s Less Convenient)

December is nearly upon us, and as we work through the last few weeks of the semester in what can often feel like a sprint to the finish, I think it’s important for us to remember that if we expect our students to continue their learning, it only makes sense that we should lead in that way as well.

That’s easier said than done (for both students and for educators), but it’s a worthwhile goal nonetheless.

Goals like this don’t just happen, though. If we want to look back on the next three weeks and be able to say we thrived during this time rather than that we simply survived the time between our breaks, we need a plan.

Reading is something that has really helped me slow down when the pace of life feels too fast. Finding that time away, that white space as I’ve come to call it after a series of especially impactful #leadupchat conversations over the past few weeks (Here’s the LINK to the storify from the chat that kicked that conversation if you’re interested.)

We can find white space to grow through what we read.

That’s not a revolutionary idea, but it’s one that we’ll let busy schedules push to the margins until we forget we ever thought it. Below is a list of 9 titles of varying lengths that might help you find that book that will push you to continue your learning over the next few weeks.

9 Titles to Push Your Thinking (separated by length)

200-250 PAGES (to be read over a few weeks)
innovators mindsetThe Innovator’s Mindset by George Couros asks educators to consider what it will take to help all educators, teachers and administrators alike, to grow into forward-thinking, innovative leaders. Couros is widely respected throughout education (if you’re not following him on Twitter, click HERE and enjoy), and his text does not disappoint. Don’t figure out if you’re going to read this; figure out when.

sheningerUncommon Learning by Eric Sheninger explores a number of aspects of education that educators need to be aware of (if not implementing ourselves) right now. From makerspaces and digital learning to BYOD and digital badging, Sheninger has both the educational experience and the expertise as a writer to communicate clearly on each of these important topics. Rooted in his practice during his time as principal at New Milford High School, this text will push you to explore new ideas in new ways.

steinbergDr. Laurence Steinberg, a developmental psychologist, shares his expertise on adolescence and how we can best take advantage of this seminal time in our students’ lives. His perspective is so refreshingly different than most of the literature that hopes to equip teachers and parents to survive this time. Steinberg’s expertise and optimism are a powerful combination, and though this might not be on the radar for many educators, Age of Opportunity is absolutely beneficial for our work.

100-150 PAGES (to be read in a few sittings)
wceddIn What Connected Leaders Do Differently, Todd Whitaker, Jeff Zoul, and Jimmy Casas collaborate to create a thorough yet streamlined text that explores the role of connected educators in today’s educational environment. Whether you are looking to get connected or are already swimming in the deep end, this book will challenge you to engage in new ways. I recently reread this, and I was both encouraged by my own growth throughout the last year and challenged by the number of simple reminders that I’m not living out.

personalized pdPersonalized PD brings together a host of connected educators who have flipped much of their own professional development. It’s great as a primer or as a challenge for educators who are comfortable with their level of connection currently. The personal vignettes set this text apart from others on the topic. The front cover lists Jason Bretzmann, Kenny Bosch, Dr. Brad Gustafson, Brad Currie, Kristin Daniles, Laura Conley, and Ben Wikoff as authors with 14 more contributing vignettes.

hackHacking Education by Mark Barnes and Jennifer Gonzalez is best described by it’s subtitle: 10 quick fixes for every school. What I love about the Hack Learning Series is that more than most of what I read, the authors are willing to take on the tough questions that come along with their proposed changes. This text pushed my thinking, and I’m sure it will do the same for you.

NOT MANY PAGES (to be read in one sitting)
sacksteinTeaching Students to Self Assess
is Starr Sackstein’s 55 page exploration of the question: “How do I help students reflect and grow as learners?” Sackstein has assembled an accessible introduction that is great for any who are considering helping students learn to self-assess. While it absolutely applies to the classroom as you would expect, administrators and leaders can apply the same logic to their work with educators.

gritIn Fostering Grit, Thomas Hoerr looks at how we are working to make sure our students are prepared to take on the world outside our schools. I love his driving question, “How do I prepare my students for the real world?” Hoerr’s 52 page volume is a great primer for those wanting to enter into this conversation. I’m thankful his primer is out there.

millerFreedom to Fail asks the question, “How do I foster risk-taking and innovation in my classroom?” Andrew Miller’s book offers essential reminders for educators who seek to do just what the title says, regardless of their experience with the idea. At 48 pages, it’s the shortest title in this list, but there’s still plenty here to push your thinking.


So, no excuses. Let’s be learners alongside our students, even when it’s less convenient.

no excuses. Let's be learners alongside our students, even when it's less convenient.

Books Worth Reading: The Short List

BooksWorthReadingThe 2015-2016 school year begins for me on July 27th. (How did the end of July get here so quickly?) While I’m excited about the new year, I’m staring at my “to be read” pile wondering where the time has gone. Like most educators, I’m able to make a lot of progress in the summer, but I know I’m not alone in thinking that there must have been something I missed or something I just didn’t have time to get to.

