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Summer Ends

Well, whether I like it or not, summer is coming to an end. I've been to school and slowly transformed the room back into a music room. As I worked in my room, I couldn't help but think of the books I read this summer. I plan to make some small shifts this year in my instruction in hopes that in a year's time I've made a massive impact in my classroom. (Thanks Joy Kirr for helping me see that!)

Here's what I read this summer and plan to take with me this year. Click on the book title for my #BookSnaps.

Launch: Using Design Thinking to Boost Creativity and Bring out the Marker in Every Student by John Spencer and A. J. Juliani.

  • This year a classroom teacher and I are starting a genius hour. I plan to use this book as a reference as we go through the process.

  • There are also some free posters to print out and use as a reference.

  • I have a powerpoint presentation to follow as well as a reference.

Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol S. Dweck. (I listened to this book on my phone. No #BookSnaps.)

  • George Couros mentioned this book was a game changer when it comes to to teaching and learning and he was right.

  • Listening to the book made we see how in many situations I have a fixed mindset and while it's not necessarily a bad thing, developing a growth mindset allows me to grow as a person and see failures as feedback instead of something I can't do.

  • It's time to change my mindset.

Renegade Leadership: Creating Innovative Schools for Digital-Age Students by Brad Gustafson

  • This book helped me realize the need to explore coding and find ways to connect kids to others globally.

  • Follow the Code:

  • Collaboration

  • Ownership

  • Digital Connectivity

  • Experiential Learning

Redesigning Learning Spaces by Robert Dillon, Ben Gilpin, A.J. Juliani and Erin Klein

  • This book gave me the idea to ask the kids what the music room needs.

  • The kids gave me some great ideas and I have tried to incorporate as many suggestions as I can in the music room this year.

Inquiry and innovation in the Classroom: Using 20% Time, Genius Hour, and PBL to Drive Student Success by A. J. Juliani

  • This book gave me the courage to really consider genius hour and it helped more with the why and how.

UnSelfie by Michele Borba

We live in a narcissistic world and kids are growing up without much play time. We need to take time to teach kids empathy so they are kind, popular, successful, happy kids. This book gave me some great ideas to try and helped me to realize how important it is to take an active role in teaching kids empathy.

Shift This by Joy Kirr

I loved this book. It has changed my thinking. School needs to change and small shifts is a realistic way to innovation.

Here are some shifts I've already started to make in my classroom:

  • I changed the layout of my room and put supplies out for kids so it's more "our" room.

  • I am working on learning how to give quality feedback to students.

  • I created a teacher mission statement for myself this year.

  • I am starting a genius hour with another teacher.

  • I've joined more #edchats on twitter. I've found a tribe to follow and share with.

Lead Like a Pirate by Dave Burgess

  • This book reminded me to be passionate and enthusiastic about teaching. Develop a growth mindset and run with it.

As for creating this summer, I meet with others to inspire, motivate and challenge me.

1. The Blair Finch project is working on STEAM initiatives as well as genius hour projects. We will be presenting at the Illinois Music Educator's Conference in Peoria, IL in January 2018. We are researching and working on projects this fall. The Blair Finch Project also tutored a few teachers over the summer.

2. I went to Barnes and Noble and purchased some books for music lessons. The next step is to write up some lessons.

3. Coffee Tech Time- I had a weekly date with a co-worker to talk tech and create some projects. Click here to follow our progress.

It was a great summer to nerd out and read when I wanted. I hope to continue to blog, chat on Twitter and read more books during the school year. The balance of life and school with soon begin. Here's to a great year!

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