Friday, June 10, 2016

Old, New, Borrowed & Blue

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Something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue.   A popular American wedding ritual. No, I'm not planning a wedding or have any invitations to attend one anytime soon.

Like many teachers, summer is a time to catch up on the 3 R's - relax, reflect and read.  Old, new, borrowed and blue describes my summer reading selections.  As I laid out my books and considered writing about my summer reading plans, I realized I had old books, new books, borrowed books and blue books.  Hence the inspiration for the title. Some of them are for professional development, and some are purely recreational, but they are all of great interest, and I look forward to reading them.

Below is a brief description of each book, as well as a little background on how each made my list.

A few months ago I stopped at a used bookstore in Sparta, NC and found these two bargains at the $1 table. Legal drama is my genre of choice, and back in the 90s, I binged on John Grisham's novels as their popularity peaked. However, I never read either one of these two books nor did I watch the movies, so these were quite the deal and a great addition to my library.

The Chamber  - Like many of his novels, this story is set in the south and features a young lawyer. The defendant in this story is a former Klansman and unrepentant racist on death row for a fatal bombing in the 1960s. After many lessons on the Civil Rights Movement, I'm intrigued by this realistic fictional story.

The Client -  Also, a legal thriller involving secrets, the mob, and a young lawyer.  It appears to be similar to some of the Grisham's other works and full of suspense.  I'm sure they will keep me at the end of my seat (or my pool chair).

At the end of July, I'm excited to have the opportunity to offer a 3-day digital tools training for ESL Teachers at NCDPI's ELL Support Conference in Greensboro,  NC.  I will be reading these two new books in preparation for the training as each of the training participants will receive a copy of these books, courtesy of the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction.

Ditch That Textbook -  After subscribing to Matt Miller's newsletter and following him on Twitter, I knew I needed to share this book with the session attendees. Many thanks to Matt Miller for my treasured review copy so I can be well prepared for the session. This book not only provides ideas on technology integration, but it's mostly about adopting a more progressive instructional approach to engage and captivate 21st-century learners.

50 Things You Can Do With Google Classroom - Along with #DitchBook, this book will provide a valuable resource to session attendees. Whether a Google novice or a veteran, there's a wealth of tips and techniques on making the most of Google tools.  As I prepare for my session, I'll be planning new tools to implement for the next school year.  Many thanks to Dave Burgess Consulting for my review copy.

Fair Isn't Always Equal - I was very close to buying this a few months ago but thought I would first ask one of our school's media specialists if it was available to check out from the professional reading collection. Although it was not, she agreed to order it and let me borrow it for the summer.  After watching a few of Author Rick Wormeli's videos on YouTube, I am looking forward to digging into this great read on differentiated instruction.  This may actually make an interesting book study for next year.

Untangling the Web - Another resource for the digital tools training, this book will be provided to
ELL session participants as an e-book.  Much of the tech tools covered in the book I'm familiar with, but there are some interesting tools included in the book that I've never experimented with. I'm always on the lookout for something new to share with my students and fellow teachers, and I think this will give me some to new tools to spice up my lessons next year.

Girl In The Blue Coat - I picked up this book at my son's recent BOGO Free book fair.  Taking advantage of the freebie offer, I always look for something for me to read.  This story is set during World War II in Nazi-occupied Germany. No one has recommended it, but the Amazon reviews look pretty good, and I'm looking forward to reading it.

Judge & Jury - This book has been on my bookshelf for a few years, but this summer I'm determined to get to more of my unread selections.  It's about a juror on trial against a notorious mob boss. I've never read any of this author's works although many of my friends rave about his legal thrillers, so I'm expecting to enjoy this blue oldie but goodie.

Whether on the beach, by the pool or on my couch at home, summer reading mentally transports me and helps to recharge my batteries. While many of these selections are professional reads, I anticipate there will be some inspiration from my old books and my blue books.  From new insights to new perspectives to new cool tools, summer reading helps me grow at my own pace and on my own terms.

Please share what you are reading this summer and how it has helped you (or will help you) grow professionally and personally.  I look forward to hearing from you.