I wrote several posts at the end of May on “Books Worth Reading” and thought now would be a good time to offer a reminder of some of the books that you could still work in if, like me, your summer is about to come to a close.

connected educatorsFirst up is What Connected Leaders Do Differently. Todd Whitaker, Jeff Zoul, and Jimmy Casas collaborated to create a thorough yet streamlined text that explores the role of connected educators in today’s educational environment. Whether you are looking to get connected or are already swimming in the deep end, this book will challenge you to engage in new ways. At 172 pages, this title is one to start today if you’re going to spend the time you need with it before school begins.

school-culture-rewiredSchool Culture Rewired by Steve Gruenert and Todd Whitaker is required reading for anyone looking to make significant change in the prevailing attitudes on a school campus. This text will help you walk through the steps required to initiate an influential change on campus without bogging down into the minuscule details and minutiae that can seem to slow the pace of other texts. School Culture Rewired comes in at 170 pages.

power of brandingTelling your school’s story can’t be undervalued, and Tony Sinanis and Joe Sanfelippo are two of the best at crafting a meaningful, authentic campus story. The Power of Branding is part of the Corwin Connected Educators Series (which I can’t recommend highly enough), and at just 72 pages, you’re not going to get bogged down in fluff. You will have to deal with this though: Each page has something meaningful for you to consider, so don’t plan on blowing through this just because it’s half the length of the first two.

jim knightJim Knight’s Focus on Teaching offers a wealth of strategies for using video in the classroom. If you’re creating video in the classroom, you should read this. If you’re flipping your class, you should read this. If you’re an administrator looking to use video for coaching, you should read this. His highly readable text (which is just 184 pages in length) will benefit you now and for years to come.

learning by choiceA.J. Juliani’s most recent publication, Learning by Choice, is required reading for anyone looking to include more student choice in the classroom. (And, let’s be honest, who couldn’t benefit from hearing more about choice in the classroom, right?) This has heavily influenced my beliefs about choice in professional development as well. I wish I had read it while in the classroom. At 100 pages, you can easily complete your first read of Learning By Choice in the next week, but beware, there is so much that will have you thinking, “I need to write that down” as you read it may go slower than you think.

relationshipsIf you have a little more time before you’re back to school, I’m excited about a new book by Adam Sáenz and Jeremy Dew titled Four Ways to Connect (and Set Boundaries) with Colleagues, Students, and Parents. Relational dynamics in organizations (and especially in schools) are quite complicated, and I’m excited to be supported and challenged through their forthcoming text. The book should be on my doorstep on Tuesday (July 22nd), and I’m hopeful it will be as good as I expect!

It’s worth mentioning that each of these books deserves more than a week of time invested in it; regardless of the length, there’s plenty of depth in each of them to explore them more as time allows. I also think that they’re each books that are worth rereading, so if your first read is a quick one, don’t expect it to be your last. As the next school year approaches, my hope is that these books will jump start you back into the year with fresh inspiration and new ideas.

If you have a suggestion that others might like, recommend it with a comment!

Books Worth Reading: Coming Out Soon

BooksWorthReadingIt’s the last week of school in my district, and my to be read pile is calling my name. In case you don’t have your summer reading list finalized, I thought I would share a few of the books .

Each day this week, I’ll share a five books that I think are worth a look. Today’s post focuses on five titles that will challenge you over the coming weeks and months.

relationshipsI’m excited about a new book by Adam Sáenz and Jeremy Dew titled Four Ways to Connect (and Set Boundaries) with Colleagues, Students, and Parents. Relational dynamics in organizations (and especially in schools) are quite complicated, and I’m excited to be supported and challenged through their forthcoming text. The book is slated to be published in July.

hattieJohn Hattie, Deb Masters, and Kate Birch team up to bring us Visible Learning Into Action. The new collection takes an overwhelming amount of research and frames it in terms of case studies. I’m excited to see this new take on the Visible Learning research that has been so well done thus far, and I’m looking forward to its release in October.

passionateIf you’re not familiar with Pernille Ripp’s work, you’re missing out. She has a new book (well, it’s the second edition–but I’m excited nontheless) coming out in September. Passionate Learners: How to Engage and Empower Your Students will undoubtedly challenge educators to engage students in innovative and creative ways. I’m looking forward to its release in September.

breaking outAs I’ve mentioned before, I’m a big fan of the Corwin Connected Educators Series. I’m excited about the next wave of titles, and I’m especially looking forward to Breaking Out of Isolation: Becoming a Connected School Leader. This title by Spike Cook, Jessica Johnson, and Theresa Stager looks to be a great entry point for educators who have been on the fringes of connecting with others.

standingThe final title is also from the Corwin Connected Educators Series. Lisa Dabbs and Nicol Howard bring us Standing in the Gap: Empowering New Teachers Through Connected Resources. I’m excited to see what tips Dabbs and Howard offer to new teachers! Both titles from the Corwin Connected Educators Series will be available in September.


