By Dr. Sara Johnson, Assistant Superintendent, Lincoln County School District
COSA members are committed to reading current and best practice publications to stay active, relevant, and fresh in the important work of educating students. Great books continue to become available every month! As the Annual Law Conference approaches, we are looking forward the Barnes and Noble educators’ book sale (books linked below are available online at Barnes and Noble). Read the reviews and be ready to pick up a new book.
Catching Up or Leading the Way: American Education in the Age of Globalization by Yong Zhao.
Is American Education working or is it not? Yong Zhao makes a case for “What’s right with American education; why much…criticism of U.S. education has been misleading and misinformed.” As a product of China’s schools, Zhao warns that "East Asia pedagogy" leaves students short on the strategically important factors of innovation and creativity that have kept the U.S. in the lead in designing and patenting innovative solutions of problems in globalization. Zhao believes that it is strange that China and other Asian countries are changing their education systems and patterning them after those of the U.S. He writes, “We…face a choice of what we want [in American Education]: a diversity of talents, of individuals who are passionate, curious, self-confident, and risk taking; or a nation of excellent test takers, outstanding performers on math and reading tests.” Reviewers are stating that this book is a must read for educators and politicians. It is certainly one of the most important education books on the shelf at these unsettling, competitive times in U.S. education. (Yong Zhao will the keynote speaker at the 2011 OACOA/OASE Winter Conference, Jan. 28-29, at Salishan.)
Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter by Liz Wiseman with Greg McKeown.
As a leader, are you a “Mulitiplier” or a “Diminisher?” “ Multipliers "enable others to reach their full capability, and may demonstrate strength in any of five disciplines: Talent Magnet, Liberator, Challenger, Debate Maker, and Investor. On the other hand, “Diminishers” underutilize the talent of those around them and can be classified as an Empire Builder, Tyrant, Know-It-All, Decision Maker, and Micro Manager. This book was emphatically recommended by Doug Reeves at the recent 90-90-90 Summit as a leadership book based on reliable, verifiable research. I recommend this book because of the useful, concrete examples and practices that one can use to improve, plan, implement, accelerate, and sustain human development – the important work in education.
Making Ideas Happen: Overcoming the Obstacles Between Vision and Reality by Scott Belsky.
“Making Ideas Happen represents the culmination and assimilation of knowledge gained from hundreds of interviews with the CEOs, Vice Presidents, Chief Designers, and Directors of departments of companies such as Apple, Google, and Zappos. From these interviews, as well as his own experiences and other information obtained from conferences and readings, Belsky extracts the most salient aspects of why these companies have become giants in their respective fields, and how they have been so successful in making ideas happen.” Belsky instructs the reader on the art of capturing “action steps” as they arise. This book has the potential to help educators bridge the implementation gap with which we struggle. If the author’s concepts could be applied, many great initiatives could be moved forward with less resistance.
Teach Like A Champion: 49 Techniques That Put Students on the Path to College by Doug Lemov.
This is a strong positive professional development resource. When our 27 new teachers began the school year, one of the supports we provided was a copy of Doug Lemov’s book and a flip camera. We asked them to read the book and video their practice as they worked to implement strategies from Teach Like a Champion. There has been an overwhelming positive response from the teachers about this book! It comes with a DVD in the back, allowing the reader to see the strategies in practice. In the high school, the principal is highlighting one strategy each week during his staff meeting. He is utilizing this book and the DVD to support teachers as they refine their teaching skills. The strategies are practical, applicable in K – 12, and come from “Uncommon Schools” with high performance. I highly recommend this resource.
Visible Learning: A Synthesis of Over 800 Meta-Analysis Relating to Achievement by John Hattie
“Reveals teaching’s Holy Grail!” “Unique – ground breaking…the result of 15 years’ research…synthesizes over 800 meta-analysis on achievement.” Using the research synthesis in this book, an educator can determine the power and effectiveness of an innovation by referring to a “barometer of influence” developed from the average effect size based upon the research synthesis. This book is an amazing tool for educators – no wonder they are calling it the Holy Grail. It’s not “dumbed down” but it is written in a useful, clear format making the research findings entirely accessible to readers – and quickly! Refer to the barometers of influence in the book to determine if it is a good investment of teaching time.
Game Storming: A Playbook for Innovators, Rulebreakers, and Changemakers by Dave Gray, Sunni Brown, and James Macanufo
This is a great book to help the educator communicate with a group, generate ideas, collect information, uncover insights from a team, and develop strategies for working. It is a book from which you can glean new and effective strategies for professional development meetings, staff meetings, team work, or teaching opportunities. It allows the leader to make productive use of time while collaborating and generating ideas. Good book for a resource library.
Dog Loves Books by Louise Yates
Louise Yates has given us another awesome read aloud picture book. If you love books, you will want this for yourself! If you know someone who loves books, it would be a great gift. As one can tell from the title, Dog loves books…so he decides to open a book store. He doesn’t do a lot of business but he makes some new “friends” and finds a great deal of pleasure.
Books on my reading list for this quarter: