Melanie is the Director of Teaching and Learning at Berman Hebrew Academy.

What’s on your reading list?

As we roll into summer, I start to look at the growing pile of books in my office that I have ordered from Amazon throughout the winter. My favorite summer activity is sitting outside and reading a book- even better if the surf is keeping my feet wet. As my beach week gets closer, I start to choose the books I will dust off and bring on vacation. My family always waits to see what thriller I pull out of my beach… The first one that caught their eye was Mindset, then came Quiet, last year it was Radical Candor and The Culture Code. You may have noticed the trend in my choices. When I am away from the office, I read the books that will help me in my work. This summer, I will be reading The Courage to Teach and finishing Learning that Lasts.

Lately, I have noticed all the education websites and newsletters are pointing to summer book club ideas. Jennifer Gonzales posted this piece on Cult of Pedagogy; What Should Your Teacher Book Club Read? There are many lists like this one- I like the way she breaks it down into themes and I like what Jennifer Gonzales says about teaching and learning. Creating opportunities for teachers to learn together creates the culture we all seek in our schools. A culture of shared learning, in growing together, in sharing in the wealth of incredible professional development that occurs when we learn in groups. That learning “sticks”- we create shared memories and pictures of learning to reflect on throughout the school year.

I recently read a post on Ed Surge The Greatest Barrier for Educators Changing their Practice? Internal Resistance. The editors and writers of Ed Surge put together focus groups of teachers and asked this question. The number one challenge in bringing change to a classroom practice is resistance from colleagues, school leadership and parents. The number one way to combat this resistance is building relationships at number 1 and professional development that you bring back to your school in second place. As you plan for a summer book club, I ask that you also offer opportunities for your teachers to learn together outside the walls of your school. I also encourage school leaders to join their teachers in the PD. Creating a common language, a set of behaviors and expectations, an action plan for implementing new ideas based on a common learning experience will help ensure that the learning and the vision stick. In the end, the students will win as the excitement for risk taking and change develops across the school.

Here are some opportunities for such learning:

  • Prizmah’s Learning Hubs; Choose from 4 locations and topics for summer PD at schools who have mastered ideas like the design process, positive discipline, problem based learning and building a positive school culture

  • Check out the long list of opportunities on this document posted on JedLab

  • Check out opportunities at the Shefa School, at the Mandel School, and at the Idea School.

We would love to help you choose how you will spend your summer learning.