Thanks for reading this far! If you’re reading, connect with me on Twitter (@aaron_hogan) so we can learn from each other online.

Be sure to check out the previous posts in this series on creativity and innovationinfluencing school culture, curriculum and instruction, and connected leadership. Hope you enjoy some time reading this summer!

Books Worth Reading: Connected Educators

BooksWorthReadingIt’s the last week of school in my district, and my to be read pile is calling my name. In case you don’t have your summer reading list finalized, I thought I would share the titles I’ve learned a great deal from recently.

Each day this week, I’ll share a five books that I think are worth a look. Today’s post focuses on five several titles (I couldn’t limit it to just five this time…) that will challenge you to be a connected educator.

connected educatorsFirst up is What Connected Leaders Do Differently. Todd Whitaker, Jeff Zoul, and Jimmy Casas collaborated to create a thorough yet streamlined text that explores the role of connected educators in today’s educational environment. Whether you are looking to get connected or are already swimming in the deep end, this book will challenge you to engage in new ways.

relevantThe same goes for The Relevant Educator by Tom Whitby and Steven W. Anderson. Both authors are connected leaders, and their text is a fantastic primer for any educators looking to get connected. The slim volume (it comes in at 65 pages in length) covers how to guide your professional development, choose the best social media options for you, and transfer your new knowledge back to your campus. This highly recommended text you can read in a sitting is part of the Corwin Connected Educators Series.

content curationContent Curation by Steven W. Anderson provides a great deal of insight for educators who are looking to sift through the vast amount of resources that are out there for educators today. He offers tips on platforms to use, ways to schedule posts, what to schedule, and why to take content curation seriously. If you’re drowning in the great resources out there or feel like you can’t keep up with all the good material, this is for you. Since it’s part of the Corwin Connected Educators series, this, too, is a quick read full of valuable resources.

I promise that I’m not connected to Corwin Press in any way; I just happened to have stumbled upon their collection and have benefited so greatly from their publications that I feel compelled to share. Here are three more you should check out.

blogging     prin pd     flipping

Shen_DigitalLeadershipNo list on connected leadership is complete without Eric Sheninger’s Digital Leadership. His authoritative text explores why schools must change, how they can make meaningful change happen, and how educators can help make the desired change a reality. He touches on communication, public relations, branding, reimagining learning spaces on campus and many more aspects of digital leadership that educators today wrestle with. Highly recommended reading!


Thanks for reading this far! If you’re reading, connect with me on Twitter (@aaron_hogan) so we can learn from each other online.

Be sure to check out the three previous posts on creativity and innovationinfluencing school culture, and curriculum and instruction. Tomorrow’s post will feature five books on that are not out yet. I’m looking forward to their publication this summer, and I hope you do as well.

Hope you enjoy some time reading this summer!

Books Worth Reading: Curriculum and Instruction

BooksWorthReadingIt’s the last week of school in my district, and my to be read pile is calling my name. In case you don’t have your summer reading list finalized, I thought I would share the titles I’ve learned a great deal from recently.

Each day this week, I’ll share a five books that I think are worth a look. Today’s post focuses on five titles that could challenge you to take the next steps with curriculum and instruction.

tlapTeach Like a Pirate by Dave Burgess is a great place to start for fresh ideas about classroom instruction. This slim volume is packed with great information for new and veteran teachers. In addition, a great community exists on Twitter around the #tlap (like Teach Like a Pirate) hashtag. If you read one book on instruction, read this book.

ditchIf you’re ready for a change in your classroom, Ditch That Textbook is for you. Matt Miller’s recently released text highlights ways that educators can make changes in their classrooms for the better. Interested in more than incremental change? This is for you. Miller explores new mindsets and methods for adopting those in your classroom. You won’t want to miss it.

how we learnBenedict Carey’s How We Learn takes an educational spin on much of the research that has happened recently on the brain and how we learn. Carey makes his way through a great deal of research to provide readers with applicable tips for how they can learn best (and how they can help others learn well, too). He takes multiple factors that impact learning into account without dwelling on research or skimming along the surface of this important conversation.

focus on learningJim Knight’s Focus on Teaching offers a wealth of strategies for using video in the classroom. If you’re creating video in the classroom, you should read this. If you’re flipping your class, you should read this. If you’re an administrator looking to use video for coaching, you should read this. His highly readable text will benefit you now and for years to come. Check it out.

burkeMy final suggestion is Jim Burke’s What’s the Big Idea. Burke challenges educators to reframe units around questions. His big example is moving from a study of Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men to an investigation of this question: Am I my brother’s keeper? This text was transformational for me when teaching English, and I hope that it is beneficial for you as well!

