It’s my final Thursday before the school year ends! It’s a very odd and blissful feeling. Here comes summer time, the time where I catch up with family and friends, spend time at the lake, do a little bit of travelling (like heading out to NCGE with the #worldgeochat crew), and binge-watching Netflix shows.

I’ve already outlined my major educational projects in the post Those Summer Nights, Ed made a list of suggestions in his post Summer Reading: 1 Of My Favorite Things. In this post, however, I’d like to outline my reading list for the summer! Unlike Ed, I don’t read as much during the school year. I consider myself a slower reader, which sometimes deters me from reading (I need to break this mindset). Or, I feel like I have more “important” things to do.  

Next school year, I’d like to change this to dedicate just 20 minutes to reading each day. I know it’s not a lot, but it’s a start.

In the meantime, with all the time in the world during the summer, my avid love for reading explodes and the books just keep on coming.

Professional Development

  • Explore Like a Pirate by Michael Matera (@mrmatera). I absolutely fell in love with the PIRATE series, thanks to Dave Burgess (@burgessdave). It opened my eyes to a new way of teaching and helped me explore more of geography passion. Explore Like a Pirate is all about gamification and game-based learning. I dabbled a bit with Fangeopolitics this year with current events and “Fantasy football” drafting of countries, “broke out” with BreakoutEDU, and, of course, opened the eyes of my students as well as my own with Mystery Skype, But these all take extensive preparation and are mainly from MY side of the chalkboard. What I’m hoping to learn from Michael’s book is putting the gamification into the hands of my students and how to manage it. How do I keep students engaged and on task rather than running around the classroom like crazy? What sort of games can I play with geography?

  • Learn Like a Pirate by Paul Solarz (@PaulSolarz). Sticking with the PIRATE theme, I’m dying to know how Paul Solarz creates a true student-guided classroom. I guess I’m still looking for new management skills. How do students feel empowered to take charge of the class? How much of the reins do I really let go? What sort of modeling has to be done in order for students to understand the layout?

  • The HyperDoc Handbook by Lisa Highfill (@lhighfill), Kelly Hilton (@kellyihilton) and Sarah Landis (@sarahlandis). I CAN’T WAIT TO READ THIS ONE! @Jim_dEntremont and I are working on HyperDocs over the summer to help our students connect on a more global level. “With a HyperDoc you can repackage your lesson plans on a Google Doc to engage students in innovative ways!” My questions behind this one are more about logistics. Can I incorporate paper and tangible activities within a HyperDoc? Are students going to be constantly staring at their screens watching videos and reading articles? Will the book outline ways to “Choose your own adventure?” I can’t wait to dive into HyperDocs to create engaging, more self-guided activities for my students!

  • Shift This by Joy Kirr (@JoyKirr) I had the pleasure of attending one of Joy’s workshops about Genius Hour last year at the BLC Conference in Boston. I was hooked! I couldn’t wait to implement Genius Hour within my classroom! Although my Genius Hour (we called them “Passion Projects”) didn’t necessarily turn out the way I had planned, I’m still willing to look into a new way of shifting some things around and reflecting on this year. According to Ed, “the book addresses classroom environment, homework, grading, social media, student directed learning and so much more.” I know these are all areas of great improvement for myself. I’m still battling the social media idea within the seventh grade classroom as well as where I truly stand on homework, and I’m hoping that Joy’s book will shine some light on these major topics.


What’s on your summer reading list? Have you read any of the above books? What lessons and messages did you take away?



2 thoughts on “Bring On Summer Reading!

  1. I’m reading Hyperdocs now. Good stuff. Long Walk to Water and Ready Player One are on my to read list. Loved Persepolis and anything by Ruta Sepetys.


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