Thanks for reading this far! Be sure to check out the two previous posts on creativity and innovation and influencing school culture. Tomorrow’s post will feature five books on connected leadership. Hope you enjoy some time reading this summer!

Books Worth Reading: Influencing School Culture

BooksWorthReadingIt’s the last week of school in my district, and my to be read pile is calling my name. In case you don’t have your summer reading list finalized, I thought I would share the titles I’ve learned a great deal from recently.

Each day this week, I’ll share a five books that I think are worth a look. Today’s post focuses on five titles that could help spur you on to lead change in campus culture from any corner of the building.

school culture rewiredSchool Culture Rewired by Steve Gruenert and Todd Whitaker is required reading for anyone looking to make significant change in the prevailing attitudes on a school campus. This text will help you walk through the steps required to initiate an influential change on campus without bogging down into the minuscule details and minutiae that drags other texts down. If you only read one book on school culture, read this one.

power of brandingIf you read two books on school culture (and you really should because this one is a great one), the second should be The Power of Branding by Tony Sinanis and Joeseph Sanfelippo. This is the first title from the Corwin Connected Educators Series in this week’s posts, but it won’t be the last. If you’re not familiar with the series, they offer targeted help for connected educators with useful, easy to implement strategies to improve nearly every educator’s skill set. Telling your school’s story can’t be undervalued; this is a great place to learn how to do that well.

art of coachingElena Aguilar’s The Art of Coaching is a great text for educators looking to change the way help is offered to teachers. A coaching model can be transformative for a campus, reshaping our mindsets about how we learn as educators and forcing us to realize the uncomfortable feelings many of our students associate with dealing with their imperfections. This isn’t the only coaching text, but it’s a great place to start your journey into this mode of thinking.

how google worksThis might seem like an odd choice, but How Google Works has had as much impact on me when considering school culture as anything I’ve ever read. As you might expect, you’re not going to find any information about programs, policies, or education lingo here, but the mindset that makes Google so impactful is evident on every page. Authors Eric Schmidt and Jonathan Rosenberg are experts in their field, and they are both wildly intelligent individuals. We would benefit greatly from listening carefully to their take on what makes Google work.

work rulesWork Rules gives more specifics to the overview provided in How Google Works. Laszlo Bock takes time to get into the nitty gritty of how to shape an organization. Again, you’re going to find a model here that can be transferred to your campus, but you’re not going to see a plan specific to schools. This one isn’t for everyone, but if you enjoyed How Google Works at all, I recommend you at least check this out to see if you’re interested.

Thanks for reading this far! Be sure to check out yesterday’s post on 5 books about creativity and innovation. Tomorrow’s post will feature five books centered around curriculum and instruction. Hope you enjoy some time reading this summer!

Books Worth Reading: Creativity and Innovation

BooksWorthReadingIt’s the last week of school in my district, and my to be read pile is calling my name. In case you don’t have your summer reading list finalized, I thought I would share the titles I’ve learned a great deal from recently. Each day this week, I’ll share a five books that I think are worth a look.

Today’s post focuses on five titles that could fan the flames of creativity and innovation on your campus and for you as a professional!

inquiryA.J. Juliani’s Inquiry and Innovation in the Classroom is a great place to start the conversation about making changes for the better for students. If you’re looking for fresh ideas on 20% time, genius hour, and PBL, this is for you. It also serves as a great intro to each idea if you’re looking for a primer on any of the topics.

20timeIf you find that 20% time or genius hour is something you’d like to learn more about, Kevin Brookhouser’s The 20time Project is worth investigating. Brookhouser explores why (because “we need wicked problem-solvers”) in the first half of his book before concluding with how to pull that off both in the classroom and across a campus.

creative confidenceCreative Confidence by Tom and David Kelley challenges readers to reimagine their previous conception of creativity. If you think you might be a creative person, but you’re not creative in the conventional sense of the word, this book will help you see where you (and others) truly are creative.

learning by choiceA.J. Juliani’s most recent publication, Learning by Choice, is required reading for anyone looking to include more student choice in the classroom. (And, let’s be honest, who couldn’t benefit from hearing more about choice in the classroom, right?) This has heavily influenced my beliefs about choice in professional development as well. I wish I had read it while in the classroom. Highly recommended!

creative schoolsFinally, Ken Robinson’s recent book, Creative Schools, offers readers an overview of creativity in schools with Robinson’s trademark wisdom and wit. His text is both readable and challenging, encouraging and motivational. It’s an easy read with big ideas for the reader to consider.

Tomorrow’s post will feature five books that deal with school culture. Hope you enjoy some time reading this summer!